For winter running, there is no such thing as poor footing, but just poor footwear choices!
I get a lot of questions about winter running, footwear and traction devices. Being someone who sticks to the trails all winter, I’m going to share with you my go-to footwear winter choices.
Trail Running Shoes:
Be sure to wear shoes that have an aggressive outsole for winter running. Regular road running shoes and many trail shoes just don’t give you the traction that you need, and/or keep you upright.
The La Sportiva Mutant outsole is the best that I’ve found for winter running. These soles grip the snow extremely well and are good in most winter conditions, even without the addition of other traction devices. The same outsole as the Mutant can also be found on the La Sportiva Anaconda and Crossover GTX 2.0. I particularly like the Crossover GTX 2.0 for winter running because the upper is made of Goretex and provides more protection from the snow/cold, and it also has a built in gaiter to prevent snow from getting in your shoes.
On days when there is a lot of ice on the trail, or if you like running on frozen lakes like I do, I would highly recommend La Sportiva Hobnails. Hobnails are screwed into your trail shoes and give you the grip on ice like what you would find on track spikes. I have used sheet metal screws in the past (#8 1/2 inch hex head) and screwed them into my outsole, but the grip that you get from hobnails is far superior…especially on icy ascents/descents.
Snow and Ice:
When more snow has fallen or there is a combination of snow and ice on the trails (especially ice under a thin layer of snow), I’ll reach for my Kahtoola Microspikes. Microspikes are like a running crampon and give fantastic traction when you are running in conditions where there might not be quite enough snow for snowshoe running, but still slippery conditions. Microspikes are great for running on hardpacked packed snowmobile trails.
After a good base of snow, it’s time to go with Dion Running Snowshoes so that I can still enjoy the trails, even in deeper snow. The great thing about Dion Snowshoes is that there are 3 different cleat options, so depending on the snow conditions, you can choose the type of cleat that you need on your snowshoes that day (cleats can be changed easily within seconds). Standard Cleats are versatile for many conditions, but great for packed snow, Deep Cleat are more suited for deeper snow or off trail, and Ice Cleat are great for icy conditions or if there are some exposed rocks.
So, don’t let winter conditions keep you off the trails. You can still enjoy the same great trails that you run on during the summer as long as you chose the proper footwear and devices.