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Winter-Proof Your Workout Clothes

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The first dustings (and in some spots, dumpings) of snow have been spotted throughout the country, which means we’re getting ourselves psyched for winter workouts. The trouble is, cold weather can be especially harsh on our workout clothes—and the last thing we want to do is shell out extra money for high-performance sneakers, only to have to toss them prematurely because of epic salt damage or because they didn’t offer enough traction on slippery surfaces.

That’s why we asked the experts for the best ways to get around the most common problems that crop up this time of year. Here, their top tips.

Repel the Elements
After a few weeks of running outdoors, salt, snow, and slush can take their toll on your sneakers. To minimize damage, Adam Rosante, a personal trainer based in New York City, suggests using a weatherproofing product like Ralyn Aquatec, which repels water and salt or dirt stains. If your shoes do get wet, however, don’t toss them in the dryer or prop them up near a radiator—this can cause warping and other damage. Instead, simply remove the insoles, loosen the laces, prop them heel-first against a wall (with the toes on the ground), and leave them overnight. 

Sidestep Spills
If you’re nervous about falling on snow or ice, Rosante recommends buying a pair of shoes with rubber lugs (protrusions on the soles of the shoe that are meant to provide more grip), which offer extra traction on slippery surfaces. Or just make your existing shoes snow- and ice-friendly. One way to do so is with Yaktrax, a traction devices you slip on over your regular sneakers. (Want to workout indoors this winter? Work up a sweat with our Shed the Sweater Workout.)

Light Up the Night
It gets dark earlier and stays dark longer in the winter, so whether you’re a morning or evening exerciser you probably spend at least some time outside sans sun. And that means reflective gear is a must (Here's The Best New Reflective Gear for Winter!), says Katie Mack, a personal trainer with Peak Performance gyms in New York City. If your workout clothes don’t already have illuminating panels sewn in, opt for a reflective accessories (look for vests, hats, and arm and legs bands) and wearable lights, like the Spotlit Clip Light ($7; llbean.com).

Avoid Pain without Stains
Chafing is a problem in the summer and the winter. But popular lubricants (like petroleum jelly) can stain your clothing—and sure, that doesn’t technically impact performance, but the telltale splotches can be unsightly and embarrassing. Rosante’s favorite non-staining anti-chafing agent is Gold Bond Friction Defense ($7; drugstore.com), which is gentle (it won't irritate even super-sensitive skin) and long-lasting.

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