Saucony ProGrid Outlaw
Saucony ProGrid Outlaw

The 6 Best Women’s Running Shoes of Winter 2012

Saucony ProGrid Outlaw

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Saucony ProGrid Outlaw

The Outlaw’s high-wrapping upper serves as a snow-and-debris gaiter and adds ankle stability on fast and nasty downhills. Even better, the height drops down in the back, allowing for greater movement around the Achilles. Factor in its surprisingly light weight and great traction and you’ve got our favorite foul-weather shoe, despite the somewhat stiff and slower forefoot. 10.1 oz


Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel II

Pearl Izumi Synchro Fuel II
Pearl Izumi Synchro Fuel II (Courtesy of Pearl Izumi)

One word: plush! The thickly cushioned SyncroFuel II is as smooth as a heel-striking high-mileage trainer can get, with an impressively quick turnover, a firm and high-energy forefoot, and a touch of stability in the soft heel for light pronators. Bonus: the tight mesh sidewalls on that seamless upper boost both warmth and splash resistance. 9.2 oz


Salomon Speedcross 3CS

Salomon Speedcross 3 CS
Salomon Speedcross 3 CS (Courtesy of Salomon)

Waterproof, fast, and extremely nimble, the Speedcross 3 CS is a lot like one of our other favorite aggressive mountain running shoes, the La Sportiva Crosslite 2 (page 92). Except it’s winterized: the forefoot’s water-shunning Climate Shield membrane kept the shoe warm and dry on sloppy days, and the lugs are big enough to bite firm snow without feeling gummy on packed dirt. 9.9 oz


Merrell Lithe Glove

Merrell Lithe Glove
Merrell Lithe Glove (Courtesy of Merrell)

An ultraminimalist for winter. The Lithe is Merrell’s take on a barefoot-like running shoe but with a soft-shell upper for a bit of protection from water and cold weather. The Vibram sole is thin but felt just sturdy enough to beat back sharp pebbles. “Even though it’s a minimalist shoe, it provides a good amount of protection,” one converted tester crooned. 6.5 oz


Scott eRide Support

Scott eRide Support
Scott eRide Support (Courtesy of Scott)

Meet rockered running shoes. The curved midsole means there’s less heel to get in the way for midfoot strikers, and heel pounders roll quickly out of the cushy backseat. Testers split into two camps—those who loved the smooth, forward-rolling feeling, and those who found it distracting. Either way, it’s a light, secure, slightly faster-than-average stability trainer with support for midrange over-pronators. 8.6 oz


Mizuno Wave Enigma

Mizuno Wave Enigma
Mizuno Wave Enigma (Courtesy of Mizuno)

Like an Iowa glad-hander, the Enigma works hard to please everyone. It’s not too fat in the heel for midfoot strikers, not too firm for hard-landers. It’s also just thick enough in the forefoot to neutralize impact without seeming to sap your energy. Although it feels a touch slower than most Mizunos we’ve tested, this versatile shoe hits a very sweet spot for the vast majority of high-mileage neutral runners. 9.6 oz