Best Winter Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated

One of the best cures for the winter blues is a nice outdoor run. Whether you’re trying to soak up as much sunlight as possible or just get out of the house for a few minutes to ward off cabin fever, going out for a jog in the winter can do as much for you mentally as it can physically. But running may only add to your winter blues if you don’t have proper winter shoes. Although most of us think we can get by just fine year-round with our regular runners, the truth is we need different features in our shoes when we run in cold weather. So, while your current pair of running shoes will most likely get you from point A to point B this winter, running in shoes designed to stand up to winter conditions will provide some advantages you may not realize you need and will help you have a safer and more enjoyable run.

Last Updated: March 25, 2018
By Tenby Lloyd:

In addition to the top 10 list of the best shoes for winter running, this page has also been updated to include a Criteria section and a FAQs section. The criteria section lists the various properties and features we looked for in the shoes we researched for our list, and FAQs section has answer to some frequently-asked questions regarding running in winter. We’ve added these sections to our page to inform you and help you know how to choose the right shoes for running this winter, so make sure you check them out you’ve finished reading through our list!

Featured Recommendations

Brooks Ghost 10
  • Brooks Ghost 10
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Energizing cushion
  • Great support
  • Price: See Here
Salomon Speedcross 4
  • Salomon Speedcross 4
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Speedcross lug pattern
  • Quicklace enclosure
  • Price: See Here
Adidas Vigor Bounce
  • Adidas Vigor Bounce
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Energizing comfort sole
  • Supportive synthetic cage
  • Price: See Here

Because we believe having proper shoes is essential for winter running, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best winter running shoes out there. We looked at the features and ratings for a whole range of shoes and narrowed what we found down to the ten shoes that will provide what you need to make the most of your runs this winter. Have a look through our list and the descriptions we’ve included, and make sure to read through our “Criteria” and “FAQs” sections where we list the criteria we looked for when we put together our list and answer some frequently-asked questions about winter running.

 

 

10 Best Winter Running Shoes

 

 

 

1. Brooks Ghost 10

At the top of our list of the best winter running shoes is the Ghost 10 from Brooks. This lightweight running shoe offers neutral arch support with an energizing cushioning system that will help your feet last longer when you’re running in the cold. This shoe hits all our marks for a great winter running shoe and is designed to help you achieve your winter running goals.
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Energizing Cushion
The high-energizing cushioning system in the Brooks Ghost 10 helps your feet from getting fatigued, meaning your feet will feel better and last longer when you’re out running this winter.

Lightweight and Breathable Construction
In addition to energizing your feet, the construction of the Ghost 10 is lightweight and breathable. Your feet won’t tire from the weight, and they’ll stay dry even on long runs.

Cost and Value
The Brooks Ghost 10 falls right in the middle of our price range for winter running shoes. The Brooks name and standard of quality make this shoe well worth the investment.
Pros
  • Neutral arch support
  • Flexible mesh upper
  • Lightweight synthetic overlays
  • Full-length segmented crash pad
  • Flex-groove sole
Cons
  • Durability issues

2. Salomon Speedcross 4

If you’re looking for a running shoe that can handle tough winter terrain, then look no further than the Salomon Speedcross 4 trail running shoe. This lightweight, highly-cushioned shoe is designed to give you a custom, comfortable fit and comes equipped with the legendary Speedcross lug-pattern outsole, meaning you’ll be able to grip and go on the harshest surfaces during your winter runs.
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Grip
One of the greatest dangers we face when we run in winter is hitting a slick surface and injuring ourselves. The lug pattern on the bottom of the Speedcross 4 will you give you the edge over winter hazards.

Comfortable Fit
The EVA-shaped footbed, molded EVA sock liner, and Sensifit design help give you a custom fit for your foot that will provide the comfort and support you need to get the most out of your winter runs.

Cost and Value
Depending on the style shoe you want, you can snag a pair of the Speedcross 4 trail runners for a great price. The quality and features of this shoe make it a great bargain!
Pros
  • Quicklace enclosure system
  • EVA-shaped footbed
  • Lightweight and highly-cushioned design
  • Made from recycled content
  • 2-year warranty
Cons
  • Sizes run small

3. Altra Lone Peak 3

The Lone Peak 3 from Altra is another great all-terrain trail running shoe that will help you get the most out of your winter runs. It’s been designed to give you maximum comfort when you run and to keep you safe by protecting your feet against rocky or slick surfaces. If comfort and protection are priorities for you when you run, then we highly recommend giving this shoe a shot.
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Comfort
The Lone Peak 3 combines a fully-cushioned zero drop sole and a footshape toe box to give you the fit and comfort you need and help you dominate the running trail this winter.

Grip
These shoes were designed to stand up against tough, rocky, mountain terrain, so you can wear them and be confident that you’ll be able to handle any environment you run in this winter.

Cost and Value
The Lone Peak 3 falls in the middle of our price range, so it’s a great option for those who want to get serious about winter running but don’t want to spend a lot on a proper pair of shoes.
Pros
  • Improved upper support
  • 5mm contour footbed
  • Dual-layer midsole
  • Toe box accommodates foot splay
  • Foot guard protects from rocks and debris
Cons
  • May be too narrow for some runners
  • Minimal arch support

4. Salomon Spikecross 3

4. Salomon Spikecross 3
Our second entry from Salomon is the Spikecross 3 trail running shoe. This shoe is designed to give you great grip and comfort and helps you run faster and longer in winter conditions. It’s a lightweight shoe that hugs your feet and gives them the cradle and support they need to help you make the most of your winter runs.
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Fit
Nothing increases your risk of getting a running injury than a poorly-fitting shoe, and the risk increases when you’re out in winter terrain. The Spikecross 3 is designed to fit your foot and keep you from hurting yourself when you run.

Control
The Spikecross 3 is a lightweight and flexible shoe that still gives you great control when you run. The beefy lug-pattern sole helps you maintain grip even on slick or uneven surfaces.

Cost and Value
Like the Speedcross 4 above, the price for this model varies depending on the color scheme you choose. Regardless of the look, however, its design and features make it well worth what you’ll pay for it.
Pros
  • Mesh uppers
  • Waterproof, breathable Climate Shield membrane
  • Non-marking sole
  • Ortholite foam cushioning
  • Quicklace enclosure system
Cons
  • Not suitable for wearing indoors

5. Adidas Vigor Bounce

5. Adidas Vigor Bounce
Our first entry from Adidas is the Vigor Bounce Trail Runner. It’s designed to hold up in bad winter conditions and will give you the control and comfort you need to have a successful run. It has been outfitted with an impressive rubber outsole that will give you grip on slick surfaces and a breathable mesh upper to make sure your feet stay ventilated.
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Energizing Comfort
The folks at Adidas didn’t decide to name this shoe the “Vigor Bounce” for no reason. It’s designed to provide support and comfort to help your feet stay energized and invigorated during your run.

Grip
The Vigor Bounce comes fitted with an ATR outsole that essentially acts like a winter tire for your feet. Its grippy texture will help you maintain control over your winter run.

Cost and Value
This trail runner is the most affordable shoe on our list. Considering all the features Adidas has packed into this shoe at such an affordable price, you have no excuse for not giving it a try.
Pros
  • Neutral support
  • Breathable air mesh uppers
  • Padded collar
  • Supportive synthetic cage
Cons
  • Sizes run large

6. Adidas Terrex Agravic

6. Adidas Terrex Agravic
The Terrex Agravic from Adidas is one tough winter running shoe. It’s been outfitted with waterproof Gore-Tex and durable rubber to help you tackle any winter terrain. Its lightweight construction helps your feet stay energized, which means you can extend your runs without worrying about getting fatigued. It’s a great all-around running shoe to get you where you’re going this winter.
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Waterproof Materials
This shoe is made with Gore-Tex, the top name in waterproofing, so you can wear them knowing your feet will stay dry this winter, even when you’re running through snow or mud.

Durability
In addition to the protection provided by Gore-Tex, this shoe also utilizes a continental rubber bike tire outsole to not only give you grip but also to protect your feet when you hit tough winter terrain.

Cost and Value
These shoes are on the high end of our price range, but considering they’re made with materials like Gore-Tex, EVA, and continental rubber, they definitely give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Pros
  • Lug-pattern outsole
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof construction
  • Continental rubber sole
  • Abrasion-resistant seams
Cons
  • Not insulated
  • May take a while to break in

7. Hoka One One Speedgoat 2

7. Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
The Speedgoat 2 has been redesigned and improved to provide better fit, stability, and durability than its predecessor. It comes with a wide platform and toe box that will give you greater stability when you’re running on uneven surfaces. These shoes are designed to help you “go everywhere” and “run everything” and provide the stability and durability you need to tackle all kinds of tough terrain.
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Grip
The outsoles on the Speedgoat 2 have multidirectional 5mm Vibram MegaGrip lugs, so you’ll be able to maintain grip whether you choose to run on the road or on the trail.

Stability
The Speedgoat 2 has also been given a wider outsole and toe box. Having a wider platform increases the amount of contact you make with the ground, thereby providing more stability when you’re out running this winter.

Cost and Value
These shoes cost a little more than the average shoe on our list, but Hoka is known for providing high-quality shoes, so they’re well-worth a bigger investment on the front end.
Pros
  • Vibram MegaGrip outsoles
  • Multidirectional lug pattern
  • CMEVA foam midsole
  • Stability midfoot cage
  • Wide toe box
Cons
  • Poor ventilation

8. Nike Air Zoom Structure 20

8. Nike Air Zoom Structure 20
The Air Zoon Structure 20 from Nike is a great running shoe that comes in a wide variety of stylish color combinations. This shoe is designed to provide great fit, support, and ventilation, all of which you will want on your winter runs. The forefoot provides great cushioning for your foot, and the grippy outsole provides traction and durability to help you conquer the worst winter has to offer.
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Lightweight
The last thing you want to experience during your winter run is fatigue from a heavy shoe. The Air Zoom Structure 20 provides protection and support without weighing you down.

Durability
This shoe is built to last. The polyester and synthetic plastic construction combined with a durable rubber outsole will help you get the best of the running trail this winter.

Cost and Value
The various color options give this shoe a wide price range, putting it either in the high or the low end, depending on the scheme you choose. But whether you’re concerned more about look or price, this shoe is a great bargain.
Pros
  • Dynamic fit
  • Flymesh construction for ventilation
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Honeycomb outsole pattern
  • Wide range of color options
Cons
  • Somewhat stiff

9. Saucony Peregrine 7

9. Saucony Peregrine 7
The folks at Saucony are renowned for producing high-quality running shoes, and the Peregrine 7 is no exception. Its flex shell gives it a flexible, dynamic fit, and its ample outsole tread will give you top grip for running on winter surfaces. This shoe combines the best of comfort, traction, and energizing cushioning to help you have your best runs this winter.
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Traction
The arctic grip outsole on the Peregrine 7 performs beautifully on all kinds of running surfaces, even ice! If you can’t avoid slick surfaces this winter, then these shoes are a great option for having a safe run.

Comfort
The Peregrine 7 also comes with an EVERUN topsole that provides ongoing energizing cushioning while you run. Combine that with the dynamic fit flex shell and you have the makings of a comfortable run!

Cost and Value
The Peregrine 7 is one of the least expensive shoes on our list, which is impressive considering all the design features Saucony included in its construction. Nothing beats a quality shoe at an affordable price!
Pros
  • Durable weather protection
  • PWR TRAC outsole
  • Suitable for a variety of surfaces
  • EVERUN topsole construction
  • Protected upper
Cons
  • Snug fit

10. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Shield

10. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Shield
The final shoe on our list is the second entry from Nike. The Air Zoom Pegasus 34 has been redesigned to perform in cold, wet, and dark weather. It’s been given a water-repellent and wet-weather proof construction to keep your feet warm and dry and help you maintain control when you run in poor conditions. Nike has put its best in this shoe to help you perform your best during your winter runs.
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Grip
The unique waffle-pattern outsole on the Pegasus 34 gives you increased traction and provides the grip you need to maintain stability and control when you’re running over slick winter surfaces.

Comfort
From the seamless notched inner sleeve in the upper, to the full-length cushioned midsole, to the lateral rubber blades on the outsole, every part of this shoe has been designed to give you optimal comfort when you run.

Cost and Value
The Pegasus 34 is more expensive than a lot of the shoes on our list, but because it’s made by Nike, you can rest assured that your investment will reward you with many returns.
Pros
  • Single-layer mesh upper
  • Full-length foam midsole
  • Waffle outsole pattern for traction
  • Water-repellent finish
  • Made from environmentally-preferred rubber
Cons
  • Colors may vary from online pictures

 

And with that, we bring our list of the top ten winter running shoes to a close. Now you have a great starting place for picking out a pair of shoes that will help you get the most out of your next winter run. We realize you can run in the cold with any pair of shoes you want, but hopefully, you’ve seen how important the features of the shoes on our list are for helping you stay safe and keeping your feet dry, warm, and protected when you run in the winter.

We all know how harsh the winter elements can be, and the last thing we want to do is risk injuring ourselves by running ill-prepared in wintery conditions. By investing in a pair of shoes designed for winter running, you can give yourself the gift of a safe and dry run and have peace of mind that you’ll be able to tackle the winter terrain without injuring yourself or your feet. We want to be able to finish a run in better shape than we were when we started, and having the right pair of shoes when you run in the winter will go a long way in helping you achieve that goal.

 

Criteria for Selecting the Best Winter Running Shoes

Traction

The most important feature we want from a winter running shoe is traction, the ability to grip the surface we’re running on. The driest, warmest, most supportive shoe won’t ultimately help you run in winter conditions if it isn’t able to stand up to harsh, often slick terrain. So, before you look for any other features in a winter running shoe, make sure the shoe you’re buying has good traction.

Because you’ll be running in them, you don’t need to consider buying crampons or shoe spikes and attaching them to your regular running shoes. You won’t need anything that heavy duty for winter running. You’ll usually be running on sidewalks or roads, so you won’t need to look for shoes with spikes or cleats either. A shoe with soles that have ample grip will be sufficient for giving you the control you need when you’re running on a cold or icy surface. The big name in grip right now is Vibram, so any shoe with those grips is a safe bet, but many shoe manufacturers have their own line of traction grips that will do the job as well. Just make sure your shoes have good grooves or a raised-pattern outsole designed to give you a good hold when you run.

 

Stability

You’ll also want to look for shoes that provide good stability when considering which winter running shoes you should buy. Because running in winter conditions carries with it the potential for slipping and/or rolling your foot, you’ll want a shoe that will keep your foot stable. Stability running shoes are designed for runners with a normal arch who want to help prevent mild pronation (a term used to describe how your foot rolls for impact distribution, particularly when you run). They are designed to reinforce the arch and will have features that provide additional support for your foot. The majority of running shoes are designed to provide stability when you run, so it won’t be hard to find a stability shoe for running in winter. If you suffer from overpronation or underpronation (also called ‘supination’), then you may want to look into buying a shoe that offers a higher level of stability. These are called “motion-control shoes,” and while they are often heavier and not as flexible, they will provide more support than the standard stability shoes. These are a good option for runners with flat feet as well.

Support

In addition to stability, you will want to look for a shoe that provides good support. A shoe that supports your foot will give you a more comfortable run and will help prevent you from experiencing negative effects from running in your feet or back. A shoe with proper support will help keep your foot and ankle from twisting when you run, and because the risk of this twisting increases when you’re running on slick terrain, having a winter running shoe with great support is essential. The two main areas where you’ll want to check for support in your shoes are the midsole and the heel counter. The midsole should be rigid and should not easily twist. You can test your shoe by grabbing it by the ball and the heel and twisting it as though you were trying to wring water out of a cloth. If the shoe twists up and doesn’t resist, then it is not a supportive shoe and isn’t a good option for winter running. Look for a shoe with a rigid, supportive midsole.

The other part of the shoe you will want to check is the heel counter. The heel counter is a small, plastic insert that helps reinforce the shoe’s heel cup. While you can’t see the heel counter, you can test its rigidity by pressing into the heel cup and seeing how much it gives from the pressure. If the heel cup easily folds down and doesn’t resist, then the shoe likely won’t offer the support you need. Look for a shoe with a rigid heel cup/counter to ensure you’re getting the support you need when you run in the winter.

 

Warmth

Because we’re talking about winter running, we recommend looking for a shoe made from materials that will help keep your feet warm.  You don’t need to go to the extreme of looking for shoes lined with fleece or wool, but you will want to look for a shoe that provides some protection from the cold and will help keep your feet from freezing while you run. Look for shoes that provide an inner liner designed to retain some of the warmth from your feet. Your feet will be producing a lot of heat (and sweat) when you run, so you don’t need anything excessive. And because your feet will be sweating, you will want shoes made from materials that are breathable. That may seem counterintuitive, especially since we’re talking about keeping your feet warm, but you don’t want to keep all the heat and moisture your feet produce inside your shoe. Bottom line: a shoe with a heat-retaining liner and breathable construction will help you strike the balance you need between keeping your feet warm and keeping them well-ventilated.

Waterproof Construction

Most of us probably won’t be trying to run through feet of snow, but because winter running often involves wet conditions, you’ll want to look for shoes that are water- and weather-proof. Our best runs can be ruined if we end them in wet feet, so look for shoes that will help keep moisture out. Remember that there is a difference between water-resistant and water-proof shoes. Water-resistant running shoes will be suitable for most road or track running, but if you plan to encounter a lot of snow or puddles, a water-proof shoe will offer better protection and help ensure your feet stay dry throughout your run. Gore-tex offers great protection for your feet from the elements, so look for shoes that utilize it in their construction. Other waterproof materials include: polyurethane (PU), rubber, neoprene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Just make sure your shoes are also breathable. There’s no sense in spending money to keep moisture out if your shoes are going to trap all the moisture your feet produce inside them.

 

Comfort

Finally, you will want to look for a running shoe that is comfortable. Nothing deters our desire to run more than finishing a run with sore feet, so make sure you run in a shoe that is comfortable. Stability, support, warmth—all these features (discussed above) contribute to the comfort of your shoe, so looking for those features in a shoe is a great start. You’ll also want to make sure your shoe fits well on your foot. Running in a shoe that is too small or too large is a guaranteed way to experience discomfort, and not having the right fit compromises the level of support and stability your shoe can provide. Find a shoe with a comfortable, cushioned insole, or consider purchasing insoles to help provide additional comfort. Gel insoles are a great option and help give your foot a custom fit while also absorbing some of the shock from running that your feet endure. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to get a shoe that fits your foot and is comfortable to wear. Taking the time to ensure a comfortable fit will help your feet last longer and will help prevent you from getting injured when you run.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

QDo I really need to invest in a different pair of shoes just for running in winter?

A. As we pointed out above, your regular running shoes will likely get you from point A to point B this winter. But winter running shoes offer a host of features and advantages that other running shoes do not. We listed these above and discussed them there, but in addition to the typical features you look for in a good running shoe, winter running shoes offer better traction, support, warmth, and waterproofing, elements that will greatly benefit you if you’re out running on slick or snowy surfaces. You run a higher risk of getting cold or wet feet, or, even worse, rolling an ankle, during a winter run, so you’ll want to take every possible precaution to avoid those things. Simply put, if you want to run in cold, wet, icy conditions, then you’re going to want shoes that can stand up to the challenges they’ll face in those conditions, and the shoes in the list we’ve provided above will do just that.

 

QWhat is the safest place to run in winter?

A. Even with the best shoes, there are some areas you’ll want to avoid when you’re running in winter, so try to stick with surfaces that won’t be slick or that have been cleared of snow and ice. If you’re just dying to get outside to run this winter, your safest option is to run on the road. Roads are generally the first surfaces that are salted and cleaned when the snow comes in, so they’ll give you the best chance of avoiding icy or slick snow. Sidewalks are usually a safe route as well, but you’ll want to keep a close eye out for ice]y patches, as you’re likely to miss them until it’s too late. If you’re skipping the roads and sidewalks and opting for a trail run, look for paths that have the least snow and ice. If you have to run through snow, look for soft snow instead of packed snow. It won’t be the easiest run you’ve ever had, but hopefully sticking to soft snow will keep you from slipping and falling. If you want to avoid the elements altogether, then an indoor track or treadmill are great ways to get a winter run in without having to face the winter temperatures and hazards. If you opt for that route, then your regular running shoes will suffice.

 

Q. Are there other best practices for running in winter?

A. Besides running in a proper pair of shoes, there are several other measures you can take to keep yourself safe when you run this winter. First of all, remember that the sun sets earlier in the winter. If you want to stay safe and reduce your risk of injuring yourself or getting hit by a car, you’ll want to run earlier as well. Running in the daytime is always your best bet, and because there’s less daytime in the winter, you’ll want to make sure you plan your runs so that you finish up while the sun is still out. If you think you’ll still be running after the sun sets, then make sure you were reflective clothing, and consider adding reflectors to your shoes if they don’t already have them. You’ll want to do everything you can to make sure you’re seen, especially if you’re running on the road, so reflectors, and maybe even a headlamp, are must-haves for winter running. Make sure you warm up properly prior to your run. Warming up and stretching are good practices regardless of what weather you’re running in, but running in the cold makes it even more important. You run a higher risk of injuring yourself when you exercise cold muscles, and your muscles will take longer to warm up when it’s cold outside. Make sure you hydrate yourself well before, during, and after your runs. Because we often drink more when we’re hot, we may forget to drink as much when we’re running in the cold. But your body needs to stay hydrated in order to perform as it should, so drinking plenty of water is essential for a good winter run. You’ll want to dress for weather 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the air you’re running in, and it’s best to dress in layers so you can remove clothing in case you get too hot. We’re tempted to bundle up when it’s cold outside, but because you’ll be sweating and producing heat during your run, you’ll be fine wearing less clothing than you would if you were spending a long period of time in the same conditions but weren’t exercising. You should be cool at the start of your run, and your body will adjust and gradually warm up as you continue. Finally, when you’re running in winter, run with your feet closer to the ground than you would in warm weather. Running low will help you reduce the risk of slipping or falling if you hit a patch of snow or ice. Always opt for fresh snow if you’re off the road, as you’re more likely to slip on ice or packed snow.

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