To make our selections, we used the following criteria:

  • Practicality: We chose items that are practical for a variety of outdoor winter workouts.
  • Materials: Whether you’re looking for a moisture-wicking base layer or boots that will keep you from sliding around on ice, we paid close attention to the materials used.
  • Value: We chose items that offer value for the cost in terms of usefulness, durability, and versatility.
  • Company reputation: We looked for trusted brands that provide detailed product information and great customer service.
  • Customer reviews: We read countless online reviews to see what people had to say about various products and brands.
  • Vetting: The products on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

Best headlamp

Fenix HM61R Multi-Use Headlamp

  • Price: $$
  • Available sizes: one size
  • Best for: early morning or evening workouts

The Fenix HM61R Multi-Use Headlamp runs on a 18650 battery, which performs well in cold weather. The bright light is useful for winter camping trips and for nighttime running, hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.

The versatile lamp functions as a right-angle flashlight and can clip to your belt, pocket, or chest strap for hands-free use. Plus, it has eight lighting modes, including a red light that works well for night navigation.

Best beanie

Tough Headwear Running Beanie

  • Price: $
  • Available sizes: one size; available in men’s and women’s
  • Best for: running

Made from polyester and spandex, this breathable running beanie is designed to wick away sweat while fitting snugly to keep your head and ears warm during winter runs.

The cap features a thermal fleece lining that makes it suitable for temperatures of 10–40°F (-12–4°C), according to the company. Plus, the women’s version includes a ponytail hole to help keep long locks out of your face.

While the beanie is marketed toward runners, it’s thin enough to fit under a helmet for skiing or snowboarding or under a thicker hat for longer snowshoeing or cross-country skiing expeditions.

Best neck gaiter

Smartwool Thermal Merino Neck Gaiter

  • Price: $
  • Available sizes: one size
  • Best for: any cold-weather activity

The Smartwool Thermal Merino Neck Gaiter can provide wind protection and keep your neck warm and dry during your outdoor excursion.

Made from 100% merino wool, the gaiter is designed to retain warmth even if it gets damp and to dry quickly. Plus, the two soft merino wool layers are breathable enough to cover your face.

Customers note that, in addition to keeping your neck and face warm, the gaiter can be used as a headband or ear warmer.

Best lightweight base layer

Smartwool Classic All-Season Base Layer Long-Sleeve

  • Price: $$
  • Available sizes: XS–XL women’s; S–XXL men’s
  • Best for: mild winter weather activities, high exertion activities, or people who tend to run warm

Great for mild winter weather or for use as one of several layers, this all-season base layer from Smartwool is an essential for any winter, spring, or fall wardrobe.

Made from a mix of 87% merino wool and 13% nylon, this long-sleeve shirt is designed to help you stay nice and dry and is a bit more durable than 100% merino wool tops. The shirt also features minimalist seams and offset shoulders for a more comfortable fit and to minimize chafing.

While this base layer is great for running, shoulder season hiking, and warm ski days, you may want to check out the company’s Classic Thermal 1/4 Zip if you plan on being out in colder weather for a long time.

Best vest

prAna Alpine Air Vest

  • Price: $$$
  • Available sizes: XS–XL women’s; S–XXL men’s
  • Best for: winter hiking, climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and running

The prAna Alpine Vest adds a stylish layer of warmth to your outfit without creating bulk.

It works well on its own or under or over a sweater, coat, or ski jacket for your next climbing, hiking, or cross-country skiing excursion. It’s also a good option for runners who get hot while wearing a full jacket.

The insulated vest has zippered pockets and a durable water-repellent coating. What’s more, the vest is made from recycled materials and folds into its back pocket, so it’s an eco-friendly and travel-friendly option.

Best insulated jacket

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

  • Price: $$$
  • Available sizes: XXS–XXL women’s, XS–3XL men’s
  • Best for: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hiking, and cross-country skiing

A great option for snowboarding, ice skating, hiking, and cross-country skiing, the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket adds an insulating layer of warmth and helps protect against wind chill.

You can wear the lightweight jacket over multiple layers or under a wind shell or rain jacket for extra protection. It keeps your neck warm and has one inner and two outer zippered pockets.

Plus, this Fair Trade Certified jacket folds easily, so you can stash it in a small bag or backpack on your next rock climbing adventure.

Best hydration pack

CamelBak Zoid Hydration Pack

  • Price: $$
  • Available sizes: one size
  • Best for: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hiking

Designed for hands-free hydration during days on the slopes, the CamelBak Zoid Hydration Pack is a great way make sure you’re drinking enough water during your workout. You can also use it for other activities, such as hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Thanks to its minimal design, you can wear the pack over or under your jacket.

The pack has a 2-liter (68-ounce) reservoir and an insulated hose to prevent freezing. It also features a zippered pocket for stashing a few small items, such as your keys and a protein bar.

Best convertible mittens

Kombi Opener Magnetic 3-in-1 Mittens

  • Price: $$
  • Available sizes: XS–XL unisex
  • Best for: hiking, walking, running, skating, snowshoeing, and sledding

The Kombi Opener Magnetic 3-in-1 Unisex Mittens are a good option for outdoor winter workouts as they feature a magnetic closure seal and easily convert into gloves. They are also well insulated and offer water and wind protection.

According to Rachel MacPherson, a certified personal trainer and winter fitness enthusiast, “The Kombi Opener Magnetic 3-in-1 Mittens are my top pick for warm, durable mittens. They keep me warm when skating, sledding, walking, and hiking. The gloves [also] make it convenient to use your phone. When closed, the mittens are extremely warm and comfortable.”

Best training pants

Craft Glide Pants

  • Price: $$
  • Available sizes: XS–XL women’s, S–XXL men’s
  • Best for: hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing

These Swedish-made pants feature softshell fabric and bird-eye backing that provide warmth, ventilation, and protection from wind and water. The adjustable waist and elastic jersey at the back of the knee offer comfort and flexibility.

These outdoor training pants work well for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. And they fit snugly over boots to keep snow out.

Note that the company recommends sizing up if you are between sizes or plan to wear a base layer.

Best boots

Sorel Kinetic Breakthru Sneaker Boots

  • Price: $$$
  • Available sizes: 5–12 women’s, 7–15 men’s
  • Best for: walking, snowshoeing, and hiking

The superb insulation and microfleece lining of the Sorel Kinetic Breakthru Sneaker Boots are meant to keep your feet toasty in wet winter weather. The seam-sealed waterproof boots also have rubber soles with enough grip to prevent slipping on ice and snow.

Extremely supportive and comfortable, these boots are suitable for snowshoeing, walking in the snow, and mixed terrain hikes. As a bonus, they’re stylish enough for everyday wear.

Just keep in mind that several customer reviews recommend sizing up, especially if you plan to wear thick socks.

Speaking of which, the best socks for winter workouts depend on the activity. We recommend checking out brands like Smartwool and DryMax to find a pair that’s right for you.

Best traction system

Yaktrax Pro Traction Device

  • Price: $
  • Available sizes: S–XL
  • Best for: walking, running, and hiking

Ideal for winter walking, running, and hiking, the Yaktrax Pro Traction Device cleats offer safety, stability, and traction on ice and snow. The rubber foot frame is entwined with steel coils and has a removable Velcro strap over the top of the foot.

MacPherson recommended Yaktrax to Healthline, saying that they’re essential for “running outdoors when it’s icy or snowy. They are also great for walking, hiking, and climbing. I like to wear them when I take my kids sledding as well.”

She also noted, “I’ve tried a few similar options, but Yaktrax is the best for me. They fit a wide range of boots and shoes, and I’ve never slipped, even when running hill sprints on icy roads. They last forever and are made from high quality materials.”

Is it safe to exercise outside during the winter?

In general, it’s safe to exercise outside during the winter if the temperature is at least -8°F (-27°C). Remember to factor in the wind chill (1).

In extremely cold weather, your body temperature may drop, increasing the risk of injury and tissue damage. Move indoors and seek help if you experience symptoms of hypothermia, such as excessive shivering, confusion, and slowed speech or breathing.

Why is it important to stay active during the winter?

Staying active in winter is important for keeping up with your fitness goals and maintaining physical and mental health. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week (2).

Regular exercise provides many benefits, including boosting energy levels, lowering blood pressure, and supporting brain and heart health. It can also help improve sleep, alleviate anxiety, and build strength (3, 4, 5).

Additionally, exercise can improve your balance, which is helpful if you live in an area with ice and snow (6).

What are some winter-friendly workout ideas?

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating, walking, and running are all great outdoor activities to enjoy in the winter. Skiing and snowboarding are also popular, though they require a larger financial investment.

Depending on where you live, activities such as hiking and cycling may be an option. And, of course, you can also enjoy indoor activities such as strength training, yoga, and barre in the colder months.


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