How to dress for Finnish winter

Are you coming to Jyväskylä during winter and aren’t entirely sure about what to wear? Luckily we have gathered you some tips about clothing for the colder season.


The number one rule for getting dressed for winter is layering clothes and having some space between different layers. Layering helps with keeping the body heat in. It is also recommended to have space between layers: this way air between the fabrics will keep you warm.

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Everything starts with a good base layer: it usually means a pair of long johns and long-sleeved undershirt. Best material for the base layer is merino wool, which warms and breathes at the same time. If  you are willing to make some investment in winter clothing, you can find a set of merino wool underclothes in most supermarkets in Finland. If you can't wear wool, bamboo based fabric is a decent option. For colder weathers you might want to pack a fleece jacket or a sweater for an extra layer.

For the outer layer you will need a good winter coat or jacket and a pair of outdoor pants. It is recommended that the coat is thick, wind-proof and maybe a little bigger  than usually: in that way you will have more space between the base layer and the coat for air to get warm. Water resistant and windproof outdoor pants are recommended for any longer time spent outside or with outdoor sport activities like skiing or ice-skating.

Shoes (preferably boots) should be warm and suitable for winter - sneakers won't do! A tip from Finns: choose boots one size bigger than usual. If the shoes are too small and your feet don't fit comfortably, it is very likely for your feet to get cold fast. Shoes and socks are recommended to be long enough so that they will keep your ankles warm and safe from occasional snow and wind. You can also keep layering in mind for socks in shoes. In colder weathers you might want to wear woolen socks in addition to normal socks. And don't worry if you can't knit - woolen socks can be bought in most supermarkets in Finland.

Lastly you will want to keep your hands, neck and head warm. Pack your gloves, scarf and a thick beanie with you. Did you know that most of the body heat you lose in cold weather actually leaves your body from your head? This is why wearing a warm beanie is crucial. The layering rule works for gloves too: you can pack an extra pair with you for colder or windier weather. If you want to look really Nordic, choose a pair of mittens instead of gloves.


These tips will keep you warm during the Finnish winter. Keep in mind that weather in Finland can be different during each year: February can be anything from zero-degree weather and rain to –20 degrees and freezing wind. In these situations different layering options will keep your clothing suitable for all weathers.

   A packing list for Finnish Winter:

   - Long underpants
   - Long-sleeved undershirt
   - Long and thick socks
   - Fleece jacket or a sweater for colder weathers
   - Windproof winter jacket (preferably a long coat)
   - Outdoor pants
   - Winter boots
   - Woolen socks
   - Beanie, scarf and gloves or mittens

Want to experience the Finnish winter? Join our Winter intensive course in Finnish language and culture!