Winter Dog Walking Apparel


You might think that dressing in jeans, a heavy coat, boots, and a wool sweater would be the ideal apparel for walking your dog in winter, or you could be of the mind set of what does it matter what I wear, as long as it keeps me warm.

Yesterday's winter apparel.
Courtesy of the Movie "A Christmas Story"
As an avid walker prior to my Chloe walking days, I discovered early on that it’s important to not only wear the proper winter attire, but to understand why you should. It essentially comes down to two words, “comfort” and “flexibility”.  First, comfort in the sense of warmth, breathability, and fabric weight, and flexibility where the clothes can adapt to changing temperatures of your body and the outside environment. 

I should point out that if you are comfortable during the walking activity, you are also to be more inclined in walking your dog each day, which of course translates to daily exercising of your pet and yourself. Dog walking is unlike running, or even normal walking because of the stop and go nature of the activity as your pet will sometimes fool around just sniffing the ground in a standstill position.

Let’s take a look at the “Outer Layer” of clothing, which consists of the jacket, pant, gloves, hat, shoes and socks.

JACKET - The jacket is my favorite part of the winter apparel components because it allows the greatest amount of flexibility in regulating your body temperature. Over the years I have tried multiple jacket types, materials and brand manufacturers, but personally, I like a fully zippered fleece jacket because it breathes quite well, allows temperature regulation with the front zipper, it is soft to the touch, and has a good material weight to warmth ratio. In fact fleece comes in various weights such as 100, 200 and 300, where the higher number designates a thicker material for greater warmth. For temperatures below 40 degrees, I wear a “North Face Denali”, a 300-weight fleece jacket that has four zippered pockets for carrying Chloe’s dog treats, poop bags, an iPhone and a pocket camera.  In addition there are underarm zippers that allow you to vent the jacket for additional temperature regulation. This is especially important here, because of the high desert temperature swings that occur between periods of brilliant sunshine and overcast skies. The Denali design which is a well tailored product, also includes a nylon fabric covering over the fleece on the upper body and shoulder areas for increased durability and water resistance against snow and light rain.

PANT - I purposely don’t wear cotton jeans primarily because they are heavy, and cotton is typically poor at insulating your legs. Instead I wear the “Mizuno Breath Thermo” pant that combines advanced fabric technology that changes your body moisture to heat. Extremely lightweight and warm when using an additional base layer underneath, the Mizuno product has proven to be very durable in daily use.

GLOVES - When cold temperatures calls for covering my hands, my gloves are “Mizuno Breath Thermo” as well. They are lightweight, but have excellent dexterity for getting things from my jacket and pant pockets along with holding a leash. Originally designed for runners, the thickness of the material has been adequate for keeping my hands warm.

HAT - Since I don’t normally take Chloe walking below 20 degrees, a low profile cotton baseball hat manufactured by “Adams” or “Alternative Apparel” is usually sufficient for keeping my head warm, and the sun out of my eyes. As an option, I will alternate with a merino wool pullover hat if the temperatures drop below 15 degrees, or if there are especially windy conditions.

SHOES - My preferred shoe is the “New Balance” brand, which I have found to be comfortable, durable and lightweight. I have also experimented with their various walking, running, and cross training designed shoes as well, but that’s for another discussion and blog entry.

SOCKS - Wool is my first choice in a mid-weight cushioning sock for their warmth, and in their ability to wick moisture away, as opposed to cotton or nylon fabrics. My preference for durability and comfort are the “Thorlos”, “Smartwool” and “Goodhew” brands.

You might think that the Outer Layer of clothing is all you need, but the art of being comfortable and dressing for warmth also comes down to wearing a “Base Layer”. For my winter apparel there are two components that make up this base layer:

TOP BASE LAYER - Is a zippered thermal insulating shirt. Fabricated from synthetic material, this is lightweight with a half zipper for again regulating your body temperature as the walking activity increases or the outside environment dictates. Presently I wear a “Lands End Thermaskin Heat” pullover. This is a midweight stretchable fabric top of 100% polyester material that generates heat by absorbing body moisture, is breathable, wicks moisture to keep you dry, feels soft to the touch, and has a half-zippered stand up collar.

BOTTOM BASE LAYER - Is essentially a thinner version of the outer layer pant component. Fabricated from synthetic material, it provides warmth by wicking moisture away from the skin, is lightweight, breathable, stretchable, and soft to the touch. My present brand is the “Kenyon” 100% polyester mid-weight base layer bottom.

Winter dog walking apparel.

If you’re still interested in winter dog walking apparel, and have managed to get through the detailed paragraphs above, you may be wondering if I spend all of my money on dog walking clothes? The simple answer is “No”. I’m a comparison shopper by nature, which is a result of being an architect where comparing, selecting, and choosing the appropriate building materials is a daily occurrence. Thus I have learned when and who to buy some of the more expensive, and technical clothing that I mentioned at a discount, especially since I use the Internet for most of my purchasing.  A few of my favorite clothing websites are:

Finally, even though its winter and it’s cold outside, there should be no excuses as to why you can’t take your dog walking.

1 comment :

  1. We tend to find that THREE pro dog walker walks per week, and one or two owner off lead dog walks per week, ensuring the dog is walked EVERY morning before work, is the minimum that will see any kind of speed or increase in a dog's social development.
    dog kennels


Copyright © 2019 My Dog Chloe & Me
Web Savvy Designs. Out of the FlyBird's Box.