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Runners who get their kicks outside throughout the freezing winter months might seem like a special breed. And while there is a certain stick-to-itiveness required to defy Daylight Savings and log more miles, there’s a something else at play: good gear.
Whether you’re a mountain goat who gets their kicks on snow-covered trails or a gazelle who dodges icy patches on the pavement, we’ve got you covered from head to fingertip to toe. The products below—all from Colorado-tied brands—will help keep you warm, dry, and surefooted, so you can keep running into spring.
Seal mud, slush, and moisture out with the clever Cyklon Cross GTX ($229) from La Sportiva, whose U.S. branch is based in Boulder. Designed for technical mountain running, the waterproof shoe features a built-in, abrasion-resistant gaiter that hits just above the ankle to keep your tootsie warm and dry. Unzip the gaiter for easy entry, and fine-tune fit with a BOA® Fit System closure that’s manageable while wearing gloves.
One shoe to rule them all: If you log miles on trail, gravel, and pavement, consider the do-it-all Golden Gate ATR GTX ($179) from SCARPA (U.S. headquarters in Boulder). The super-sticky outsole clings to slick trails, but the lugs—or cleatlike nubs—are shallow enough for road running. In lieu of mesh, a more structured nylon upper holds the foot in place. (It’s also waterproof, so feel free to plow through puddles.) Just be patient—these kicks launch mid-December.
Getting out the door is often the hardest part of a workout, especially when the temps plunge below freezing. Icebreaker’s ultracozy ZoneKnit Merino Insulated Long Sleeve Zip Hoodie ($350) is just the piece to inspire those all-important first steps. The body-mapped mid layer is made with a heat-trapping, quilted front panel and insulated hood, while targeted ventilation areas down the sides and on the upper back help you dump heat during high-intensity activities. Impressively, the New Zealand-based wool brand takes ownership of its entire, seven-step supply chain, using Denver as its North American headquarters.
Prefer a synthetic (read: more affordable) option? The Winter Warm ¼-Zip ($109) from Denver-headquartered The North Face has a warm polyester knit on the front and upper back that’s paired with an easy-breezy nylon on the arms and lower back. Sweat vapor can escape through the more sheer material, but it provides enough protection against wind and light precip. Nice touches: angled shoulder seams, handy pockets, and reflective hits for increased visibility.
Based in Norway (with U.S. headquarters in Boulder), Norrøna knows a thing or two about staying snuggly even when the temperatures drop—after all, the family-owned outdoor company has been equipping cold-weather adventurers for nearly 100 years. Their women’s Winter Tights ($169) incorporate that hard-earned history with thoughtful touches like comfort-enhancing articulated knees and handy side pockets. Meanwhile, the recycled polyester, wool, elastane fabric fends off winter’s bite, feels soft next to skin, and naturally reduces odor. Men, check out the Trollveggen Warmwool2 Stretch Tights ($179) instead.
Illuminate the path ahead with the sleek Radiant 300 ($49.99), a rechargeable headlamp from Boulder-based NiteIze. The 300-lumen spotlight is plenty bright for predawn jogs, and flood light modes are perfect for lacing up and stretching in the parking lot. (There is also a red light.) With no batteries required (charge it via micro USB), it weighs next to nothing—perfect for ultralight running setups.
Stay visible to traffic and other pedestrians on morning or after-work runs with the handy SlapLit Rechargeable LED Slap Wrap ($19.99), also from Boulder-based NiteIze. The rechargeable bracelet (juice it up via mini USB) clings to your wrist or upper arm, and has two modes: glow and flash. NiteIze claims a battery life of around five hours.
An Aspen-based folk singer once waxed poetic about sunshine in our eyes making us cry. John Denver should have just donned a pair of sunglasses like the Red Cliff ($159) from Boulder’s Zeal Optics. The polarized, copper-colored lenses are dark enough to protect against sunshine and glare but enhance contrast even in dim morning light. The frames are full-coverage without creating blind spots in your periphery, and ribbed nose pads keep them secure. Those with smaller faces should try the Alma ($159) or the hippy-chic (and therefore, John Denver-approved) Paonia ($159).
If your feet run cold (pun very much intended), but then heat up, sweat, and freeze up again, you need Denver-based Smartwool’s Run Cold Weather Targeted Cushion Crew Socks ($23). Made in the U.S., the cozy merino wool/nylon/elastane socks are designed with mesh ventilation zones for great moisture management. Add an extra touch of heat with the “picante” color way. Olé!
Admittedly, the cold-weather running community could have come up with a sexier moniker than “neck tube,” but we can’t deny the functionality of these jugular-covering warmers. Artilect’s take on the tube, the Darkhorse ($40, and named after Boulder’s own Dark Horse), features bluesign®-approved merino Nuyarn, which promises more warmth, greater durability, enhanced stretch (without adding elastane), and faster dry times compared to fabrics made using traditional methods.
Some occasions call for a little more dexterity (like texting your partner to say you’ll be out for a few more miles or queuing up another episode of 5280’s Behind the Stories). With the Ultra Flip Glove ($49.95) from Broomfield’s Ultimate Direction, you can peel back the waterproof, Cordura® mitt to reveal the fleece gloves (which have conductive suede fingertips for touchscreens). Ultimate Direction says the mitts add 20 degrees of warmth.
Keep your head and ears warm with the Merino Logo Knit Beanie ($55) from Longmont-based Ortovox. The 100-percent merino cap insulates while also wicking sweat, and a snug fit means it won’t bop or slouch when you’re moving fast. (It will also slip neatly beneath a helmet, so you can wear it skiing or winter climbing, too.)
If you subscribe to the shorts-all-year mantra, take a flyer on the Springbok ($100) from Ibex, which calls Nederland its American home base. The merino wool shorts are spliced with buttery-soft Tencel, which gives them a best-of-both-worlds formula; they have excellent temperature regulation and an awesome feel. A hidden pocket on the back swallows a car key or AirPods canister.