Hurricane Ridge XCR
Hurricane Ridge XCR

What trail runners will keep out slush?

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

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I’d get trail runners, for lots of reasons. Some of them, for instance, have Gore-Tex or other waterproof-breathable liners, so your feet stay drier. Almost all have grippier soles than regular running shoes, translating into better, well, grip. Important when icy! And they also have stiffer midsoles and beefier uppers for more support and better protection for your foot, which can be valuable when running through the snow when you can’t so readily see what’s underfoot.

Hurricane Ridge XCR 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;, 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; 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;, 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; to keep those winter dogs from feeling the hurt!

More slush-proof trail runners reviewed in Outside‘s 2004 Buyer’s Guide.

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