Runners are a different breed. With much of our modern athletic world catering to convenience — fitness clubs, treadmills, protection from the elements — it can be hard to understand why someone would pull on a pair of sneakers, open the front door and start running. It’s not weather-permitting, but weather-embracing. Never is this more true than in winter. One person’s insanity is another’s inspiration, and perhaps it takes a little bit of both to wake up in that morning darkness to face the snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures with nothing but two feet and that voice in your head that whispers, “Go.”
The North Face Flight Apex Climateblock Full Zip
( thenorthface.com, $170)
This jacket is light, it’s windproof, it breathes well, and it’s got a thoughtful little detail in the design of its collar: the zipper tucks snugly into a fabric sheath, so you can zip up all the way without having it rub against your chin.
MEC Jetstreak Vest
( mec.ca, $82)
Add an extra layer on your torso with this slim-cut weatherproof vest, a nylon-polyester-Lycra blend.
Brooks Vapor Dry 2 gloves
( trisports.com, $30)
Not only are these gloves warm but the fabric transfers moisture effectively. The killer feature on these bad boys, though, are the retractable thumb covers that allow you to work your touch-sensitive MP3 player without degloving.
( yaktrax.ca, $34.95)
If you’d rather not buy a new pair of shoes just for winter, you can prepare your current pair for treacherous conditions with a traction device that fits easily over the sole. The Yaktrax Pro’s stainless steel coils bite into ice and snow, putting you on firm footing wherever you step.
Descente Coldout Roubaix Run Tights
( mec.ca, $72)
Designed specifically for winter running, with a nylon-Lycra blend and flat seams, these tights will protect you from the worst the Canadian winter has to offer.
Bridgedale Micro Fit Socks
( mec.ca, $13)
These make perfect thin liner socks — those that go closest to your skin when layering. Irish-made of a fabric called Isofil, they’re warm and do an excellent job of wicking moisture away from your foot.
( email@example.com, $209.95)
Swedish company Icebug specializes in high-traction footwear, and this coarse-soled running shoe is perfect for inclement weather. The clean design of the wind- and waterproof upper means no superfluous details to absorb dirt and moisture. For extra grip, a traction device with six carbide studs integrates seamlessly into the sole.
Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp
( mec.ca, $75)
Beat the late-rising, early-to-bed winter sun with this waterproof and lightweight LED lamp. Powered by a rechargeable battery, it casts a 68 lumen oval of light that illuminates the peripheries of your vision as well as what’s in front of you.
Running Room reflective headband
(The Running Room, $19.99)
It’s crucial — especially in lousy, snowy weather — to make yourself visible to those with whom you share the roads and sidewalks. This headband keeps it simple: it’s light and warm, it breathes, and it’ll make you shine like Liberace.