Salomon Snowcross CS Running Shoes

While the minimalism trend has shifted the center of the running universe toward lighter, more neutral designs with lower heels, shoe buyers are still faced with one crucial question: Performance or comfort? If your go

   Photo: Salomon

GEAR OF THE YEAR: This is the most winter-specific running shoe we’ve ever seen, with an above-the-ankle gaiter, glove-friendly one-pull laces, ankle pads to prevent snowshoe bruising, and nine carbide-metal spikes embedded in those big snow lugs for goatlike grip even on black ice. While all of this makes pounding out miles in the depths of winter fun, the reason the Snowcross CS earned our highest honor is that incorporated underneath that water-resistant gaiter is a real running shoe—Salomon’s superfast, nimble Speedcross, which won our Gear of the Year nod in 2010. This winterized version has the same racing DNA: fast, extremely smooth, and low to the ground for great trail feel. Most impressive: despite all the winter armor, it still weighs less than some summer-only shoes. 12.7 oz; 11-mm heel-to-toe drop

Protection: 5
Agility: 5
Speed: 4

Brand: Salomon $200
From 2013 Winter Buyer's Guide Get the Latest Issue