These 13 innovations will keep you running outdoors in comfort, warmth, and style no matter how low the temperature drops
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Ice skating is a lot of fun, but combining it with your early morning jog isn't. To avoid the second-worst risk to outdoor runners in the winter (number one is getting hit by a car), strap on some Yaktrax Run ($40, yaktrax.com) over your shoes to magically turn your ordinary sneaks into high-tech trail runners. The simple, lightweight design made of grippy metal coils and carbide spikes will go miles in helping you stay on pace and on your feet.
Under Armour ColdGear Hood
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It only takes one time of having your snot freeze inside your nose to convince you that wearing a face mask is worth looking like a bank robber. Look for a simple, convertible style, like the UA ColdGear Hood ($24.99, underarmour.com), which can be worn as a full balaclava, mask, hood, neck scarf, or neck gaiter with a drop chin depending on how warm you are.
The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Gloves
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Frozen fingers can suck the joy out of even the best Fun Run race. When the weather isn't too cold, nothing beats plain stretchy gloves for lightness, ease, and especially price. But if you need a little more protection, North Face's Etip Pamir Windstopper gloves ($65, thenorthface.com) will keep your hands warm without giving you sweaty palms thanks to vents. And the etips mean you can use your smart phone or iPod without exposing your mitts.
Banjees Fleece Wrist Wallet
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Olivia Newton John must be so proud of today's sweat bands. Not only do these cute Fleece Banjees fleece ($15, sprigs.com) keep your arms toasty by preventing that dreading gap between your glove and your sleeve, they pull double-duty as a wallet with a handy zippered pocket for your keys, music player, or ID. Now let's get physical!
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Warm ears are a winter running necessity, but if ear bands automatically take you back to waiting at the bus stop in eighth grade, it's only because you haven't seen the newest options. Unlike old-school styles, the latest and greatest, such as those from Bondi Band (prices vary, bondiband.com), offer no-slip grip, less bulk, and high-tech sweat-wicking fabrics. Plus they come in every pattern and color under the sun—even soft fur for winter—or you can go crazy and design your own.
Athleta Ornamental Knee High Socks by SmartWool
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When it comes to winter runs, cotton is a wet (and stinky) blanket. Ditch the blister-inducing socks for wool ones, which will keep you warm and dry in even the coldest temps. Check out these super cute Ornamental Knee High Socks ($24, athleta.com) that incorporate cushioning, arch support, and flat toe seams so you get all the wicking and warming properties of wool plus the benefits of sports socks.
Candy Cane ChapStick
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A whiff of peppermint is known to be naturally invigorating, and ChapStick protects your lips from cracking, sunburning, or turning raw in wintry weather. Now you can get a mid-run pick-me-up and soften your kisser with Candy Cane ChapStick ($4.99 for 3, drugstores). Many runners also swear by a quick swipe around the edges of their nostrils to help keep their noses from drying out, so consider two separate tubes. And if candy cane is your favorite mint, better stock up now, as it's a limited-edition flavor.
Salomon Spikecross 3 CS
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Winter running shoes are all about two things: traction and repelling water. Salomon—yes, the ski boot company, so they know of what they speak—has come out with a new line of shoes just for outdoor running in harsh conditions. The Spikecross trail shoes ($170, salomon.com) have Climashield technology to keep you dry and metal spikes embedded in the soles to keep you safe. Plus, who wouldn't want to wear something that sounds like a medieval torture device for your feet?
Athleta Base Miles Beanie
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To stuff or not to stuff? No, we're not talking about bras—we mean the age-old dilemma of what to do with your hair when wearing a close-fitting hat. Keeping your locks out of your face and off your neck can be a challenge even in the summer, but cold weather adds a whole new level of difficulty. Thankfully warm caps with ponytail holes, including the Base Miles Beanie from Athleta ($29, athleta.com), keep your noggin warm and your hair under control. Now if only they'd invent one for the headrest on car seats, we'd be set.
Actra Jillian Pants
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Sure you can layer your running tights over other pair for warmth. But why put yourself through that bunchy wrinkly mess (and port-a-potty nightmare) when you can wear fleece-lined running leggings? The Actra Jillian Pants ($39.99, Lady Foot Locker stores) combine the best in performance and warmth without the hassle of tugging on an extra layer, and with their reflective accents, you'll stay safe when the weather reduces visibility. Throw your phone, keys, and credit card in the zippered pocket at the back of the waist, and you're ready to go.
Under Armour ColdGear
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Victoria’s Secret is right: What you put on underneath is just as important as what you put on top. And since the fabric that's against your skin will play a key role in your comfort, you want to make sure you have something thin enough to layer, tight enough for warmth, and wicking enough to keep the sweat away. From compression leggings to long-sleeved tops and even scent-controlled camo gear, Under Armour's comprehensive ColdGear line (prices vary, underarmour.com) has become the go-to base layer for all types of cold weather athletes. And thanks to its new Thermo technology, which gives you twice the warmth without adding bulk, you no longer have to worry about breaking out into a cold sweat during your workout.
PV.Body Fit Box
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A girl needs options, especially when the weather is unpredictable. Sign up at pv.body ($49.95 a month, pvbody.com) and every month you get a box with a new designer workout outfit from brands such as Lululemon for hundreds less than if you paid retail. The clothing is selected for you based on your style, fit, and color preferences, so chances are you'll love it. And there's nothing like a cute, trendy present every four weeks to keep you motivated to run when it's flurrying outside.
Bluetooth Handset Gloves
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As a child, you may have held your thumb and pinky finger up to your ear and mouth to play telephone. Relive that memory with one of the strangest but coolest gadgets in winter technology. The Bluetooth Handset Gloves ($69.99, thinkgeek.com) actually act as a handset for your Bluetooth-enabled phone, allowing you to answer calls by holding your thumb and pinky up to your ear! No more fumbling your phone with cold-numbed fingers, and with more than 20 hours of talk time, you'll be set for your entire run. But it's up to you to explain to your crew why you've suddenly resurrected your old invisible friend.