10 Best Snow Running Shoes Tested & Rated
If you’re committed to running year-round you need shoes that can keep up. Runners who are familiar with white winters and trying to adjust their routine to snow will already know the value in finding a good pair of running shoes that can stand up to the weather. It can be a little overwhelming trying to narrow down your options, especially with so many shoes on the market that claim to hold their own in the snow. Here we take a look at ten of the best snow running shoes for those keen to pound the ground in even the worst conditions.
From snow to slush to ice, there are so many different obstacles that can keep you indoors. With the right shoe, you don’t have to worry about cold, wet feet and dangerous slips holding you back. In our in-depth review, we take a look at a variety of factors that can make or break a winter shoe. We considered durability, comfort, and cost alongside a detailed checklist that you can also use to make sure you’re getting the best possible value for your snow running shoes.
- Salomon Speedspike CS
- Mudguard and metal spikes
- Adidas Terrex Agravic GTX
- Waterproof Gore-Tex
- Saucony Xodus 4.0
- XS-Trek Outsole
10 Best Snow Running Shoes
Salomon Speedspike 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.
Adidas 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.
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.
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.
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.
Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine
The rubber outsole with anti-debri mesh protects your feet from rough winter elements while the breathability of the shoes prevents you from feeling trapped or overheated.
The S-Lab XA Alpine is made with a lug sole, providing better traction and stability. This, in addition to protective toe and ankle pads and water resistant materials, will help keep you and your shoes going mile after mile.
Pricey compared to others on this list, but fitting for those looking for something more extreme.
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.
Icebug Men's DTS2 BUGrip Studded Traction Running Shoe
With 19 carbide studs on the BUGrip outsole you'll be sure to have plenty of traction. Stay comfortable while you stay on your feet with the cushioned midsole which will give you extra support and stability.
With the waterproof uppers and rip stop nylon you can be sure these shoes will hold up under nasty conditions. You may find that since they are really only convenient for winter weather they will last longer with the downtime of the other seasons.
Compared to other prices on this list they are towards the high-end.
Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX
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.
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.
Our Criteria for the Best Snow Running Shoes
To narrow down this list to include only the best running shoes for snow and winter conditions we used a series of evaluation points based on the most common needs and important qualities. You can use these points to do your own evaluation if you are considering shoes that aren’t on our list.
Durability and Quality in Harsh Conditions
When we talk about durability we’re talking about the ability of a particular product to last over a long period of time. The more durable a shoe is the more comfort and use you’re going to get out of it which ultimately means you’re spending less money. Sometimes when shoes are more durable and made with higher quality materials you’ll end up with a more expensive pair of shoes, but for runners spending a little bit more initially can really pay off if you can use those shoes for longer. When it comes to winter running shoes this is especially important because you’ll probably be running through snow, mud, ice, and all sorts of muck. Not only is this potentially dangerous, but if your shoes can’t stand up to the harsh conditions of snow running then you’ll be spending less time running and more time shopping for new shoes.
In some cases it may be hard to know the durability of a pair of shoes until after you use them for a while, but checking buying guides and reviews can help give you an idea of what to expect. You can also look for higher quality materials and shoes that use things like water-repellent coating and sturdy cushioning. But for those times when you’ve already bought your shoes, there are some things you can do on your own to gauge their durability. When you’re finished running be aware of how your feet smell. Unpleasant or unusual smells may be a sign of low-quality materials.
Keep an eye on seams and edges for messy or loose stitching and uneven surfaces. If you’re getting persistent blisters even with moisture wicking socks and in ideal running conditions, it may mean that your shoes simply don’t fit and have stretched and warped.
Finally, even though the durability of a shoe has a lot to do with its quality and construction, the life of your shoes can depend on how you care for them. Check out the FAQ for some tips on how to take proper care of your running shoes, especially in winter conditions.
Winter can present particularly dangerous hurdles for all runners with wet, slick, and even icy ground putting you at risk. A high quality pair of snow running shoes will have a variety of important safeguards against more unstable conditions. A growing trend is mudguards that will protect your shoes from getting overly muddy and wet. Some snow running shoes may also have wide heels to help with balance. Metal studs and thick soles are common features in winter and trail running shoes, providing traction in mud and slush. Traction is the most necessary quality for stability, so look for shoes with these elements. When you put your confidence in shoes with the right stability, who’s to say you can’t still enjoy running in the winter?
It doesn’t matter how good the materials and stability of your shoes are if they are uncomfortable and absolutely no one wants to have to think about how bad their shoes feel the whole time they are running. There are specific features that can help up the comfortability of your snow running shoes, and these are the qualities we look for when reviewing each pair. A molded or cushioned midsole can provide more support, while abrasion-resistant shoes will reduce rub.
Grip lacing systems can make lacing your shoes easier and potentially more fitting, although more typical laces may allow you to adjust the tightness more easily. Breathability helps to improve airflow in snow running shoes, which may be much warmer and thicker than regular shoes. Some shoes have protection plates built in to guard against rocks and other potential dangers, although this may affect how heavy or light they are. Clearly there’s a lot to consider and sometimes it’s about compromise, but with plenty of variation you can be sure that there is a shoe out there for you that can meet all your comfort needs.
Size and fit
Choosing an appropriate size is easiest when you get the chance to try on shoes in the store, but that’s not always an option. When shopping online, paying attention to reviews can be a very helpful way to find out if a brand runs small, or if a shoe has a particular part that runs narrow or wide. In our guide we’ve included common sizing issues, but you’ll always know your fit best. Don’t be afraid to return shoes that don’t fit right. It’s always better to spend the time finding the right fit because ill-fitting shoes can cause severe blisters or sprains and cut off circulation. Also consider what kind of socks you’ll be wearing because they can affect the fit a considerable amount.
Waterproofing is hugely important with snow running shoes, so we’ve given it its own category outside of comfort. Most waterproof shoes will use things like gore tex tech to prevent moisture from getting in, but all shoes will have varying degrees of protection. Shoes that are more heavily waterproofed can sometimes lose flexibility, while some may only be sealed on particular sections of the shoe and may not provide complete coverage. Waterproofing is a necessity in extreme cold and wet conditions, and without it you risk sacrificing durability, stability, safety, and comfort.
Some More To Think About Before Buying
Snow running shoes tend to be a bit higher in price compared to shoes that don’t have to withstand more harsh weather conditions, so make sure you’re comparing your cost to shoes of a similar purpose and standard.
Where to Buy
Online shopping has become a convenient necessity, but consider shopping in person if you have the opportunity. You’ll be trading just a little more time and effort for the reassurance of trying on your shoes in person and being able to physically gauge the quality of materials.
Style and Build
When shopping for a specialty shoe or a running shoe for a specific purpose, you might end up having a harder time finding something that fits your style or matches current trends. Keep that in mind when considering passing up a pair that is perfect for your needs but not the most cosmetically attractive.
Q. How can I care for my shoes in the winter?
Taking proper care of your running shoes can help extend their life and boost their durability, especially in the winter months when weather and ground conditions can be harsh. If you get your shoes wet while running make sure you air them out and store them in a place that is dry.
Pulling out the insoles and filling them with newspaper can help them dry faster but don’t try to use direct heat to speed up the drying time as it can easily damage the shoes, especially over time. In areas where salting the snow is common make sure to regularly wash your shoes as the salt can wear and damage the material over time as well. Consider getting more than one pair of reliable running shoes if you live in an area where snow is persistent and the weather is more severe. Rotating between shoes will help extend their use and give them more time to dry.
Q. What other supplies and products will make running during the winter easier and safer?
When you’re facing low temperatures and less than ideal weather conditions you want to be sure that you’re layering your clothing appropriately and wearing clothes that will keep you warm. When you’re on a run it’s a little harder to add a layer than to be able to take off a layer you’re already wearing, so bring all the outerwear and headgear you might need instead of getting caught in the cold without. Also, like when running any other time of year, you should consider clothing and gear that is reflective so that you are easily visible in any environment.
Q. What can I do to best prepare for winter running?
Before you run take the time to warm up (literally) by stretching, running up and down your stairs, or doing a little yoga. The cold won’t feel so bitter if you’re warmed up and ready to go. If the wind is especially bad start by running into it. That way the second half of your run is a little more bearable when the wind is at your back instead of chilling the sweat on your face.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your route a little so that you can use man-made shelter to shield you from the wind. And don’t expect to be breaking any records while running in the winter, take it slow and steady so you’re not risking your safety in less than ideal conditions. At the end of your run change out of your wet gear into dry clothing as soon as possible and get warm again with a hot drink like tea.
We hope that this guide helps you feel a little more prepared to face the snow this snowy season and that it will be much easier for you to make a confident choice of snow running shoe. Winter weather doesn’t have to stop you from running or from having a fun and comfortable run, so get out there and show the snow who’s boss!