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How to Layer up Your Active and Sportwear in Winter

How to Layer up Your Active and Sportwear in Winter

Winter is coming, so get ready to stay warm. As the cold weather approaches, you might need to layer up and adjust your wardrobe for the season. If you're planning to hit the gym and stay active during the cold weather, get to know how to layer up your active and sportswear in winter to keep you comfortable and motivated.

How to Layer Your Activewear for Winter

As the winter chill sets in, stay active to ward off the cold and boost your mood. Here's your guide on layering up for cozy workouts.

For effective layering in cold weather, start with this versatile method. The magic layer number is four: a sweat-wicking base layer, an insulating middle layer, a protective outer layer, and accessories to complete your outfit.

Begin with base layers.

Dressing for cold weather is more than just outerwear. Begin by wearing a moisture-wicking base layer like t-shirts and leggings close to your skin. These items, often made from breathable materials like recycled polyester or thin fleece, are crucial for preserving warmth in cold conditions.

Get cozy with the middle layers.

On top of your base layer, include a warm middle layer to trap heat, like a sweatshirt, fleece, or vest. A mid-layer is versatile and useful, allowing you to adjust to changing weather conditions.

Shield the body from the elements with outer layers.

Pick a winter jacket that protects you from the elements and make sure to consider appropriate pants. Choose waterproof insulated pants for snowy adventures and consider layering thin tights under your jeans or chinos for added warmth and style.


Scarves, hats, gloves, and socks are crucial for warmth and style, and having an extra pair of socks can be a game-changer on a cold, active day.

How To Choose the Layering System

How to Layer up Your Active and Sportwear in Winter

Enjoy the winter outdoors with proper layering despite the cold and snowy weather.

Consider the activity.

Consider your chosen winter activity when planning your layering system, which generally falls into two categories: high-intensity and low-intensity activities.

High-intensity adventures call for breathable, moisture-wicking clothing while low-intensity activities require weather-protective and insulated gear.

Check the weather and temperature.

Consider both your activity and the weather when selecting your layers, opting for a thicker base or mid-layers in extreme cold or windproof layers for inclement conditions during high-intensity activities. The versatility of layering allows for adjustments, so bring extra layers to accommodate changing weather and temperature.

Listen to how your body feels.

Everyone's response to cold weather varies, with some feeling warm even in extreme conditions and others getting chilled quickly.

Customize your layering choices to your unique temperature preferences. Choose thicker base layers or warm mid-layers if you tend to feel cold, and choose fleece mid-layers or well-vented layers with lightweight base layers if you tend to feel warm. 

Layer Up for Winter

Layer Up for Winter

We rounded up some combos of layers for you to make styling a breeze. These combinations will keep you well-prepared whether you're braving a slight drizzle or enjoying a chilly evening.

First Layer

Begin with thermal tops, like a thermal suit or thermal crew neck t-shirt to retain heat and avoid freezing.

Protect your legs, too, with a pair of fleece-lined high-rise ski leggings, thermal water-resistant tights, or ankle zip DWR thermal tights. Skip this if the weather isn't too cold and proceed with the basics.

The Basics

For the basics, stick to your regular activewear, like a bodyfit baselayer or a long-sleeve baselayer. But you might also want to consider a warmer version made from materials like polyester or fleece that are sweat-wicking, such as a thermal mock neck pullover.

Middle Layer

The purpose of this layer is to provide extra warmth and insulate body heat, which can include items like a thermal jersey, men's hoodie, sweatshirt, or water-resistant mid-layer vest, ideal for when you need to remove the top layer due to warming up.

Top Layer

Consider keeping this layer for protection because it prevents cold wind and shields you from rain and snow, even though you might choose to skip it depending on the temperature.

This layer refers to your winter jacket, water-resistant puffer sleeveless jacketthermal high neck jacket, hooded cycling windbreaker, fleece pants, or fleece mountain cycling pants.

Extra Layer

Include thick winter socks, scarves, gloves, and beanies in this sportswear layering, ensuring these men's accessories prioritize warmth over style for the winter.

How to Layer up for a Winter Bike Ride

How to Layer up for a Winter Bike Ride

Biking presents unique challenges for dressing with wind chill being a significant factor, particularly on the upper body. Protecting exposed areas like the face, hands, and wrists, often neglected, is crucial to prevent frostbite.

Our winter riding tips on how to stay warm and safe give you a rundown of everything you need to keep in mind for your winter cycling adventures.

How to Layer up for a Winter Ski Adventure

For skiing, prioritize layering, covering the head, ears, neck, and face, and wearing well-fitted boots and ski goggles. Go for quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics and adjust layers as your body temperature fluctuates.

"The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Ski Leggings" gives you the 411 on how to pick the best thermal leggings for your ski trip.

Additionally, protect yourself from the sun with waterproof sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, especially at higher elevations.

How to Layer Up for a Winter Run

How do you layer up for winter running? Dress as if it's 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, as your body will heat up rapidly. Choose a fitted, performance-type first layer to wick moisture away from your body, avoiding cotton that can draw heat away and lower your core temperature if it becomes wet.

How to Layer up for a Winter Walk

Dressing appropriately for a winter walk is essential for comfort, but it differs from gear for higher-intensity activities like running or biking.

For lower-intensity walks, add an extra layer between the middle and top layers to enhance insulation and comfort.

Gear Up and Stay Active Even in Winter

Proper layering enhances comfort and protects you from cold exposure, ensuring you stay warm, active, and safe during winter activities.

Layer up your winter activewear in Baleaf style.

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