The Best Winter Running Shoes, According to Pro Running Coaches

Woman exercising for cross-country running in winter jogging over snow
Photo: swissmediavision/Getty

Thanks to their supremely grippy outer soles and puddle-proof materials, these best winter running shoes will help you battle the elements all season long.

01 of 09

What to Look for In a Pair of Winter Running Shoes

Running on snowy trail with winter running shoes
Georgijevic/Getty

When the temperatures drop and sleety, snowy conditions become the norm, your summertime sneakers aren't going to cut it when you go for a jog around the block. "Winter running often means running in slick or wet roads, so you're going to want to look for a shoe that ideally is waterproof, will keep your feet warm, and provide some traction," says Jessica McGarvey, a NASM-certified personal trainer and a certified run coach at STRIDE in Wilmette, Illinois. Specifically, the best winter running shoes should have a lug sole, which features deep grooves to provide traction on slippery surfaces (think: snowy or icy roads) and a waterproof lining that keeps your toes toasty and prevents the cold puddles you step in from leaking into your shoes, increasing the risk of frostbite — or at the very least, just making you feel uncomfortable, adds Laura Norris, an RRCA-certified running coach in Northwestern Indiana. Most often, a trail running shoe will offer a few or all of these features, says McGarvey. (Make sure you read these safety tips for running in cold weather before you head outdoors.)

It's also important to choose a pair of winter running shoes that's similar to the one you wear in warmer months. Look for sneakers that are the same fit — either neutral, motion control, or stability — for your pronation (the way your foot rolls inward when it hits the ground) and as close of a heel-to-toe drop (the number of additional millimeters of cushioning are in the heel versus the toe) as your summertime shoes, says Chase Solarin, a certified run coach at STRIDE in San Diego. "You don't want to end up with an injury because you switched to a completely different shoe," he explains. The easiest way to do just that: Look for a trail running shoe made by the brand you typically wear on your warm-weather jogs, says McGarvey.

Even with those pointers, choosing a pair of winter running shoes can be overwhelming. That's why Shape tapped running coaches to share their favorite sneaks for wintertime jogs, sprints, 5ks, and beyond. Add one of their picks to your collection, and you'll be able to pound the pavement this snowy season without eating sh—t.

02 of 09

Asics FujiTrabuco Lyte

Asics FujiTrabuco Lyte
Asics
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These best winter running shoes give off major '80s bowling alley vibes, but they offer the traction you need to jog across wet surfaces. Recommended by Steve Stonehouse, a NASM-certified personal trainer, USATF-certified run coach, and the director of education for STRIDE, the trail sneaker has a lightweight midsole, a flexible forefoot so you can easily adapt to uneven terrain, and a heel tab that makes it fuss-free to pull the shoe on and off. The one drawback: The shoes aren't waterproof, so it may not be the best option for mid-snowstorm or rainy jogs. (

03 of 09

Saucony Peregrine 10 GORE-TEX Trail Running Shoe

Saucony Peregrine 10 GORE-TEX Trail Running Shoe
Amazon
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This ultra-grippy trail shoe features lugs made of a tacky, durable rubber to prevent slippage, a rock plate in the sole to protect your feet from stone-induced bruising, and a waterproof GORE-TEX coating that ensures your toes stay dry. "This can pull double-duty as a trail running shoe and a winter running shoe due to its aggressive sole that helps with traction, which is needed in wet or icy conditions," says Solarin. That said, "the additional traction will come at a cost — additional weight — so prepare yourself for a little heavier shoe," adds Stonehouse. "It's worth it, though."

04 of 09

Brooks Catamount

Brooks Catamount
Zappos
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Made with ultra-lightweight materials and a rock shield to protect your feet from sharp stones, these best winter running shoes are a must for McGarvey, who typically trains in the Brooks Hyperion Tempo (Buy It, $150, amazon.com) in the not-so-slippery months. The Catamount is a neutral trail shoe from Brooks that offers a similar feel, but "with the added benefits of improved traction to handle the slick conditions of winter," she explains. Plus, the sneakers are designed with a quick-drying mud guard that'll help prevent your feet from becoming soaked if you step in a puddle. (New to running? Theses tips will help you get started without feeling totally overwhelmed.)

05 of 09

Yaktrax Run Traction Cleats for Running

Yaktrax Run Traction Cleats for Running
Amazon
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Don't want to invest in a brand new pair of winter running shoes that you'll wear just three months of the year? You have options, including winterizing your current sneakers, says McGarvey. "Some runners go super basic and put screws in their shoes, but I prefer to strap on my Yaktrak so provide some extra traction," she says. "These slip on the bottom of your shoe, so there's no damage to the shoe for the warmer months." The cleats feature steel coils and spikes to prevent slippage while you jog, as well as reflective straps to increase your visibility in the dreary conditions. "If you find your shoe to be too breathable, winterize your socks, too," says McGarvey. "Grab a pair of Smartwool socks (Buy It, $26, amazon.com) or a similar style to keep your feet toasty." (

06 of 09

Nike Pegasus Turbo Shield

Nike Pegasus Turbo Shield
Amazon
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Although these best winter running shoes look like a pair you'd wear to walk on the moon, you can trust that they're ideal for snowy jogs. The lightweight sneakers have a sock-like fit, feature a waterproof outer material, have sealed seams to prevent any rain or sleet from seeping in, and are equipped with a sticky rubber outer sole for extra grip. "Nike does a good job with making this line not only water-resistant but also reflective," adds Solarin. "Most runners log miles in the morning or at night, and during the winter time, it can get pretty dark. The reflective nature of the Shield's can add a safety element as well."

07 of 09

Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Primeblue Trail Running Shoes

Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Primeblue Trail Running Shoes
Adidas
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These best winter running shoes have a leg up on others on the market when it comes to eco-friendly features. Rather than virgin polyester, the sneaker's upper is made with a high-performance recycled material crafted from plastic debris that's been removed from oceans. And this material "hugs the foot really well and keeps them warm and comfortable during winter runs," says Amanda Nurse, an RRCA-certified running coach in Boston. The sneakers also have a sock-like fit around the ankle to keep them snug on your feet, and "the continental rubber outsole grips the road and is great for on and off-trail, as well as on slippery surfaces," adds Nurse. (For indoor HIIT workouts, turn to these sustainable, ultra-quiet sneakers.)

08 of 09

Adidas Ultraboost WINTER.RDY DNA Shoes

Adidas Ultraboost WINTER.RDY DNA Shoes
Adidas
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If you, like Nurse, are already a fan of Adidas' Ultraboost Sneakers (Buy It, $180, adidas.com), you'll love this version that's fit for cold, wet conditions. "These ones specifically designed for sloppy winter weather are the best!" says Nurse. These best winter running shoes have a water-repellant upper that can stand up to any puddle or sleet storm, as well as a rubber outsole that provides essential traction on slick surfaces. Plus, the sneakers' drawstring, tie-free laces allow you to slip into the shoes and hit the pavement in record time.

09 of 09

Saucony Peregrine Ice+

Saucony Peregrine Ice+
Zappos
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If black ice is your worst enemy on January jogs, try Norris' go-to winter running shoes. "Many runners have routes in winter that involve both icy patches and clear pavement," she explains. "These shoes provide grip on icy patches while also riding smoothly on clear pavement or trails." The upper is also water-resistant and reinforced to protect feet from debris, and the sneakers' soles have an extra layer of cushioning for added comfort. (Wait, how many layers should you wear during a winter run?)

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