Layering Principles when running in the cold and wet

Layering Principles when running in the cold and wet

The overriding objective of staying warm is staying dry and free from sweat gathering on your clothes, pooling and making you cold. Running clothing materials are all about breathability and take on a number of names… Nike Dri Fit, Adidas Clima Cool being the most prelevant in the market. What these clothes do is transfer the sweat from your body to the outside surface of the clothes to allow that sweat to evaporate off into the atmosphere as you warm up so you don’t have sweat accumulating making you cold.

When purchasing clothes for the winter we advise a 3 layer principle when running depending on your personal body temperature and the temperature outside.

  1. Baselayer – This is the first layer that goes on that sits closely to the skin. These can be thermal or non thermal but they MUST be made of breathable material. This layer makes you feel warm
  2. Mid Layer- This can be a short sleeve, long sleeve, half zip and the idea is another layer to keep you warm.
  3. Jacket – A jacket is used when its super cold, windy or wet. Any sign of these three then grab your jacket.


Jackets can be water resistant or water proof. A water resistant jacket will allow water through after a certain amount of time in the rain and it will usually seep through the stitching only. A waterproof jacket will allow you to stay dry in any storm conditions due to taped seams and fabric.

The key to a running jacket is how well it dumps out heat. If your jacket isn’t running specific of not well designed you end up being a boil-in-the-bag meal and you will end up taking it off and running with it. The key things to consider when purchasing a jacket is as follows:

  • Water resistency
  • Airflow and Venting
  • Pockets
  • Comfort (Obviously)

A good running jacket will last you forever provided you look after it so don’t be afraid to put good $$ behind it. It will outlast your shoes 10 times over.

To conclude;

If not windy, rainy but cold go Baselayer and Midlayer, if not cold simple T shirt or Midlayer. If windy and wet Jacket for starters and depending on how cold it is/you get add one or two layers underneath.