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For Christmas this year I asked my mountain goat ultrarunner husband to research winter running shoes for me. Since he's tried a variety of brands and braves some of the craziest trail conditions, I consider him a valid and reliable source!
Photo Credit: The Treadmill Photography
My #1 Goal: Provide extra grip on snow covered roads. Having Osteoporosis, I want to do as much as possible to ensure I don't slip and fall on black ice!
Background: Over the past few winters I ran in a pair of Gore-tex NorthFace trail shoes that weighed approximately 1,000 pounds. This fall, I finally wore holes through the bottom while running the rocky terrain of the Appalachian Trail. I was overdue for an upgrade, looking for shoes with solid grip, durability, and lighter in weight.
My Mountain Goat's Feedback
While I could edit his words, I'll let you all enjoy his authentic review!
"Here are some of the top shoes I could find based on reviews for sick grip on winter roads in both icy and snowy conditions. Most of these are available at REI to try on for fit.
Hoka Speedgoat 4s: I had the 2s, they had legit grip. I wore them an entire winter on both roads and trails. The upgraded version has reviews saying they have the best grip on road/trail of all running shoes. Basically, this is a Swiss Army knife of a shoe. I even wore these for a road marathon I ran in the middle of the night one time.
Photo Source: Hoka.com
Salomon Ultra Pro: These are the same trail shoes I run in now. They are super solid in mud and grippy. I haven't personally run with them in the snow, but they get good reviews. Very comfy.
Salomon Spikecross 5 GTX: These already have spikes built into the shoes so you will never need YakTrax. Also, they are Gore-tex (waterproof). They have the best reviews for running in the snow.
Photo Source: Salomon.com
Brooks Cascadia 14: These are available in GTX (Gore-tex) if you want it. They will feel similar to your typical Brooks running shoe. While not made for aggressive trails, they are probably as grippy as you will need for the road.
Ultimately, I chose the Hoka Speedgoats. Here's why:
I have not previously run in Hokas. My husband is a huge fan of the brand so I thought I'd give them a try to experience them for myself.
The Salomons with the spikes were a little much for road running. In truly deep snow I have a pair of YakTrax I can resort to.
It was encouraging that my husband wore the Speedgoats for an entire road marathon, indicating they will likely remain comfortable during my longer distance training runs.
I opted for the Gore-tex version, having loved the ability to run through deeper puddles and mud with my previous pair of winter running shoes. I greatly dislike the idea of wet, cold socks during single digit temperatures!
Having adventured out a few times in my new Speedgoats, I'd say they live up to my husband's hype. They have excellent grip, are comfortable, and most importantly I feel confident during my dark 5am training runs! While not the lightest pair of shoes I own, they are significantly lighter than my last pair and I can easily bounce around curbs, lawn, and road debris as needed.
A big shout out and thank you to my husband! Little did he know he was not only finding the perfect Christmas gift, but also writing my next Team Valentine Project post.
Wishing you many safe and happy winter runs, friends!
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