Working out in a Chicago winter means more than dressing in layers: you need performance fabrics, comfortable leggings and something to keep your extremities from freezing and falling off at the end of your session. Then there are perfectly fitting kicks and undergarments. Any of these Chicago fitness shops will supply you with the gear and a cheer to get through the winter.
(Photo Credit: Fleet Feet Sports Chicago's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Fleet Feet Sports Chicago’s Facebook)


Fleet Feet Sports Chicagoland
150  W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60605
(312-788-3338
www.fleetfeetchicago.com

If you want to challenge yourself in the Soldier Field 10-Mile over Memorial Day weekend or any of the upcoming spring and autumn races, you have to train no matter what kind of sloppy weather Chicago tosses your way. Fleet Feet Sports Chicagoland helps with gear and training programs created by the athletic industry’s top coaches. Staff will fit you with the best shoe and sports bra based on your physiology and workout schedule. Expect to find traditional and popular brands as well as lesser known essentials. Fleet Feet has six Chicagoland locations so you don’t lose your fit.

Dick Pond Athletics
1772 Algonquin Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
(847) 496-7108
www.dickpondathletics.com

Dick Pond has been providing athletic shoes, clothing and accessories since 1969 when the only “run” for a Chicagoan was a snag in someone’s panty hose. Offering well-known brands like Asiscs, Saucony, Nike, Newton, Adidas and others, staff at Dick Pond conduct visit a personalized analysis of your gait, insuring the best fit for your foot so you can continue your workout program throughout the Midwestern winter.

Universal Sole
3052 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 868-0893
www.universalsole.com

According to Joel Feinberg, the GM of Universal Sole Lakeview, there are miles of reasons to visit the shop this winter, not the least of which is it’s the last independently running store left in the City of Chicago. “We are not a franchise, we are not owned by a conglomerate,” Feinberg explained. “We are owned by someone that lives a mile from the store, kids attend local public schools and we are very community focused.” That independent nature and the breadth of knowledge (the owner and GM boast over 50 years of experience in the running community) translates to to a staff that understands fit, as well as how all the major brands and models of footwear feel on feet. But wait…there’s more: Staff will fit you with athletic clothing that allows you to keep comfortable in the cold.

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Lively Athletics
109 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 358-0605
www.livelyathletics.com

You won’t see yourself coming and going on the the 606 this winter if you get outfitted at Lively in Oak Park. “Want bright colors and bold patterns?” questions co-owner Anne Pezalla, who is also an RRCA-certified running coach and weight-lifting enthusiast. “We carry the Spanish brand Desigual, which is less common around Chicago, so you won’t run into any other runners on the Lake Front Trial wearing the exact same periwinkle blue coat. Is function the top of your list? Icebreakers and Sugoi make the warmest, most durable pieces you’ll ever buy.” Lively carries items you can’t find elsewhere like tech tees custom designed for Lively by Berwyn-based artist Megan Lee and a line of cozy sweats designed by illustrator Dani Pancakes. If you need to access the Garmin during a winter run, staff get you into a coat with a hidden wrist zipper. “Is this your first time braving the Chicago cold,” she asks. “We can answer every question and help you decide which items you need.”

Lolë Atelier Southport
3434 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 880-9642
www.lolewomen.com

If you feel as though style is part of your fitness program and Rachel Zoe will be at the finish line judging your look, Lolë Atelier Southport’s accoutrement should be on your checklist. It’s not all about the look, however — the Southport shop stocks technical, easy-care fabrics but with a decidedly feminine fit. Even the undies sound lovely — “Lolë’s Poetry in Motion seamless underpinnings.”

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Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.