It always comes down to the right gear, no matter the season, or condition. Today we’ll focus on one of the most important pieces of kit for keeping your winter cardio up: Shoes. Choosing the right shoes for winter workouts outdoors is crucial for comfort, safety, and performance. Here are our top picks for winter running footwear.
Made famous by special forces teams moving quickly through the desert, those same overly-aggressive lugs provide excellent traction in snowy conditions. The GTX stands for Gore-Tex, meaning they are waterproof, keeping your feet warmer and more responsive on longer workouts. In the summer, these shoes are not my top pick for a long run, but my go-to for hunting, hiking, and off-trail activities. But in the winter, the stiffer sole, big lugs, and unique lace-up system provides a stable base in loose conditions that I really love.
Another gore-tex membraned shoe designed to keep your feet dry when the elements are cold and wet. The higher gaiter on this shoe also helps keep snow from getting inside, and while the lugs are nearly as big as the Salomon, they provide great traction on generally flat and snowy surfaces. For those who pronate like I do, these shoes, with a very soft sole, do have a propensity to encourage ankle roll, so keep an eye out for that.
With its sock-like Primeknit upper, paired with COLD.RDY technology and water-repellent insulation, the Terrex fits snugly around the foot for a comfortable, warm fit that reaches higher up the leg than the rest of the shoes on this list. In addition, thanks to the waterproof GORE-TEX membrane, even difficult wet conditions are no problem. Traction is modest, and decent, though not as grippy as the Salomon.
More of a wet weather shoe than a winter shoe, the Challenger GTX features the same great Gore-tex to keep you dry, and extremely soft sole allowing you to stack miles with less stress on your joints. The tread is unique, however, and according to Hoka, designed after an ‘off-road tire. It features smaller, tightly spaced lugs in the center, and larger, more aggressive lugs at the perimeter designed for improved traction on uneven terrain.
Here’s a wild one - Swedish shoemaker Icebug specializes in shoes for cold-weather running. The NewRun has exceptional grip on icy, snow-covered roads and paths due to its 117 carbide steel studs in their soles. The Boa fit system is great when wearing gloves, but you won’t want to wear these on pavement too often as it’ll wear them out. But, if you’re a person running on beaten down, icy trails, this may be your go to!