layering up for winter running

Layering Systems for Running

Ogres have layers, onions have layers and winter-running most definitely has layers. When it comes to getting dressed for a sub-zero jaunt, ensuring you’ve got an effective layering-system on can be the difference between a PB and a total meltdown. From wicking to venting to element protection, we breakdown the art behind a well-layered get-up. As it turns out, it’s not just a matter of throwing on everything you own (although some days this almost feels necessary). 

three-step system

Base Layer - Winter Running

base layer
Your base layer actually touches your skin so it is important that this layer is moisture-wicking (staying dry is key to staying warm). This layer should be a fairly simple design: buttons, zippers or elaborate necklines can make layering tricky. Look for soft, moisture-wicking, anti-stink fabrics and aim for a snug fit. Also, thumbholes are a ‘nice-to-have’ in a base because they’ll keep your sleeves down as you layer up.

we heart these base layers:
Swiftly Techs
Runder Under Long Sleeve
Run: Ice Queen Long Sleeve

Mid Layers for running

The mid-layer is on double duty. It has to keep you warm as well as continue to move moisture from the inside out. This layer needs to be engineered with insulating fabrics and venting. Look for a body-skimming fit (not too loose not too tight) and mesh panelling or zipper vents. Thumbholes and Cuffins are awesome mid-layer perks – hello built in running gloves!

we heart these mid-layers:
What The Fluff Pullover
Run: Toasty Tech Pullover
Run: Pitter Patter Pullover

Outer layers for Running

outer layer

This layer is all about protecting you from rain, slush and snow while still giving your body a chance to vent. The outer layer finishes the job the base layer starts by allowing moisture vapour to escape. Vents and mesh paneling are key in this layer because they let you cool down as you build up heat (you are running, after all).  Look for water- and wind-resistant fabrics, additional insulation for bitter cold climates and reflective detailing to keep you bright in low-light scenarios.

we heart these outer layers:
Run: Bundle Up Jacket
What The Fluff Jacket
What the Fluff Vest


so it should work like this:

how layering systems work | run


but not all climates are created equal

Coming from ‘raincouver’ we have serious sun envy – hey Florida, we’re looking at you. Here’s a look at what your layering system could look like, depending on where you live.

warm (florida)
[silverescent base layer] + [rulu mid-layer if needed]

wet and chilly (vancouver)
[silverescent base layer] + [rulu mid-layer] + [glyde outer layer]

cold (colorado)
[silverescent or rulu base layer] + [goose down or tech fleece mid-layer] + [goose down or glyde outer layer]

Whoops - looks like we just stole the "but it's too cold out" excuse from your arsenal. Now layer up and get after it.

read more related posts:


Total fan of the thumb holes for built in running gloves – keeps your hands warm but you can still use your ipod!

Comment by Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness — November 22, 2012 @ 11:55 am

Do you have any recommendations on running pants for cold weather (Wisconsin)?

Comment by KT Hoffman — November 23, 2012 @ 6:12 am

Hey KT,
For cold weather running in somewhere like Wisconsin, I’d recommend checking out tech fleece pants. We currently have the Run: Toasty Tech Tight:


Comment by GEC Online — November 23, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

Can we expect the WHat the fluff vest in red?

Comment by Francoise — November 23, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

wish the what the fluff pullover in cream were back this season!!

Comment by haley — October 30, 2013 @ 10:14 am

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