What to Wear Running in Different Temperatures
Changing temperatures shouldn’t stop you from putting on your running shoes and doing what you do best. Here’s what to wear to run in any type of weather.
The seasons change, and so do the temperature and conditions of your run. But that doesn’t mean your running routine has to be put on pause. You just have to know what to wear as the temperatures change. Because every runner, every run and every forecast is unique — it all comes down to being prepared.
When the weather drops, it’s essential that you keep your body temperature warm. This will help to prevent injury and keep you comfortable during your run, so you can focus on your performance. For this, you need thin layers that trap heat and can be adjusted as you warm up naturally with exertion.
When you move into the summer months, the heat can be off-putting. Wearing as little clothes as possible may seem like the only option. You need breathable fabrics that protect you from the sun and promote airflow and temperature regulation.
But let’s get more specific. Here’s what you should wear to run in different temperatures.
What to Wear Running in Winter: 40º F and Below
Depending on where you live, you may be used to a winter temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (º F) dropping all the way to 20º F or below.
The key for dressing for a winter run is layers. Layers, layers, layers! Wearing base layers can allow you to efficiently adapt to the changing temperature of your body and the environment. You will be able to regulate yourself in the environment to enable optimal activity. Here’s a quick guide to layering.
A quick rule of thumb for layering in colder climates is to dress 10 to 20˚F warmer than the outside temperature. There are outliers to this rule: If you are naturally warmer and heat up quickly during exercise, factor this in.
A good base layer is essential to comfort and performance and it sets you up for successful running in cold weather. The ideal base layer allows you to add extra layers without overheating, but also works on its own so you can remove extra layers if things change mid-run.
When picking your base layer, breathability and moisture wicking are a must. Nike's Dri-FIT technology and targeted ventilation helps keep sweat and rain away from your skin.
This layer is responsible for trapping heat between itself and the base layer. The primary purpose is insulation.
When choosing your mid layer, don’t forget to consider rain, wind, or snow, which can make it feel colder than the forecast. A proper mid layer can be added to your base layer or worn by itself. When the temperature starts to dip below 40º F, you’ll want to wear multiple mid layers to provide better insulation.
Outer layers are essential for blocking the forces of the environment. Wind, rain, snow — all the weather patterns you might expect when it gets cold. An outer layer becomes a necessity when the weather starts dropping below freezing (32º F). It’s time to let the weather know you’re not messing around. You need good insulation paired with a lightweight fabric to help keep you comfortable.
Wearing gloves in cold weather reduces heat loss through insulation. When your hands are exposed to the cold, heat loss occurs from radiation. Even if your body is well-covered, exposed hands can have a significant effect on your temperature.
Running gloves are sometimes overlooked when it’s above freezing, but they can eliminate the need for unnecessary layers. Our gloves feature Dri-FIT technology to provide warmth and protection without extra weight. They also feature silicone fingertips for touch screens (so you don’t have to take your gloves off every time you check your pace in the Nike Run Club app). Our running beanies provide the same Dri-FIT technology to keep your head and ears warm.
Running Shoes and Socks
Don’t forget about the most integral part of running — your feet! Not only do your shoes need to provide warmth, they need to shield you from the elements, and also provide traction to battle slick surfaces. Your socks need to be breathable and able to wick sweat away from the skin to prevent heat loss through evaporation.
Nike Shield technology offers protection from the elements with water-repellent materials, enhanced traction, and 360-degree reflectivity.
You may be tempted to wear fleece or wool socks to keep your feet warm. But these materials are poor at regulating perspiration, constrict blood flow, and absorb moisture. Nike Training socks are made with zonal cushioning to keep your feet comfortable with every step. They're made with temperature-adapting yarns to help keep you warm while wicking sweat away during exercise.
What to Wear Running in Spring and Fall: 40-60º F
Depending on where you live, the spring and fall seasons make for the best conditions to run in. You can enjoy a warmer temperature, more hours of daylight, and less rainfall.
At the cooler end of the spectrum, you’ll still want to wear multiple layers. Go for a base layer with an outer layer. Depending on your sensitivity to cold, you could go for a long-sleeve base layer shirt paired with a short-sleeve shirt, and running tights with shorts over the top. This type of layering has good breathability and less insulation, perfect as the weather gets warmer.
Remember that your body temperature will still heat up during your run, so don’t overdo it with layers. Stick to the general rule of thumb we gave earlier.
If it’s windy and there’s moisture in the air, it can feel colder than the temperature indicates. Look for jackets that’ll shield you without adding weight. Our windbreakers feature sweat-wicking tech that keeps rain and wind at bay, and most have reflective features. And they can easily be layered down and folded up if needed, so your run doesn’t have to stop.
What to Wear Running in Summer: 60º F and Higher
When it comes to dressing for summer runs, your running clothes need to do a few things: wick sweat, allow airflow, and protect against the sun. It can be tempting to wear as little as possible, but a better approach is to wear clothes that have been intelligently designed for hotter climates.
Sweat-Wicking Technology to Keep You Dry
Dri-FIT technology wicks sweat away from the skin so it can be evaporated. This keeps your body temperature cool and regulated by pulling heat away from the skin. Dri-FIT’s breathability lets the evaporated moisture escape and diffuse. This prevents you from overheating, by letting your skin breathe.
Breathable Layers to Protect From the Sun
Wearing light, thin layers during a run on a hot day can help to protect you against the sun. The Nike Dri-FIT UV Essential Running T-shirt contains UV protection to shield you from the harmful ultraviolet rays. This product line provides UVA and UVB protection from the sun in the areas covered by the garment. Any closures must be fastened to give full UPF 40+ protection. On particularly hot days (80-90°F or higher) go for running shorts and a loose tank, or a sports bra for women. For the skin that will be directly exposed to the sun, it’s vital that you lather up in a good quality sunscreen. In combination with your sunscreen, choosing dark or brightly colored running clothes will absorb UV rays rather than allowing them to penetrate your skin. This protection will be minimal, but can contribute to your level of sun protection.
Running Hat to Shield
When the sun is direct and relentless, you need a hat to shield your eyes and protect your scalp from the rays. Nike running caps are made with Dri-FIT technology under the bill and around the sweatband helps keep you dry and comfortable. The lightweight bill delivers coverage when you need it, combined with spacer mesh throughout the crown helps keep you cool when your off-road miles heat up.
Water Bottle to Keep You Hydrated
Hot weather means you’re at risk of dehydration. Keep hydrated throughout your run by bringing a Nike handheld water bottle. It combines two running essentials with a minimalistic water bottle and a zippered pocket for small essentials, like credit cards or keys. An elastic strap system lets you customize your hold and helps keep the bottle secure when you're on the go.
Don’t Let the Weather Stop You
Whatever the weather, your run is still on. Be prepared for the changing seasons by knowing what to wear. Don’t let temperature fluctuations keep you from getting it done.