Outdoor fitness clothing – 5 great tips for staying comfortable, dry and warm during your winter workout

outdoor fitness clothing tested in the rain

Outdoor fitness clothing really needs to function, not just look good

This advice is purely subjective based upon years of outdoor workouts. But bugbears such as wind whistling down the front of my jacket, and cold damp feet have lead me to seek better functioning outdoor exercise gear over the years. There are some great outdoor brands such as Icebreaker, Rab and Haglofs.  Some of these items are limited in variety and availability (not much in the way of water-repellant/exercise-appropriate shoes) but they are out there if you look.

Swap your scarf for a chute

First bought for me by my wife years ago, the chute is such a clever item of clothing: never needs adjusting, never falls off your neck and doesn’t get tied up around your arms. And it’s always close fitting and cosy around the neck. It’s my personal essential on a frosty morning workout.

Choose a jacket with closeable cuffs

Lifting your hands up to grab monkey bars and you’ll soon know why this advice is essential. Rain will pour down your arms if you don’t seal up your jacket at the wrists. Elasticated cuffs can also work.

Try waterproof training shoes

Or at least rain repellant shoes. They may only delay the inevitable soggy feet but I can’t stand taking three steps through dewy grass and getting instantly damp right through to the socks. I know committed runners will tell me to let my feet breathe!

Wear trousers to keep water out of your trainers

Running leggings will direct rain down your legs and into your shoes. If you follow my advice above and choose a rain-repellant shoe, you’ll want to avoid the shoe filling with water as much as possible. That’s why I train and run in a trouser (a hiking pant or similar) so the loose hems cover the top of my shoe.

Layer up

I never tire of saying this. Base layer, mid-layer, outer layer. An adaptable system. Look for base layers with soft seams or out-of-the-way stitching so it doesn’t chafe. I try to choose a mid-layer item that can function as an outer layer garment in not-so-bad weather. And it must have a pocket for the iPod.

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