Weather-proof, waterproof, and with traction to handle snow, we’ve found eight shoes that will keep you running through the winter months.
The cold bite of winter is just around the corner. But that doesn’t mean you need to hit the treadmill. We’ve scoured the market to see what’s available for 2016 and found these winter-worthy kicks.
The Snow Machine – Salomon Snowcross 2. $200
Draped in a waterproof and breathable gaiter, and enhanced with nine carbide studs, Salomon’s Snowcross is a racy snow machine. In testing, the Snowcross provided superior traction over technical ground, where the aggressive studs chewed through the slop and the gaiters shed the snow.
Not for tame conditions, the spiked 12-ouncer felt clunky and clattered over the hard rock and pavement, limiting the Snowcross to winter’s worst days. But if you are fighting for space with your local snowplow, these are the shoes for you. You can read our full review of the earlier version of the Snowcross CS here.
Weight: 12.7 oz; Offset: 10-mm drop; 26-mm (heel), 16-mm (forefoot)
Ultra-Tested – Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Neoshell.
$150 $75 – $85
Our editor put these through an incredibly brutal test, running 30 miles through deep snow, mud and muck during the Grand Canyon 100 ultra-marathon. The verdict? These are among the best winter running shoes we’ve reviewed (click for full review).
The key is the use of Polartec Neoshell on the outside of the shoes, which keeps them dry on the inside even after 30 miles of hard running through insane muck. We did use gaiters in our test to keep snow and slop out of the top of the shoes, important because the test pair did not have a waterproof tongue.
The light Outdoor Research Ultra gaiter used in the test covered the lace area and ankle and is a good addition to this shoe (it has a gaiter garage) in extremely mucky conditions.
Weight:11.5 oz; offset: Zero drop (25mm stack height)
Debris-Free Runner – Adidas Adizero XT Boost. $140
A good running gaiter is hard to pull off, as they often bunch or cut into the ankle. But Adidas’ Adizero is the best we’ve seen. The breathable “debris sock” gaiter snugs the ankle and rolls smoothly into the tongue and heel cup to hug the foot and keep the shoe free of trail debris.
The Adizero has a narrow toe box, but it remains exceptionally stable underfoot due to its heel cup and plastic straps that help lock the foot in place.
All this protection runs over a Continental Race King outsole, inspiring mountain-bike-like grip on the trail.
The Adizero isn’t waterproof, which in our minds limits the shoe to the shoulder seasons. But it’s still a champ at shunning mud, muck, and trail debris.
Weight. 9.2 oz; offset: 10.5mm drop
Superior Traction – Icebug Aurora BUGrip. $180
Targeted at the road runner, the Aurora is the go-to shoe of choice for runners who can’t afford to skip a beat while training for the early spring season, with metal studs that chew into ice for a great grip.
Don’t need full steel studs? The Icebug Zeal accomplishes much of same snow-traction with hard plastic studs. We’ve even used it to run up Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort in the winter! (Full Icebug Zeal review here).
Weight: 11 ounces; offset: 8-mm drop
Waterproof Trail Runner – Merrell All Out Terra Ice. $180
Protected with a waterproof barrier and armed with nine carbide spikes, Merrell’s All Out Terra Ice is a sturdy winter runner that shines on verglassed road and trails. The synthetic outer repels the elements and the sturdy front rand protects the digits from hidden toe bashers lurking beneath the white stuff.
Unless you are plowing through ankle-deep snow, the All Out Terra Ice is a hearty shoe for winter training.
Weight: 12 oz; Offset: 6-mm drop
Crossover Trekker – Columbia Ventrailia OutDry Trail Shoe. $115
Bridging a gap between lightweight hiker and trail runner, Columbia’s waterproof Ventrailia is less expensive than the competition. The waterproof membrane is bonded to the exterior fabric. The welded synthetic overlays give the Ventrailia an exoskeleton for a little extra support and protection from wear and tear.
Weight: 12 oz; Offset: 16-mm (heel); 8-mm (forefoot)
Padded Puddle-pusher – Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Climate. $95
It wasn’t too long ago when Skechers conjured images of bum-toning rockers or skate shoes. Today, Sketchers has pushed heavily into performance and reaped significant street cred with its high cushion, rocker profile, and plush interior.
The 9 oz all-weather GOrun offers a maximal cushion at minimal weight. And because it’s waterproof, it won’t weigh you down as you bash through the winter slop.
Weight: 9.3 oz; Offset: 4-mm; 27-mm (Heel), 23-mm (forefoot)
Pure Grip – La Sportive Mutant. $130
La Sportiva’s cleat-like tread takes a bite of terra firma, propelling you across the trail. The stretchy upper and overlapping tongue hug the feet snugly and are ridiculously comfortable … for the right foot (read: narrow).
The shoe’s slightly askew lacing system ties each shoe off to the side, over the metatarsals, rather than squarely over the top. The lace ends intelligently tuck into a mesh pocket on the tongue.
Bottom line: the Mutant is a high-performing, versatile trail runner that excels navigating gnarly, middle-distance trails for those with narrow feet.
Weight: 11 oz; Offset: 10-mm
More: La Sportiva
Weatherproof Roady – Saucony Ride 8 GTX. $140
Saucony’s Ride series is a neutral cushion shoe for mid-volume feet. Throw in Gore-Tex, and the Ride 8 promises happy miles in wet conditions.
Light enough for tempo runs but stout enough to use as an everyday trainer, Saucony’s PowerGrid EVA provides plush cushion at a low weight penalty, ensuring a smooth and responsive run.
Designed with a new type of waterproofing called Gore FLEX, the company claims a weight savings of 20 percent over previous waterproof models. This winterized version of the popular road-running shoe is ready for urban miles in all the slop winter throws your way.
Weight: 9.8 oz Offset: 8-mm