Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Winter Warrior Part I: Pearl Izumi Cold Weather Gear, and Injinji 2.0 Review (plus giveaway!)


Ok... so maybe it's not exactly like this, but those of you that get out into the elements and continue running, even during a harsh winter can identify.  Not only are you  battling just  logging the miles on your feet, but you are taking on old man Winter's worst. Some of you may be in Spring time now, but here in Colorado, we have more winter to go.. I hope! So, for those of you that must warrior on, this review is for you!  I've got a great review on cold weather gear from Pearl Izumi and Injinji!

For cold weather running, my go to thermal compression pants and gloves are both from Pearl Izumi. As my long runs extended in December/January before my marathon, these were invaluable in keeping me warm!

Infinity Thermal Tight

I own several pairs of compression tights, from a variety of brands, but the Pearl Izumi's are by far my favorite. The quality of construction is terrific, and they are really comfortable.  I really like the zip up ankle with a small flap to tuck the zipper end into. Makes them really easy to get in and out of.

Here are the list of features as noted by Pearl Izumi:

ELITE Thermal Fleece fabric provides superior moisture transfer and warmth

  • 8" lower leg zipper with zipper garage
  • Elasticized waistband with flat stretch drawcord for unrestricted belly breathing
  • One zippered back pocket
  • Internal brief for added support and comfort
  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility
  • 27" inseam [size medium]
  • Form Fit

As you can also see, the reflective markings on these work really well so I can be seen when running in the dark mornings along the road.  Also, the tag notes that the temperature range is from 20F-40F, however I ran several times in these around 5F and had no issues keeping my legs warm.

There are reflective markings on both the back and front which is great.  I also really liked the compression in these... not too loose or tight.  They give a sense of spring to your legs which I am certain makes me run way faster... ok, maybe not so much... but they feel great!

Select Series Soft Shell Glove

Now, for the hands.  I'm running in the Select Series glove which has a lot of great features. Again, good reflective markings on the hands, and a great grip pattern and stitching on the inside.  And, the design of the wrist band allows for easy pulling on and off without any straps etc.  And yes, I'll admit that I used my teeth a few times on super cold mornings.. but I don't recommend it!

Here are the features:

SELECT Softshell Gloves feature insulated, windproof, water resistant construction that will keep your hands warm on the coldest, most blustery days.

  • SELECT Softshell sets the benchmark for functional wind and water protection
  • Synthetic leather strategically placed in high-wear areas
  • Fleece lined for warmth
  • Soft windproof fleece wiping surface
  • Silicone screened palm for a performance grip
  • Simple pull-on design
  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility

My only struggle with these gloves was that my hands/fingers got cold on occasion.  But, to be clear, I was greatly exceeding the recommended temperature range of 25F to 45F.  In those temps, the gloves work superbly.  Pushing it to 5F into headwinds was not smart on my part.. especially without any liners or hand warmers!  But other than that, a great running glove.

The Elite Series pants retail for $90, and the gloves for $45, but my guess is you can find some deals online or at stores for a better deal.  Regardless, they are both great investments to stay comfortable and outside this winter!  Now... if Pearl Izumi could just get a zero-drop minimalist trail shoe on the market, that would be great!

Ok, so if you've been following my blog, you know how much I LOVE Injinji toe socks..  And recently, Injinji released the 2.0 versions of their socks, and they are amazing!  Stick with me through this review and you may be rewarded with a few pairs to try out!

Besides the obvious color options you see above, the structure and design has changed quite a bit from the original Injinji's. I was a little concerned at first, because I love the fit and performance of the originals, so was hoping they didn't mess that up!  Well, I'm happy to report that everything they did just made them better.  I love the softer feel of the sock, and some of the different stitching they've done just complements the fit and performance. I got these in two days before my marathon in January, and I ran in the Performance Run in the medium weight.  Perfect sock for that day, AND the compression socks were a life saver afterwards...  felt so good!  The Light weight version of the Run works superbly with the VFF XC Speeds, Spyridon, and Lontra's (review coming soon) too.

Just had to put this in here too.... love this song:

But.. I digress... this was supposed to be a Winter Warrior post!  So, from that perspective, the Performance 2.0 Trail sock (far left in pic) is an amazing winter sock.  It's a heavier weight sock, with a bit more padding, and are made from Coolmax Xtralife Nylon/Lycra, so they stay pretty warm, even when wet.  I'm guessing they should stay reasonably cool as well, but hasn't been warm enough yet to see. These could be the ideal sock for my first trail ultra, where I think I may want a little bit more protection.

So, the bottom line is, Injinji has hit a home run with their 2.0 line of toe socks!  But if you want to find out for yourself, just enter below to win 2 pairs in the style/weight of your choice!  I'll run this contest until 10PM MST on March 11, 2013.  Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Oh.. and stay tuned for Winter Warriors Part II...Featuring the VFF Lontra, and YakTrax Run! Coming soon to theaters near you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy trails!



  1. More great reviews and giveaways! I've started to get hot spots while road running... I'd be curious to see if Injinji's would remedy that...

  2. really like the giveaways you have going.

  3. I use a pair of Adidas gloves and have a pair of Adidas tights, but they don't always do a great job. Thinking about checking out the Pearl Izumi's. And I'm definitely excited about the updated socks!

  4. Gabrielle (mareaviva)March 5, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Layer up as needed....and keep going!

  5. Winter here in So Cal is pretty mild. Mostly have to deal with the wet and some mud. I run in Xero Shoes, then just hose them (and me) off after a muddy run!

  6. As a Canadian you DEAL with running and get yer arse out there or you DO NOT run!! You layer up ( oh right now my icebreaker layers rock) and you just add extra layers and some water resistant layers to keep out wet! Sometimes is is warm. sometimes it is cold. And when it snows a foot you rock it! miles in means success. xx

  7. I'd LOVE to work for Pearl Izumi - their stuff is killer (bike and run :)). I've never tried those socks, I'm so worried I'd chaff between the toes. But if you say they're good, then good they are!!

    I almost hit the Incline yesterday but it was snowing when I left so turned around. Grrrr, that's twine now this year.

    1. We'll get up the Incline someday! I think you'd love the socks.. never had a toe blister since switching to them.. :-)

  8. Staying warm is tough this time of year. Nice review!

  9. Love the art that begins this post! I couldn't run in the cold you do though!

  10. I'm a full-time barefooter but my tai chi studio makes me wear socks so I have been wanting a couple of pairs of these!

  11. Most of the time I deal with winter by running on the treadmill! LOL

    Although I do have some compression gear that is C9 by Champion. It seems to do the trick just fine, but I'm certainly willing to try out Pearl Izumi. Maybe for next winter.

  12. Could have used some compression socks for my marathon. I'd love a pair of some of this stuff!!!

  13. I live in southern California, so my Winters are probably spring to the folks training on the East Coast. Still, when it does get "cold" (i.e., 50degrees), my fav outfit are my compression tights, and a compression shirt and a long-sleeved shirt or light jacket on top. :)

  14. Winters in North Florida aren't THAT bad. I wear tights, long sleeve crew tech top, with a vest layered over it. I may put shorts on over my tights, if it is windy. I have hats and gloves at the ready, but it hasn't been chilly enough that I needed them for a run. And I am an Injinji evangelist, so thank you for hosting this giveaway!

  15. I take winter running into an indoor facility! Much easier both on the body and the shoes.

  16. Fortunately winter here in Portland doesn't get too bad. Just have to invest in some good rain gear and dress in layers!

  17. I have somewhat poor circulation so I have to layer wool socks and regular socks and also wear 2-3 pairs of gloves just to keep my fingers and toes from freezing. The rest if my body is ok in simple/normal winter layers, but I really struggle with getting my fingers and toes warm enough!!

  18. Layers, layers, layers! Kinda...UA cold weather gear is my base layer, rarely do I wer something over the tights. Socks? Nothing too special- my feet get way too hot with merino wool. If it's sloppy, I want something that would dry fast anyway if it's not slop the whole way. Top: over the UA another tonight long sleeve jersey, then a shell jacket. I wear two pairs of gloves if it's really cold, but take them off if I need to. I wear ear warmers and a balaclava- my ears hurt quite a lot if it's under 45 or so, so I need a couple layers there.

  19. When it's cool out, I usually run on the treadmill...thankfully I live in FL so I don't have to deal with winter very much :)

  20. I like to layer up and keep hot chocolate on hand for when I get home to warm me up.

  21. I wear lots of layers or I run on the treadmill.

  22. Very nice to read this!!! As the winter knowing our door and the morning runs become colder, there is always a question that goes through the mind that how should we remain fit and fine during winters as cold basically make us weak. For this no doubt the better option is Ropa Termica.


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