Should I buy trail runners for winter running, or is it best just to stick with my running shoes? Kingston is, to the best of my knowledge, the slush capital of the world. Scott Kingston, Ontario
Hurricane Ridge XCR
Many, many good choices for trail runners. Montrail's shoes, for instance, are extremely popular—and extremely good. The Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR ($115; www.montrail.com), for instance, has a Gore-Tex liner and really aggressive soles that are designed for snow, slush, and muck. The fairly heavy sole also protects your feet. Salomon's XA Comp shoes ($99; www.salomonsports.com) are a little lighter than the Montrails, but also have a Gore bootie and Salomon's proprietary ContaGrip soles. Synthetic leather and mesh uppers will endure those cycles of dry to soaked that blight the lifespan of any trail shoe. And there is the Merrell Chameleon Gore-Tex XCR ($115; www.merrell.com), which is almost a light hiking shoe—heavier than either the Montrail or Salomon, but with a Gore-Tex liner and very supportive construction.
In any case, you'll also want wool socks—get some SmartWool Adrenaline Mini Crew Socks ($15; www.smartwool.com) to keep those winter dogs from feeling the hurt!
More slush-proof trail runners reviewed in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide.