If you live in a colder climate, you’ve got to face the fact that the weather isn’t always going to cooperate with your running from November until at least March. The best way to battle the snow, slush, ice and cold weather—not to mention the fact that you’re often running in the dark early in the morning or in the evening—is to wear shoes built specifically for those conditions. Here are seven of the best new shoes for getting your miles in this winter.
La Sportiva Tempesta GTX, $165, 11.7 oz., 10mm
The protective qualities of La Sportiva’s latest trail shoe impressed our wear-testers as running much lighter than it weighs. The all-weather upper is a flexible and cushioned application of Gore-Flex, featuring a scree guard that also shields out snow and slush. The big-tooth lugged sole offers generous traction on a wide variety of surfaces, wet and dry, while the upper secures easily with a single-pull lacing system. This shoe screams, “Bring on the slop!”
Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+ with Arctic Grip, $150, 9.4 oz., 4mm
One of the biggest excuses runners use to stick to a treadmill during the winter is fear of slipping on ice. The Peregrine 7 ICE+’s Vibram Artic Grip, with its imbedded all-surface-gripping fibers, enables you to stick where you’d otherwise slide, providing confidence-building form, even on glare ice. The newest Peregrine also features an Everun topsole for cushioning, protection and energy return on and off the trail. Additionally, the Peregrine has cold-temperature-enhanced flex, a wicking upper and an aggressive outsole pattern.
Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat 2, $130, 10.4 oz., 6mm
With eye-catching iridescent reflectivity and a water-repelling knit upper, the Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat 2 makes a top-flight winter trainer. The dual-layer midsole is pleasantly energetic and served up a snappy performance for our wear-testers, one that was also well-cushioned. The Ignite Nightcat 2 makes an efficient all-weather trainer that held up well over the distance. The street-friendly outsoles are well-suited for early morning or late-evening runs but not great for running in snow.
Icebug DTS3 RB9X GTX $180, 11.6oz, 10.2 oz., 12mm
As the name indicates, Icebug knows winter running conditions. Even though the DTS3 RB9X GTX doesn’t feature the company’s signature metal spikes, they do have a Gore-Tex upper and an outsole made to grip wet surfaces while providing the durability necessary to tolerate asphalt running. Testers found the BOA lacing system quite secure and enjoyed the foot-conforming tongue. These all-weather distance trainers are admirably cushioned and offer a hint of motion control while retaining impressive forefoot flex.
Altra King MT, $140, 9.5 oz., 0mm
The King MT’s 6.5mm-deep Vibram outsole lugs are tenacious enough that you’ll feel you are wearing full-length cross country spikes. The protection, cushioning and energy return from the encapsulated foam compound midsole give the King MT a consistent, durable and shock-attenuating ride over many a hard trail mile, not to mention a stable, secure ride on snow-packed roads or bike paths. A full-length rockplate only bolstered our test team’s confidence, as did the Velcro strap across the midfoot for quick lockdown on technical descents or gnarly scrambles.
Inov-8 Parkclaw 275 GTX $150, 9.6 oz., 4mm
The Parkclaw 275 is an early adopter of Gore-Tex’s new Invisible Fit technology, using a bonding technique instead of a bootie to eliminate extra material and the associated wrinkles and folds that can cause friction and inflexibility. The Parkclaw uses a hybrid tread pattern that is aggressive enough for the trail but not so much that it slowed our test team down on paved surfaces. The cushioning, low-profile feel and smooth heel-to-toe transition combined for big thumbs up for the Parkclaw. The shoe runs small, so consider going up a half size.
Adidas UltraBOOST All Terrain $220, 11.7 oz., 10mm
With a water-repelling knit upper and high collar that protects the ankle from intruding snow or slush, adidas’ UltraBOOST All Terrain is down to run, regardless of the weather. The Continental rubber outsole is designed to take on all surfaces and conditions and the midsole is equally versatile, retaining its cushioning and responsive qualities in both hot and cold temperatures. The upper of the neutral trainer fit our testers rather generously, appealing more to those with higher volume feet than narrow feet, for whom the UltraBOOST was loose.