What You Need To Know
- A little more traction for your running action
- Our top picks to rack up the miles in cold winter conditions
- The right mix of road and trail readiness
The days are getting shorter, and the miles are getting colder. Before too much longer, the weather will be wet and slushy, too. We haven’t seen much more than a flurry or two here in Baltimore, but that’s bound to change in the coming weeks. Our shorts and short sleeves have already settled down for their long winter’s nap, and now it’s time to send some of our favorite summer shoes with them. Instead, it’s time for us to bust out some of the best winter running shoes you can buy.
You won’t find too many lightweight or brightly colored options on this list (though there are a few). Instead, get ready for a healthy dose of Gore-Tex, plenty of ice spikes, and a few chunky options that are ready for the trails. And if you’re broke as hell, just grab a handful of hex screws from your local hardware store and plug a bunch of them into an old pair of road shoes. Because honestly, that’s really all you need.
As always, we let our own experiences guide our list. Many of our picks come from our own runs, but we take availability into account too. We certainly can’t tell you to go hunt down a Yeti and steal his feet, now can we? Anyway, let’s get into the picks.
The Best Winter Running Shoes
Puma Velocity Nitro
Use: Clawing the roads with a PUMAGRIP outsole | Drop: 10mm | Price: $120
Our first winter running shoe is actually a shoe for all seasons, and it just goes to show how Puma blew us away in 2021. No, the Velocity Nitro doesn’t have Gore-Tex to keep you dry, nor does it have a series of ice-ready lugs. Instead, it has a PUMAGRIP outsole that makes you feel like you have claws. It’s the same outsole across Puma’s entire lineup, so we really could have picked just about any one of them.
However, we chose the Velocity Nitro for its overall flexibility. It’s a solid performer for fast days and easy runs, and the NITRO foam is light, bouncy, and responsive. The upper is made of an engineered mesh, which isn’t exactly waterproof, but it does provide good structure as you navigate slushy puddles and rumble around corners.
Oh, and that PUMAGRIP outsole? Somehow Puma managed to add it without adding to the shoe’s overall weight — the Velocity Nitro is just 9 oz. for a US M9.Shop Puma Velocity Nitro – Men Shop Puma Velocity Nitro – Women
ASICS GEL-Kinsei Blast
Use: Keeping those toes warm| Drop: 10mm | Price: $180
We got this shoe way back in August and at the time, it was just a little too much. We’re not talking about the rearfoot GEL, forefoot GEL, Flytefoam Blast, Guidesole technology, and Pebax plate. We’re talking warmth and a lot of it. The knit upper on this shoe keeps your toes toastier than a marshmallow on a forgotten campfire s’more stick. Which is why it’s such a great winter running shoe.
Robbe took the Kinsei-Blast out as it dipped into the high twenties (Fahrenheit) last week and his toes were none worse for wear over the course of six miles. It’s also a surprisingly great shoe for everyday miles, which we were not expecting. The Guidesole keeps things rolling, the GEL does absorb the shock, and the Pebax plate provides enough pop to keep a heavy-on-the-scale shoe feeling pretty good on the run. The sticker price is certainly at the top end of ASICS trainers, but your feet may thank you for dishing out the extra dough come mid-January.Shop Kinsei-Blast – Men Shop Kinsei-Blast – Women
HOKA Speedgoat 4 GTX
Use: Your best (and wettest) Karl Meltzer impersonation | Drop: 4mm | Price: $159
Now we’re onto a tried and true winter running shoe. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the HOKA Speedgoat 4 by now, and the GTX version is as tough as they come. HOKA added waterproof Gore-Tex material all over the upper to keep your toes especially dry in snow, rain, and whatever else may come. The series of 3D printed overlays also lock your foot in place while you navigate more technical terrain.
Of course, being a trail-ready monster, the Speedgoat 4 GTX packs 5mm Vibram Megagrip rubber lugs across the outsole. They should keep you stuck on the trail like glue, and the outsole provides a rare pop of color for the shoe. HOKA decided to follow the Henry Ford rule for its GTX model — you can choose any color, as long as it’s black. Maybe we’ll get a better slate of hues when the Speedgoat 5 GTX rolls around.
The Speedgoat 4 GTX is slightly heavier than the Velocity Nitro at around 12 oz. per shoe, though that mainly comes from the Gore-Tex upper.Shop Speedgoat 4 GTX – Men Shop Speedgoat 4 GTX – Women
Norda 001 G+ Spike
Use: Crushing icy trails in style | Drop: 5mm | Price: $335
You already know just how much we loved the Norda 001 if you’ve read about our top trail shoes of the year. You may also know that Robbe busted his ankle in a pair while recording some video, so maybe he needs this version all the time. What makes it different, you ask? Why, the series of 20 carbon-tipped steel spikes, of course. The Norda 001 G+ Spike is nearly identical to the all-weather version of the shoe, but it’s meant for the absolute most challenging terrain.
Norda hasn’t moved away from the Dyneema woven upper (and it never should), but now there’s a G+ membrane in place, too. Essentially, this adds breathability and waterproof protection to an already great upper. Just like HOKA’s Speedgoat, the Norda 001 G+ relies on 5mm Vibram Megagrip lugs to lock you down. Unlike the ‘goat, you can actually test out colors that aren’t black!Shop Norda 001 G+ Spike – Men
Use: Affordable ice domination | Drop: 5mm | Price: $130 on sale
You may not be as familiar without next winter running shoe, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Salming hails from Sweden, which is known for its winter wonders. That’s what inspired Frozen, right? We don’t know, ask you kids. Seriously though, Salming was adding spikes to its shoes before Norda decided it was cool. The iSpike packs 13 nearly indestructible tungsten carbide studs to give you literal claws into the snow and ice.
Salming’s outsole is made from Vibram LiteBASE, which helps keep the weight down, and the ever-popular Megagrip is back once again. The midsole combines RECOIL and SoftFOAM, which should provide enough stability and bounce even when the ground is rock-hard. Like a few other winter running shoes, the iSpike keeps color options to a minimum, so you’ll have to paint it on your way through nature.Shop Salming iSpike – Men Shop Salming iSpike – Women
Saucony Endorphin Speed Runshield
Use: Speedwork in very specific conditions | Drop: 8mm | Price: $179
If you’ve read any of our Saucony content in about the past year or so, you know how much we love the Endorphin Speed. We gave the first one our shoe of the year award, and the second one made just the right tweaks, so we were pretty pumped for the Runshield to show up. It basically brings Saucony’s ColdTrac rubber, which is meant to boost grip in colder weather, together with a water-resistant mono-mesh upper. Since it’s the same outsole pattern as the original Speed, the traction will definitely suck in snow or ice, but it’s for sure an upgrade over the original on cold surfaces (i.e. it stays softer in colder temps, allowing for better grip).
And, I mean, come on, the Endorphin Speed Runshield looks better than either of the standard versions.
The water-resistant mono-mesh upper is also certainly not waterproof — unless we’re talking about the world’s lightest mist. This is a rare water-resistant running shoe on our list in that it’s built for speed rather than trails or gentle miles, partly thanks to the PWRRUN PB midsole with a Pebax plate. While you’re probably not hitting puddles at top speed, it’s nice to know that you can if you really want to.Shop Endorphin Speed Runshield – Men Shop Endorphin Speed Runshield – Women
Use: Icy adventures with a little extra drop | Drop: 10mm | Price: $185
Does the Salomon Spikecross look familiar? If you’ve seen other Salomon options, it should. It’s essentially a winterized version of the much-loved Speedcross 5, but it goes a step further. It incorporates water-resistant Gore-Tex into the upper, along with a Quicklace system to lock your foot in place with Kevlar fibers. The outsole packs rows of chevron-shaped lugs, and the 12 tungsten spikes give a little extra punch on icy terrain. Salomon stuck with its classic Contagrip TA for the outsole rubber, marking a rare departure from Vibram.
Thomas will be happy to tell you about the Spikecross 5’s gusseted tongue, and we can all vouch for the anti-bacterial OrthoLite sock liner. It keeps the stank at bay, and it works pretty well on the moisture, too. Salomon’s red colorway (as seen above) is the perfect level of bright but also sleek enough to look badass.Shop Salomon Spikecross – Unisex
Altra Provision 6
Use: Grippin’ your way downtown, runnin’ fast, you know the rest | Drop: 0mm | Price: $140
Altra makes out list not with a trail shoe but with a mild stability option that’s meant for the roads. Robbe got to put his miles in on the Provision 6 and came away pretty impressed with the full rubber outsole. It may not have as cool of a name as PUMAGRIP, but we’ll say yes to anything that keeps us from sliding around Baltimore like ice skaters. Altra’s brand-new EGO midsole is solid as well, it offers extra medial support with a subtle flare for a stability kick.
Altra rebuilt the Provision 6 from nothing and did a great job the whole way through. It’s not a winter running shoe to keep you warm and dry, but the light weight and overall breathability are solid improvements. Just remember, this is a zero-drop shoe, so be ready for a bit of an adjustment if it’s your first Altra experience.Shop Altra Provision 6 – Men Shop Altra Provision 6 – Women
Nike Pegasus 38 Shield
Use: The wet workhorse with wings | Drop: 10mm | Price: $130
You already know Nike’s Pegasus, and you’ve probably run in one of the previous 37 versions. However, you might not have considered its all-weather potential until now. The Pegasus 38 Shield cuts nearly the same silhouette but with the added benefit of a water-shedding coating on top. You’ll also find a different rubber traction pattern across the outsole. The Swoosh packed some extra insulation on board to keep your toesies nice and cozy in the cold weather, too.
See also: Nike Pegasus 38 review
That said, extra insulation means you probably won’t go running for this shoe in the summertime. If you want to make it even more unique, Nike offers a Pegasus 38 Shield By You so you can switch up the colors, laces, and more.Shop Pegasus 38 Shield – Men Shop Pegasus 38 Shield – Women
Use: Crampons for your favorite shoes | Drop: N/A | Price: $60
It’s definitely not cheating to tell you that sometimes the best option is to winterize your favorite running shoes. After all, if you’ve got a pair that’s broken in just right, it’s only fair to add more miles to them. Kahtoola’s EXOspike combines tiny NANOspikes with slightly larger and grippier MICROspikes. The full TPU Traction Matrix offers consistent contact across the entire sole of your shoe, and it’s much lighter than some steel options.
Kahtoola’s elastomer harness stays stretchy down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s always the perfect temperature for a run. The EXOspikes are actually 40% lighter than Kahtoola’s MICROspikes, so they must be doing something right.Shop Kahtoola EXOspike