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10 winter essentials that will keep you warm and active: Uniqlo, Smartwool, Arcteryx and more

These cozy essentials will keep you warm all winter long.

These winter essentials will keep you cozy and comfy outdoors.
These winter essentials will keep you cozy and comfy outdoors.

When winter weather is top of mind, our ability to enjoy the great outdoors depends on having the appropriate gear. When we’re warm and dry and have a full range of movement, it's so much easier to enjoy everything nature has to offer. That's why we road tested several winter essentials, from thermal leggings to the ultimate winter parka. Shop our tried-and-tested cozy winter picks below.

These leggings are more than twice as warm as Uniqlo's normal HeatTech leggings, so we e think these they're where it’s at for warm winter layers. Although they can be worn alone, we tried these under snow pants to add a functional layer, and found them to be oh so cozy. Thanks to their fluffy brushed lining they were soft and retained heat without being bulky or uncomfortable. Whether you’re layering up for winter sports or simply tossing these on under your sweats to walk the dog, these are a great, affordable choice. We found the stretch fabric meant we could move easily and we appreciated the full-length fit, comfortably covering us from mid-section all the way to our ankles.

$40 at Uniqlo

When it comes to staying cozy outdoors, often it's the little things that really matter — and your sock choice can make or break your warmth level. To ensure the happiest of feet, we suggest Smartwool Everyday Popcorn Socks. Not only do they boast a joyful design, but they’re thoughtfully made with a merino, nylon and elastane blend that regulates temperature, allows your feet to breathe while still keeping them warm. We tested them out in various winter boots for walking and hikes and they were as comfortable as they are functional, not to mention super cute..

$27 at Smartwool

The perfect pairing for a puffer jacket, the Puff Boots from iconic Canadian brand Roots have quickly become one of our winter staples. Our feet are entirely supported when we wear these rugged boots thanks to thoughtful design features like padded ankle support and an insulating layer as well as a lugged outsole for maximum traction and an insole system designed to offer a customizable experience. The Puff Boot comes with two sets of insoles allowing you to enjoy negative, neutral or positive foot positioning. The positive insole elevates the heel, while removing the insole encourages a negative heel experience. We loved the boots with the neutral position insole, which allowed our feet to sit in a level position. Although the leather is treated to be waterproof we used an additional waterproofing spray as we’re planning to enjoy these boots for years to come.

$348 at Roots

Designed with fit and function in mind, this breathable layer keeps heat in while feeling soft and effortless next to the skin. The hood has a snug fit for warmth and layering under a helmet, and we loved the innovative neck gaitor/balaclava panel to stave off frigid temperatures. Comfortable thumb holes keep the sleeves in place and wear nicely under mittens for cold weather walks. We’re confident that while we’re wearing this subtle hoody we’ll be ready for anything winter throws at us.

$220 at Arcteryx

We love Arcteryx for all our outdoor activities and the Sentinel Jacket is no exception. It's perfect for snow sports like skiing, snowboarding and even snow shoeing, this durable and comfortable design makes it simple for you to take on winter like a pro. Design details abound from the helmet compatible hood that offers full visibility, to the breathable N80p 3L GORE-TEX that offers complete protection from the elements, to a lightweight and streamlined fit, even down to the multiple inner and outer pockets, this jacket is a winter win. 

$900 at Arcteryx

Looking for a winter boot that does it all? The Merrell Siren 4 thermo Mid Waterproof Winter Boot has proven to be a winner across the board. We tested these boots on the iciest of trails and found the Sticky Vibram® Icetrek rubber outsole to be a total asset. The bungee lace with toggle closure meant we got a secure fit with minimal fuss while the Primaloft® Gold Eco Series synthetic insulation kept our feet warm while keeping the boots lightweight and comfortably long-wearing. We found these boots to be waterproof and thoughtfully designed to keep snow out.

$260 at Merrell

We love the bright colour way of Liberate, both for a hit of dopamine dressing and for safety on the slopes. And speaking of safety, the sentinel is designed with an embedded RECCO® reflector to aid search and rescue. Just like the Sentinel Jacket, the Pant is made from Gore-tex, making it waterproof and windproof, while 100D PowderCuffs™ keep snow out of your boots. As if the fit couldn’t get any more ideal, you can choose your length: short, regular and tall are all options.

$750 at Arcteryx

Known for their Swiss-engineered performance shoes, On’s Cloudrock 2 Waterproof Hiking Boot does not disappoint. We hit the trails through mud, rain and snow and these boots supported us the whole way through. Even after the muddiest hike we were able to easily clean these boots, restoring them to their former glory! Waterproof and comfortable for all day adventures, we loved the Missiongrip™ rubber sole for dependable traction and heel stability feature to feel secure regardless of the trail we chose. Whatever the winter weather you’re facing, we’re confidant that the Cloudrock 2 is a game-changing hiking boot.

$280 at On

On is as equally good at performance clothing as they are at footwear. Case in point: their insulated puffer jacket which we have been wearing non-stop for winter sports and so much more. The perfect running partner, the On Challenger Jacket features recycled synthetic insulation to lock in warmth as well as a drawstring at the hem to protect against cold winds. The hood also has a 3 point drawstring which we found particularly practical in the event of blowing snow or icy winds - we were able to keep toasty warm without losing visibility. Like all of their products, the Challenger is perfectly constructed to fit like a glove while being lightweight, hence our propensity for making it our go-to winter jacket.

$580 at On

When the mercury drops to an arctic chill we had to find a heavyweight contender - thankfully we found the Berkley Parka from Wuxly is ready to face the elements. This practical parka can face up to -20 C thanks to its plant based insulation as well as water repellent and snow proof design. We appreciated that mid-thigh design to keep us toasty warm while out on wintry excursions as well as the double zipper to easily transition from the great outdoors to our preferred mode of transportation. Packed with pockets and featuring a trendy removable vest, the Berkley has proven to be one of our most reliable winter companions.

$1,295 at Wuxly

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