The Best Cold Weather Walking Gear of 2022

Stay warm and safe with everything from shirts and vests to socks and shoes

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Verywell / Chloe Jeong

Proper clothing and gear when you exercise is always important. And that’s true whether you’re playing a sport, working up a sweat at the gym, or walking outside. If you plan to commute on foot or walk for fitness year-round, it’s worth having some cold-weather walking gear on hand to keep you safe, warm, and dry. "Plus," says Tami Smith, ACE-certified fitness instructor and owner of Fit Healthy Momma, without the right gear, your chances of actually seeing your workout through are slim.”

Reviewed & Approved

The Under Armour ColdGear Compression Mock shirt is a top choice for layering for it's anti-odor and quick-drying properties. The Lululemon Down For It All Vest is a perfect outer layer vest for its insulation and water resistance.

When stocking up on cold-weather walking gear, you’ll want to keep two key features in mind: layers and warmth. “When getting ready to work out outside, I always suggest layers—and lots of them,” says Kristie Alicea, certified personal trainer and founder of ABC Fit Collective. “I would also suggest keeping your feet, hands, and head warm the entire time.” 

We evaluated cold-weather walking gear based on material and insulating properties such as wool or heat-trapping synthetic fabrics, whether the product has layering potential, available sizes and colors, and special features like wind resistance or water repellence.

Here is the best cold-weather walking gear on the market.

Best Men's Shirt: Under Armour ColdGear Compression Mock

4.5
Under Armour ColdGear Compression Mock

Under Armour

Pros
  • Stretchy, slim fit

  • Mock neck for added warmth

  • Sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and anti-odor

Cons
  • May run small

Under Armour’s UA ColdGear Armour Compression Mock is a top pick because it's one of the best base layers around. For starters, the shirt boasts a sleek, stretchy fit. So it should stay snugly in place as you move around—and as you pile layers on top. And since it comes equipped with long sleeves and a mock neck, it should give you plenty of coverage in the cold.

At first glance, the base layer looks like a classic workout shirt: Its exterior is smooth and lightweight. But flip the shirt inside out, and you’ll find a soft inner lining. This fleece-like interior should keep you warm and cozy. And since it promises to wick sweat, dry quickly, and cut down on odor, it should keep you pretty comfortable, too.

Sizes: S-4XL | Color Options: Nine | Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane

Best Women's Vest: Lululemon Down For It All Vest

Lululemon Down For It All Vest

 Lululemon

Pros
  • Water-resistant, windproof outer shell

  • Insulated

  • Reflective details

Cons
  • May run small

  • High zipper collar may be irritating to some

Lululemon’s Down for It All Vest is the perfect companion for cold-weather walks and runs. The slim-fitting vest boasts a durable outer shell, made primarily from nylon and elastane. This sturdy shell is both windproof and water-resistant, so it should keep you warm, dry, and cozy on walks. And since the vest is lined with stretchy side panels, you should have plenty of room to comfortably move around.

The vest’s interior is filled with a blend of goose down and goose feathers for boosted warmth. And since the vest is RDS-certified, you can rest assured knowing the down in the vest was responsibly sourced.

Sizes: 0-14 | Color Options: Eight | Material: 82–100% nylon, 0–10% elastane, 0–18% lycra (shell); 85% goose down, 15% goose feathers (filling)

Best Men's Vest: Patagonia Nano Puff Vest

Patagonia Nano Puff Vest

Patagonia

Pros
  • Water-resistant outer shell

  • Adjustable drawcord hem

  • Packs down to fit inside its own pocket

Cons
  • Some sizing inconsistencies

  • May run a little short

Patagonia’s Nano Puff Vest is a great layering piece to have in your collection. The vest boasts a water-repellant shell made from recycled ripstop. And it’s filled with synthetic insulation, which offers warmth without adding bulk. Since the vest comes equipped with a full-length zipper and an adjustable drawcord waistband, you can ventilate it as much (or as little) as you want. And you can take advantage of the vest’s three zip-up pockets to store your stuff on your walks.

Though the vest promises to be warm and cozy, it’s incredibly compressible. So you should be able to fold it down—and fit it inside its own pocket—when you need to carry it on the go. This packability makes the vest a particularly convenient addition to any cold-weather gear collection.

Sizes: XS-XXL | Color Options: Seven | Material: 100% recycled polyester (shell); PrimaLoft Gold insulation (filling)

Best Women's Leggings: Athleta Altitude Tight

Athleta Altitude Tight

Courtesy of Gap

Pros
  • Zipper back pocket

  • Adjustable internal drawcord

  • Sweat-wicking and quick-drying

Cons
  • Plus sizes not available in petite or tall options

  • Rise may be too high for some

Whether you’re layering them under your favorite joggers or wearing them on their own, Athleta’s Altitude Tights promise to keep you warm and cozy. The leggings are made from Polartec Power Stretch fabric, a nylon-polyester-spandex blend designed to insulate your legs. The fabric should wick sweat and dry quickly, keeping your legs from getting too cold. It should also maintain its stretch over time, even after multiple wears and washes.

The leggings also come equipped with a convenient back pocket, which you can use to store must-haves on your cold-weather walks. They’re available in a wide range of sizes (XXS-3X), fits (regular, petite, tall), and colors.

Sizes: XXS-3X | Color Options: Four | Material: Nylon, polyester, spandex

Best Men's Leggings: Nike Pro Warm Tights

Nike Pro Warm Tights

Nike

Pros
  • Sweat-wicking and quick-drying

  • Ribbed panels offer added flexibility

  • Available in two fits: regular, tall

Cons
  • No built-in fly

  • May run small

Leggings may not be a go-to for many men. But Nike’s Pro Warm Men’s Tights are the perfect thing to layer under your pants on a really cold day. Crafted from a stretchy-soft blend of polyester and spandex, the leggings should hug your body, making plenty of room for layers on top. Though the tights should feel tight and compressive, they come equipped with strategically placed ribbed panels—along the inseam, lower back, and ankles—to give you the flexibility needed to move around with ease.

The tights also promise to wick sweat and dry quickly. And they’re currently available in a small range of colors (white, gray, and black), a wide range of sizes (S-4XL), and a couple of different fits (regular and tall).

Sizes: S-4XL | Color Options: Three | Material: 88% polyester, 12% spandex

Best Women's Pullover: Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip Top

Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip Top

REI

Pros
  • Sleeves and seams enhance range of motion

  • Merino wool fabric is warm, but breathable

  • Anti-odor

Cons
  • Sleeves may run long

  • May not be very durable

Looking for a pullover you can throw over your favorite workout top and layer under your go-to winter jacket? Smartwool’s Merino 250 Base Layer Quarter-Zip Top is up to the task. The pullover is crafted entirely from merino wool, so it should feel incredibly soft and cozy. But thanks to its exercise-friendly fit, the pullover should also feel sleek and flexible, rather than bulky or constricting.

Wool gets a lot of credit for being warm. But it’s a surprisingly breathable material—and it’s inherently pretty good at masking odor, too. These features make wool a particularly great pick for cold-weather exercise. So snag the pullover in one of eight striking colors, and slip into it any time you want to stay warm without getting overheated.

Sizes: XS-XL | Color Options: Eight | Material: 100% merino wool

Best Men's Pullover: REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Half-Zip Top

REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Half-Zip Top

REI

Pros
  • Smooth exterior, soft inner lining

  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying

  • UPF 50+ sun protection

Cons
  • May run small

  • Prone to snagging

  • May not be very durable

Thanks to its sleek fit and midweight feel, REI Co-op’s Midweight Base Layer Half-Zip Top makes a great middle layer. The long-sleeve pullover is made of stretchy-soft polyester, and it boasts a dual-layer design that makes it perfect for cold weather. On the outside of the pullover, you’ll find a smooth, durable shell. And on the inside, you’ll find a super-soft lining. Both layers promise to feel stretchy and flexible. And since they’re moisture-wicking and quick-drying, they should keep you comfortable, too.

Bonus: The pullover is equipped with UPF 50+ sun protection, making it even nicer to have in your closet, especially if you’re a fan of outdoor walks and runs.

Sizes: S-XXL | Color Options: Three | Material: 100% polyester

Best Women's Jacket: Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchange 3-in-1 Jacket

Columbia Whirlibird IV Interchange 3-in-1 Jacket

REI

Pros
  • Waterproof outer shell (removable)

  • Insulated thermal interior (removable)

  • Lined with pockets

Cons
  • Some sizing inconsistencies

  • Zippers may not be very durable

Columbia’s Whirlibird IV Interchange 3-in-1 Jacket is the kind of jacket you could wear on a brisk walk or on a snowy day. In other words, it’s versatile enough to get you through all the calendar’s coldest months. The jacket is made up of two different parts—a waterproof outer shell and an insulated thermal liner. The shell will protect you from the elements, while the liner keeps you warm. And for added versatility, the two can be worn together or separately.

These two pieces will make sure your bases are covered, while the rest of the jacket adds function and convenience. The jacket is lined with pockets—like zippered hand pockets, an interior security pocket, a ski pass pocket, and more—that make it easy to store your stuff. And it’s covered in adjustable details you can use to customize the jacket’s fit.

Tighten drawcords along the hood, waistband, and sleeves to keep the cold out and the warmth in. And open up the jacket’s under-sleeve vents any time you need some air.

Sizes: XS-3X | Color Options: Eight | Material: 72% nylon, 28% polyester

Best Men's Jacket: L.L.Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Jacket

L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Jacket

L.L. Bean

Pros
  • Wind- and water-resistant

  • Lightweight, warm insulation

  • Insulation holds up, even when it gets wet

Cons
  • Some sizing inconsistencies

  • May not be very durable

With its PrimaLoft Packaway Jacket, L.L.Bean claims to have struck the perfect balance between weight and warmth. And if rave reviews are any indication, they might be right. The jacket’s outer shell is made entirely of polyester, so it should feel both smooth and durable. And since it’s designed to resist both water and wind, it should be a great pick for outdoor exercise.

What sets the jacket apart, though, is its innovative insulation. The jacket is lined with PrimaLoft Gold insulation, a synthetic material designed to warm you up without weighing you down. L.L.Bean combined this material with NASA’s Aerogel, a synthetic material that should add even more lightweight warmth. Together, these materials make the jacket incredibly warm—despite its lightweight, packable feel.

Sizes: S-XXL | Color Options: Nine | Material: 100% polyester (shell); PrimaLoft Gold insulation (filling)

Best Women's Shoes : Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Courtesy of Zappos

Pros
  • Waterproof

  • High-traction lug soles

  • Contoured EVA foam footbeds

Cons
  • May run small

  • May feel stiff or tight (especially at first)

Need a shoe that can stand up to the elements? Merrell has you covered. The brand’s Moab 2 Waterproof boots are made from high-performance suede and lined with breathable mesh panels. And since the shoes are completely waterproof, they should keep your feet dry—even when it starts raining on your walk.

The shoes come equipped with heavy-duty lug soles, which promise plenty of traction. And their footbeds are lined with plush EVA foam, which should contour to your feet. Other thoughtful features—like shock-absorbing heels, stabilizing shanks, and protective rubber toe caps—make the shoes even more comfortable and supportive. And since their bellowed tongues are designed to keep out debris, you shouldn’t have to worry about emptying your shoes mid-walk.

Sizes: 5-12 (regular), 5-12 (wide) | Color Options: Four | Material: Suede leather, mesh

Best Women's Pants: L.L.Bean SportHill XC Pants

L.L. Bean SportHill XC Pants

L.L. Bean

Pros
  • Wind- and water-resistant

  • Durable but breathable outer shell

  • Two zipper pockets

Cons
  • Some sizing inconsistencies

  • Prone to pilling

  • Prone to static cling

The great thing about L.L.Bean’s SportHill XC Pants is you can wear them as is or layer them over leggings. Either way, you’re bound to stay pretty warm. The versatile pants are made of propylene and spandex, two synthetic fibers known for their smooth feel and durability. Combined, the fibers make the pants wind-resistant (up to 35 miles per hour) and water-resistant. But despite this solid outer shell, the pants should still feel fairly breathable. 

The pants are designed to have a looser, more relaxed fit. So you should have plenty of room to move around as you exercise. (And you should have plenty of room to pack layers underneath, too.) The pants come equipped with two zipper pockets, which you can use to store small necessities like keys and cards. And their ankles come lined with small zippers that make the pants easier to slip into and out of.

Sizes: S-XL | Color Options: One | Material: 85% polypropylene, 15% spandex

Best Men's Shoes : Merrell Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots

Merrell Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots - Men's

Courtesy of REI

Pros
  • Waterproof and insulated

  • High-traction lug soles

  • EVA foam footbeds with removable contoured insoles

Cons
  • May run small

  • Waterproofing may not last very long

Merrell’s Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots were designed with winter in mind—and it shows. The over-the-ankle hiking boots are made from durable leather and breathable mesh. And since both of these materials were finished with a waterproof polyurethane coating, you can trust the shoes to hold up on rainy days. The shoes are also lined with Merrell’s M-Select warm insulation, which promises to strategically trap heat to keep your feet warm on cold days.

At the base of each shoe is a high-traction grippy rubber outsole. An EVA foam footbed designed to cushion your foot is on the inside. There's also a removable contoured insole, which can be left inside for added support or removed to free up space.

Sizes: 8-14 (regular), 7-14 (wide) | Color Options: Two | Material: Suede leather, mesh

Best Men's Pants: Under Armour UA Sportstyle Joggers

Under Armour UA Sportstyle Joggers

Under Armour

Pros
  • Thick knit exterior and tapered legs trap heat

  • Lined with pockets

  • Adjustable waistband drawcord

Cons
  • No built-in fly (only faux fly)

  • Prone to pilling

  • Prone to static cling

Crafted from woven polyester and lined with soft fleece, Under Armour’s Men’s UA Sportstyle Joggers are the kind of thing you want on your legs when it’s cold out. On the exterior of the pants, you’ll find a thick polyester knit. This woven material should feel smooth and durable, and it’s specifically designed to trap heat and keep you warm.

On the interior of the pants, you’ll find a fuzzy fleece lining. Though the pants are relaxed enough to layer over tights, this lining makes them comfortable enough to wear on their own.

To top things off, the pants come equipped with several useful features. Pockets line the joggers, giving you plenty of room to store essentials. And an adjustable waistband drawcord makes it even easier to find your perfect fit.

Sizes: S-4XL | Color Options: Eight | Material: 100% polyester

Best Socks: Smartwool PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew

4.6
Smartwool PhD® Run Cold Weather Mid Crew

Courtesy of Smartwool

Pros
  • Cozy, odor-resistant wool blend

  • Lined with ventilation panels

  • Minimal toe seams cut down on chafing

Cons
  • Not as warm as other winter house socks

What we love about Smartwool’s PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks isn’t just that they’ll keep your feet warm—it’s that they’ll keep your feet cozy without bulking up your shoes and tights. The sleek socks are crafted from a blend of cozy merino wool, sturdy nylon, and stretchy elastane. And since their cuffs are equipped with plenty of elastic, you shouldn’t have to worry about them sliding down or bunching up mid-walk.

Though the socks are warm, they’re lined with ventilation panels. So they should keep you cozy without overheating you. And thanks to Smartwool’s Virtually Seamless toe design, the socks should keep chafing to a minimum, whether or not they’re worn with shoes.

Sizes: S-L | Color Options: Two | Material: 55% merino wool, 42% nylon, 3% elastane

Best Gloves: New Balance Touchscreen Running Gloves

New Balance Touchscreen Running Gloves

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Cozy, fleece-like feel

  • Lined with silicone grippers

  • Touchscreen-compatible

Cons
  • May not be very durable

New Balance’s Lightweight Touchscreen Running Gloves are designed to keep your hands warm while allowing you to use a smartphone. Crafted from a blend of polyester and spandex, the gloves should feel soft and stretchy. And though the top of each glove feels almost fleece-like, the underside of each glove is textured for traction with wavy silicone lines. So you shouldn’t have any trouble gripping devices, water bottles, and other must-haves.

Of course, gripping your phone is one thing—and actually using it is another. But since the gloves also come equipped with touchscreen-compatible fingertips, you shouldn’t have trouble doing either. Slip them on any time you need some extra warmth, and go about your daily activities as planned.

Sizes: S-XL | Color Options: Four | Material: 95% polyester, 5% spandex

Best Hat: Smartwool Merino 250 Beanie

Smartwool Unisex Cuffed Beanie

Courtesy of Smartwool

Pros
  • Warm but breathable

  • Merino wool feels soft, rather than itchy

  • Lightweight but cozy

Cons
  • May not be very durable

  • May feel thin

Smartwool’s Merino 250 Beanie is a truly great winter hat. The beanie is made from merino wool, one of the coziest materials around. And since wool is known for its breathability, you can expect the hat to warm you up without overheating your head. Lightweight and moisture-wicking, the hat should keep you comfortable—even when you start to work up a sweat. And since it’s made from merino wool (rather than traditional wool), you shouldn’t have to worry about the hat feeling itchy, scratchy, or rough. 

Though the hat is one-size-fits-all, you should be able to adjust the beanie’s built-in cuff to make sure it fits your head right.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Color Options: Four | Material: Merino wool

Best Ponytail-Friendly Hat: TrailHeads Ponytail Trailblazer Hat

TrailHeads Ponytail Trailblazer Hat

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Fleece-like material

  • Cap-like bill shields your eyes

  • Fold-down ear warmer

Cons
  • May run small or tight

  • Ponytail-friendly hole may be placed too high for some

TrailHeads’ Fleece Ponytail Hat will keep you warm without disturbing your ponytail. (That might not sound like a big deal, but if you’ve ever tried to pair a ponytail with a hat, you know it actually is.) The hat is made from a fleece-like blend of polyester and spandex, so it should comfortably hug your head every time you wear it. And it’s lined with useful features that make it great for cold-weather walks.

The hat comes equipped with a cap-like bill, which should shield the sun. The base of the hat is lined with an ear warmer, which can be folded down for added warmth or up for extra breathability. Of course, what truly sets the hat apart is the ponytail-compatible hole that lines the back of it. Simply slide your ponytail through the hole as you put on the cap, and your hairstyle should stay comfortably intact as you walk.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Color Options: Four | Material: 94% polyester, 6% spandex

Best Earmuffs: 180s Fleece Earmuffs

180s Degrees Fleece Earmuffs

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Lined with fleece

  • Collapsible enough to store in your bag

  • Wind-resistant and water-repellent

Cons
  • May not be very durable

  • May feel thin

Cozy, warm, and surprisingly sleek, 180s’ Fleece Behind-the-Head Earmuffs might convince you to give earmuffs another try. The low-profile ear warmers are lined with fleece, as the name suggests. And though they’re designed to be one-size-fits-all, they boast an adjustable fit that makes them easy to customize. 

Simply slide the ear warmers around your neck (they’re designed to be worn behind your head), and narrow them until they fit. This easy-to-adjust design makes the ear warmers collapsible enough to keep in your bag. And despite their sleek silhouette, the ear warmers promise to be both wind-resistant and water-repellent.

Sizes: One-size-fits-all | Color Options: Seven | Material: 97% polyester, 3% spandex

Final Verdict

Once you’ve nabbed the perfect top, it’s time to snag a warm pair of leggings—and Athleta’s Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch (view at Athleta) is a great option. The thermal leggings are designed to run from waist to ankle, so they should cover every bit of your legs. And since they’re made from Athleta’s Polartec Power Stretch fabric, they should wick sweat, dry quickly, and insulate your legs—keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable as you exercise in the cold.

What to Look for in Cold Weather Walking Gear

Material

Your cold-weather walking gear should be made from materials that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. Wool is an excellent option because it can insulate you even when it gets wet. (And if you find wool itchy, keep an eye out for softer versions of the fabric—like merino wool.)

Synthetic fibers—like polyester, nylon, and elastane—can also be solid options because they tend to be good at trapping heat. As a bonus, synthetic fibers are commonly used in fitness clothing, so they should also be comfortable enough to work out in. Some materials are also sweat-wicking, which is an excellent feature to look for since moisture next to your skin could create a chill.

Fit

Layering is a crucial part of getting dressed for cold weather. So look for pieces that you can easily layer under or over other clothing. Favor form-hugging base layers and slim-fitting middle layers, and look for top layers you can easily slide over other clothing. And if you want the flexibility of carrying a layer in your bag, consider looking for items that you can easily compress, fold, and pack.

Larger, taller, or more petite individuals will want to look for winter clothing lines that cater to your sizing needs. If shopping online, check the website's sizing guides and have your measurements handy so you know whether an item will fit. It's also a good idea to check the return policy in case your item does not fit correctly.

Winter-Friendly Features

When it comes to cold-weather walking gear, warmth, comfort, and the ability to be layered are all must-haves. But there are some nice-to-haves worth considering as well. When shopping, you may find wind-resistant, water-repellent, quick-drying, or insulated items. These unique features will make your gear even more winter-friendly, and they’ll ensure your gear holds up in a variety of weather conditions.

Some winter clothing also has UPF protection, which is a good feature to look for if you will be outdoors in the sun, especially if you will be skiing or snowshoeing, since snow reflects sunlight. Drawcords and adjustable wrists and waists are nice to have to keep cold wind out of your clothing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I wear when walking in cold weather?

    When walking in the cold, it is best to wear multiple layers of clothing that provide warmth and protection from the elements. A base layer that wicks moisture and provides warmth is essential. This layer should be form-fitting and comfortable. Next, add layers as required to keep you warm, including a final layer that repels wind and rain or snow if necessary. You'll also need accessories including warm socks (which can also be layered), gloves, hats, and scarves or face coverings.

  • What temperature is too cold for a walk?

    If you are properly dressed for cold weather, you can withstand fairly cold temperatures, but there is a risk of frostbite when temperatures are below freezing (32 degrees F). Also note the wind chill index, which considers temperature and wind. Hypothermia can occur at higher temperatures if you are not properly dressed and/or spend prolonged periods in the cold.

  • Do you burn more calories walking in cold weather?

    You may possibly burn a few more calories walking in cold weather. Some research indicates calorie burn is increased in colder temperatures of 15 to 23 degrees F. However, the increase in calorie burn is unlikely to result in a noticeable effect and more research needs to be done.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Weather Service. Wind chill questions.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevent hypothermia and frostbite.

  3. Ocobock, CJ. Body fat attenuates muscle mass catabolism among physically active humans in temperate and cold high altitude environmentsAm J Hum Biol. 2017;29:e23013. doi:10.1002/ajhb.23013