Winter Running Footwear Options
As temperatures dip below freezing, running outside in the winter is challenging. Prepare to brave the arctic chill by considering three things; footwear, outwear and your extremities. I’ll share with you how I manage to run during even the coldest of conditions.
It all starts with footwear.
I hate running on treadmills. Just because our roads, sidewalks and parkways are covered in snow, slush and ice, doesn’t mean we need to retreat inside to the treadmill.
In order to be a successful winter runner, you need to focus on your feet! Try these three strategies for gaining a firm footing all winter long.
Just Be Careful
It is possible that you can wear your regular training shoes this winter. Typically, the breathable mesh uppers that keep you so cool in summer, are horrible in winter. A layered pair of warm, lightweight, synthetic skiing socks can help.
I have run in my Asics Kayanos in some crazy cold temperatures. As long as you can stay on clear roads, this should work.
If you haven’t tried a trail running shoe, you may find they protect your feet a bit more. They have the benefit of additional traction. While this won’t help much with slick ice, it could be good enough for most runs if you avoid the ice.
Add Traction to Existing Shoes
My first venture into Yaktrax’s was the Pro Traction Cleats. After three seasons, they finally broke. I just ordered the newest model, the Yaktrax Run Traction Cleats ($40). This combines a coil spring with a more traditional cleat in the forefoot.
While these are fantastic over ice and light snow, running over dry grounds sucks. You can remove them mid-run should you find the roads clearer than anticipated (but then you have to carry them – which is more annoying).
A homemade screw shoe is a cheap way to give yourself immediate traction. It’s best to use an older pair of running shoes you don’t mind drilling into. Here is a Surefooted method form Runners World.
- Buy sheet–metal screws from Home Depot. Their heads have a lip that grips ice well. Half–inch screws are best because they are long enough to stay secure without piercing the insole. If those seem too long for your shoe, use a 3/8″ screw.
- Insert 10 to 15 screws directly into the raised treads of the shoe. Space them out. If your midsole is made of “air” or “gel,” keep the screws along the outside edge of the outsole. A cordless drill with a 1/4″ socket can do the job in less than a minute. Stop when the head of the screw touches the rubber outsole of the shoe.
The Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleat is your best bet here. They will be the most versatile over the most terrain.
The All-in-One Winter Running Footwear
Perhaps my favorite winter running footwear is the Asics Gel-Arctic 4. These weather-resistant shoes come equipped with replaceable metal spikes built into the tread.
These provide perhaps the best traction of anything I’ve worn. I highly recommend these if you don’t mind shelling out $100+ for a dedicated winter shoe. As with the Yaktrax or screws, they feel clunky and weird on dry concrete.
I highly recommend running outside through Minnesota winters. Although it can be cold and miserable, It may be the only time you get outside during these months. Not only will you keep your base mileage up, but you’ll work different leg muscles from trudging through all the snow.
What’s your trick for maintaining your footing while running outside this winter?