Gear to Make Winter Running Just a Bit Better
Advice from one of the world’s best ultra-marathon runners
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Ian Sharman, 37, has a knack for running 100 milers. The British-born ultra-runner moved to the U.S. in 2009 and has dominated 100-mile distance races ever since, winning Leadville 100 four times, earning the world record for the fastest time during a 100-mile trail race, and bagging eight top 10 Western States finishes in a row.
The Bend, Oregon-based professional runner and coach trains year-round, even when the temperatures drive the rest of us to the couch. “Last winter Bend had three solid months of snow and ice,” Sharman says.
His advice for running in the cold? Focus on speed and avoid the mountains. “I switch up my training in the winter so I’m focusing on fast, flat miles because it’s pretty much impossible to run in the mountains when they’re covered in snow and ice,” he says. “So, I’ll run flatter terrain around town and combine it with speed sessions on the treadmill.”
And of course, wear the right gear. Here are Sharman’s top picks for winter running equipment.
Altra Lone Peak Mid Shoes ($160)
In the winter, I wear the Lone Peak Mid, which has extra grip and more protection than traditional running shoes. The best part is the mid-top stops the snow from getting in my shoe. As long as you can keep the snow out of your shoe, your feet will stay warm.
Drymax Cold Weather Running Socks ($12)
It’s a thicker sock designed for winter. They’re bulkier than what I usually run in, but they keep my feet a little warmer.
Yaktrax Pro Traction System ($30)
If there is snow and ice on the streets or trails, then these are a must. They keep me from slipping and sliding. The fact is, no running shoe has enough grip to run on ice without metal.
Buff Neck Sleeve ($29)
This merino wool version is really warm. I can wear it as a scarf to keep my neck warm, or if it’s really cold, pull it up over my face so nothing’s exposed.
Julbo Aerospace Goggles ($240)
If it’s snowing outside, sunglasses won’t cut it, so I wear these goggles. Plus, they rest against my face, so they don’t fog up when I’m breathing heavy. Between these goggles and the Buff, my entire face is covered when it’s really cold.
MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes ($200)
I haven’t tried snowshoe races yet, but I do like to get out in the mountains and hike around in the snow. These are designed to go up steep stuff, so I can enjoy the mountains even when there’s powder.
Note: Sharman is sponsored by Altra, Buff, and Julbo