Gear Guy

Any ideas for a good winter running shoe?

I'm a road and occasional trail runner. Given the current season, I'm looking for a pair of shoes with a waterproof component to keep my dogs dry when I'm "on the run." However, everything I've looked at so far seems to lean toward trail running in design. This is fine since I'll be traversing ice, snow, slush, and road crud, but the treads on these shoes seem too aggressive for the road. Any suggestions for a good compromise? Ben Marlborough, Massachusetts

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It’s true that most running shoes with a waterproof insert are aimed more at the trail-running crowd. But I don’t necessarily agree that the outsoles of these shoes are too aggressive for road running. Better to have what you need when the going gets slick than to find yourself skidding around on “street” soles.

Montrail’s Hurricane Ridge shoes ($115) are an excellent all-around shoe for winter use, with stretchable Gore-Tex inserts for waterproofing and comfort, a sturdy polyurethane midsole, and grippy lug design. They’re a lot of shoe, but I think just the ticket for winter use. Salomon’s XA Pro GTXs ($120) have an EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, a chemically formulated foam for shock absorption) midsole, which will yield a slightly softer ride than polyurethane. For a little less money, New Balance’s 806 shoes ($85) dispense with the waterproof liner and use water-resistant construction of synthetic leather and mesh. Trail shoes are typically firmer than regular road shoes, so you can add some cushioning by swapping out the stock insole for something like the Spenco Polysorb Insoles ($19).

Of course, the alternative is to wear a regular running shoe and waterproof your feet rather than the shoe. One way to do this is with a Gore-Tex sock, such as the Rocky Gore-Tex Oversock ($50). It has stretchy upper panels for a snug fit, while the part that goes into your shoe is non-stretch for better durability. Put on a pair of these and you can wear any shoe you want in wet weather. For fewer bucks, I also recommend the SealSkinz All-Season Socks ($29), which use waterproof-breathable technology developed by DuPont. A little bulky, but these will work very well too.

Keep on running!

Check out the REI website for the Montrail Hurricane Ridge shoes and other products recommended by the Gear Guy.

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