My biggest challenge with writing this blog post was to help my audience pick a winter running shoe, without buying and trying dozens of pairs myself. I went through four different lists of top winter running shoes, each one highlighting 15 to 20 brands and models. I then found that only five shoes appeared on at least three of the four lists. These were the five shoes that I featured.

Featured: Running in the spring...when winter isn't over yet

Written by Wendell Quan Fun, originally featured on


It is now the second week of April. We're seeing a string of double-digit temperatures in Toronto heading into the Easter weekend. Heck, we're starting to make predictions of when our cherry blossoms will bloom at High Park. Meanwhile, snow storms are brewing in the Prairies, bad enough to postpone a game for the Winnipeg Jets. Such is spring in Canada. It doesn't really start when it's supposed to.

As a runner, it can be hard to plan when and where to log your miles during the transition from winter to spring. Temperatures can swing very drastically from day to day. Snow and ice can melt, but it never completely goes away. Water on the ground is also a hazard. These are your main options when you're making snap decisions of when and where to run.

Option 1: Tough it out. Run outside.

Depending on your level of experience, you may feel comfortable running outside, with the puddles, slush, and maybe black ice. If you do, be sure to map out a route that minimizes your chances of encountering these hazards. You may want to invest in winter running shoes. These offer more protection from water, harder soles, and bigger lugs to improve traction. But as a result of this, they are less breathable and may be less flexible. Here are the most commonly recommended winter running shoes of the last two years:
Brand Shoe (GTX = Gore-Tex) Price Brief Description
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Shield $170 Its weatherized and insulated uppers keep your feet warm. Its outer soles combine the design of winter car tires with the trademark bounce of Air Zoom. Siping provides better drainage when running on wet roads.
Salomon Speedcross GTX $130-150 Its stitch-free upper construction makes the shoe fit precisely, while its chevron lugs provide better traction in mud and loose dirt.
Brooks Ghost GTX $160-180 It has a segmented sole for smooth transitions from heel strike to toe-off. Great for wet concrete, but not snow and ice. Surprisingly breathable for a waterproof shoe.
Hoka One One Speedgoat Trail GTX $145-160 VibramĀ® Megagrip rubber outsole provides grip in wet and dry conditions. 5 mm lugs let you run on light snow too.
Nike Pegasus Trail GTX $160 Designed for both winter and spring. Its modest lug depth lets you run on both dry and lightly snow covered roads. The stretch collar stops slush and debris from entering around the ankle.

Nike's website also has helpful tips on what to look for when you shop for winter running shoes.

Option 2: Get on a treadmill!

Chances are there is a treadmill nearby, wherever you live. Although you are stuck with the same view for your entire run, treadmills force you to maintain a consistent speed. This helps you hone your running mechanics and become very efficient at that pace. If you're like me and have trouble figuring out the treadmill speed that matches your 5k pace, check out this useful conversion chart from Torbjorn Zetterlund. Whether you run in miles or kilometres, this chart will get you on the right track (pun intended).

Option 3: Hit an indoor track!

Indoor tracks are not as common as treadmills, but there are a few in Toronto, and some are even FREE. My personal favourite is at Etobicoke Olympium. Not only is it free, but it's also open for 12 hours every day, except Sundays when it closes at 5:30 pm. There is also a lot of free parking. It is a 105-metre track made of Mondo, which lessens the shock on your joints. A 5k run on this track is just under 48 laps in the middle lane. I think you will appreciate the wide range of age groups that regularly use this facility. You won't feel intimidated, no matter what age you are. I think this reduces stress and helps you to just focus on your own running. All three of these options offer their own unique benefits. But your own individual needs also come into play. Would you prefer some space and isolation? How far would you commute for a run? When can you fit a run into your daily schedule? Whatever you do, don't wait for the weather to make up its mind. Just find a way to run!

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