The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Any trail running shoe worth its lugs has enough traction to keep you upright in sloppy conditions. But a good pair of winter running shoes takes it up a notch.

While summer conditions call for lighter, airy kicks, winter shoes will sacrifice breathability for waterproof membranes, shells, higher collars, and gaiters that shed the icy snow and mud.

You pay a little more for the bells and whistles, but the goal is to keep feet warm, dry, and safe as you run through winter.

Steve Graepel, the primary author of this guide, has been running for 30 years. He worked with other GearJunkie staff writers, putting countless miles on just as many shoes to narrow in on the best of the best for those brisk winter romps. And because winter in Minnesota is heaps different than in Portland or Boston, we’ve identified a gamut of shoes that meet multiple definitions of winter.

For 2024, we brought in contributing writer (and fellow Midwesterner) Matthew Medendorp. He ran icy roads and whiteout conditions over Michigan’s long winters. To supplement these day-to-day tests, he brought a selection of finalists to a post-blizzard Mammoth Lakes, Calif., to test the shoes in high-altitude snowpack.

Our editors and testers have clocked endless miles on each of these runners. These shoes have held up from icy Minnesota road running to wintry Colorado trail running. Here are our best picks as you run into winter this year.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for. Also, be sure to check out our handy comparison chart, buyer’s guide, or FAQ sections at the bottom of this article.

Editor’s Note: We refreshed this article on May 6, 2024, adding additional details about our testing practices, and updating several models. We also made sure our product list is up-to-date with current models, color schemes, and designs. 

The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024


Best Overall Winter Running Shoe


Saucony Peregrine 14 GTX

Specs

  • Lugs
    5 mm
  • Drop
    4 mm (28 mm heel/24 mm forefoot)
  • Weight
    10.6 oz. (301 g)


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Plenty of toe volume

  • Firm, supportive ride

Cons

  • Lacks full-tongue protection from moisture


Steve Graepel

Best Winter Road Running Shoe


Nike Pegasus Shield 39

Specs

  • Fit
    True to size
  • Weight (per shoe)
    12 oz.
  • Drop
    10 mm (28-18 mm)


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Stellar upper fit

  • Smooth, cushioned ride

Cons

  • Minimal traction

  • Sizing can be tricky


Steve Graepel

Best Winter Zero Drop Running Shoe


Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Low 2

Specs

  • Fit
    Runs wide; otherwise, true to size
  • Weight (per shoe)
    13.2 oz.
  • Drop
    Zero (25mm stack height)


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Spacious toe box

  • Superior traction and protection

Cons

  • Can be an adjustment for those not used to zero drop


Steve Graepel

Most Supportive and Grippy Running Shoe


inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    Narrow
  • Weight (per shoe)
    12.6 oz. (on our scales)
  • Drop
    8 mm (16-8 mm)


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Super supportive and comfortable

  • Solid stability over rough terrain

Cons

  • On the heavy side

  • Awkward lacing system


Steve Graepel

Best Running Shoe for Road to Trail


Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    On the narrow side
  • Weight (per shoe)
    10 oz. (size 10)
  • Drop
    6 mm
  • Lugs
    4 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable fit

  • Firm and protective

Cons

  • Not the best traction

  • Not super cushioned


Steve Graepel

Best Running Shoe for Icy Conditions


La Sportiva Blizzard GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    Narrow. Go up a half size from street shoes.
  • Weight (per shoe)
    13.3 oz.
  • Drop
    6 mm (18-12 mm)
  • Lugs
    7 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Lightweight for what it offers

  • Carbide spikes for added traction

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Somewhat difficult to put on


Steve Graepel

Best of the Rest


HOKA Speedgoat 5 GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    True to size
  • Weight (per shoe)
    12 oz.
  • Drop
    4 mm (32-28 mm)
  • Lugs
    5 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Max cushion and comfort

  • Roomy toebox

Cons

  • Not super stable

  • Not the most aggressive traction


Steve Graepel


Adidas Agravic Tech Pro

Specs

  • Fit
    Comfortably snug
  • Weight (per shoe)
    15 oz.
  • Drop
     Unavailable
  • Lugs
    4 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Stellar full-winter protection

  • Super comfortable

  • Pulls on and off easily

Cons

  • On the heavy side

  • Expensive


Steve Graepel


Brooks Cascadia 17 GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    True to size with a wider toe box
  • Weight (per shoe)
    11.7 oz.
  • Drop
    8 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Durable

  • Great on technical terrain

Cons

  • Stiff underfoot

  • Not super fast

  • Not great on hard surfaces (i.e roads)


Steve Graepel


Brooks Ghost 15 GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    Snug but true to size
  • Weight (per shoe)
    10.2 oz.
  • Drop
    12 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Grippy

  • Pretty breathable for a waterproof shoe

Cons

  • Not super cushioned

  • Somewhat constricting toebox


Steve Graepel


SCARPA Ultra Spin GTX

Specs

  • Fit
    True to size
  • Weight (per pair)
    24 oz. (size 10)
  • Drop
    6 mm


The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024

Pros

  • Durable

  • Roomy and comfortable

Cons

  • Can often feel stiff


Steve Graepel

Winter Running Shoes Comparison Chart

Winter Running ShoesPriceWeightDropFit
Saucony Peregrine 14 GTX$16010.6 oz. (per shoe)4 mmTrue to size
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Shield$13512 oz. (per shoe)10 mmTrue to size
Altra Lone Peak 
ALL-WTHR Low 2
$18013.2 oz. (per shoe)0 mmTrue to size with
wider toebox
inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX$19012.6 oz. (per shoe)8 mmNarrow
Brooks Cascadia 17 GTX$17011.7 oz. (per shoe)8 mmTrue to size with
wider toebox
La Sportiva Blizzard GTX$24513.3 oz. (per shoe)6 mmNarrow
HOKA ONE ONE
Speedgoat 5 GTX
$17012 oz. (per shoe)4 mmTrue to size
Adidas Agravic Tech Pro$25015 oz. (per shoe)4 mmComfortably snug
Arc’teryx Norvan LD 3 GTX$20010 oz. (per shoe)6 mmN/A
Brooks Ghost 15 GTX$16010.7 oz. (per shoe)12 mmSnug but true to size
Scarpa Ultra Spin GTX$20024. oz (per pair)6 mmN/A

How We Tested Winter Running Shoes

Steve Graepel, the author of this guide, has been running for 30 years. During his time on his feet, he’s clocked a sub-3-hour marathon, won the Superior Trail Ultra 50 miler, and made the first known rim-to-rim-to-rim of Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest canyon. Steve can be found lugging a backpack with a spare pair of shoes in and around the Boise foothills with his two dogs.

To complement Steve’s personal expertise, GearJunkie has a crew of four runners collecting miles and feedback throughout the year.

A fitness-focused runner who logs miles for both cardio and agility, Adam Ruggiero run-commutes on pavement daily, and adds box jumps and stairs to his regular routine. Ruggiero logs 20-25 miles a week, with mid-distance trail runs at elevation on the weekends.

Fast is slow, and slow is M.T. Elliott. A recreational runner — and our resident Clydesdale runner — Elliott prefers the crunch of dirt over asphalt but runs on both.

Sean McCoy is a middle-of-the-pack ultra runner who, when not leading the Denver-based GearJunkie team, gets lost running and racing in the Colorado high country.

Matthew Medendorp is a runner who hates treadmills with a fiery passion. As such, you’ll find him outside in all types of inclement weather. He tested 2024’s shoes in a combination of locales: day-to-day running in Michigan’s lake-effect snowstorms, running vacations in Flagstaff’s high-altitude trails, and on a dedicated testing trip in the Eastern Sierras where he pitted the finalists head-to-head in a post blizzard Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Winter Running Shoe

Staring at a wall of shoes or endlessly browsing an online retailer can be overwhelming. We’ve broken down some helpful tips to find the right shoe.

Winter running doesn’t have to be dangerous or miserable; (photo/Steve Graepel)

Consider Where You Run

These days, manufacturers have dialed shoes for nearly every niche of running. This even applies to winter. A quick way to hone in on the right shoe is to identify where you run.

Winter road running shoes tend to be built off of a brand’s stalwart training shoe. Brands want to invest in a winner, and a winter winner will be a shoe that is also a summer winner. The traction on these trainers will already be beefier than a racing flat and are suitable for running on wet roads.

But they’ve added a waterproof breathable membrane to keep dedicated runners on the road through winter on a familiar last. If you already run in Brooks or New Balance, their winterized road shoes will be a good bet for cold, wet conditions.

Best Winter Running Shoes
Choosing the best winter running shoe can be a daunting task, but is an important investment for safety and enjoyment on the trail; (photo/GearJunkie)

Consider the Type of Tread

Winter trail running shoes have an aggressive lug pattern that bites into dirt, sand, and mud. But not all treads are the same. A blocky, cleat-like tread will shed mud in the Pacific Northwest but can feel clunky on hardpack found in the Southwest and can cause trips and falls.

Some brands, like Salomon and La Sportiva, offer shoes with integrated spikes. These are for runners who live in regions prone to ice, like the Northeast or the Columbia River Gorge.

Spikes can be wonderful on ice, but feel sketchy on rocky terrain and godawful on the pavement. Another option is to buy aftermarket crampons. We’ve paired our running shoes Yaktrax and Black Diamond’s Distance Spike.

These aren’t going to feel as stable as lugs embedded with carbide spikes, but they provide more flexibility in your winter quiver, pairing with a variety of shoes. We’ve found these lightweight crampons capable of crossing over into fast and light mountaineering junkets, too.

Winter shoes are generally more durable than their warm-weather cousins; (photo/JR Berry/ Mammoth Lakes Tourism)

Consider the Durability of the Shoe

Trail shoes also have a more durable upper, a robust toe bumper, and a firmer sole or even a rock plate — all to protect the feet from underlying roots and rocks. Trail shoes with lower lugs can be a little more runnable on roads, making them a suitable choice for snow-choked road runs.

All of the shoes on this list have a waterproof breathable membrane to keep melting snow and water from creeping in while keeping the toes warm.

Like spikes, integrated gaiters are a fantastic addition and worth the cost for those who frequently run in deep, snowy conditions. They shed snow weight quickly and keep feet warmer and drier. But because they trap heat, they can quickly become uncomfortable on milder days. Like crampons, gaiters can be purchased aftermarket for $25-50.

FAQ

Which winter shoes should I buy?

With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to choose the right trail shoes. Here are three things to consider as you shop:

  1. Set realistic running goals. If you dream of running a 100-miler one day but realistically will use the shoes for 5-mile training loops around your local park, buy shoes for the latter use first.
  2. Consider shoe width. For folks with wide feet, or those running very long distances, a wide forefoot can be a bonus that lets toes splay. The downside is that wider shoes are less precise, can be a little more clumsy, and won’t fit well on people with narrow feet.
  3. Test out the tongue. Does it fit comfortably? Will it keep rocks out of your shoe? Shoes with gusseted tongues help keep snow and debris from creeping into the shoe.
  4. Go with what you know. If you run in the dead of winter, you’re probably more than an armchair enthusiast with a few pairs of running shoes in your closet. Check whether your go-to model also has a waterproof model, often signified by GTX (GORE-TEX) in the title. If you love the fit of the Brooks Ghost 15, chances are you’ll also like the Brooks Ghosts 15 GTX.

How should trail running shoes fit?

Stack & Drop

Unless you’re running barefoot, every shoe has a stack. Measured in millimeters, the stack refers to how high the insole sits off the ground. Shoes with more cushion inherently have a higher stack. Furthermore, most shoes have a drop in stack height from the heel to the toe.

If you’re new to running, experts recommend a lower heel drop; it builds a wider range of motion and strength, which makes you a healthier runner. We also find a lower stack keeps your center of gravity closer to the ground. This becomes even more important on unstable terrain, with snow covering hidden obstacles.

Flexibility

Flexibility is your friend on the trails. You need variability to match the variable terrain. Trail runners and those running in winter — where obstacles can be hidden under snow — will prefer a shoe with a firm outsole and less cushion but a firm toebox to push off of.

Flexibility and torsion can help the foot adapt to the trail and objects obscured by snow. But too much flexibility can feel unstable. Without stability, the ankle can be exposed to rolling.

How long do running shoes last?

The life of a shoe depends on a variety of factors, including running style, weight, and how often they’re used. But in general, 300 to 500 miles is a good rule of thumb.

So if you run 10 miles per week, your shoes could last 8 months to a year. If you’re logging 20 miles per week, plan on replacing your running shoes every 4 to 6 months.

And if you see excessive wear patterns, holes, or tears, or if you notice a decrease in footbed comfort, it’s probably time to grab a new pair of sneakers.

Durability aside, we typically don’t wear our winter shoes daily. Winter-specific running shoes supplement our running quiver, rotating into the queue as the weather calls for it. This increases the shelf life of our winter shoes and stretches our dollars out over several years of use.

The post The Best Winter Running Shoes of 2024 appeared first on GearJunkie.

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