Canadians can’t and don’t shy away from heading outside after the snow starts to fall. These nine winter-specific shoes are sure to get you through your toughest season of training.

The North Face Ultra MT Winter

Winter Running Shoes
Unisex: 346 g (12.2 oz.)
Drop ratio: 8 mm
$220

The North Face have taken their highly successful Ultra shoe and wrapped it in an impressive array of weather-resistant materials. The HydroSeal outer, gaiter and FlashDry collar are equipped with zipper and Velcro to keep out snow and slush. There’s an oversized zipper and heel tab so you can put them on or take them off with a glove on. The two-piece midsole makes the Ultra MT Winter flexible for a shoe of this magnitude, especially because there’s a rock plate from the midfoot all the way to the heel for protection. The Vibram Icetrek outsole’s chevron-shaped lugs are spaced enough that snow and ice falls off pretty quickly mid-run. And they’re snowshoe compatible.

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Under Armour Gemini 2.1 Night Record-Equipped

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s 294 g (10.4 oz.); Women’s 255 g (9 oz.)
Drop ratio: 8 mm
$180

The Gemini 2.1 Night Record-Equipped is an impressive release from Under Armour, who have relaunched their entire running shoe line in the last year or so with much acclaim. The Gemini is their flagship everyday trainer, best for neutral runners. What sets the Gemini apart from the field is its novel technology embedded within the midsole. When paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth, the Gemini provides data on your run, just like a running watch. This new winterized version has added reflectivity and a water-resistant upper.

Saucony Razor Ice+

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s 300 g (10.6 oz.); Women’s 255 g (9 oz.)
Drop ratio: 4 mm
$220

The Razor Ice+ is one serious winter running shoe. It’s designed for extreme environments, including ice-covered surfaces and terrain with lots of snow, slush and water. The upper booty covers the shoe hidden underneath, with a built-in gaiter so that snow and other debris won’t fall in. Inside it looks like Saucony has embedded a cushioned road trainer, perhaps the guts of their Triumph or Ride. The most exciting feature is under the shoe. The outsole uses Vibram’s new Arctic Grip, which feels like sandpaper and is truly remarkable, sticking to pure ice. The Razor Ice+ delivers the first ever ice-proof run.

Merrell All Out Crush Shield

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s 262 g (9.24 oz.); Women’s 198 g (7 oz.)
Drop ratio: 7 mm
$150

For those familiar with Merrell’s trail lineup, the All Out Crush Shield carries that same flexibility and aggressive lugging. The only main upgrade with the Crush Shield is the water-repellent upper coating. The thin layer of tpu will keep water and snow out. Merrell’s Unifly midsole is super-flexible and firm. The upper also has a more reflective detailing on the upper than Merrell’s other trail shoes. The TrailProtect rock plate will protect your feet from frozen rocks and sticks as you cut through the winter trails. The All Out Crush Shield is a nimble trail running shoe for late fall, winter and early spring.

Asics Cumulus 18 GTX

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s 343 g (12.1 oz.); Women’s 292 g (10.3 oz.)
Drop ratio: 10 mm
$180

Asics’s everyday neutral trainer has always been a reliable pick for runners needing a touch of sport and cushioning. Over the course of 18 iterations, Asics have mastered the design for this durable shoe, which is bound to get you maximum mileage for your buck. The Fluidride midsole is soft and substantial, for above-average cushioning, making it an ideal long run or everyday mileage shoe. Where The Cumulus 18 gtx really shines is in its exceptional upper. It’s been given the full Gore-Tex liner treatment, and the mesh and fabric overlays keep your feet dry and surprisingly warm on even the coldest days. A great road shoe for foul weather running. It comes in an assortment of interesting colourways

Salomon Snowcross CS

Winter Running Shoes
Unisex: 366 g (12.7 oz.)
Drop ratio: 11 mm
$220

The Snowcross is a winter-proof beast. The fully waterproof outer membrane, Climashield mesh in the forefoot and zip-up gaiter means you can run through a big puddle of slush without a worry. Under the gaiter is a quick lace system for one-pull tightening. Underfoot, the nine carbide-tipped lugs will cut into ice and hardpacked snow, but it will limit them to strictly intense conditions. The moluded eva mid- and outsole is firm and on the stiff side, but springy for pushing hard through tough weather. The improved toe cap from the first version rounds out perhaps the most aggressive shoe we’ve taken out in a Canadian winter.

Reebok One Cushion 3.0 Nite

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s 280 g (9.8 oz.); Women’s 218 g (7.7 oz.)
Drop ratio: 11 mm
$140 (Available styles will differ in colour)

The One Cushion 3.0 concept is a three-part midsole, where each section has a slightly different density to the EVA foam. Obviously, the heel gets the most protection, so the One Cushion 3.0 is a safe bet for heel-strikers. This “Nite” version is designed to be highly visible. Reebok added 3M reflectivity throughout the upper for a safer run during those dark winter months. The upper of this shoe is quite comfy and chafe-resistant, which is ideal for poor, wet conditions. And for a more road-dedicated shoe, the deep grooves to the outsole lugs were surprisingly effective, and should power you through slippery snow on a sidewalk.

New Balance Vazee Pace V2 Protect

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s: 271 g (9.6 oz.); Women’s 231 g (8.1 oz.)
Drop ratio: 6 mm
$140

The Vazee Pace has been a hit for New Balance. It’s a versatile neutral trainer that’s light enough for faster running as well. Version two saw some nice tweaks to the design and this winterized version will be appealing to those who train on the roads after dark in winter. The shoe is designed for nighttime running, adding reflective and glow-in-the-dark detailing, including a big chunk of the outsole, so that cars will see your feet even from behind. DWR (the same coating that keeps most jackets waterproof) has been applied to the upper to keep your feet dry. The tread is the same as the all-season model, so it’ll appeal to road runners who don’t have to battle too much snow on the roads.

Brooks Ghost 9 GTX

Winter Running Shoes
Men’s 320 g (11.3 oz.); Women’s 283 g (10 oz.)
Drop ratio: 12 mm
$170

The Ghost was a hit with our testers from the onset. It’s one of those shoes that just feels right from the moment you put it on. It’s BioMoGo midsole cushioning technology provides a soft landing, and the blown rubber outsole design is flexible but firm, so your feet don’t move around too much. It’s also a warrior of a shoe, capable of logging hundreds of Ks. The winterized version has a Gore-Tex upper, so it can withstand the elements during a Canadian winter. Apart from the upper, it’s identical to the non-waterproof Ghost 9, so it will handle in the same manner on slippery, frozen roads. A solid winter trainer.

Photos by Hiep Vu


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2 Comments

  • Ken H says:

    Your article says the Saucony Razor Ice is good for water and slush.. But the Saucony home page for this shoe says it is neither water resistant or water proof! Makes a big difference.. Any clarification possible?

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