What to Wear to the Gym in Winter

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see our affiliate disclaimer here.

Tips and hints from the Hound!

It’s winter, and it’s getting colder by the day. It’s hard enough to get up in the morning, let alone go to the gym. On top of that, you have to decide what to wear.

The quickest way to beat the freezing cold is to just go out for a run. However, if you wear something overly thick and warm, you might start sweating.

It’s not rocket science that sweat and freezing temperatures are a dangerous combination. The sub-zero temperatures will freeze your sweat droplets right on your body along with your skin. That’s a definite recipe for hypothermia, and you’re bound to get more than you bargained for if you don’t layer up.

Let me say that again. The cardinal rule of working out in winter is: Layer Up. If you start feeling hot and you can feel sweat begin to form, just shed off the top layers, and you should start to cool down. Keeping your temperature regulated so you don’t become overly hot or cold is essential whatever the season but especially so in the winter.

Let’s take an in-depth look at what your various layers of clothing should consist of.

It’s all about the base

Your base layer is the most important layer, as this is the layer which sits directly on your body, affecting your movement and mobility.  What this also means is that this is the layer which will directly be in contact with your sweat.

Now it’s essential to ensure that this base layer does not get so wet with sweat that it turns into a wet sponge. Such a damp dress will get frozen stiff and plunge your core body temperature to a dangerous low if you’re out in the cold for too long.

Your base layer should ideally be made of polypropylene. Polypropylene is a ‘moisture-wicking’ fabric. This kind of cloth evaporates moisture unlike a material such as cotton, which retains it. So, avoid cotton layers that sit close to your skin.

As for your lower layer, consider getting a pair of nylon tights for your innermost layer to insulate yourself from the cold.

The mid layer

The mid layer is your second layer of protection from the cold. The middle layer is there to give a buffer between your outer layer and the innermost layer. Hence it should have a moderating effect on the weather which means that it shouldn’t make you feel too cold or too hot.

The thing to remember is, that the mid layer should provide ventilation. This will help you regulate your body temperature in cold weather and also let your sweat evaporate fast. Opt for zippers or mesh sides.  

High-tech fabrics like microfleece or even thermal tops make for a stellar mid layer. Stay clear of rubber or plastic-based fabrics which don’t let your skin breathe.

Wear light, long-sleeved running tops that you can wear over your sports inners. It’s even better if it has a high neck like a turtleneck or a hood like a balaclava which will protect your head and stop the loss of heat through your scalp.

Outer layer

For your outer layer, consider jackets or windbreakers or hoodies. Of course, you wouldn’t need these hoodies or jackets if you’re working out at the gym. You only need them when you’re working out outdoors.

At that point, it’s also important to protect you from other elements like rain or snow. Although we would seriously recommend, you do not go out in the dead of winter if there is a storm forecast. A cagoule or a waterproof parka is an excellent choice for working out. It is not only waterproof but also very lightweight and easy to run in. You can also quickly and easily unzip it for ventilation or if you get overly hot.

Nylon jackets or GORE-TEXⓇ windbreakers also work just as well. They are rugged and can repel wind and water, without causing you to lose your footing or balance.


Do you remember that saying about how you should wear your socks at night if you want to keep warm? Most of us forget to keep our extremities warm and covered, and hence we lose a lot of heat from them and then feel cold.

Although cotton or woolen is great for keeping your feet warm, they don’t do so well with removing moisture. Buy yourself socks made from drying fabrics like dynamix, which causes moisture to evaporate and fabrics like mohair which keep your feet warm and comfy.


You should never skimp on your shoes if you’re going outdoors to exercise. You need your shoes to protect you from slush, snow, and puddles. Choose shoes, preferably trainers or running shoes which have a light upper part, but with a comfortable sole and an excellent grip.


When it comes to gloves, you may be tempted to use a weightlifting glove, but you really should keep your fingertips covered. Consider buying gloves which are insulating as you might need to use your hands to touch something cold, like glass or metal.

It also helps to have your gloves moisture wicking and reflective. Reflective gloves will help other people on the road see you when light reflects off your glove into their field of vision.

Remember to get a pair of gloves that are touch screen compatible as well. Thus, when you have to change the song on your phone, you won’t need to take off your gloves every time.

Your head and ears

Now there’s some amount of controversy when it comes to protective wear for your head. Some people say you should wear a polyester hat to protect yourself from the wind, whereas others swear that this will make you feel way too hot.

Our suggestion would be to wear a windproof headband. This keeps your head and ears warm, without heating it up so much that you start to sweat.

For the rest of your face, consider wearing a facemask like a hockey or a ski mask. Or you could just wrap a scarf around your face to ensure that the frigid air, doesn’t go into your lungs. You’re bound to take very deep breaths if you’ve been running or working out at a high intensity and this will take a toll on your lungs if you’re not careful.

Your eyes and skin

UV rays are more harmful in winter, and all the light reflecting off freshly fallen snow can make the roads seem exceptionally bright. Remember to wear sunglasses or if that interferes with your training, at least wear sunscreen on your face and other exposed parts of your body.

Final thoughts

Exercise is important to our health and wellbeing and just because it’s the winter it doesn’t mean we have to stop. With the right gear and taking the necessary safety precautions, it’s possible to continue running and exercising through the winter. But, if it looks as if a storm or severe weather is forecast, be sensible and do some training at home or at the gym.

Your safety is paramount so be sensible and check the weather forecast before you head out, take your mobile phone, a little cash and let someone know how long you plan to be out.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.