While most people would elect to wrap themselves up burrito-style in electric blankets when the weather turns snowy, truly devoted runners will simply hunt for the best winter running shoes that give them all the traction in the world to keep clocking miles. It’s not a bad idea because the shoes boast weather-proof membranes and higher collars specifically designed for rough, slippery terrains. Whether the streets are slick with ice or slushy like snow cones, a high-quality winter shoe gives you a reliable grip without compromising on essentials like comfort, support, breathability, and of course, water resistance.
Considering all of these factors, we’ve handpicked the coolest selection of winter running shoes that will make you look forward to those icy trails in the dark while the rest of the city hibernates. You’ll find 13 different styles, each with its own set of pros and cons, with a handy buying guide on the other end of the list. Read up, gear up, and get-set-go!
The 13 Best Winter Running Shoes With Heavy-Duty Traction
When you want to amplify the efficiency of each stride and make it more balanced, these shoes are the obvious choice. For the express purpose of keeping them lightweight, their features are pared down to essentials like rubber-crafted outsoles that respond to unpredictable terrains with circular lugs to give you the highest level of traction. There’s also the removable insole, which is an excellent source of support for your arches. It reduces pressure on the feet by transferring weight over the ball of the feet, resulting in less fatigue and enhanced performance. With a thick topline, a breathable upper, and a stylish body, these minimalist shoes are ideal for track and gym alike.
- Wide range of motion
- Lightweight knit upper
- Removable insoles
- Machine washable
- Comfortable and quick-drying
- Available in 27 colors
- The back of the heel might rub a little at first.
Superb for keeping you on track with your winter miles, this Asics offering gives you plenty of support, comfort, and breathability. The GEL technology on the rearfoot is responsible for the ample cushioning that keeps your strides actively bouncy, while AmpliFoam midsole and OrthoLite sockliner provide better flexibility, alleviate shock during impact, and help you stay dry and warm. To eliminate irritation or the possibility of blisters, the shoes come with a heel collar that feels like silk against the skin. Laden with tons of other run-friendly features like a highly-supportive heel counter, a solid rubber outsole for aggressive gripping, and an ultra-breathable mesh upper that facilitates airflow, these shoes are an ideal choice for those who want smooth, seamless runs filled with soft landings.
- OrthoLite sockliner
- Shock absorbing
- Great flexibility
- Available in 12 colors
- Not suitable for heavy rain
Inspiring confidence with its sturdy, well-knit design, this Mishansha sneaker is one of the more multifunctional choices on the list, especially if you live in a place where winters are moderate at best. Lightweight with a strong, cushy interior, your feet will feel properly supported while being able to breathe throughout your run. There’s a soft sponge inner lining that doesn’t allow your feet to rub against the sneaker, so you don’t have to worry about blisters even if you wear them all day long. The insole provides sufficient arch support to correct your posture and absorb impact shock, which is essential for pain-free workouts. Non-slip, durable, and simple, these air-cushioned shoes will take you from morning runs to evening yoga without missing a beat.
- Knitted fabric
- Soft inner lining
- Available in 30 colors
- Might be slightly narrow in the toes
Featuring a vigorous grip, precise foothold, and a weatherproof body, the Speedcross 4 GTX feels like an excellent option for any and all terrains. Whether you’re running errands around the house or scaling a rugged, uphill trail, the pair’s GORE-TEX protection will keep your feet completely dry and comfortable. The material escapes the effects of high-pressure water, while the contagrip® outsole gives you a strong foothold on rough, uneven surfaces. It uses deep, sharp lugs to balance adhesion with durability, so you won’t have to worry about slipping when you’re trying to get some extra miles in. The brand has been around for over 70 years and is a household name in the outdoor sports segment, so your feet will be in good hands.
- High-performing grip
- Ideal for multiple terrains
- Lightweight and waterproof
- Available in 2 colors
- Slightly expensive
Bringing rubber together with an air cushion sole to create a comfortable and stable environment for your feet, these running shoes are a seriously good option for going about your day during winters. The phylon sole and high-elastic runner blocks give the outsole abrasion-resistant properties while also preventing skids and promoting safety. They feature an air-cushioned design that makes walks and runs much easier on the back and joints, along with a mesh fabric upper that gives your feet some room to breathe and keeps them from overheating. It doesn’t hurt that the shoe looks sharp and compact, pairing perfectly with most casual outfits.
- Stylish and comfortable
- Air-cushioned design
- Removable insole
- Breathable fabric
- Available in 8 colors
- The color might fade a bit over time.
These memory foam sneakers have long been a favorite among hikers and athletes for several reasons. Starting with the cloudlike cushioning and slip-resistant sole, they provide an excellent combination of comfort and traction that effectively reduces the impact of shock and makes the pair reliable on bumpy terrains. The insole enhances your running experience by boosting speed and making your strides lighter and more streamlined. Though adjustable laces are part of the package, you don’t have to tie anything because the slip-on design allows for super-easy wearing and removal. Breathable, bend-resistant, and offering an incredible fit, these shoes deserve a spot in every runner’s arsenal.
- Memory foam cushion
- Easy to slip on and off
- Absorbs shock impact
- Available in 23 colors
- Might be slightly roomy
Keeping you comfortable every step of the way, these lightweight running shoes from Inzcou is a great buy for both workouts and work. They feature a highly elastic upper made from flying woven fabric that gives your feet a lot of breathability, while the dense net builds a 3D surface that hugs your ankles for a snug fit. These will serve you well during long-distance runs or after staying on your feet for hours, thanks to the soft fabric that keeps expanding to accommodate swollen feet. The fit is spot-on and they have the right amount of flexibility to allow for unrestricted movement.
- Durable material
- Skin-friendly lining
- Available in 21 colors
- Might not be as slip-resistant
Combining a fashionable premium suede upper with a wear-resistant outsole, this winter hiking sneaker from Gracosy keeps you wonderfully warm and cozy. Lightweight and comfortable, the faux fur lining is super-soft against the skin and the soles are stable enough to survive regular, long-distance hikes on moderate terrains. They provide excellent ankle support and are especially ideal for those who are recovering from leg-related surgeries. The interiors are roomy and well-cushioned, making this an ergonomic choice for those with wider feet.
- High-grip rubber sole
- Durable and stylish
- Comfortable shoes
- Prevents skidding
- Available in 4 colors
- Might slightly pinch the toe at first
If you’re on the hunt for shoes that feel strong and rugged without looking the part, look no further! This PEAK pair gives off a casual sneaker vibe at first glance, but on the inside, it’s fully prepared to deal with the consequences of winter. The breathable and lightweight body is designed to keep your feet protected from wet surfaces, while the gentle, socklike interior is super-easy to slip in and out of when you’re in a rush. For those who like starting their day before the sun comes up, the reflective pull ring on the heel will give you high visibility in the darkness and keep you safe. The shoes also feature an EVA midsole that cushions every step and helps you maintain balance and stability.
- Easy to wear
- Anti-skid outsole
- Available in half-sizes
- Also ideal for everyday wear
- Available in 10 colors
- The size runs a little big.
Maneuvering moderately tough trails with efficiency, these Ahico cold-weather running shoes feel snug and comfy while keeping your feet dry and clean. With a knit tennis fabric on the upper vamp that fits like a sock and air cushioning at the bottom that reduces the impact of shock, these shoes offer protection and support in equal measures. If you’re worried about slipping, the strong rubber-cut outsole gives you an excellent ground grip without wearing out too early. The high elasticity of the fabric makes these shoes incredibly lightweight and flexible, allowing for a wide range of motion by moving along with you.
- High-functioning grip
- Air-cushioned sole
- Flexible and wear-resistant
- Available in 8 colors
- Could use some extra support
One of the sleekest and most aesthetically designed running shoes, the Pegasus 35 is equally snappy in terms of performance. It features a full-length zoom air unit with a cushioned seat to make your feet feel like royalty. The beveled heel is skilled at providing arch support and increasing the shoe’s responsiveness to the terrain. If you want to improve the stability of your strides without wearing overly snug shoes that restrict freedom of movement, these should be your first choice.
- Engineered mesh for breathability
- Flywire cables for better acceleration
- Lots of arch support and cushioning
- Available in 7 colors
- Slightly expensive
This trail running shoe guarantees a no-slip experience while running on ice or ankle-deep snow, thanks to the Arctic Grip outsole. Made from 100% textile, it comes with a PWRFOAM midsole that cushions your foot every step of the way and reduces the amount of pressure that goes into a run, making you feel less fatigued at the end of your usual mile target. The 6mm outsole lugs enhance traction and help you control your movements, while the water-resistant upper keeps your feet away from moisture, making your runs a blissful and blister-less experience.
- Water-resistant upper
- Effective outsole grip
- Cushy and comfortable
- Outsole lugs for traction
- Looks slightly clunky
Comfortable, well-fitting, and properly cushioned all around, these eco-friendly shoes from Adidas hit the hard pavement with a soft landing. The best part is they are designed to be slip-ons, which means you don’t have to bother with constant bending to tie laces and adjust the fit because the elastic closure does that on its own. In addition to trail runners, these are an ideal choice for those who work in professions that demand hours of standing or pacing around, like nurses and chefs.
- Provides arch support
- Reduces fatigue
- Easy to wear and remove
- Available in 2 colors
- Doesn’t have a tongue
Now that we’ve covered the most important ground, it’s time to talk about some basic guidelines you need to keep in mind when shopping for the best winter running shoes.
How To Choose The Right Winter Running Shoes
This is the foundation of a high-quality running shoe, without which not only is it not suitable for winters, but it can’t even be called a running shoe. Because trail conditions depend on location, it’s better to opt for a pair that features prominent bumps and grooves along with deeper treads at the bottom of the shoe.
Another obvious and all-important feature, weatherproof shoes let you go running in the rain and snow without having to struggle with wet feet the second you hit the curb. Go for pairs that repel water and minimize the effect of moisture on your socks and feet. Although no shoes will remain 100% dry, you can definitely find one that’s rugged enough to not let it affect your run.
- Support and breathability
These are characteristics you would look for in any kind of shoe. High-quality running shoes are equipped with thick, heavy cushions on the inside that don’t just make you feel comfortable, but also support your arch and maintain your posture. Additionally, look for shoes that wick moisture and keep your feet dry, so you don’t end up with blisters or infections. The more airflow passing through the shoe, the better it is for your feet.
Tips For Safer Running During Winters
- Warm up
While this tip isn’t exclusive to winter running, it becomes even more crucial when you are in the middle of winter and your joints are stiffer than usual. Before heading out the door, start with a quick but thorough warm-up sesh that lasts at least 15 minutes and covers the muscles and joints. It’s important to work up a sweat and get your body’s meter running to reduce the effects of cold air, which will make your sprints smoother.
- Cover up
Just because you’re going to be working up a sweat doesn’t mean you don’t follow the standard procedure of covering your body winter-style. Thick beanies, giant earmuffs, cozy gloves, heavy sweatshirts, and extra-cushy socks should all be part of your runner’s uniform if you aim to keep your muscle warm and toasty. However, don’t overdress so much that you can barely move.
- Gear up
That means putting on a pair of high-traction running shoes that keep you steady even if you do end up on a snow-filled trail, though you should ideally aim for clearer pathways. In addition to a high-quality pair, make sure you wear socks that are thick and comfortable enough to keep your feet warm. Once you step out with your gear in place, don’t forget to watch your step.
Running on ice and snow is no joke. It requires enormous willpower and determination. And just because you have both of those in scores does not mean you have to face the challenge at max difficulty. Investing in the best winter running shoes can make your task a whole lot easier. They provide you with excellent traction to stay safe on slippery surfaces, offer support to the areas on your feet that most need them, and resist liquids to keep you dry, safe, and free of blisters. So, don’t skimp on the most essential aspect of winter running and get yourself a pair of shoes that you can trust on the coldest of days.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Do you need different shoes for winter running?
Yes, absolutely. Regular running shoes don’t offer nearly as much traction as winter-ready pairs. You need to invest in the right footwear because running in cold, snowy conditions can be quite dangerous.
How should trail running shoes fit?
They should be snug enough to stay on your feet as you run, but not so tight that your skin feels out of breath. Ideally, you should opt for half a size up and make up the difference with a pair of soft, thick socks that will protect your feet from the cold. When choosing a pair, check how high or low the stack is situated. This determines how high the heel is. If you’re a beginner, it’s advisable to pick shoes with a lower stack because it offers a wider range of motion and more balance on bumpy terrains. You should also look for flexible shoes with a firm toe-box that adapt to varying trails.
How long do running shoes last?
That depends on how often you run as well as the quality of your shoes. Typically, they last from 300 to 500 miles with everyday use. If you log 10 or 20 miles in a week, your winter shoes could last anywhere between 6 and 8 months. However, most people refrain from using them daily so that they can increase their shelf life, which allows them to stay with you for several years.
Do you need waterproof running shoes for winter?
Absolutely. Waterproof shoes will keep your feet dry and comfy in the cold weather and prevent water from penetrating the socks, which is necessary to avoid infections and discomfort.