Here are our recommendations for shoes that can handle everything a Canadian winter can throw at a runner.
Saucony Peregrine 8 GTX (Editor’s Pick: Best Overall Shoe)
Men’s shoe: 292g (10.3 oz), Women’s: 263g (9.3 oz)
With the Peregrine 8 GTX, Saucony strikes a balance between three components of off-road running: traction, durability and comfort. The shoe’s PWRTRAC outsole provides exceptional grip in wet and snowy conditions while withstanding wear and tear. From the heel to the shoe box, the Peregrine GTX delivers descent cushioning upon landing and noted responsiveness on foot takeoff. And with a 4mm heel-to-toe drop ratio, you’ll get a better feel for the ground under your feet than many trail and winter shoes on the market.
UA HOVR Cold-Gear Reactor Mid (Editor’s Pick: Best New Design)
Men’s: 309g (10.9 oz), Women’s: 249g (8.8 oz)
The key benefit of this shoe lies in its name: Reactor. Within reason, the shoe’s “intelligent” insulation. adapts to your running conditions both in terms of weather and the intensity to your run, to aid in the shoe’s breathability and comfort. During testing, the Reactor Mid also stood up well to damp conditions. Bonus: The shoe comes up with snug, bootie-like ankle collar constructed to trap warmth, increase support and act as a shield against mud, rain and any other debris that comes you way. The full rubber outsole features a unique knobbed texture for elevated traction and durability.
ARC’TERYX Norvan LD GTX (Editor’s Pick: Best winter trail shoe)
Men’s: 330g (11.6 oz), Women’s: 270g (9.5 oz)
With a comfortable lightweight design that provides solid traction, the Norvan LD GTX is a great option for endurance runs across a range of conditions due, in large part, to its EVA/polyolefin midsole, which reduces footstrike impact and enhances your comfort over longer distances. GTX stands for Gore-Tex, so you can be confident the shoe will stand up well in wet and sloppy long runs during fall and winter. A high sidewall also helps the foot sit deeper in the shoe for more stability. Finally, the Norvan LD GTX looks great with contoured lines from the heel collar through the toe box and comes in sleek monotone colours. such as Black Shark, Confier-Everglade (blue) and Rigel-Poseidon (green).
New Balance 880V8 GTX (Editor’s Pick: Best winter road shoe)
Men’s: 305g (10.8 oz), Women’s: 280g (9.9 oz)
This latest edition of New Balance’s 880 series differentiates itself from the company’s popular road shoe version with the addition of a Gore-Tex layer, making it ideal for protection against most foul-weather running conditions though fall and winter. The 880v8 GTX also accommodates a wider foot in the toe box but feels as though it runs a bit small than past versions of the 880. As advertised, the outsole provides a descent amount of flexibility – what you’d want on wintery trails and sloppy roads – while the Trufuse midsole gives the shoe its highly responsive energy return. All in all, a great shoe for all the harsh conditions.
Nike Air Zoom Wild Horse 4
Men’s: 306g (10.8 oz), Women’s: 249g (8.8 oz)
In the Wildhose 4, Nike delivers both substance and style in this updated trail shoe. The outsole and midsole design stay the same, but the Wildhorse’s upper construction is all new. Nike redesigned the updated dynamic flywire and midfoot system to provide increased protection on various trail surfaces. The Wildhorse 4 fits snuggly, but not uncomfrotable so, and it comes in Nike’s trademark stylish colour options, including Gym Blue, Ashen Slate, Signal Blue and Orange Peel. The Wildhorse 4 is most ideal for lightweight trail running, providing exceptional comfort as well as descent traction and foot protection.
Asics Dynaflyte 3
Men’s : 257g (9.07 oz), Women’s: 215g (7.58 oz)
Versatility is the Dynaflyte 3’s greatest strength, serving as a reliable option on both winter roads and slick trails. The shoe includes a high-quality ORTHOLITE sock liner that protects well against moisture and felt breathable during testing, while the solid mesh upper provides a secure fit without feeling too restrictive. The outsole is made of high abrasion rubber, aiding in cushioning the blow of unseen sharp rocks on leafy snow or covered trails and rocks. While not designed for extreme winter running conditions, the Dynaflyte 3 should serve the vast majority of runners well from fall through spring.
Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid WP
Men’s: 357g (12.6 oz), Women’s 298g (10.5 oz)
This mid-cut advanced trail shoe is a hybrid of the Speedgoat 2, and well-suited for a variety of technical trails and weather conditions. As Hoke One One puts it, the Speedgoat 2, “embodies world-class endurance runner Karl Meltzer’s ‘go everywhere, run everything’ attitude.” The upper includes a waterproof bootie with a molded collar for comfort and performance in sloppy conditions. The outsole features deep Vibram MegaGrip lugs, which hold up on various tough terrains. All in all, The Speedgoat Mid’s a great fit, that will also provide stability and durability for your next trail adventure.