Winter Gear Review: In which I went a little crazy on Black Friday

I’ve been stocking up on running clothes (LOTS of black friday shopping) for my first winter running season, and now it’s time to post my first gear review!

Jacket: Salomon Momentum 3 Softshell in Bay Blue and White (can find it here).
I was going back and forth between this jacket and the Pearl Izumi Infinity Softshell Jacket in Black, but I went with the Salomon for a few reasons: it felt thicker, and I was looking for a warm jacket; I liked the large back pocket for storing gels and a phone during a run; and I wanted to wear something other than black or white :) I wore my jacket layered with a Nike Element Half-Zip top during the Jingle All the Way 8K, and I felt warm just standing around in the 35-40 degree weather.  Once I started running, it was too warm and I quickly unzipped it (and the half-zip underneath).  Overall, a great running jacket for the winter.  I’ve used it since for all my runs outside, and I’ve been fine in down to 25 degrees layered with just a Nike long sleeve (see next paragraph).  Cons: no thumb-holes, and not fully water-proof, but I don’t run in heavy rain conditions.

Shirt: Nike Element Half-Zip Running Top (I bought one each at Nordstrom and Nike – free shipping from both! Although the Nike free shipping might just be a current promo)
I love this shirt.  The fabric is soft, I love the thumb-h0les and the sleeves are long enough even for my orangutan-like frame.  I like the half-zip because it allows me to control my core temperature (I start out fully zipped and then unzip after I’m warmed up) really well.  I had problems with the shirt riding up while I ran, until I had the genius idea to tuck it into my pants! Con: headlights.  But thin fabric and cold weather? Not the shirt’s fault.  There were frequent sales around December and January for this top, and Sports Authority has been running a 40% sale for the Nike Hyperwarm line (I bought a top, so I’ll compare that to the Element in a future post).

Pants: Nike Filament Tight and Brooks Utopia Thermal Tight (from Zappos and Running Warehouse)
I normally HATE tights and prefer looser workout clothing, but for winter running, tights really help keep the warmth in. But to my surprise, I didn’t find the fabric touching me to be irritating at all. The Nike Filament Tight is very comfortable, although a tad long for a shortie like me (5’1″). Like most tights, it does have the zipper for ease in removing the pants, but the zipper hasn’t bothered me on 6+ mile runs so far. It is thin but warm enough for 35+ degree weather. Wicks sweat well. I wore the Brooks Thermal Tight in 30 weather, and it was quite warm and comfortable.  Again, it runs a little long on me, but I either bunch it up slightly along the legs or tuck it into my sneakers.  It is VERY comfy and warm, thanks to the brushed thermal fabric on the inside.  In colder weather (20-25), even the Brooks Thermal Tight feels a little cold starting out, but I get warm after after a few miles.  For those who don’t like feeling cold at all or don’t warm up very much, it would be a good idea to layer these with pants.

Gear for Hands/Feet: Mizuno Breath Thermo Running Socks and Windshell Gloves (Running Warehouse)

These keep my feet and hands from freezing while running.  So far, I’ve only tried it in 30 degree weather, and my hands – which were the biggest problem before – stayed warm without getting sweaty.  I liked the shorter length of the Mizuno socks vs. the Drymax Cold Weather Run Crew socks, which were difficult to pull on or under my running tights.  Both the socks and gloves are thinner than you might expect, but so far they do the trick!

Headgear

I run with the Saucony Drylete Neckwarmer and the UA Blustery Beanie II.  I got the neckwarmer to keep my airways warm while running, and once I figured out the ideal placement, the toggle cord definitely helped it stay over my nose and mouth.  You have to align the mesh part over your mouth though, otherwise it gets hard to breathe.  I often find myself starting out with it in place, but then pulling it down after two or three miles because I feel warm and prefer to breathe without the fabric covering my nose/ mouth, but that’s just me.  I like having the option to pull it back up while standing at a long red light or whenever I start feeling cold again, and it definitely helps to keep me warm.  The length is nice and long, so it covers my neck even while it’s pulled up.  I love the UA Beanie because it covers my ears and has a ponytail slit in the back! My only (minor) complaint is that the slit placement is a little low for me; it’s close to the nape of the neck rather than the center of my head.  When I run at night or early morning, I run with the Nathan Women’s Domelight LED Beanie.   I’ve watched too many Law and Order: SVU episodes to run in the dark without fear, plus being visible is important for runner safety – and it gets DARK here during the wintertime!  It has three small red lights in the back and a bunch of white lights in the front, and you can set the lights on fast blink, slow blink, or just on.  The white lights in the front are too small to help me see where I’m going, so I wouldn’t use them for that purpose; this is really just so cars and bikes and whatever can see you.  Of course, the electronics need to be removed before washing the hat, but putting the lights and battery back in took me all of two minutes.  It also has a ponytail slit, but this hat doesn’t cover my ears as well or feel as warm as the UA Beanie to me, so I pair it with a fleece headband underneath when I use it.

Here’s a few pictures of me in full regalia (wearing a cap instead of a beanie).

gear review 1

And here’s what the Nathan beanie (on the top) and the UA blustery beanie (on the bottom) look like on me (note the difference in ear coverage):

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nathan beanie

Here’s what I meant about the lights on the Nathan beanie not being really bright:

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Hope this review was helpful to you!

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One thought on “Winter Gear Review: In which I went a little crazy on Black Friday

  1. Pingback: Sneaker Therapy Turns 1! | sneaker∙therapy

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