The Best Winter Running Shoes

Adequate weather proofing and the right amount of grip. Two basic characteristics that you should be looking for when trying to find the best winter running shoes.

Buying a pair of running shoes that you only intend to use in the winter may feel a little decadent, but its not. After all we are hardened runners who just get on with it. However its hard enough to get out that door when its sub-zero, wet or snowy outside.

Having a pair of shoes that keep your feet dry(ish) and warm(ish) could be the psychological step forward you need to keep training throughout the colder months.

Comfortable Winter Running Shoes

As ever comfort is at the top of the list for things I look for in a running shoe. Even more so in a winter running shoe. Having a pair of running shoes you enjoy putting on will take you one step closer to getting out the door for a run when its cold (and probably) dark outside.

Water Resistant Upper

On dark winter streets its all too easy to plough straight into a puddle, even with a head torch. Most of the winter versions running shoes have a Gore-Tex lining. This gives the shoe a much higher level of water resistance than its summer counterpart.

I first experienced this with a pair of trail shoes that gave me protection from all but the deepest of puddles.

Long Slow Distance: Winter

On a long slow distance run in winter when you’re skating over inappropriate surfaces. There will be times when your pace isn’t enough to keep you at an optimal temperature. So you pull on extra layers of clothing.

Do the same for your feet and buy a pair of running shoes that have insulation to keep your feet warm.

Be Seen

I run with a head torch in the dark, to see and to be seen. But from behind a bobbing light might not be entirely visible to a car driver. Winter running shoes with reflective surfaces on the back solve this problem. Most drivers will recognise the repetitive running action of feet in motion and all will see you. For more tips on running in the winter take a look here.

Winter Socks

I always buy a half size bigger when buying winter running shoes. Its all about comfort for me so I use that extra space for thicker than normal socks. Well thicker than Id normally buy.

I haven’t tried Seal Skinz but I read good things. So far I’ve stuck with wool as my preferred winter feet warmers.

Winter Running Alternatives

We’ve all been on one, some of us love them, most avoid them if at all possible – treadmills. I use them to warm up in the gym for 10 minutes. I’ve done a 10k on one and that’s enough of that.

It is possible to get very fit on a treadmill. Zach Miller trained on a treadmill on a cruise ship before going on to be one of the worlds best trail runners. So if like Scott you’re in an environment where you have no other choice the treadmill could be an ideal alternative.

Other forms of outside cross training suffer the same problems as running. For example I have a mountain bike that stays in the garage from October to March. I use it to cross train in the warmer months. I fear I would either fall off it in winter.

In these Covid-19 times I’ve joined a specialist online running training group. I love it. I’m building strength by training three times a week via zoom with a running coach. Its good fun, keeps me motivated and I can feel the improvements after a few short weeks. I would highly recommend it.

Conclusion: Best Winter Running Shoes

Running is hard, running the winter is even harder. Getting a pair of running shoes that make it easy to run is as much a psychological step as it is a practical one.

Buying specialist winter running shoes isn’t a indulgence. It could be the difference between a winter where you build your fitness or watch it slowly eb away.

Best Winter Running Shoes
Best Winter Running Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Gore-Tex?

Gore-Tex is a waterproof and breathable clothing material.

What is Gore-Tex made of?

Gore-Tex is made of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene aka PTFE.

When was Gore-Tex invented?

Gore-Tex was invented in 1969.

Should I buy water resistant running shoes?

I don’t think they exists and if some water were to get in it would have nowhere to go. Your feet would not thank you for that. Water resistance is what we are looking for here.

Can I use Yax Trax for running in the show?

Yes. A lot of people love their Yax Trax when running in snow.

Could I just wear my trail shoes for winter running?

Yes. By their nature they are gripy and have more water resistance than a summer shoe. However the road will wear them out relatively quickly if you use them on the road all winter
Can I put screws in my summer shoes to help with grip?

Can I put screws in my summer shoes to help with grip?

Not recommended. There’s more to winter running shoes than grip.

Should I dry my winter shoes near the fire?

No. Get the excess water out and then keep them warm but not hot.



Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.