Winter Running Gear for $100: The Results
We all know that winter running gear can be expensive. I personally think you pay more for brand names and extra zippers and features than for actually functional winter running clothes. So, last month I set out to see if I could create a complete winter running kit for less than $100.
In my introductory post,I laid out, in detail, the gear I purchased. Since then, I’ve hit the road to put the gear to the test on several winter weather runs. I ran several 4–6 mile stints in 15–20 degree temperatures. For some runs I wore the whole kit, and for others I interspersed the pieces described below with gear I already own to get a feel for how pieces stand on their own.
The verdict? I didn’t freeze, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend logging onto Amazon and buying everything I tried. Below is a breakdown of how each piece faired.
I loved the ankle zippers and other features of these tights. But as I predicted in my previous post, the fabric was really thin and didn’t hold up very well to the wind. I ended up wearing a pair of similar-weight tights overtop of these for one of my trial runs. I’m sure these tights will be great when the temperature warms up a little bit this spring.
This piece was awesome. I picked it because it was very similar to many of the base layer shirts I already own, and it did not disappoint! The cut was slim enough to not get bunched under other layers, without being skin tight, and long enough to comfortably tuck in.
Another “win” here. This piece is really warm without being bulky, which is exactly what I look for in a running mid layer. The fleece fabric is smooth on the outside but pillowy soft on the inside, which is perfect for running on frigid mornings.
This was the only real disappointment out of all the gear I bought for this experiment. I’m eating my words when I refuted Nathan’s comment about a $100 jacket being twice as good as a $50 jacket. One of the cuffs had already started to unravel by the end of my first run, and the wind cut straight through the thin jacket. I think I would have been better off buying two half zips to layer over each other instead.
You can get a good jacket for less than $50 (I own a few of them), but snagging one will take a little work. Try scouring discount stores and websites (including Amazon) for a jacket by a well-known running or outdoor brand (Oiselle, Craft, New Balance, Nike, Saucony, Mizuno, Asics, Salomon, and Adidas, to name a few) and be sure to check the online reviews. A good jacket is a big investment, but it will last for many seasons.
Other sources for cheap running gear:
Amazon isn’t the only place to grab some cheap running gear. I recommend runningwarehouse.com for easy online shopping. Running Warehouse has competitive pricing and detailed product descriptions that include photos of all the zippers and features, and even has a suggested temperature rating for each piece of gear. Plus, they offer free two-day shipping and free return shipping.
Discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls are treasure troves for great running gear – if you have a lot of patience. For every great piece, you’ll find five things that make you wonder what on earth the designer was thinking. I’ve found a lot of great steals at these kinds of stores, but they aren’t the type of places where you can walk in and expect to leave with a complete running outfit.
It’s definitely possible to put together a complete winter running kit for $100, but it may be a little bit more difficult than just making a few clicks on Amazon. Happy shopping, and happy running!
Where do you like to shop for affordable winter running clothes?
Tell us in the comments below!