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Winter is coming and with it the eternal conundrum of what to wear for matches and training sessions. How do you keep out the cold without sweating too much and without feeling restricted when you move? Here are a few things you might like to think about.
Base layers are an absolute must for the colder months. Having played for many years without them, I can safely say that they make a real difference. I've worn Kipsta's Keepdry 500 for a long time now and it's made playing in the cold a lot less difficult for me.
The Keepdry 500 helps retain your body heat as you exercise while wicking away perspiration. This means you stay warm without ending up with your shirt soaking wet at the end of the match. The fact that it adapts to your body temperature means you get just the right level of warmth to suit you. It's a slim-fit base layer that offers you natural freedom of movement.
There are a number of reasons why you should wear a base layer. First of all, you won't get as cold, which is no bad thing! But not shivering while out on the pitch can also have other unexpected benefits. One is that you can focus on your game and nothing else. You won't be tempted to overdo things during the warm-up or at the start of the match to keep warm. If you take pride in your appearance, you can't deny that a good base layer looks pretty stylish. If pretty much every pro wears one during the winter, then it must be for a good reason.
My advice to you is to get two. When you're training several times a week, it can be a pain to have to wash your one and only base layer after every session.
To get you through the winter, you're going to need a tracksuit with a reasonably close-fitting bottom half so you can run and control the ball without your trousers getting in the way. As for the top, my view is that a zip-up sweatshirt is more practical than a jacket (a sweatshirt is a tighter fit and its zip won't create a load of bunching like on a jacket). You'll also need a pair of gloves designed for football and which offer decent grip in the palm area to make ball handling easier. I suggest you get a breathable neck warmer too.
And when the weather's wet, you'll need a rain jacket to stay dry.
In winter, you've got much more stuff to fit into your kit bag. And when you're travelling to games, you'll need a bag that's up to the job.
There are several types of bag for you to carry your gear around in. The most important thing to think about when buying one is that you need compartments to separate all your stuff. You'll want a pocket for your boots to stop your entire bag stinking of sweaty feet after training. You'll also need a compartment for your dirty gear and another for your towel and shower gel. And a discreet side pocket for keeping your valuables in is useful too.