7 Best Winter Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
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As opposed to regular running shoes, running shoes for winter is more protective and warm. And to combat slick surfaces, they are also much grippier. 

It’s not easy to filter out the best of the best among winter shoes, which is where we come in. We tested various running shoes for the cold, snowy, and icy seasons. What we did was use them for a long period of time, long enough to gauge their comfort, grip, and support, among other characteristics. We also inspected their properties more in the lab. Finally, we selected the most suitable pairs from different categories for you to easily pick what resonates to your needs the most. 

Best winter running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 GTX isn't just a waterproof version of the regular Pegasus Trail. By adding an excellent outsole and a very protective new upper, it’s become a much better shoe overall. Fun, surprisingly light, and extremely comfortable for short and medium distances, it’s a superb all-around performer that testers just loved.


  • Superb gaiter-like upper
  • Comfy and peppy ride
  • Versatile door-to-trail
  • Grippier than the standard version
  • Light for a GTX shoe
  • Very stable
  • No breaking-in needed
  • Welcomes wide feet
  • Appealing design


  • Lack of reflective details
  • Not for technical terrain
Full review of Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 GTX

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Any color
Velvet Brown/Medium Blue-Black (FB2193200)
Anthracite Bright Mandarin Ironstone (FD5841001)
Alligator Orange Trance Mint Foam (DJ7926300)
Light Bone Bicoastal 001 (FB2193001)
Green (DJ7926301)
Red (DJ7929200)
Black (DJ7926003)
Sanddrift Racer Blue Obsidian (DJ7926100)
More colors

Winter running shoes with the best durability

What makes it the best?

The Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX is a durable and worthwhile trail shoe for those looking to go for a hike, head into the woods for a weekend backpacking trip as well as for an adventurous runner who needs heavy-duty footwear to tackle the more arduous challenges.


  • Outstanding waterproofing
  • Highly durable
  • Stable platform
  • Solid grip
  • Also great for hiking
  • Roomy toebox
  • Convenient lacing


  • Heavy
  • Stiff sole
  • Narrow midfoot
Full review of Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX

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Any color
Black/Black/Mineral Grey (L366796)
Black (L393320)

Best speed training shoes for winter

What makes it the best?

Not a lot of shoes can brag about getting as much fanfare as the Endorphin Speed 3. With the release of its warmer and water-resistant RunShield version, fans can enjoy this daily speedster's awesome ride no matter the weather. It's a do-it-all shoe that does even more!


  • Great water resistance
  • Keeps feet warm & toasty
  • Good breathability for a weatherized shoe
  • Stiff upper provides good lockdown
  • Wide base and sidewalls keep you feeling centered
  • Orthotics-friendly
  • Wide toebox
  • Works for all types of runs
  • Can double as a race-day shoe
  • Lightweight


  • Questionable traction on slick conditions
  • Heel counter can cause blisters
  • Pricey
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 RunShield

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Any color
Miles To Go (S2080001)

Winter running shoes with the best grip

What makes it the best?

Mixed technical, wet, and boggy sections, and longer runs, are no match for the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX. This is the best shoe to take with you if you are headed into the unknown. While it is not perfect in some areas, it is ultra-reliable, and solid to get you through the unpredictable.


  • True to size
  • Aggressive outsole
  • Waterproof
  • Quicklace system
  • High-quality build
  • Responsive ride
  • Highly durable


  • Narrow fit
  • Break-in period needed
  • Stiff sole
  • Not very breathable
Full review of Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX

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Any color
Black (L407953)
Mallard Blue/Wrought Iron/Vibrant Orange (L416123)
Monument Black Saffron (L414613)
Biking Red White Black (L416125)

Best daily running shoes for winter

What makes it the best?

The Ghost 14 GTX is the all-around workhorse for the grab-a-shoe-and-go type of runner. True to its Ghost lineage, it delivers exceptional comfort, solid traction, and a stable ride. If you’re all about hitting mileage goals come (light) rain or shine, this is a shoe that takes the “daily” in daily trainer seriously.


  • Fantastic comfort
  • Not-scrunched-up fit
  • Provides stability even on uneven terrain
  • Good to go from day one
  • Smooth ride
  • Simple yet stylish design and colorways
  • Awesome grip, even on wet surfaces
  • Ample padding and cushioning


  • Questionable durability and waterproofing
  • Annoyingly short laces that come undone easily
  • Not for narrow feet
Full review of Brooks Ghost 14 GTX

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Any color
Black/Black/Ebony (020)
Black/Blackened Pearl/High-risk Red (004)

Best road-to-trail running shoes for winter

What makes it the best?

You can’t really call a shoe ‘door-to-trail’ if it barely makes it out the door during inclement weather. But, thanks to the last 3 letters in its name, the Challenger 7 GTX more than lives up to that distinction. This lightweight runner from Hoka is an excellent all-weather, all-terrain option—cushioned enough for long miles on hard roads, grippy enough for moderate trails, and protective enough to keep feet warm in the rain or snow.


  • Superb weatherproofing
  • Lockdown that’s secure enough for technical terrain
  • Soft but still stable cushioning
  • Responsive
  • Good ground feel
  • Comfortable ride on roads
  • Great for long easy runs and hikes on moderate trails
  • Can also pick up the pace


  • Upper requires some breaking in
  • Quite narrow and does not come in wides
  • Inadequate grip on slippery terrain
Full review of Hoka Challenger 7 GTX

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Any color
Black (BBLC)
Blue (OSDCU)
Golden Yellow/Avocado (GYAV)

Winter running shoes with the best foot protection

What makes it the best?

Many runners know the Cascadia. It was one of the most popular trail running shoes back in the day, and with the 16th version, it has received a solid update. It’s nearly an all-new shoe and one that excels at protecting and keeping the feet stable on a variety of terrains, whether you are out for an ultramarathon or a short hike. This GTX version is also effective against bad weather, and overall a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts.


  • Superb protection
  • All-day comfort
  • Smooth, pleasant ride
  • Waterproof, yet breathable
  • Roomy toe-box
  • Secure fit
  • Grippy even on wet rocks
  • Extremely stable
  • Sturdy and durable
  • No breaking-in needed
  • Doubles as a hiker


  • Could be lighter
  • Too firm underfoot for some
  • Not particularly responsive
Full review of Brooks Cascadia 16 GTX

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Any color
Black/Ebony/Cinnabar (060)
Black Blackened Pearl Coral (071)

Comparison of the 7 best winter running shoes

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Choosing the best winter running shoes

A good pair of winter running shoes will help you keep logging miles when training-friendly weather ends every fall. When snow, ice, and cold arrive, many road running shoes are simply not up to the task of keeping you warm and safe.

What to look for in winter running shoes

Slick surfaces and extreme temperatures make falls and injuries far more likely in the winter. To account for the demanding change in conditions, the best winter running shoes share a few key characteristics.


Fresh snow and sheets of ice can turn a casual road run on flat pavement into a death-defying outing. The smooth, efficient outsoles of most road running shoes are rendered useless and will make epic wipeouts far too likely.

Trail running shoes are a better option for running on snow and ice, even if you run exclusively on roads. They feature deep lugs and grippy rubber compound outsoles to give the necessary stability for winter conditions.


But even lugs won’t do much on sheer ice, which can be common in climates with regular freeze-thaw cycles. For iced-over roads and steep trails, a shoe with a spiked outsole is needed to provide the bite you need to stay on your feet.


Based on our lab measurements, the average lug depth in trail running shoes is 3.5 mm, ranging from 2 to 5 mm.


Super light designs and breathable mesh uppers are usually touted as selling points of running shoes, but during winter, the opposite can hold true. In below-freezing temperatures, it is better to have a shoe that retains heat. Winter running shoes may be the only time to look for heavier, less breathable upper designs.

Breathability comparison: GORE-TEX shoe vs. regular mesh-upper shoe


Running through snow drifts or melting slush puts greater demands on the water-resisting capability of your footwear. The best winter running shoes feature waterproof designs and use fabric like GORE-TEX to keep snow, mud, and slush out of your shoes. GORE-TEX shoes also tend to be more insulating, thus warmer in cold weather.



Consider shoes with a higher ankle/heel collar for winter running. The extra ankle coverage will help keep snow out of your shoes and can add stability on slick surfaces.


Choosing running shoes for any winter conditions

“Winter running” will mean very different things to a trail runner in snowy Montana and a road runner in rainy Oregon. Most people will benefit from a winter running shoe, but local winter conditions and terrain will dictate the best option for you.

Winter Running Conditions

Winter Running Shoe Characteristics

Cold and Wet: Mild climates with little to no snow or below-freezing temperatures, but lots of rain and mud.

GORE-TEX uppers, and sturdy lugs for muddy trails. The Oregon-born Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX, for example, was made for rain, cold, and mud.

Heavy Snow and Deep Cold: High altitude or high latitude regions, where winter is long and fierce.

Insulated GORE-TEX uppers, higher ankle/heel coverage, lugs, and sticky outsoles. The Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX is a good choice for these conditions

Icy Roads and Trails: Snowy regions with above-freezing daytime temps but below-freezing nights.

Trail running shoes with deep lugs and ice-friendly rubber outsoles, like the Saucony Peregrine Ice+. Shoes with metal spikes, or running with microspikes, are needed for steep terrain. Anything else is a death wish.

Brisk but Dry: Climates with mild winters, where temperatures drop but snow and freezing rain are rare.

Runners in chilly, but dry climates can get away with road running shoes throughout the winter. Shoes that run warm, like the New Balance Fresh Foam X More, add a touch of insulation without unnecessary winter features.

Fitting winter running shoes

When choosing shoes for winter running, most of the same fit and size guidelines apply. Optimize comfort, pick a shoe that fits your stride, and have enough room throughout the midfoot and toe box while getting solid lockdown at the heel.


Regular fit


Wide fit

The biggest difference to note is what kind of socks you will likely be wearing in your winter running shoes. If your winters are of the brutally cold variety, you probably will be wearing thicker socks while running, and you may need larger shoes as a result.


It is also worth considering that very cold temperatures can affect the fit and feel of your running shoes. Most running shoes have an EVA foam midsole, which gets stiffer in cold temperatures. You may want to get a bouncier shoe than usual to compensate for the difference, especially if your winter running means braving frigid temperatures for months on end.


We put every shoe through a "freezer test" to measure the difference in softness and flexibility.

On average, running shoes get 35% firmer and 45% stiffer after 20 minutes in low temperatures. But some shoes are affected more than others. We provided detailed information on how each shoe behaves in cold conditions in our in-depth lab reviews.

How we test running shoes

We do not just cherry-pick the shoes we choose to put on this list. Each model goes through a myriad of tests in our own shoe testing lab to determine their quality as winter running shoes. 

To examine every model, we carefully go through these:

  • We shop for all the shoes we test and we pay for them using our own money. We abide by this rule to keep ourselves from being grateful, and consequently, biased to any brand.
  • We log a minimum of 30-50 miles before giving our feedback. We jot down all the observations and experiences we encounter with each shoe, from comfort and durability to convenience and practicality. 
  • We cut open each shoe to examine its parts. We also measure every part in various parameters like ventilation, lightness, stiffness, etc. 

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.