Snowshoe Running 101: Layer, Layer, Layer

Essential apparel for epic runs in the snow

Inov-8's debris sock.     Photo: Courtesy of Inov-8.

You can wear your normal winter activewear for races, but with one caveat: your body is likely to heat up faster when snowshoeing. “The biggest thing a lot of beginners do is overdress,” Goins says. “I encourage people to wear light layers—things they can take off easily.”

Here’s the short list of our favorite gear, from the head down:

  • HAT: Saucony’s Wascal cap keeps your ears warm while protecting your eyes from the sun. If you start to overheat, simply fold up the earflaps.

  • SUNGLASSES: Oakley's Fast Jacket shades make it easy to swap out lenses quickly to deal with different trail conditions. “Be sure to wear yellow, orange, or even rose lenses,” Lambert advises. “Your depth-of-field will be greatly improved. Otherwise, everything often starts to look flat and it becomes difficult to determine the subtle changes in the trail.”

  • LIP BALM AND SUNBLOCK: Eco Lips offers an organic SPF 30 Face Stick that protects your lips and face, so there's no need to worry about carrying multiple tubes.

  • WICKING BASE LAYERS: Wool base layers, like Icebreaker's merino Oasis Crewe Razor shirt, are always a good choice. Ladies, check out SnowAngel’s soft and sexy Doeskin line.

  • GLOVES: Pick a pair like the Ulti-Mitt II Gold, which can easily convert to mittens if temps drop.

  • CAMELBAK: Consider an insulated pack for training, but leave it at home for racing—the extra weight will slow you down. The Camelbak Annadel is a low-profile pack that holds 50 ounces of water and has room for a gel or two.

  • WOOL SOCKS: Bring an extra pair, as your feet will get wet. Smartwool offers a variety of high-quality merino socks.

  • GAITERS: You don't need anything too heavy-duty, just a short pair to keep snow out of your boots. The Debrisoc by Innov8—gaiters attached to wool socks—will offer even tighter protection.

  • RUNNING SHOES: “These don’t need to be Gore-tex or waterproof or anything special,” Lambert says. “Just your normal running shoes.” Trail-running shoes, however, tend to keep out more moisture than road shoes. Consider the lightweight Merrell Lithe Glove or Montrail’s Rogue Racer.

  • POLES: Unlike recreational snowshoers, racers don't use sticks. Leave 'em at home.

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