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2017-18 winter shoe guide

Eight new styles for Canadian weather

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Our eight recommendations for shoes that will tear through even the toughest Canadian winter.

RELATED: Classic (and often cold) Canadian winter races that will chill you to the bone.

Salomon Snowcross 2 (Editor’s Pick: Best Hardcore Shoe)

Winter Running Shoe Guide

362 g (12.7 oz.)
Drop ratio: 10 mm

The Snowcross is a beast of a shoe. In recent years, it’s been the most-talked about winter running shoe we’ve tested, and for good reason. It was among the first to embrace the idea that a winter trainer should be able to literally do battle with a raging blizzard.

The Snowcross is built upon an extremely aggressive, toothy outsole. Its deep chevrons dig in and grip snow and handle ice fairly well also, although they are lacking spikes. Up top, the booty construction has an outer layer, so it’s like your feet are wearing a waterproof winter jacket. It zips up to keep any debris out. Of course, the Snowcross is a heavy shoe with a weighty price tag. But if you are faced with extreme weather, it may just be the right shoe to keep you running this winter.

Under Armour Charged Reactor Run (Editor’s Pick: Best City Winter Shoe)

Winter Running Shoe Guide

278 g (9.8 oz.)
Drop ratio: 8 mm

Under Armour have been making interesting and impressive shoes since they revamped their running division a couple of years back. The Charged Reactor Run is a nice marriage of form-meets-fashion. It’s a high-top that leverages the esthetic for practical reasons, keeping snow and other yucky winter debris out.

The Charged Reactor Run comes in a series of stylish colourways, and looks hip enough to wear casually while keeping your feet warm on the streets in winter. Performance-wise, it feels much like Under Armour’s current offering of neutral shoes, which is to say that it feels like a responsive and firm everyday trainer with a bit of kick.

Adidas UltraBoost ATR

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Men’s 338 g (12 oz.)
Women’s 255 g (9 oz.)
Drop ratio: 10 mm

Adidas have added a booty to their incredibly popular UltraBoost in order to keep the elements out. The Primeknit upper is specially designed with a water repellent material to keep your feet from getting soaked, and the high collar should deter snow and slush from jumping onboard during a messy winter run.

Our testers have always gushed about the Boost midsole technology, and one of the neat details about it is that, unlike generic EVA, it’s highly resistant to extreme temperatures and can still deliver max cushioning on the toughest February morning. Coupled with a built-in cage for added structure and support, the UltraBoost ATR both looks great and performs exceptionally well under grimy conditions.

Arc’teryx Norvan LD GTX (Editor’s Pick: Best New Shoe)

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Men’s 330 g (11.6 oz.)
Women’s 270 g (9.5 oz.)
Drop ratio: 9 mm
Available 2018

Last year, Canadian outdoor company Arc’teryx released its first trail shoe, the Norvan VT, focused primarily on tricky mountainous ascents. The Norvan LD stands for, you guessed it, “long distance.” It’s got a firm, responsive ride quality, but the LD has more midsole foam in order to take the load off for a demanding endurance effort.

The Gore-Tex version of the Norvan LD is unique and special among the winterized shoes reviewed here. Arc’teryx are pioneering a new form of the membrane that can be adhered directly to the upper, meaning it does not need an extra, sock-like layer of Gore-Tex to keep your feet happy and dry.

Asics Gel-Fujitrabuco 6 GT-X

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Men’s 337 g (11.9 oz.)
Women’s 275 g (9.7 oz.)
Drop ratio: 10 mm

The sixth iteration of the Fujitrabuco continues to refine this workhorse trail runner. It’s got all the little details needed for a gnarly off-road adventure all sorted in version six: a resilient rockplate underfoot to protect from roots and jagged rocks; a sock-like wraparound upper with a tongue that allows you to stuff your laces; and a touch of stability by way of Asics’ Duomax material.

The Gore-Tex version of the Fujitrabuco 6 builds in a waterproof membrane, which makes this year-round trail runner a decent option through Canada’s toughest weather months. Its rugged overlays combine with the Gore-Tex to provide a solid level of warmth and protection.

Salomon Speedcross 4 Nocturne GTX

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Men’s 325 g (11.4 oz.)
Women’s 280 g (9.8 oz.)
Drop ratio: 10 mm

The Speedcross has become a classic shoe for rugged trail and mountainous terrain. The standard Speedcross has an aggressive outsole with grippy lugs, and Salomon’s excellent upper, includes their signature quick-lacing system, which dials in the best fit of the winter shoes we’ve tested here.

The winterized version of the Speedcross 4 tucks in a layer of Gore-Tex, making the shoe even more suitable for challenging conditions. But it’s also a really well-rounded all-season trail shoe, so long as the temps don’t get too high. Our testers did report that it’s warm, which is a good thing for a winter shoe.

New Balance 910v4 GTX

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Men’s 329 g (11.3 oz.)
Women’s 273 g (9.7 oz.)
Drop ratio: 8 mm

New Balance’s full cushioning trail model gets a mild update in version four. The 910v4 continues to use a RevLite midsole, which is New Balance’s tried-and-true foam that is loved by many. This model lays in a rockplate under the Revlite to offer protection during a rocky and rooty run.

The big change to the 910v4 is actually a return of sorts, with New Balance reverting to a previous design of the toebox in order to provide more room and natural movement during the toe-off phase. Our testers reported that the 910v4 felt smooth and ideally suited for longer trail efforts. The GTX version of the 910v4 of course includes Gore-Tex waterproofing.

Brooks Ghost GTX

Winter Running Shoe Guide

Men’s 320 g (11.3 oz.)
Women’s 278 g (9.8 oz.)
Drop ratio: 8 mm

Brooks has winterized their excellent Ghost 10, a fully cushioned neutral ride for logging many miles. The Ghost 10 is built atop of Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA midsole, which our testers found to feel exceptionally soft yet structured from the first moment they put them on their feet. The 3D-printed upper is pretty much seamless on the interior next to the foot, so it shouldn’t cause chafing.

Brooks has added an internal Gore-Tex membrane around the entire upper in order to keep your feet dry yet breathable – as sweat needs to escape somewhere, even in winter. If you’re looking for a solid everyday trainer for those cold, slushy days but don’t need a hardcore shoe, the Ghost GTX will do the trick.

The 2017 winter shoe guide appears in the November & December 2017 issue of Canadian Running.