The 14 Best Winter Walking Gear Items to Buy in 2020

Stay warm and safe on frigid walks with better winter walking gear

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
Best Jacket for Women:
Athleta Inlet Jacket at Gap.com
"Wearable by itself or layered under a bulkier jacket or vest, its high collar was designed for especially cold climates."
"Stay prepared for whatever elements are thrown your way in this wind, water, and abrasion-resistant jacket."
"Providing warmth without interfering with your range of motion, its two zip pockets conveniently hold all of your essentials."
"Its quarter-zip style allows you to easily adjust your body temperature while the zip pockets keep you hands-free."
"An environmentally-friendly pick, it's made fully from recycled plastic, making it a choice you can feel good about."
"Designed for women, its narrow heel and slim fit ensure maximum comfort and performance no matter what you're doing."
"Whether you're hiking through the rain or splashing through creeks, this waterproof, anti-slip pick has you covered."
"Ready for any kind of terrain, it features a shock-absorbing midsole and odor-controlling technology."
"Part beanie and part cap, its bill keeps rain or snow out of your eyes while the drop down flap warms your ears when they need it."
"Collapsible for easy storage, its wind and water-resistant design provides all of the warmth without being too constricting."

A cold winter walk can be uncomfortable and downright dangerous without the right gear. Finding clothing and equipment that provide warmth, wick moisture, and help prevent you from slipping or falling is key. From jackets and shirts to socks and shoes, we’ve rounded up some of the best cold weather walking gear to keep you safe, warm, and comfortable. 

Here, the best winter walking gear.

Best Jacket for Women: Athleta Inlet Jacket

Although it moves and stretches like a comfy shirt, this jacket will keep you warm and protected during cold weather walks. Made with a water-repellent, abrasion-resistant, and breathable material, it has everything you want in a high-performance jacket for walking. The front zippered pockets are ideal for storage, while the high collar and removable hood provide extra protection if you need it. The jacket is available in black or smoked almond brown, and comes in sizes XXS to XL, in regular, tall, or petite.

Best Jacket for Men: The North Face Apex Canyonwall Jacket

This versatile jacket from The North Face delivers warmth and comfort without being too bulky or restrictive. Ideal for layering, it’s made with a durable, wind-resistant fleece and has a water-resistant coating that protects you from precipitation. Two front hand pockets are perfect for storing your gloves, hat, or other essentials. Available in sizes small to 2XL and several different colors, this jacket also works well for casual wear, so you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.

Best Vest: Columbia Benton Springs Vest

Versatile and practical, a vest can work as an outer layer for cooler walks or as mid-layer insulation in harsher conditions. This comfy one from Columbia features an easy fit, allowing for excellent range of motion. Made of soft fleece, it’s quick-drying, resists pilling, and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes, from XS to XL.

Best Pullover for Women: The North Face Crescent Hooded Pullover

Another high-performance piece from The North Face, this soft and comfy pullover is perfect for keeping out the cold air during walks. The fleece material is warm and protective, but not too bulky, so it allows for excellent mobility. For even more protection, you can cover your head with the attached hood.

If you start to warm up too much, pull down the quarter-zip to vent excess heat. Available in several colors and sizes XS to 2XL, the jacket also has zippered hand pockets that are convenient for stashing your phone or other small items.

Best Pullover for Men: L.L Bean Men’s Trail Quarter-Zip Jacket

This durable performance fleece from L.L. Bean will keep you warm and looking sharp during winter walks. The material wicks moisture, dries quickly, and is extremely breathable, so you won’t overheat.

With an antimicrobial treatment and anti-pill finish, the pullover fights odors and holds up through lots of wear and washing. It’s available in a few different colors and comes in regular or tall sizes, from small to XXL.

Best Socks: Smartwool Margarita Crew Socks

Cold and wet feet during a walk are not only uncomfortable, but they can be dangerous, putting you at risk for frostbite and other issues. Keep them warm and dry with these Smartwool crew socks, which are constructed for high performance during outdoor adventures.

Designed with Indestructawool technology, they’re extremely durable, with the right amount of breathability for all-day wear. For extra comfort, they feature light cushioning on the bottom and a seamless toe.

Best Shoes for Women: Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

For walking outside in cold, slushy, icy, or snowy conditions, you’ll want a warmer shoe with better traction and water protection than your regular walking shoes. These lightweight, waterproof hiking shoes keep your feet warm and dry while providing comfy and stable support.

The grippy soles and thick but not too heavy heels help prevent you from slipping and sliding on icy patches, while the Merrell air cushioning in the heel offers additional stability and shock absorption. They’re available in regular or wide widths, so you can get a more custom fit. 

Best Shoes for Men: Keen Targhee III Waterproof Hiking Shoes

These waterproof hiking shoes check all the boxes for a sturdy, reliable cold-weather walking shoe. They’re thick enough to keep your feet warm and protected, but not too bulky to affect your mobility or pace. Durable and supportive, these shoes also have all-terrain rubber outsoles and lugs for exceptional grip in all types of winter weather conditions. They’re available in regular or wide widths, as well as a few different color combinations.

Best Hat: TrailHeads Ponytail Trailblazer Hat

Say goodbye to uncomfortable ponytail bunching with this warm and durable hat from TrailHeads. It has a small slit in the back to put your hair through, so your ponytail can easily swing. Made of a soft, stretchy technical fabric, it wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable. The beanie’s double-layer band provides extra warmth and protection for your ears. It also has anti-microbial protection so you don’t have to wash it after every wear.

Best Ear Muffs: 180s Fleece Earmuffs

If you tend to overheat when wearing a winter hat during walks, you may like these fleece earmuffs, which provide the right amount of warmth without being too constricting. With adjustable, click-to-fit frames, you can get a snug and comfortable fit, blocking the wind from hitting your ears. These earmuffs are stylish enough that you can wear them even when you’re not exercising, especially when you want to keep your ears warm but not mess up your hair.

Best Gloves: New Balance Touchscreen Running Gloves

These versatile gloves from New Balance will keep your hands protected and warm on your cold-weather walks. The touchscreen compatible fingertips make it easy to answer a text, adjust your music, or take a photo as you’re walking, while the grippy palm allows for a secure hold.

These gloves are also water-resistant, easy-to-wash, and made with antimicrobial properties to protect against odors. They’re not at all bulky, so you can easily tuck them into your pocket or walking pack if you take them off once you warm up. With a range of sizes, from small to extra-large, they can accommodate both men and women.

Best Trekking Poles: L.L. Bean Hikelite 4-Season Poles

Walking or hiking with poles can help relieve stress on your joints and improve your confidence and stability, especially when dealing with snowy or icy conditions. Designed for four-season use, these poles from L.L. Bean are easy to adjust and lock at your desired length.

Made of aluminum, the pair comes in at just over a pound, so they definitely won’t weigh you down. The adjustable wrist straps and rubberized grips add to the poles’ overall comfort.

Best Pants for Women: Eddie Bauer Women's Polar Fleece-Lined Pants

Trusted for their exceptional cold-weather gear, Eddie Bauer delivers with pants that will keep your legs warm and protected during your winter walks. The stretchy polyester/Spandex fabric allows for exceptional mobility, while the fleece lining keeps you warm and toasty without extra bulk.

Walkers also appreciate the water-resistant exterior and the zippered pockets for storing small essentials. They come in black or gray and are available in sizes 0 to 16 in regular, petite, and tall. 

Best Pants for Men: Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants

You’ll be ready for the biting cold and stinging wind with these rugged pants from Columbia. They’re made with a durable, wind-resistant, and wicking material that pulls away moisture, so your legs stay dry and comfortable. For added convenience, they also have zippered and mesh side pockets.

While they’re extremely functional and comfortable for walking and hiking, these pants are also stylish enough to serve double-duty as casual wear. They’re available in eight different colors and a wide range of sizes, from 30 to 44, and inseams, from 30 to 36.

Final Verdict

A pullover is one of the most versatile pieces of any cold weather walker’s wardrobe, and you can’t go wrong with The North Face Crescent Hooded Pullover for women and L.L Bean Men’s Quarter-Zip Fleece for men. They’re both durable, comfy, and can be worn on their own for cool walks, or on top of another layer when it’s colder or windy.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As an avid runner, marathon running coach, and her family’s designated dog walker, Christine Luff researches and recommends clothes and gear for outdoor winter activities, as well as tests them herself during cold weather runs and walks.

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