10 Best Snow Running Shoes Tested & Rated
Running on snow requires high-performance shoes.
If you run in the snow, you don’t need to be told why you need something sturdy and reliable. With many options on the market, it can be a little overwhelming to decide what’s going to work best in snow. So in this article, we take a look at ten of the best snow running shoes for those keen to pound the ground in the coldest of conditions.
Running shoes for use in the snow have their own unique levels of performance.
Snowy ground surfaces have a wide array of conditions, imagine trying to run in powder snow, or deep snow and you would need a pair of running shoes which must give protection against the penetrating cold which can reach deep into our feet and chill bones.
Perhaps the worst type of snow surface is slushy snow, wet and very cold and for this, we need a pair of shoes which are the top rate for keeping out water and penetrating cold. Melting snow combined with wet mud can offer up so many performance challenges for running shoes.
This in-depth review looked at overall protection at many different levels, the durability of the shoe when faced with different types of snow-covered surfaces, traction/grip, cushion factor, breathability, wick-factor, shock absorption, how much structural integrity, designed in features for stability and much more which you can read in our extensive reviewing criteria.
There is a shoe here for you, enjoy our comparative selection and choose a model which will serve your own personal unique running requirements.
- Salomon Speedcross 3
- Mud & Snow Contagrip Outsole
- Adidas Terrex Agravic GTX
- Waterproof Gore-Tex
- Saucony Xodus 4.0
- XS-Trek Outsole
10 Best Snow Running Shoes
Salomon Speedcross 3
The lacing system really keeps you comfy and snug, along with the design of the fit. The midsole is molded and low to the ground, which offers really good comfort in addition to massive stability, while the cushion is great with a great deal of softness. The heel is broader than many other shoes, which gives better balance in harsh conditions, and the sole of the shoe gives good grip on snow with Contagrip technology.
They might require a very small breaking in period and it can take a little while to get used to the unique lacing system, but these are otherwise a fantastic shoe. They're a little narrow for some and they're not as durable as some other Salomon shoes, but the quality is so good that this is almost forgivable.
The price point here is pretty average for this list.
- Great traction
- Fantastic balance and stability
- Great comfort and cushion with simultaneous support
- Really good fit and snug feel
- Come in lots of colour options
- The sizes run a little narrow
- The durability isn't the best
Adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic GTX
The energy return in the sole is great here, so you can resist and fight the snow, and the abrasion-resistant wieldings offer great lining and protection against the elements and whatever else you might come across. The traction really is brilliant and they’re super comfortable in spite of their sturdiness. The Goretex will keep you super dry, but does hamper the breathability.
Very good durability and excellent quality – nothing more to add here!
Pretty average for this category.
- Massively waterproof
- Great sturdiness and protection
- Lovely and springy
- Fantastic traction
- Good durability
- A little pricey
- Not particularly breathable
Saucony Xodus 5.0
The internal lacing system means that your laces won’t come out in the cold weather, which gives nice comfort for your mind and fingers, while the gaiter-friendly collar lining is comfortable and protective. The outsole is multi-directional for fantastic stability and the traction will keep you not only sturdy but also well-balanced. For comfort and structure, these really are fantastic. Decent breathability and a nice wide toe box, but they’re a little more stiff than some people might like.
The sizing is great and all of the technology combines for good comfort and balance, which is of course important in the snow. They’re not as durable as some other Saucony shoes, but they still offer a decent shelf-life.
A little pricey, but not outrageously so.
- Fantastic traction
- Great balance
- Very breathable
- Cushioned and comfortable
- Wonderful stability
- A little more stiff than some people might like
- The durability leaves a little to be desired.
Saucony Xodus 4.0
These are arguably more protective than the 5.0s and have many great features. They have a powergrid heel insert to give real durability at the back of your feet, a sturdy outsole, an external rock protection plate and gaiter compatibility. If you’re really keen to be shielded against the harshness of the outdoors and the weather, especially if you’re a trail runner, these might well be for you. The traction is fantastic and they won’t slip in the snow. They’re not as cushioned as some might like and the arch support isn’t great.
These have great durability and the quality is fantastic – no further comments or issues to be found really!
These are around average for this list.
- So sturdy with many great protective features
- Minimal heel-to-toe drop
- Very good traction
- Nice comfort
- Arch support isn’t great.
- Not as cushioned as some people might like
New Balance MT00 Minimus Zero V2
They are very comfortable ad fairly minimal, though some users feel that they have slightly too much cushion on the sole. The fantastic traction provides good stability. They are lightweight as well. They work best in light trail conditions as the sole wraps around the terrain. For a compromise between something minimal and supportive, these are great.
These run a little narrow, but the quality is otherwise great. They aren’t a truly minimal shoe, but that’s not what you want in the snow. The durability is pretty good here.
An average price for something snow-friendly and top-quality.
- Fantastic traction
- 0mm drop
- Good compromise between minimalism and support
- They run a little narrow.
- Work best in light snow
Icebug Aurora BUGrip Studded Traction
If you want massive grip, here you have it. These are also fantastic at bracing you against the elements while staying lightweight, which is a pretty good feat. The midsole molds to your foot for added comfort and they provide excellent stability on both trails and roads.
Great quality with the fantastically-designed carbide tips, while there seem to be no durability issues. The sizes can run a little narrow, especially in the toe box, so you might want to buy a size up.
These are pricey, even for this list, so they're not a good option if you want a bargain.
- Massive traction and support
- Great if you run in very harsh conditions
- Molded midsole
- Lightweight and nimble
- A little narrow in the toe box
- They are pricey, but that’s to be expected for something so well-constructed.
- These aren’t as well-tested as others on this list.
Salomon Spikecross 3 CS
These are water resistant and comfortable and the top-notch technology is going to keep you feeling supported and stable in all conditions and terrains. These have a mudguard for extra protection and a padded, molded insole to keep you feeling comfy. In terms of warmth, these compare with even the hardiest of boots, so they’re fantastic in the cold snow. They have good arch support and the quick lacing system is wonderful. The toe box is a little narrow.
In some ways, the quality is almost too good here – these are not to be worn in normal conditions, and they’re so spiky that you have to be careful not to damage your floors with them. The durability here is good and these should last you a while.
A little pricey, but given how hardy these are, they're worth the price.
- These are insanely tough in all conditions.
- Brilliant traction
- They have a mudguard.
- Very warm in the coldest of conditions
- Good arch support
- Toe box is a little narrow.
- They can damage the floors in your home.
- Not for normal conditions
- A little pricey, but you have to expect that with something this hardcore.
Merrell All Out Terra Ice
Really comfortable with lots of bounce and cushion, and the spikes provide fantastic stability. Again, these are not for use in normal conditions – they’re a specialist shoe. They are surprisingly breathable given their hardiness. The toe box is a little narrow for some.
Great quality, great durability, the only slight issue here is that the sizes can occasionally run a little small.
A little pricey, but only marginally so.
- Massive traction
- Hardcore footbed
- Good bounce, cushion and comfort
- Sizes run a little small
- The toe box is narrow for some.
- They can damage indoor floors!
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX
Great shock absorption and very nice balance, and the waterproofing really is something special. They're great at handling slippy conditions and the design of the whole shoe offers good balance and protection. Brilliant traction both downhill and up in all conditions. The shock absorption and cushion here are just the right amount - not too hard, not too soft.
They're durable and top quality, though the sizes can occasionally run a little small.
Marginally pricey, but they're absolutely worth the outlay.
- Brilliant traction
- Massive waterproofing
- Good stability and nice ankle protection
- Good for neutral runners
- Handle slippy conditions well
- A little pricey
- The fit is a little small
- Not as well-tested as others on this list
Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Low Neo
The shape of the shoe encourages your foot to move naturally which help you to improve your runs over time, even in harsh conditions. These have a 0mm heel-to-toe drop and give you very good flexibility in spite of the fantastic protection.
These are a little narrow, but everything else is really top-notch. Good durability and excellent quality.
- If you’re looking for good shielding, these perhaps offer it best.
- They keep you nice and warm.
- 0mm heel-to-toe drop
- Good flexibility
- Good traction
- A little narrow
- Less tested than most others on this list
Criteria That We’ve Used To Evaluate Best Snow Running Shoes
To make it easier both for you and us to make the best choice, we made some points that helped us to evaluate every product. If you consider purchasing product that is not on our list, you can use these point for their evaluation.
Durability and quality in harsh conditions
Whenever we talk about durability, we use this definition to name the ability of the particular product to,, survive” long period of time. Durability is so important for us- we don’t want to spend money on something that won’t last a lot. Runners prefer to buy something more expensive but more durable. It’s simple to talk about durability while talking about normal running shoes but when it comes to snow running shoes, the thing gets complicated. Snow running shoes as the name implies, are made to walk or run or snow. It means that the shoes need to work very well in very harsh conditions. It’s true that most snow running shoes make our life easier during the winter. The problem is that we’re not able to check the durability before the purchase. It will take some time when you realize how durable your shoes are.
It doesn’t matter that there’s so much snow, your shoes need to handle it. While running in the snow, you should feel comfortable- this means that you shouldn’t be afraid of running in very harsh winter conditions because your shoes need to face snow and glaze. When you finish running, check if your feet smell well- unpleasant odor may be a result of low-quality material. With cheaply made sole in the snowshoes, you can slip on the pavement so check how sturdy it is. Only high-quality products will let you enjoy your winter running and they will stay with you for a long time. Remember that durability also depends on how you take care of your shoes.
Winter, snow, slipping, frost- these words aren’t extremely friendly to all running community. Some people even decide to stay at home and use the treadmill. The problem appears if you don’t have a treadmill and the nearest gym is far away from your home. Who said that you can’t run in the winter? If you decide to run in the snowy season, there is one very important condition- shoes with great stability. Running on the snow can be very dangerous, even not very serious injury may stop you from running for a long time. Your shoes need to have very good traction. This will help to avoid slipping on the snow. The additional element of the shoes that is adored by many runners are metal spikes. With them, the traction is great and you feel more comfortable while running.
The growing trends are making running shoes with a mudguard. This will give you much more protection. While our research, we found out that many snowshoes have a wider heel than the normal ones. This helps to provide better balance for the runner. You will need also enough arch support as it’s very prone to injuries during snow running. You soles must be sturdy enough to give a good grip. We think that traction is the most important feature here. Look for shoes with these features as stability is the key to safety. It doesn’t matter how much snow there is, your shoes must provide enough stability to provide comfort and enable you to run faster even when there’s so much snow.
Look for shoes which are comfortable
It’s obvious that running shoes, especially snow running shoes must be very comfortable. Have you seen any runner who runs in uncomfortable shoes? We haven’t and that’s why we want to make sure that you choose the best option for you. What many runners love in snow running shoes is molded midsole. This will give you much more stability and comfort. You can also look for shoes with abrasion-resistant technology. Runners also forget about how important the lacing system is. You can even hurt yourself if your laces aren’t tight enough. We observed that not every manufacturer pays attention to the laces and this made shoes less comfortable.
You can sometimes also find lacing system that is much more complicated than the normal one. Sometimes, it takes very long time to untie the laces and it can really make you angry. Breathability is the feature which is very crucial especially when we’re talking about winter. Snow running shoes are usually warmer than normal but it also means that the material is thicker and there’s less airflow in the shoes. Look for shoes made from sturdy materials but they still need to be breathable. During our research, we discovered that some shoes have special rock protection plate. It’s really cool feature as you never know what is under the snow. Looking for lightweight shoes may be hard as snowshoes need to be a little bit bulky. However, they shouldn’t also be too heavy as this will have a bad impact on your performance.
Size and fit
Can you imagine wearing any shoes when the size isn’t good? Choosing appropriate size is very important and we could say it’s extremely important when it comes to snow running shoes. That’s why we recommend to go to the store and try on the shoes. We read thousands of reviews and we don’t know the brand which doesn’t have problems with sizing. Sometimes a product is high quality and is made from the really nice material but have a very low rating on Amazon. Why? Because people complain about the size. You may think that measuring the feet and choosing the size from the sizing chart shouldn’t be anything complicated but the truth is brutal.
Every foot is other and even if you wear one size for all the shoes, in case of running shoes, you may need one size up. The biggest problem is when you’re between the sizes. If you decide to shop online, always check the comments below the product. Buyers often say to choose one size up or down. This will be very helpful for you. You should have enough space to move your toes a little bit. Laces need to be tied rather tight. You should try to run even in your house or in the store to check the fit. Many runners make the same mistake all the time and they wear it too tight. This is bad as there is decreased blood circulation.
Make sure it’s waterproof
We decided to add this point here for one reason. Not every snow running shoes are waterproof. We were very surprised that during our research we found shoes for running in the winter and they weren’t waterproof. We agree that when there’s lights snow, there’s a low probability that your uppers will get wet. But what to do if there’s heavy snow outside. A waterproof shoe is a must-have. You may know the unpleasant feeling of wet feet. This is not very bad for your mod bad also for your health. When your feet are wet, the bacteria can spread much faster and the smelly odor appears. You can also get ill if you don’t have waterproof shoes for snow. Whenever you run, the rain won’t be an obstacle anymore with waterproof shoes. This is the reason why normal running shoes can’t be used during the snowy days. You will get wet and if there’s a wind, you will definitely be ill. This is also bad for your joints so make sure you have waterproof shoes in your wardrobe.
The Other Things We Looked At
When we first made our list it had only a few points. During our research, we came to the point that there are much more factors that you should evaluate before the purchase. We’ve decided to add them, have a look
Think about the price
After evaluating points like comfort, stability or size, here comes the time to decide how much you want you to spend on your running shoes. You need to consider it quite carefully. Snow running shoes are usually best for a winter and they’re not usually the best option for summer- too heavy, to warm and they look very bulky. If you live in rather a warm area where the winter is rather mild and short, you need to buy shoes that will last many years. We’ve got on our list whole range of prices- we’ve got shoes for less than 70 dollars but we also have shoes for more than 90 dollars. We’re often asked whether the most expensive means the best? Of course not. Some running shoes are more pricey because they have more additional features. For example, they have reflective materials to be visible on the road.
They can be also made from a thicker material or have specially molded midsole. The price also depends on the place where the product is made. More popular brands tend to have a little bit bigger prices as they have prestige but it also means that they’re high-quality brands. So how to buy good snowshoes and find a reasonable price. We definitely advise you to look for sales and buy the shoes before the season- so in the summer or spring. Shoes tend to be a little bit cheaper but unfortunately, new products will appear near the winter season. Snowshoes were made for more difficult tasks than normal running shoes so it’s obvious that they may be a little bit more expensive.
Where should you buy your shoes?
This question is often connected with the other question- how to find this kind of shoes cheaper? Two most popular options are: finding your shoes in the story or just simply looking for it online. If we were asked which option is better for us, we would say going to the store. This may be a little bit disappointing answer as nowadays, runners prefer much more to use the Internet. The big advantage of buying shoes in the store is the possibility to try them on. No one can guarantee that your shoes found on the Internet will be good, comfortable and size will be appropriate.
In the store, you can try on the shoes, check if the size is correct, you can decide whether there’s enough space for your toes and etc. You can also ask the shop assistant for help and you may receive very useful information. Shopping online can be a little bit tricky as you don’t see the product in reality, even if you shop on the manufacturer’s site. People also ask whether it is a good option to buy the shoes that were used by the other runners. To be honest, we wouldn’t recommend this option. You never know how much the shoes have been used- even if they look good, they may be very old. You need to feel the shoes, you need a fit snug. Shoes that have been used by someone before will be definitely looser and it’s much better to spend few dollars more on new pair rather than to buy a pig in a poke. The choice is yours!
Look and construction
Some of you may think that it doesn’t matter how your running shoes look because they’re hardly visible in the winter. From our experience, we know that’s not true. Running shoes are extremely visible on white snow. Who would like to wear ugly running shoes? We wouldn’t. There are many designs and colors. We really advise buying more colorful running shoes. You will look very stylish and you will also be more visible to the drivers. Some shoes even have reflective materials for better visibility. However, you can also choose more classical options in blue, grey, black colors. Think also about the construction. We know that many runners hate when heel to toe drop is too big.
Be prepared that the heel will be much wider than in normal shoes. The most common problem is toe box. In many cases, it’s definitely too small, it really hurts your toes and blisters appear. Some shoes have also very thick sole and there’s also extra padding. This may be really bad for you as there’s much less stability. There are also shoes that are not only warm but also windproof. As construction seems to be more important, the look is the thing that should be considered after comfort or stability. We know that it’s very common that shoes look great but they’re poor quality. So we have one golden rule- quality first, look next but not the last.
There are many questions that are connected with snow running shoes and running in the winter in general. We have chosen the most interesting questions and answered them. See if you know all the answers.
Q. How should I take care of my shoes?
A. This is a good question as not everyone knows that proper care can boost the durability of the shoes. We’ve got some tips for better care. You should keep your shoes dry- we mean that you can, of course, get them wet while running but after your training, keep them in the dry place. Never place them near to the heat source as it can damage their structure. It’s really useful to pull insoles out when you want them to dry faster after washing. There will be more air flow and you will be able to enjoy dry shoes faster. If you live in the area where the snow stays for months, you should think about one more pair of shoes. Rotating your shoes will be excellent for their durability, they will last much longer.
Q. I’ve heard that going shopping in the morning is a bad idea, is it true?
A. It may seem a little bit strange but it’s true. Many runners go to the shop in the morning, they get a perfect pair and when they get back home after long shopping, the shoes are too tight. This is because in the afternoon or in the evening, our feet are a little bit swollen. And you may be surprised but this is their normal size. The best option will be to go shopping after your running. You will be sure that if the shoes fit great in the shop, they will also have a snug fit in the home.
Q. Running shoes isn’t all for good preparation for running in the snow. Can you give more tips how to prepare for running in the winter?
A. The first and most important thing is that you need to get dressed. It really depends on the temperature how much layers you need to wear. We can make sure that when the temperature drops under 20, balaclava will be your best friend. Above warm clothes, you need something to make you more visible. Reflective elements of the clothes are very good because drivers can see you from a longer distance. However, sometimes elements are too small so you should think about the reflective bracelet, bag and etc. you should definitely warm up before your run. You can even run on your stairs at home or to jump a little bit- anything that will make you a little bit warmer.
You should start to run into the wind. This may be a little frightening at first but there’s one big reason to do it. When you get back, you will have the wind at your back, the breeze won’t blow in your face which will be sweaty. Wind and sweat is a mix that may lead to cold or other health problems. Try not to run very fast, winter is like little running holidays. Well, if you want to run fast, you can easily slip on the ground, even with good running shoes. When you finish your running session, put off your running clothes and you can enjoy your hot tea.
We hope that with our list, criteria and FAQ section, it will be much easier for you to make a choice. Snow running shoes are extremely important as they provide stability and safety. Choosing the good shoes will let you enjoy your running and you won’t need to stay at home when the snow will come. Get yourself one of these pairs, get yourself snow-ready and show the snow who’s boss!
We put much effort to make our article interesting and informative at the same time. Here are some sources that we[‘ve used while conducting our research.