Skip to main content
Health & Fitness

9 things you need to work out in chilly fall weather

Stay warm, look cool.

Left: Woman wearing 90 degree reflex leggings. Right: man wearing Lululemon long sleeve top. Credit: 90 Degree Reflex / Lululemon

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Working out in chilly fall weather looks a lot different than toiling away under the blazing summer sun. It can be tempting to throw on layer after layer to keep you warm, but too much stuff can be bulky and make it tough to move around. Instead, invest in outdoor fall workout gear that strike a balance between cozy and breathable, from top brands like Columbia, Smartwool, and Under Armour.

Related content

1. A base layer to maintain core temps

Left: woman wearing gray lululemon swift tech top. Right: man wearing orange lululemon metal vent tech top.
Credit: Lululemon

This outdoor workout essential will keep you both cool and warm.

Base layers are meant to pull moisture away from the body so you stay warm in even the chilliest climates. These seamless long sleeve shirts Swiftly Tech (in women's sizes) and Metal Vent Tech (in men's sizes) can be worn on their own or under a light jacket for further protection from the elements. Both are made with a blend of nylon, polyester, and elastane that the brand claims helps to wick sweat and prevent funky odors. They also feature thumb holes to keep sleeves down and your wrists warm and mesh details around the chest and underarms for extra ventilation where you need it. The base layer comes in women's sizes 0 to 20 and men's sizes XS to XXL.

As one of the best-selling products available from Lululemon, many note how great it is for layering: “I love this shirt for workouts at the ice-cold gym. Without it, I would freeze, especially after doing cardio. The fabric is soft and just the right weight. This shirt can be worn by itself or is also great for layering in colder weather.”

2. A vest for breezy insulation

Columbia Steens mountain and Benton Springs fleece vests.
Credit: Columbia

This best-selling Columbia fleece vest is a fall athleisure essential.

Whereas jackets and coats might provide too much insulation, a vest—like these two from Columbia—can be just right for keeping your chest warm while allowing your arms to get some air. The Benton Springs vest comes in women's sizes XS to L in 24 colors like salmon and plum, and the Steens Mountain Vest comes in men's sizes S to 4X in 26 colors including orange and dark blue. Both vests feature soft fleece and two zippered pockets to keep belongings safe, whether you're running, walking, or doing an outdoor HIIT class.

Many of the vests' collective 10,600 reviews say the fit is flattering on different sizes, and it works well layered under thicker materials or above thinner layers like Gore-Tex shells. "Perfect for layering over a running top or sweater on extra chilly days," one reviewer writes. "But if you leave it unzipped, it doesn't make you overly warm/sweaty if you don't need it. Also, the pockets are roomy enough to fit your phone or a small camera."

3. Ear warmers for non-constricting warmth

Credit: Joeyoung

Warm your ears without overheating them.

Wearing a wide headband in cooler temps doesn’t just keep your hair off your face—it can help keep your whole body warm, too. This top-rated elasticized headband is made of fleece and polyester and is thin enough to fit comfortably under a bike helmet or a pair of headphones. Thanks to a touch of spandex, it stays put over your ears whether you’re running or resistance training. It comes in one size that fits most men and women.

One of its 3,200 reviewers shares why it’s a great bet for those in-between temperatures: “This is exactly what I was looking for. It never really gets cold enough in Texas for the winter gear I see at sporting goods stores. This is perfect for those cold winds in the early morning. I do a lot of exercise outside that involves a lot of CrossFit-type activities. These hold tight and stay on but don’t give me a headache. Highly recommended.”

Get the Joeyoung Fleece Ear Warmers from Amazon for $8.85

4. A fitted running jacket in women's sizes

Women wearing athleta running jacket in lavender and red.
Credit: Athleta

This top-rated workout jacket keeps you looking cool without feeling (too) cool.

No one should work out in a voluminous sweatshirt. Opt instead for this sleek jacket from Athleta. Made with a lightweight yet breathable cotton-spandex blend, it has two front zip pockets for your belongings and an extra inner pocket to keep small valuables like keys and cards more secure. Available in five colors, including lavender, scarlet red, and white, it comes in women's sizes XXS to 3X.

"Fits like a glove without that tight sensation," one reviewer writes. "I'm able to layer underneath to adjust to temperature changes. A+ all around!"

Get the Triumph Hoodie from Athleta for $108

5. A lightweight hoodie in men's sizes

Man wearing baleaf UPF hoodie
Credit: Baleaf

This thin hoodie makes layering simple.

This popular pullover is a nice complement to all kinds of outdoor activity, from neighborhood walks to vigorous hikes and runs. It's made of a polyester blend that wicks sweat away and can be worn on its own or layered under other jackets. It also provides 50+ UPF, so you don't have to worry about your torso and extremities on sunny days. The hoodie comes in men's sizes XS to 3XL.

"This hoodie is straight awesome," writes a reviewer. "The style is fresh to death, it's comfy as a motha falcon, and it makes the sun shoot blanks. I wore mine often while hiking out in the Northern Cascades above the treeline and it saved my pale arse on many o' trail."

Get the Baleaf Men's Hoodie from Amazon starting at $15.99

6. A compact running belt to keep the essentials on hand

Credit: Nathan

This running belt's angled bottle facilitates single-handed use.

Many of us associate dehydration with sweltering temps, but you're just as likely to get dehydrated in colder weather because you don’t feel as thirsty and sweat dries faster, according to research from the University of New Hampshire. Keep your body performing at its peak with this Nathan running belt, which allows you to carry an 18-ounce water bottle hands-free. It features stretchy pockets for small belongings, fits waists or hips between 26 inches and 44 inches, and can be thrown in the wash when it's time to clean it.

“I generally don’t like waist packs," one person writes. "However, this one was really comfortable! I used it for a hike but ended up running a little bit and it totally stayed put and I even forgot it was on.”

Get the Nathan Peak Hydration Waist Pack from REI for $40

7. Insulated ankle socks to prevent chilly toes

Credit: Smartwool

Changing your socks to fit cooler temps can make all the difference.

Working out in your cozy Uggs isn't the best idea, even if you dread cold toes once temps drop. Maximize your warmth this fall in another, more practical way with these Merino wool Smartwool socks designed for outdoor training. They have mesh panels to wick moisture away (the main culprit for chilly feet), a contour at the arch for extra support, and a seamless toe that the brand claims can deliver a chafe- and blister-free workout. The socks come in sizes suitable for men's and women's shoe sizes 4 to 15.

One of 1,400 reviewers raves: “These micro socks fit just at hiking shoe level and provide the added cushion and arch support. My feet don't ache as much after a long hike, and these socks just seem to hug them in all the right places.”

Get the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Socks from Amazon starting at $14.90

8. Lightweight gloves to avoid frozen fingers

Under Armour
Credit: Under Armour

Arm yourself with Under Armour's warm and lightweight gloves during your next fall workout.

Heat tends to escape from the extremities first. Given that your feet are already covered by shoes and socks, your hands are likely to be hit the hardest by cold temps, wind, and rain. Keep them dry and toasty with Under Armour’s popular gloves made with a plush inner lining and moisture-blocking exterior. The silicone palm print makes for easily handling of your water bottle and phone, and the touchscreen-friendly fingertips allow you to use your devices without taking off the gloves. They come in men's and women's sizes XS to XL.

“My wife and I both got these gloves, and we're amazed at how warm and dry they keep our hands," one 5-star reviewer writes. "Additionally, they have tech on the thumb and pointer finger, which make touchscreens no issue at all. We absolutely love these gloves.”

9. Thermal leggings to keep legs cozy

90 Degree by Reflex
Credit: 90 Degree by Reflex

Your legs will thank you for these top-rated fleece-lined leggings.

Warm leggings are key to upgrading your fall workout wardrobe. One option is the 90 Degree by Reflex brushed fleece leggings, which come in women's sizes XS and XXL. With an inner fleece lining and a polyester-spandex blend material, the leggings—which have more than 10,300 reviews and a 4.5-star rating—conform to your body and keep your legs nice and toasty. As for men's sizes, consider the Self Pro thermal compression pants, which come in small to XXL. These nylon- and spandex-based leggings, with about 1,800 reviews and 4.4-star rating, don't feel overly thick but still have a warming feel, even during chilly outdoor runs. Whether you go for the women's or men's sizes, both brands recommend sizing up.

“I live in [Connecticut] so fleece-lined is essential, and these look like normal yoga pants with no weird fuzz balls or anything, and they’re so comfy and warm," one reviewer writes of the 90 Degree by Reflex leggings. "They are not too tight on your belly like some others, but do come up nice and high-waisted. I had no issues with droop or sag. Way better than any other I have tried, I highly recommend!”

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Up next