Winter is in full force throughout most of the country. But you don’t have to be confined to running on a treadmill inside. Besides wearing a hat, gloves and warmer clothes, you’ll also want to make sure your feet stay dry and warm. Starting on the inside and working out, here is a gear list that will keep your feet happy and you running outside all winter long.
Socks. Save your regular low cut socks for the summer. You want a thicker, calf-length sock that also wicks moisture away from your foot. Good socks are probably the single most important piece of gear you’ll wear while running in the winter. Men, check out Smartwool’s Adrenaline Medium sock for winter running. Women, Smartwool’s Light Skiing sock is a great option. Be advised, at about $18 they aren’t cheap, but when you have icy cold feet on your next winter run, you’ll wish you had just spent the money.
Shoe. You’ll definitely want a pair that is water-proof. Asics, Salomon, and The North Face all make great trail running shoes. Wet feet on a cold winter run is clearly not what you want. Many trail running shoes now have Gortex lining that keep feet dryer and warmer. You’ll probably have to drop around $100 for a pair but you won’t be sorry and you would probably need to buy a new pair of regular running shoes in that time period anyway.
Gaitors. These are relatively cheap but a lifesaver if you are going to be running in conditions where snow, water, or mud could get into your shoes. Gear companies now make a smaller version of the mountain climbing type specifically for runners and hikers. Inov8 and Montbell are two brand names with winter running gaitors under $25.
Ice Cleats. There isn’t a single running shoe made for running on ice. So, if you are out in icy conditions, you’ll need some ice cleats. They are small rubber straps that slide over your shoes and have little metal cleats on the bottom. $17 for running ice cleats is a small price to pay compared to a broken arm from a fall.
Snowshoes. If you are a little more adventurous, and have about $125-$225 to spend, running snowshoes are the way to go. I’ve always worn Tubbs but Atlas and CrescentMoon also have great running snowshoes. You can wear any type of running shoe with snowshoes but you will definitely want gaitors because they throw up a lot of snow. The biggest advantage of snowshoes over running shoes is not sinking in deeper snow. This allows you more freedom to run on trails that aren’t cleared or to make your own cross country trail.
Don’t let the winter months stop your running. With just a few pieces of gear, your feet will be protected and you can run in any conditions.