What to wear when it is cold outside but you are walking up a sweat? While cotton may be the "fabric of our lives," it also can send you into hypothermia if it gets wet when it is cold outside. Wool has the same problem. Polypropylene dries fast but doesn't pull the sweat away from the body. Technology today produces fabrics that breathe, wick sweat away from the skin, insulate the body, and feel soft and cozy.
Layering to Stay Dry and Warm
Next to the skin: Your base layer should wick sweat away from your body to keep your skin dry. Cotton should not be used - save your t-shirts for other purposes. Good long underwear pieces are appropriate made from fabrics such as Thermion, polypropylene, Thermax, Thinsulate, and silk.
Outer layer:To protect you from the elements, a windproof and water resistant jacket. It should be worn loosely. Top Picks for Waterproof Jackets
Pants:If the weather is frigid, long underwear bottoms or tights underneath another pair of pants will keep you warm. Cotton and denim should be avoided. Running pants or running tights made of synthetics that wick moisture will keep you more comfortable in rain and snow.
Top Picks for Walking Pants
Body Odor?Unfortunately, many wicking fabrics also retain sweat smells despite laundering. But you can get them out with my tip on how to get odor out of exercise shirts.
Duofold's Thermalayers Descriptions of HydRID, VariTherm, and Insulayer systems for the full spectrum of sweating outdoors.
PolarTec Fabrics Moisture control, insulation, and more. Good enough for climbing Everest.
GORE-TEX from Gore Fabrics.
Where to Buy
My shopping started at my local running store and outdoors stores. Racewalking friends led me to several catalogers and to online stores.
National Running Center Catalog company with good prices. Call 1-800-541-1773.
Campmor The catalog company has a good site for online ordering, and I found delivery to be very swift.
Eastbay Athletic shoe and gear catalog company has online ordering also.
Eastern Mountain Sports Online ordering from the major outdoor store chain.
Fogdog Sports Online ordering for running apparel and accessories as well as shoes.
One Hanes Place: Outlet for Leggs, Hanes, Bali and Champion. Good source for wicking briefs and sports bras.
REI-Outlet.com Overstocks, closeouts and seconds from top-name outdoors gear manufacturers.
Roadrunner Sports Running cataloger puts its own brand on layering systems specially designed for runners (and fast walkers). Each item has a graph to rate its features for being waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Their paper catalog had excellent information on layering.
Sierra Trading Post Catalog company specializing in closeouts, seconds and overstocks of outdoor gear and clothing at excellent prices.
Sweat It Out: Specializes in Cool Max garments.
Two Roads Fitness: Online ordering for women's sports apparel. Nice selection of long-sleeved wicking tops.
Wickers Online ordering for items specially designed to wick the sweat. Layers for all seasons, including briefs and sports bras. You may be able to find their brand at the other sites at discount.