How do I Choose the Best Winter Running Shoes?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Winter running shoes are a kind of footwear that are intended for running and jogging during winter months when the ground may be snowy, icy, or wet from melting precipitation. The key features of these shoes are the treads and the shoes' ability to keep the feet warm and dry. Many kinds of well-made running shoes can be worn as winter running shoes if they have the right features. These few key features, however, are especially important during the winter, especially in treacherous conditions.

Supportive insoles are critical in running shoes.
Supportive insoles are critical in running shoes.

For die-hard runners, a daily run will not be interrupted by a snowfall or even sleet. As such, the soles of winter running shoes need to have deep treads that will give the runner excellent traction on the road, even if it is covered with snow or sleet. Without this feature, the runner could slip and injure himself or twist an ankle. Either way, these sorts of injuries could put an end to winter running for weeks or even months, depending on the severity of the injury. Good treads can help to cut down on the likelihood of these sorts of injuries.

Winter running shoes should keep the feet warm and dry.
Winter running shoes should keep the feet warm and dry.

As the ground may be damp or wet, it is important for winter running shoes to keep the feet dry. This means that the shoes should be waterproof or at least water-resistant. Even while running in powdery snow, this is important as snow can melt on the shoes and soak into the material if it is not resistant to water. Wet feet can lead to general discomfort at best and frostbite at worst.

Finally, one of the most important features of winter running shoes, a feature that goes hand in hand with water resistance, is the ability of the shoes to keep the feet warm. If the feet get too cold, the muscles might not perform as well as they could. The toes of winter running shoes should be especially well insulated as it is the toes that are the most susceptible to frostbite

A nice additional feature to winter running shoes is reflective material. In the winter, the sun rises later in the morning and sets earlier in the evening. Many people get in their daily run before going to work in the morning or after returning from work in the evening. This can mean many hours of running in the dark or in low light during the winter. Reflective material on winter running shoes, along with reflective clothing, can increase a runner's visibility and, therefore, safety.

Winter running shoes should have deep treads so runners don't slip on snow and ice.
Winter running shoes should have deep treads so runners don't slip on snow and ice.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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