With the right clothing, running outside during the winter can be just a fun as any other time of the year. But when snow and ice start to cover your running route, it isn’t staying warm that you’ll be thinking about. Instead, you’ll be looking for ways to stay on your feet, as the slick surfaces can sometimes be treacherous. If you continue to run outside during the colder months, these five products will help you keep upright and moving, even when conditions take a turn for the worse.
During the winter, there may be times when your usual running shoes aren’t well suited for the snow- and ice-covered surfaces that you might encounter while out on the road. That’s when a pair of shoes from the Swedish company Icebug will come in handy. Icebug footwear includes all of the features you’d expect from any good pair of running shoes, including water-resistant fabrics, lightweight design, and a comfortable fit. But what sets these shoes apart is the embedded lugs (or in some cases spikes) in the soles that are specifically designed to provide a grip on slick surfaces. (Prices vary)
For about $40 you can quickly and easily convert just about any pair of road running shoes into all-terrain footwear. Yaktrax are made of steel coils with a set of straps that when attached to your shoes provide them with extra traction on mud, snow, slush, and ice. They are extremely lightweight, designed for use in an urban environment, and can transition to and from pavement without missing a beat. They also come off the shoe just as easily as they go on, which makes them a good option for running in places where weather conditions change regularly. (Price: $39.95)
For a little extra traction on slick surfaces invest in a set of MICROspikes from Kahtoola, a company that is best known for making snowshoes. Much like Yaktrax, this product slips over your existing running shoes, giving them a bit more grip on snow and ice. But whereas Yaktrax are built to transition to and from paved surfaces, MICROspikes are most at home on the trail. The stainless steel teeth provide a surprising amount of confidence for your winter off-road adventures, allowing trail runners to continue their outdoor workouts no matter what kind of conditions they’re facing. (Price: $59.95)
Perhaps the most cost-effective way to add extra traction to your running shoes is to install a set of IceSpikes. These do-it-yourself kits allow you to add a set of lugs to the bottom of any shoe, giving them extra grip on snow and ice. IceSpikes have the added benefit of being completely unobtrusive, allowing you to run without really even knowing that they are there. They are lightweight and have minimal impact on the balance of the shoe too, meaning you won’t have to alter your running style or gait to compensate for additional bulk on your feet. They’re also a relative bargain, making them a good choice for the cost-conscious runner. (Price: $29.99)
Warm feet are happy feet, particularly in the winter. A good pair of socks goes a long way to keeping your feet comfortable on a cold-weather run, which in turn provides better balance and stability. If your feet get cold, they’ll also get a little numb, which can certainly have an impact on your balance. Sugoi’s RS Winter Sock was specifically made for running in cold weather and features breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics, thicker materials for added warmth, and an extended length to protect the ankle and lower calf. Too often, socks become an afterthought for runners, but they can have positive effects on your performance while keeping your feet more comfortable as well. (Price: $20)
It is important to point out that it is still possible to take a nasty tumble on a slick surface even when using one of these products. If you’re going to run outside in the winter, remember to take your time and be extra cautious. A winter run can be highly rewarding, but slipping or falling can cause injuries. Be careful on the road or trail, and enjoy the season to the fullest.