7 Best Winter Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Winter Running Shoes in 2024
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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. 

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. 

Best winter running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Pegasus Trail 4 GTX is an all-around performer that thrives in diverse settings, handling icy paths to muddy trails effortlessly. It’s our top winter running shoe because it carries us through cold and slick surfaces with its reliable traction, homey feel, snappy cushion, and protective upper.

Safety should always be a priority, especially in icy conditions. We felt secure in this pair since its grippy outsole had sticky, rubbery 3.5-mm lugs. This Peg proves its adhesive power on our encounters with frozen and slippery surfaces.

With a Gore-Tex membrane and several TPU protective layers in the upper, airflow is almost completely blocked — ideal for winter runs. Our feet remain dry and toasty, leaving us with no excuses to skip our training. The upper is incredibly dense, which explains its remarkable 4/5 score in our rigorous Dremel test.

Its 18.6 HA cloud-like cushion feels protective underfoot as it absorbs the impact of repeated landings. It’s delightfully decadent even in sub-zero conditions. Even after our 20-minute freezer, the cushion remains 20.2% softer than the average at room temperature. The React foam is not only comfortable but also incredibly energetic as it keeps up with our faster pace.

We believe this shoe is more suitable for heel strikers as mid-to-forefoot runners may find the 12.8 mm drop too excessive.


  • Versatile road-to-trail performance
  • Grippier than the standard version
  • Surprisingly light for a GTX shoe
  • Accommodates wide feet with ease
  • Delivers a really stable ride for neutral runners
  • Upper showcases remarkable durability
  • Fantastic option for heel strikers


  • Non-gusseted tongue allows water and debris to enter the shoe
  • Not suitable for technical terrain
  • Excessive drop for midfoot or forefoot strikers
Full review of Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX

Best winter running shoes for road

What makes it the best?

In our test runs, Hoka Clifton 9 GTX shows consistent performance even as the weather transitions to sub-zero temperatures. It remains light and comfortable, protecting our feet all around. Our lab results prove it's the ideal winter running shoe for the road. 

Even with its cushioning and extra waterproofing, it's a mere 9.6 oz (271g). Feeling natural on foot, it barely put up a fight with our movements. Our lab shows it’s as flexible as the average, needing 29.4N of force to bend to 90 degrees, making it versatile for walks and other activities.

The plush cushioning provides gentle impact for long runs, boasting a substantial stack height of 37.2/28.6 mm to minimize ground feel. Despite its generous padding, the Clifton 9 GTX stabilizes landings effortlessly, thanks to its balanced cushioning and wide midsole. With a durometer reading of 23.9 HA, it aligns closely with the average. It even offers an extra 7.4/6.9 mm of space in the forefoot and heel for surefootedness.

This shoe remains reliable in winter conditions, with a modest 16.1% increase in foam firmness compared to the 25.5% average. Additionally, it maintains flexibility better than average in the cold, enhancing overall comfort.

However, while effective in waterproofing, ice-cold air still cuts through the surprisingly breathable upper. We recommend wearing thick socks to stay warm.


  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Comfortable and long-lasting upper
  • Ideal for winter conditions
  • Only £20 more expensive than the non-waterproof Clifton
  • Still remarkably lightweight even with Gore-Tex
  • Excellent for easy and moderate-paced runs
  • Incredibly stable for neutral runners
  • Ultra-durable Durabrasion outsole


  • May be too narrow for many
  • Heel-to-toe drop significantly differs from Hoka's claims
  • Really stiff heel counter for being a daily trainer
Full review of Hoka Clifton 9 GTX

Best road-to-trail running shoes for winter

What makes it the best?

We confirmed through lab tests and actual runs that Hoka’s Challenger 7 GTX is the best road-to-trail winter running shoe. With a winter-proof build and maximum cushion, our feet feel at home even during long runs and sub-zero temperatures.

We cut the shoe open and found the outsole is made of Durabrasion rubber. Our durometer shows an 81.0 HC reading, indicating it has a good balance of grip and durability. To enhance traction, it’s lined with 3.8 mm lugs that do the job when we run through icy paths and trails.

Under our microscope lens, we discovered Challenger’s robust upper composed of multiple layers and a Gore-Tex membrane. This explains why we remain warm and toasty. To further lock our body heat in, the tongue is fully gusseted.

Challenger 7 offers exceptional cushioning from landing impact. Our caliper shows a substantial 39.2/28.1 mm stack. The ride feels balanced and we like how it’s not mushy underfoot. What’s even better is it practically stays the same in the cold! While most foams harden by 28.3%, this one only toughens up by 9.7%. Its measurement in the cold is even 18.0% softer than the average at room temperature.

Unfortunately, this already rigid shoe becomes even stiffer in the cold. We recommend those who want more agility in the trails to look elsewhere.


  • Fully waterproof and winter-ready
  • Secure lockdown thanks to the gusseted tongue
  • Amazing stability
  • Provides a comfortable ride on roads and easy trails
  • Ideal for long runs
  • Generous CMEVA cushioning underfoot
  • Surprisingly lightweight given its stack height
  • Just £20 more than the regular version


  • Lacks reflective elements
  • Potentially too stiff for hiking for some users
  • Higher heel-to-toe drop than anticipated
Full review of Hoka Challenger 7 GTX

Winter running shoes with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

We ran with our winter running shoes through the snowy season, cut them open in the lab, and discovered the best cushioning in Hoka’s Speedgoat 5 GTX. We found it to be a balanced trail shoe that ensures no off-season as it delivers the comfort, support, and grip we need for frosted paths.

Our runs feel cushioned and supported no matter where we strike our feet. Our caliper shows an above-average 34.6/27.6 mm stack, enabling us to go for longer runs with much comfort. It’s bouncy on foot, which makes the ride more enjoyable. Our durometer registers 19.4 HA, 26.8% softer than average.

Our feet were warm and toasty throughout our runs thanks to the double-layer jacquard mesh and the Gore-Tex membrane that blocks off water. Surprisingly, it doesn’t feel too stuffy inside since the tongue offers a good amount of ventilation.

Speedgoat delivered the steady ride we’re looking for to confidently tackle icy paths. It features a wider-than-average midsole that ensures safe and sound landings. Meanwhile, underfoot, the Vibram Megagrip outsole lined with 3.5 mm lugs gives us the control we need on slippery surfaces.

We discovered that the cushion hardens noticeably in low temperatures. Our durometer confirms it firms up by a whipping 56.2% in our 20-minute freezer test.


  • Plush, cushioned midsole
  • Exceptional stability
  • Remarkable breathability for a Gore-Tex shoe
  • Spacious enough for most foot types
  • Well-suited for ultra marathons
  • Superior grip on easy and moderate trails
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Utilises recycled materials in the upper


  • Simply too heavy
  • Midsole hardens noticeably in cold temperatures
  • Could benefit from increased flexibility
Full review of Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX

Winter running shoes with the best grip

What makes it the best?

We tested the best winter running shoes through snowy runs and lab examinations and found that Speedcross 6 GTX offers the best grip. With robust lugs, a warm and protective upper, and a supportive platform, we felt agile and confident on icy paths. 

Whether we speed through frozen or fresh snow, Speedcross displays excellent traction with robust 5.0 mm lugs. These are 1.5 mm deeper than average for extra grip on softer ground and are intentionally spaced to shed off snow easily. They’re chevron-shaped to enhance control on hilly terrains and sharp turns.

The full Gore-Tex upper keeps our feet warm and dry even in the coldest and wettest conditions. Under our microscope, we saw one of the most tightly-knit mesh uppers. It scored a low 1/5 on our breathability test — effectively keeping cold air out and blocking off water particles even more.

The midsole balances support and comfort through its stable platform and flexible build. The ride feels firm with the EnergyCell foam and our durometer confirms it’s 21.3% harder than average. Together with the rigid heel, these elements enhance our stability for fast-paced cornering. Balancing all the stiffness is an adaptive midsole that bends with a force that’s 20.5% lighter than average.

Those seeking a more cushioned ride may feel Speedcross is too harsh underfoot. We recommend exploring other options for better comfort.


  • Fully functional Gore-Tex membrane
  • Ample cushioning for long adventures
  • Excels in challenging, technical terrain
  • Rapidly sheds mud
  • Agile and tenacious grip on twisted trails
  • Remarkable durability
  • Ideal for heel strikers


  • Completely lacks breathability
  • Midsole could feel overly firm for some
  • Exceptionally heavy
Full review of Salomon Speedcross 6 GTX

Winter running shoes with the best durability

What makes it the best?

With its airtight upper, firm midsole, and stiff 3D chassis, the Salomon XA Pro 3D v9 GTX feels like armor. This shoe proved its defense against unwanted elements in our runs and lab tests, making it hands-down the most durable winter running shoe. 

In our permeability test, the Gore-Tex membrane effectively kept smoke and light out, earning the lowest 1/5 score. While this doesn’t sound ideal, it’s actually perfect for winter since it blocks snow and cold winds out and traps our body heat in. 

Moving to the middle layer of defense, we have the firm midsole, which our durometer reveals is 23.6% denser than average. It doesn’t feel too harsh underfoot. Rather, it offered some rebound in our runs and remarkable stability. The 3D chassis also maintains our balance on uneven terrains by resisting any form of twists and ankle rolls. Our manual assessment also shows a high torsional rigidity of 5/5.

We find that the Contagrip outsole, with 2.8 mm lugs, is a healthy mix of grip and durability. This is confirmed by our steadiness on icy paths and the minimal amount of wear we observed after extensive testing.

The toebox tapers quite aggressively to the front, leaving little room for natural toe splay for those with wide feet or thick socks. For reference, it’s at 75.7 mm vs. the 78.1 mm average.


  • Incredibly protective
  • Extremely stable and supportive
  • Great traction even on wet surfaces
  • Watertight Gore-Tex upper
  • Flexible and forgiving on the foot
  • Makes a great hiking companion
  • Effectively dampens landings
  • Generously padded from heel to tongue
  • No lace bite whatsoever
  • Durable, high-quality construction
  • Simple yet snazzy design


  • Could be lighter
  • Rather firm cushioning
  • Upper needs breaking in
  • Lacks the agility for technical trails
Full review of Salomon XA Pro 3D v9 GTX

Best budget winter running shoes

What makes it the best?

Nike’s Juniper Trail 2 GTX leaves us with no excuses to skip winter training because it offers stability and warmth at an accessible £140 price, making it our best-budget winter running shoe. For reference, the average waterproof runner in our lab costs £170.

Our feet felt cozy and safe throughout our runs in sub-zero temperatures. Even if ice melts on top of our shoe, our feet remain completely dry thanks to the Gore-Tex membrane and tightly knit upper. Our lab backs up our experience with a 2/5 breathability score. We’re also embraced with padding that keeps us comfy and protected. To our amazement, the upper put up a fight with our Dremel, earning a rare 5/5 rating in durability.

This trainer delivers generous cushioning underfoot for protection against repetitive impact, which our caliper confirms with a 34.5/24.3 mm stack. The platform feels firm, clocking in at 30.3 HA, which instills confidence and steadiness in our strides. On top of this, the wide and hard-to-twist midsole boosts stability by subtly guiding our alignment. To ensure our comfort, the midsole retains a high level of flexibility longitudinally, emerging 20.3% more adaptive than average in our bend test.

Unfortunately, the outsole’s focus on durability missed out on grip. We recommend avoiding icy and slippery paths for safer runs.


  • Impressive upgrade
  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Amazing durability
  • Exceptional stability
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Spacious toebox
  • Excellent for winter conditions


  • High price increase
  • Firm ride
  • Grip could improve
Full review of Nike Juniper Trail 2 GTX

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. Optimise 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.

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.