Layering for Performance

Control the temperature of your body when you run no matter the conditions outside. Dressing in multiple layers provides you the flexibility to regulate your core temperature by wicking sweat away, trapping heat between layers, and blocking the wind and cold.

Base Layer

  • This is the layer that’s closest to your skin. You want it to fit like a second skin so as not to reduce mobility, but also for it to regulate moisture and heat by wicking sweat away from bare skin, as well as shield against the wind.
  • When the temperature drops, ensure your base layer garments consist of underwear, tights and a long-sleeved top.

Mid Layer

  • This second layer should also provide sweat-wicking to push moisture from your base layer outwards, moving it where the sweat can quickly evaporate. But a good mid layer also provides an area between your base layer and the outside air where warmer air can be trapped, providing a layer of insulation and protection from the elements.
  • You can also experiment with multiple mid layers to find your ideal fit. Maybe two tops work better than one when the temperature drops, or a single light mid layer is your go-to solution for cold spring mornings that gradually warm up during your run.

Outer Layer

  • The function of the outer layer shell is to provide a line of defence against rain, snow, and wind. You want to block any precipitation and cold air from getting close to your skin as it will drastically reduce your core temperature and make any sweat freeze to you. 
  • The best outer shells are both warm and lightweight so they don’t reduce your range of motion—or make you feel too bundled to move properly—while also providing breathability or ventilation to help regulate your internal heat.

Running Materials

Most running apparel is made from synthetic fabrics rather than natural materials like wool or cotton. Using synthetic materials allows product engineers to optimize every garment for a particular function—such as sweat-wicking for heat regulation, and flexibility for increased range of motion.

  • Polyester - A common synthetic fibre, polyester is often blended with other fabrics to achieve the desired level of stretch, moisture control and overall heat regulation.
  • Lycra - Another man-made fabric that’s usually blended with other materials, Lycra has the ability to retain its shape even after being stretched a great deal, as well as improve range of motion, comfort, fit and the durability of the garment.
  • Nylon - One of the most popular and common fabrics used in athletic apparel, nylon is often blended with polyester or Lycra to optimize durability, flexibility and protection for your skin. Nylon is ideal for defending against the sun, rough or abrasive surfaces, and helps create extreme moisture-wicking clothing that is also quick drying.

Synthetic materials are the most common fabrics used in running apparel but there are some garments designed using merino wool and other natural materials. Brands like Icebreaker use this type of wool because it has natural sweat-wicking capabilities and will keep you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool.

Running Guide

Layering and materials only help if you start with the right shoes. Check out our running guide to see which ones suit your style best.

This article and post is designed for educational purposes only. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is a possibility of physical injury. Please consult with a doctor prior to engaging in any exercise or exercise program. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk. Product selection is an individual choice and the consumer is responsible for determining whether or not any product is suitable based on the consumer’s circumstances.