Review: These trail runners are a slightly heavier duty version of regular New Balance shoes, coming fitted with a rock plate and toe protection, along with Gore-Tex waterproofing and a grippy rubber outsole.
Available in multiple widths.
Gore-Tex membrane for breathable waterproofing.
Hyrdo Hesion rubber outsole provides good traction.
Sizing runs small.
This is a versatile trail shoe that will serve you well in the winter months, keeping your feet protected while remaining lightweight and breathable.
Review: These are the winterized version of ON’s Cloudrunners, holding on to the springy, lightweight cushioning we love about ON, while adding a waterproof and insulated upper with a little more traction.
Waterproof and insulated for warm, dry feet.
Grippy rubber outsole.
Very well cushioned and comfortable.
Not suited to trail running.
Ideal for urban winter runs, this shoe will keep your feet cozy, warm and dry while also being well cushioned.
Nike Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Shield Running Shoe
Review: This is a lightweight, sleek running shoe with impressive traction by Swedish company, Icebug. The studs are designed to keep you balanced and stable while running on snow and ice.
Lightweight and well cushioned.
Durable ripstop nylon upper.
TPU weather shield provides water resistance.
Studded outsole for reliable traction on ice.
Low rise ankle will let in some water if you splash through a puddle.
Studs make them unsuitable for road running.
For the serious snow and ice runners, these are the best shoes if you’re looking for fail-safe traction in a lightweight package.
How to Choose the Best Running Shoes for Winter
First, we need to think about what the difference is between winter and summer running shoes.
Otherwise, why not just wear the same shoes all year round?
Well, you can, strictly speaking.
But, you’ll be less comfortable, and depending on the sorts of surfaces you’d like to run on, less safe.
Regular running shoes just don’t have the traction necessary to keep you safe on icy surfaces. They’re also likely to be less durable when getting wet every day, and colder too!
Some things will remain important in your running shoe regardless of the season.
For example, the right support for your foot type and the right heel-toe drop for your running style should not change with the season (unless you’re actively trying to transition towards a barefoot running style – in which case, a slipper winter probably isn’t the best time to do this).
So what does change?
What makes a good winter running shoe? Read on to find out!
The one thing that is absolutely non-negotiable when it comes to winter running shoes is traction.
The best kind of traction for ice includes the use of studs and spikes. But you’ll also want decent traction when running on wet roads (think: rubber outsole) and muddy trails (think: multidirectional lugs).
So, now we can agree that it’s not a winter running shoe unless it’s got plenty of traction.
Waterproofing is the Next Thing to Consider
However, how to achieve a waterproof winter running shoe is not as clear cut as it may seem.
After all, we all know what happens when you run through a puddle that goes over the top of your shoe: Your shoe fills up with water and you spend the rest of your run sloshing around with wet feet.
Unfortunately, if you like jumping in puddles, it doesn’t really matter whether your shoe is waterproof or not.
But there are things we can do to help minimize the sloshing.
Many winter running shoes on the market include a Gore-Tex membrane, chosen for its superior breathability and waterproofing.
The purpose of Gore-Tex is to keep you dry by allowing your sweat the chance to escape, while keeping water out.
But this is only going to be useful if you’re not running in torrential rain or through deep puddles that will fill your shoes regardless of what they’re made out of.
Also, the downside of most Gore-Tex running shoes is that once they get wet, they take a very long time to dry out, and they will hold onto the water inside your shoe, keeping your feet wetter than they would have been in regular mesh uppers.
So, how to optimize the right amount of warmth and waterproofing depends on the type of conditions you’ll be exposed to.
What might work for a someone running through the endless snow and below freezing temperatures of a Canadian winter could be quite different from someone dealing with endless rain and deep puddles, or whether that’s cold and a little damp.
Similarly, winter trail shoes are going to be quite different from winter road shoes.
If you’re mostly going to be running through snow and ice, Gore-Tex is a fantastic option that will definitely help to keep you warmer and dryer than you otherwise would be.
If you’re going to be running through drizzle and cold grey weather but think you can avoid the puddles in favor of keeping your feet dry, Gore-Tex will help here too.
However, if you’re going to be slogging it through downpours and splashing through deeper puddles or streams, you may be better off going for a quick drying shoe with a mesh upper that allows good drainage, and just making peace with having wet feet while you run.
At least you know that you won’t be waiting weeks for your shoes to dry once you get home!
Another way to counter wet feet, is to wear gaiters, or choose shoes with built in gaiters, or higher cuffs around the ankle.
However, if this isn’t your style, Gore-Tex socks could also serve to help keep your feet dry even after your shoes get wet.
Next on the List of Things to Look Out for is Insulation
Yes, you can just wear thick socks. This can be a great option.
But it may not always be enough.
Obviously, if you’re going the route of quick drying mesh shoes, insulation isn’t going to be part of the package. This is where Gore-Tex socks would come into play.
But, if you’re running through below zero temperatures and encountering more snow than rain, well-insulated shoes with a breathable inner liner will go a long way towards keeping your feet comfortable and warm.
Finally, comfort, comfort, comfort!
There is no point in spending ages looking for a shoe that fulfills all of the above criteria if it’s not comfortable!
Remember, always, always try your shoes on before you buy them and take them for a little jog up and down an aisle of the store to feel for the right amount of snugness in the fit.
Pay attention to the heel cup as you definitely don’t want a sloppy fit when running in slippery conditions.
To summarise, the best running shoes for winter weather will have significantly increased traction, a little more insulation for keeping warm and some water resistance or a Gore-Tex membrane.
Provided you’ve made sure to choose the right kind of support for your foot, and the right heel-toe drop for your running shoes, looking for these 3 characteristics should stand you in good stead.
There is definitely something on the list above for everyone, whether you’re hitting the mountain trails, running on icy roads, or through muddy forests, you won’t go wrong using this list as your starting point.
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Michael is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym builder. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason!