The two words that best describe winter in St. Petersburg are “windy” and “wet”. In winter months, the temperature can vary from +5 to -30 degrees Celsius (41 to -22 Fahrenheit); for the most part, it stays somewhere between -5 and 0. But wind and humidity can sometimes make you feel like you are at the North Pole.

So here are a few ideas for how to dress to feel great during a typical Russian winter.


  • Protect your neck, head, hands and feet from cold. Most heat loss occurs in these areas. So hats, gloves, mittens, snoods, scarves and good boots are necessary.

Take note! Mittens are warmer than gloves, but gloves are, of course, more comfortable. You can choose a model with specially-coated fingertips that allow you to use your smartphone or tablet while staying warm.

  • Natural materials are not always a good choice. Leather boots can easily get wet and become uncomfortable. And it’s much colder in wet boots, which may cause you to catch a cold or flu. So make sure that your leather shoes are waterproof or just go for synthetic water-resistant shoes.
  • Longer is better. Knee-length coats, jackets and parkas will help you feel great during winter in St. Petersburg.
  • Layers! Maybe it’s not such a great idea to buy an extremely warm coat and wear it on top of your T-shirt. In wintertime, subway and other forms of public transit can be quite hot and stuffy, so you’ll need to be able to let in some air. And, nevertheless, there is central heating in most place, and the temperatures indoor can be somewhere about 17 to 20 degrees Celsius. It’s best to wear a warm jacket over an extra layer – like a sweatshirt or a cardigan.
  • Thermal underwear. It’s a necessary thing if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors walking, skiing and so on (or if it’s colder than -5). You can find synthetic thermal underwear at reasonable prices from brands like UNIQLO, Lapland, or if you prefer high-priced items made of merino wool, look at brands like JANUS. It is also a good idea to buy thermal socks or insoles.

Key-words for you when you are looking for new boots and jackets are membrana, polartec, Gore-Tex and Thinsulate. Be sure to read the care labels on your clothing carefully, as these materials may lose their properties due to improper care.

Some people prefer to wear down jackets (in Russian it’s called a “pukhovik”) in winter: they are warm, light-weight and cozy but also need special care. Choose a model made of water-resistant fabric.


There is a vast variety of brands in different price segments that are good enough for a Russian winter. Demix, Nordway and Outventure are quite reasonably priced; Tremit, Columbia and IcePeak cost more but you can still get good prices during sales. Didriksons, North Face, Patagonia, Luhta, Salomon, Jack Wolfskin are also popular.