Add in the potential hazards and increased physical demands of running on snow or ice, and it’s clear that winter running is an additional workout. But just because you have the guts and determination to hit the miles outside doesn’t mean your regular running shoes are up to the task. Winter running shoes need to be able to withstand the elements of the season—cold temperatures, snow, hail, freezing rain, and icy roads—and keep you safe all the while.
What should you look for in winter running shoes?
Podiatrist Mark Mendeszoon, DPM, partner of Precision Orthopedic Specialties Inc. and owner of the Achilles Running Shop in Ohio, says if you’re running on snowy roads, bring a pair. trail running shoes. “These shoes often have a water-resistant or waterproof upper to keep feet dry,” he explains.
Snow or no snow, anyone out in cold weather wants to make sure there’s enough room in the toe box to make room for thick, warm socks for a winter run while still enough room for your toes to move. Look for insulated uppers (rather than the breathable mesh uppers you might want in summer running shoes) to help keep your feet warm. Another key feature is a high-traction sole with good traction to minimize slips or falls on any ice, wet or snowy roads.
You could also consider a “snow track” device to prevent slipping, such as a YakTrax, or other micro-tacks that you can attach to the sole of your shoe for better traction, says Dr. Mendeszoon. But keep in mind that you’re only “freezing” a portion of your running shoes this way because these methods won’t make your shoes any warmer. (They will also wear out quickly if you run on them anywhere do not have snow.)
Podiatrist winter running shoes
Mendeszoon suggests a few specific running shoes that have the features you need in the winter. “All of these shoes are equipped with the right material to help prevent slips and falls, insulate the feet and keep them dry,” he says.
Brooks Cascadia 16 GTX — $160.00
- The sturdy GORE-TEX top helps prevent water and snowfall.
- Superior traction and grooves in the midsole allow for enhanced adaptability on rough terrain, perfect for snowy and icy days.
- Some reviewers report that the fit is on the smaller, narrower side, with the material being stiff.
Hoka Speedgoat 4 GTX — $128.00
Originally $160, now selling for $128
- The wide forefoot provides plenty of room for thick socks.
- According to some reviewers, the hard blade design can scratch the front of your ankle.
Saucony Peregrine 12 GTX — $150.00
- At 9.2 ounces, this is a lighter shoe than some other winter running shoes.
- Peregrines are renowned for their excellent traction on a variety of surfaces—wet and dry.
- Reviewers report that the toe box runs tight.
Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX — $129.00
Originally $160, now on sale for $129
- Cushion provides a springy ride.
- The ankle design helps keep small stones and dirt out of the shoe.
- According to some reviewers, the waterproof GORE-TEX wears out quickly.
Limits of winter running shoes
That’s right, wearing the right winter running shoes can help protect your feet from the elements. Mendeszoon notes, “However, these shoes can be a bit stiffer and heavier than regular running shoes. “In some cases, these shoes are not as flexible and may not be as light or comfortable as non-winter shoes.”
Winter running shoes also require a little extra care to ensure they keep you safe mile after mile. “It’s important that you lace up and unlace your shoes, and make sure that when you take off your shoes, they’re in an area of airflow to keep them dry,” says Dr. Mendeszoon. He suggests spraying them with a disinfectant to try to minimize bacteria, viruses and fungi. And to keep a close eye on your mileage: “Most shoes that go 500 miles can start to fail, and especially with winter boots, the outer grip can come off, causing slips. ,” he said.
Also, remember that protecting yourself from the elements goes beyond having the right pair of shoes. Dr Mendeszoon says: Think: wear insulated socks and appropriate gear such as hats and gloves. “It’s also important to stay hydrated,” he said. “Even though it’s cold, we still sweat a lot and don’t want to get hypothermia if we neglect to stay hydrated.”
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