How to Layer for a Winter Workout

(Photo: Inga Hendrickson)
cwx litefit smartwool nts micro150 black diamond coefficient outdoor research torque merrell alpino north face dnp winter workout running gear cold weather exercise best gear for winter layering cold

Whether you’re running or skiing, learn the optimal combination of cold-weather gear with our guide to winter layering.

1. Briefs
Compression shorts are about moisture,not warmth. CW-X’s LiteFit ($35) are made of a proprietary quick-dry fabric that wicks moisture away from your nethers in dry cold and wet heat. Bonus: silver fibers in the fabric kill bacteria and neutralize odors—adios, junk funk.
Best For:

2. Light Bottom
We tested dozens of bottoms, and none of them combined form, comfort, and durability as admirably as SmartWool’s NTS Micro150 ($65). Made of 100 percent merino wool, they feature low-profile, flat-seam construction along the hips, thighs, and calves to eliminate chafing.
Best For: Fall Runners

3. Mid Bottom
Black Diamond pairs light and heavy fleece in the Co-Efficient ($109). The result is an amply insulating piece that breathes like something half its weight. When temperatures drop below zero, wear it with a light underlayer; when they climb to 32, use it alone.
Best For: Dry Cold 

4. Light Top
We sweated through Outdoor Research’s Torque ($59), and within 20 minutes of stopping it was bone dry. Credit the performance of its quick-wicking Polartec Power Dry material. Bonus: the long-sleeve version ($69) has venting mesh side panels and fold-down hand covers.
Best For: High Output

5. Mid Top
Stretchy, high-wicking polyester in the arms, shoulders, and sides in Merrell’s Alpino ($109) provides flexibility in the areas you move most. The reason it’s the best option for the lift: thick wool-and-polyester panels on the back and chest, which focus warmth in your core.
Best For: Lift Riders

6. Heavy Top
Synthetic Polartec Alpha fill around the core of the North Face DNP ($180) makes it warmer than the other layers here—perfect for cold-weather hiking and snowshoeing. It works as a standalone on the way up and, paired with a shell, has enough insulation for the descent.
Best For: Mountaineers

7. Socks
When the mercury drops, reach for thicker socks. Fits’ Light Ski OTCs ($24) keep feet snug down to zero degrees.

8. Gloves
Protect your digits with REI’s Powerflyte gloves ($25). The soft-shell material keeps hands warm down to 20 degrees.

cwx litefit
(Photo: Inga Hendrickson)