What to Wear in Moscow in Winter

Winter in Moscow is an enchanting experience, characterized by snow-covered landscapes, twinkling lights, and a festive atmosphere. However, the city’s winter weather can be harsh and demanding, with temperatures often plummeting below freezing. The average temperature ranges from -10°C (14°F) to -15°C (5°F), but it can feel colder due to the wind chill. Therefore, dressing appropriately is crucial to enjoy all that Moscow has to offer during this season.

Essential Winter Clothing for Moscow

Layering: The Key to Staying Warm

Layering is the most effective strategy to combat Moscow’s frigid temperatures. This method traps heat between layers, providing superior insulation. Here's a breakdown of the essential layers:

1. Base Layer: The base layer is the first line of defense against the cold. Opt for moisture-wicking materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics. Avoid cotton as it retains moisture, which can make you feel colder. Thermal tops and bottoms are excellent choices.

2. Middle Layer: This layer acts as insulation, retaining body heat. Fleece jackets, down vests, or wool sweaters are ideal. These materials are lightweight yet effective at trapping warmth.

3. Outer Layer: The outer layer protects you from wind, snow, and rain. A high-quality, waterproof, and windproof winter coat is essential. Look for coats with features such as insulated linings, hoods, and adjustable cuffs to keep the elements out.

Choosing the Right Winter Coat

When selecting a winter coat for Moscow, prioritize warmth, protection, and comfort. Down-filled jackets are highly recommended due to their excellent insulation properties. Ensure your coat is long enough to cover your hips for added warmth. Additionally, coats with fur-lined hoods can provide extra protection against wind and snow.

Footwear: Keeping Your Feet Warm and Dry

Winter Boots

Proper footwear is crucial in Moscow's winter. Insulated and waterproof boots are a must to keep your feet warm and dry. Look for boots with thick, non-slip soles to navigate icy and snowy sidewalks safely. Brands like Sorel, Columbia, and Timberland offer high-quality winter boots designed for extreme conditions.


Pair your winter boots with thermal or wool socks. These socks provide better insulation and moisture-wicking properties compared to regular cotton socks. Consider layering a thin liner sock under a thicker sock for added warmth and comfort.

Accessories: Essential Add-Ons for Winter Comfort

Hats and Beanies

A significant amount of body heat is lost through the head, making a good hat or beanie indispensable. Opt for wool or fleece-lined hats that cover your ears for maximum warmth. Balaclavas or neck gaiters can offer additional protection for your face and neck against biting winds.

Gloves and Mittens

Keeping your hands warm is vital. Insulated gloves or mittens are the best choices. Mittens tend to be warmer than gloves because they allow your fingers to share warmth. Look for waterproof options to keep your hands dry in the snow.

Scarves and Neck Warmers

A thick scarf or neck warmer can protect your neck and face from the cold. Wool or cashmere scarves are excellent choices due to their warmth and softness. Ensure you can wrap it around multiple times for added insulation.

Special Considerations for Extreme Cold

Thermal Underwear

On particularly cold days, thermal underwear can provide an additional layer of warmth. These are designed to be worn under your regular clothing and can make a significant difference in maintaining body heat.

Hand and Foot Warmers

Disposable hand and foot warmers are convenient for extra cold days. They can be placed in gloves, boots, or pockets to provide hours of additional warmth.


Sunglasses or goggles can protect your eyes from the glare of the sun on the snow, which can be surprisingly bright. Polarized lenses are particularly effective at reducing glare and protecting your eyes.

What Not to Wear in Moscow’s Winter

Avoid certain items of clothing that are not suited for Moscow’s winter climate:

Cotton Clothing: Cotton retains moisture and loses its insulating properties when wet. Avoid cotton socks, pants, and tops.

Short Jackets: Jackets that do not cover your hips can leave you feeling cold. Opt for longer coats for better protection.

Fashion Boots: High-heeled or non-insulated fashion boots are not practical for Moscow’s winter. Prioritize functionality over style when it comes to footwear.

Practical Tips for Staying Warm

Stay Active: Walking and moving around generates body heat. Try to keep active to stay warm.

Take Breaks Indoors: If you feel too cold, take regular breaks in heated indoor spaces to warm up.

Hydrate: Staying hydrated helps maintain your body’s ability to regulate temperature.

Monitor Weather Reports: Check the weather forecast daily to dress appropriately for the conditions.

Embrace the Winter Wonderland

Moscow in winter is a magical place, offering unique experiences such as ice skating in Red Square, visiting the snow-covered Kremlin, and exploring festive Christmas markets. By dressing appropriately, you can comfortably enjoy all the wonders this vibrant city has to offer during the winter months.


Experiencing Moscow in winter is a unique and unforgettable adventure, but it requires careful planning and the right wardrobe. By focusing on layering, choosing the right winter coat, insulated boots, and essential accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves, you can stay warm and comfortable in the harshest conditions. Avoiding unsuitable clothing such as cotton and fashion boots, and staying active, hydrated, and aware of the weather, will further enhance your winter experience in Moscow. Embrace the winter wonderland, and with the proper attire, enjoy all the spectacular sights and activities this vibrant city has to offer.


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