Essential Traction Gear for Winter Running

Smart choices for striding with confidence

With frigid temperatures, biting wind, all the layering and reduced daylight, winter running can be more about the mental fortitude than miles logged. Of course, treadmill runs are an option, but even the most dedicated treadmill runner gets cabin fever. When the sun’s out, the sky is blue and the temperatures tolerable, the last obstacle is worrying about slippery conditions. And, it’s a valid worry. But it shouldn’t get in the way of a good run! With this collection of traction aids and running shoes specifically designed for slippery conditions there’s nothing holding you back from running outside this winter.

READ MORE: Winter Running 101

Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra

If your planning a snowy off road run, these nimble, run-specific crampons are what you need. They boast 18 high-strength stainless steel spikes for stable footing on ice and snow, with durable double-linked chains and a Velcro strap keep the fit on the foot secure. ($70)

Yaktrax Run

A combination of removable spikes and steel coils delivers traction on slippery surfaces. They are anatomically designed with right/left orientations to provide a secure and comfortable fit, plus have reflective highlights for increased visibility. ($40)

La Sportiva Hobnail Kit

Every slippery surface has its own personality. The La Sportiva Hobnail kit allows you to customize your traction. Offering 18 corrosion resistant high temper tungsten alloy screw-in/out metal studs and an installation tool. Yes, you actually screw these into your shoes! We recommend selecting your pair of winter runners, adding screws in the pattern of your choice and keeping them by the door, so you’re ready to run in any conditions. ($55)

Kahtoola MICROSpikes

Icy terrain is tough on traction aids. MICROspikes stainless steel spikes and welded chains can stand up to winter abuse—one of our testers has a pair in its third winter of hard use! An elastomer harness helps tailor the fit. These come with a storage sack to prevent scratching the rest of your winter workout gear. ($70)

Salomon SpeedSpike CS

Salomon took the chassis of a technical trail running shoe and embedded 15 carbide spikes into the outsole lugs, a combination that provides exceptional traction on all wintry surfaces—wet or icy or dry. The shoe has a ClimaShield shell that keeps slush and wetness from soaking into the shoe and keeps feet warm in frigid conditions. At 10.7 ounces, the SpeedSpike feels light and nimble and secure in all types of winter conditions. ($170)

Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE +

This winter specific running shoe was designed from the ground up to improve traction on icy surfaces. The specially designed Vibram Arctic Grip outsole grip delivers worry-free traction on snow and ice-covered streets and trails. We literally tested them by running on a block of ice without a slip! ($150)

READ MORE: 7 Great News Shoes for Winter Running

Icebug DTS3

The BUGrip outsole has 19 carbide tip studs to keep you upright from start to finish. A Gore-Tex membrane protects you from cold, wet slush and a BOA closure system keeps the fit dialed in for a comfortably precise fit. ($210)




Lou Dzierzak

A full-time freelance writer based in Minneapolis, Lou Dzierzak has written about outdoor recreation since 1997. Although slow and steady, he’s completed multiple marathons, triathlons and finished Ironman Wisconsin before the midnight deadline.