Image: Snowsuit
Adidas By Stella Mccartney/fall/
This adidas by Stella McCartney snowsuit features a goggle wipe, holders for lip balm and ski passes, a mobile phone pocket and an MP3 player inner pocket, and sells for $700.
By
updated 1/5/2007 10:42:34 AM ET 2007-01-05T15:42:34

For those who plan to keep running and hiking outdoors this winter, no matter what the wind chill is or how much snow is falling, shopping for new seasonal gear is always a treat.

But ask any athlete and they’ll tell you — it's also a necessity.

That’s because the wrong base layers and windbreaker can make for a frost-bitten, miserable workout. Carry any old water bottle and you could accidentally end up with an ice pop. Equipment that isn't specially designed to give you stability and traction in the worst conditions could easily hurt your performance.

The hot gear for this year's cold weather embraces the executive who can't be without a cellphone, even on a double black diamond run. And while the big names in the outdoor sporting and fitness world have once again come up with new ways to keep us warm, they're also unveiling amenities to make us look cool.

Clothing is now commonly outfitted with digital media pockets, comes in brighter colors — such as plum and bright green — than in years past, and can more easily pass for everyday wear. Noisy nylon shells no more.

"We use the term 'urbaneer,' like a mountaineer," says Ryan Gallagher, a sales specialist and personal shopper for the REI flagship store in Seattle, referring to the season's new styles. They fit the lifestyle of the outdoors person who typically gets away for four days max and packs in the activities. "You can grab a jacket from your closet and also wear it out."

Female skiers can look cool while staying warm in the REI Davos, a stylish puffy down jacket, and the luxurious adidas by Stella McCartney Winter Sport Performance Suit. The latter features extras including a goggle wipe, holders for lip balm and ski passes, and pockets for your MP3 player.

Image: ZigZag hat
Courtesy Of Bula
Bula's ZigZag hat features built-in earphones that can be plugged into a music source, such as an MP3 player or CD player, keeping your ears warm and you entertained.
While they used to be just for outdoor enthusiasts, high-tech gadgets are increasingly being snapped up by the average Joe. Garmin's GPSMAP 60 CSx GPS is one of REI's top five best sellers, says Gallagher. With some additional software, the device can guide you to your destination, whether you're on a hike or trying to find a new restaurant.

Other items, such as Bula's ZigZag hat and Oakley's THUMP PRO sunglasses, are must-haves for music lovers. Oakley's model, just launched this fall, eliminates "the ball and chain" of portable MP3 players, known as dangling cords. Songs can be transferred from a computer via an included Hi-Speed USB cable. Controls are part of the frame and speakers can be adjusted for the right fit.

Seeking to break a personal distance record on your winter hike? MSR's Lightning Ascent Snowshoes might help you get there. With their patented 360 degree traction and lightweight design, you definitely won't feel like you're walking on tennis rackets.

"The stride is much more natural," says Lee Getzewich, product manager for MSR snowshoes. "It lets you go places in the winter you can't go in the summer, when you have to stay on regulated trails so you won't damage the flora and fauna."

Whatever activity you end up tackling this winter, don't let the wrong gear leave you in the cold. With so many options, staying warm and in style doesn't have to be difficult. And it beats shivering any day.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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