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Winter gear is often scratchy, stuffy, and—how I can put this delicately—not chic. As Well+Good’s resident outdoor adventure nerd, I’m happy to report that winter gear for any type of seasonal outdoor adventure doesn’t have to suck… at all. It can actually be soft and comfy and—gasp—cute.

Thanks to innovations in fabric and design, you can brave the cold with jackets, base layers, mittens and beyond that will not only keep you warm and dry, but that you’ll want to keep wearing long after you get back inside. (Well, maybe not the mittens.)

Whether you’re embarking on a winter hike or a cross-country skiing outing or otherwise, I can confirm the following 10 pieces of winter gear will serve you well in your outdoor adventures. And since you’ll want to keep wearing them, it helps that they’re stylish (read: après-friendly).

Below are the 10 softest pieces of winter gear to add to your wardrobe this season, guaranteed to keep you *snow* snuggly.

10 pieces of cozy winter gear to invest in this winter

Smartwool, Women’s Hudson Trail Fleece Cropped Hoodie — $102.00

Originally $170, now $102

Available sizes: XS-XL

Wool often gets a bad rap for being itchy and stuffy, but Smartwool’s Fleece Cropped Hoodie feels like a warm hug in sweatshirt form. It’s made from a brand of recycled polyester and recycled brushed merino wool, which gives it a snuggly, soft-to-the-touch feel. It’s got a retro vibe, too—the colorblocked design, boxy fit, and kangaroo pouch all evoke a vintage aesthetic. Best of all is how this garment performs while its worn. Merino wool renowned for its temperature regulation, moisture absorption, and odor resistance, along with being really freakin’ soft.

Pro tip: layer it over a wool base layer for maximum performance. Wool + wool = all the aforementioned benefits above. Wool + polyester/synthetic doesn’t quite do the same tricks.

Colors: 3

  • Soft
  • Temperature- and moisture-regulating
  • Odor resistant
  • Versatile

Stio, Insulated Fernos Knicker — $199.00

Available sizes: XXS-L

To all my fellow always-cold friends who struggle to stay warm on the slopes—these insulated pants will be your new BFF. Think of them like a puffy jacket disguised as leggings. They’re filled with a lofty polyfill to protect your tush and thighs, while the elastic waistband and cuffs eliminate bunching without getting in the way of your boots. They’re the perfect mid layer to wear over your base layers and under your unlined snow pants when you need a smidge more warmth on ultra-chilly days. Tl;dr—if you do a lot of outdoor activities in the winter, these are a layering essential.

Colors: 3

  • Soft and warm
  • Insulated
  • Stays in place
  • Great for layering

Kari Traa, Voss Cashmere Mix Long Sleeve — $170.00

Available sizes: XS-XL

Anyone who knows me knows I will simply not shut up about Kari Traa’s Scandinavian-inspired base layers—they’re my go-to for skiing, ice fishing, car camping, and really just about anything I do outside in the cold. The Voss Long Sleeve and matching Mix Pants ($170) up the ante on coziness with a blend of merino wool and cashmere, and the effect feels like butter on bare skin. While other elastic-waist layers tend to fall down over time, these don’t move, whether you’re bending over to buckle your ski boots, trekking uphill, or lounging in front of the fireplace. Yes, the price tag is hefty, but they’re worth every single penny. (And they look cute at après, too.)

Colors: 2

  • Temperature- and moisture-regulating
  • Stays in place
  • Warm

Icebreaker, Unisex RealFleece™ Merino High Pile Mittens — $45.00

Originally $70, now $45

My fingers are *always* the first part of my body to get cold when I’m outside, which is why I’ve stopped buying synthetic gloves and am only reaching for the real stuff. Enter: These fuzzy mittens that, whilst making me feel like Lamb Chop once they’re on, really do keep my hands from freezing wind and snow. That’s thanks to a blend of merino wool (yes, there is a lot of that on this list!) and Lyocell, which gives them a bit of breathability. When the sun is out and my fingers can handle a bit of sunshine, I like to flip the mitten part down (since they’re convertible, they can be worn as fingerless gloves, too).

Colors: 2

  • Soft and warm
  • Convertible between fingerless gloves and mittens
  • Breathable

Halfdays, Marquis Polartec Fleece Neck Warmer — $55.00

Halfdays’ Marquis Fleece Neck Warmer is the definition of “little luxury.” As a gaiter, it’s perfectly practical for keeping the chill off your face and neck. But the dreamy material (recycled Polartec fleece) combined with thoughtful touches (adjustable drawstring, tapered fit for extra protection) make it a must-have accessory for those who refuse to compromise on warmth or style. Bonus points if you can get your hands on one of the limited-edition colors: there’s Disco, a bright lilac, and Spritz, a fiery cinnamon red.

Colors: 3

  • Soft and warm
  • Adjustable
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying
  • Versatile

FP Movement, Hit the Slopes Pant — $128.00

Available sizes: XS-XL

True story: I haven’t been able to stop wearing these pants since I got them. They’re the closest thing you can to wearing an actual cloud, only this cloud has a trendy silhouette, chic accents, and—best of all—ample pockets. The fluffy, high-pile fleece feels welcoming after a long day in the chill, making them my go-to après pants after I’m done skiing. Aside from keeping me comfy, I love how roomy they are for layering over my base layers or leggings. Plus, the pockets are so spacious that I don’t even have to worry about carrying a purse when I’m in them. While I don’t recommend them for high-intensity outdoor sports since they’re not waterproof, they’re great for running errands, walking the dog, and other dry outdoor endeavors.

Colors: 2

  • Soft and warm
  • Comfy, relaxed fit
  • Ample pocket space

Turtle Fur, MaxClava — $30.00

Turtle Fur is adored for its ridiculously soft hats, gaiters, earmuffs, gloves, and more. But if you’re really trying to stay cozy this winter, I recommend adding one of these balaclavas to your cart—you won’t regret it. Made from the brand’s cozy Micro Fur fleece, it sits over your face and neck with a second-skin-like feel for protection against the elements. And while other balaclavas can border on being distracting or annoying, the Maxclava is pleasant to wear, even under ski and snowboard helmets.

Colors: 2

  • Soft and warm
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying
  • UPF 50+
  • Face-forming fit

Buff, Knitted Beanie — $34.00

Of all the types of winter gear out there, it’s beanies I’m most picky about. Too big, and they look silly on your head and run the risk of getting overly baggy at the top. Too small, and they’re uncomfortable. Then there’s the material: anything too hot or too scratchy or too tight? It’s not happening. Buff’s Knitted Beanie is basically the Goldilocks of headwear and, as such, is a permanent fixture on my head this winter. The high-quality materials provide excellent insulation, keeping you warm and cozy during brisk days without overdoing it. The fun lavender color doesn’t hurt, either.

Colors: 4

  • Soft and warm
  • Stretchy
  • Versatile

Teva, ReEmber Quilted Bootie — $80.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-14 (whole sizes only)

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, chances are you’ve seen someone wearing Teva’s quilted slippers somewhere in the parking lot or lodge. I can confidently say they’re a fad for good reason; after hours of having my feet crammed into stiff ski boots, I can’t wait to slip these puppies on.

Each pair features a slew of recycled materials throought the upper, midsole, and outsole, making them an eco-friendly addition to your wardrobe. And they’re so comfy; the quilted upper feels like a down blanket on your feet, while the stretchy collar keeps them from slipping and sliding out of place, sans any digging or pinching. And while other slippers might be legitimately dangerous to wear on snow and ice, these are not: The grippy rubber outsole has your back in even the slickest situations. My only complaint is that they are a shorter style, which means snow and ice can get inside. But that’s a non-issue if you get the brand’s sister shoe, the ReEmber Terrain Mid ($110).

Colors: 7

  • Warm and soft
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Durable
  • Grippy
  • Affordable
  • Short upper doesn’t protect ankles from snow, gravel, etc.

Darn Tough, Midweight Ski & Snowboard Sock — $33.00

Available sizes: S-L

No winter kit would be complete without a pair of cozy, high-performance socks. My personal favorite are Darn Tough’s Midweight Ski & Snowboard socks, which are snug enough for indoor and outdoor adventures alike. Made in Vermont, these particular socks are made strategically with outdoor sports in mind, giving wearers serious cushion underfoot in addition to in the shin. You can say goodbye to blisters the moment you put them on as the “performance fit” means no slipping or sliding, while the merino wool blend ensures no sweat or moisture pooling. Best of all, they’re guaranteed for life. If they wear down or get hole-y, you can return them and get a new pair, no questions asked.

  • Soft and warm
  • Cushioning underfoot and in the shin for added protection
  • Temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking
  • Guaranteed for life

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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