If you’re a keen runner then you’re unlikely to be deterred by wintry weather. But dealing with extreme conditions like snow and ice can be a bit more challenging than simply running on a chilly, rainy day.
If you enjoy off-road running in the park or on trails, then the best way to maintain your exercise schedule is to invest in a good pair of running snowshoes.
Designed to be worn in conjunction with your trail running shoes, snowshoes for running give you traction and stability whilst stopping snow from accumulating underfoot.
Not only do they make it possible to keep up with your training whatever the weather, but running snowshoes help improve your overall fitness.
They are a bit heavier than regular running shoes and require you to run with a slightly wider stance. This can be a little challenging at first, so it helps to develop your strength and burns more calories than running on the road.
Choosing the best snowshoes for running can be tricky and really depends on your exact needs.
So we’ve done the work for you and put together a list of our favorite running snowshoes, with a description of their main features and the types of running they’re suited to.
First, though, let’s consider the main things to look for when buying shoes to hit those snowy trails.
Features to Look For in Snowshoes for Running
Be prepared to spend a bit more than you probably would on your regular running shoes. Snowshoes tend to be pricey!
The good news is that they don’t require replacing anywhere near as often and a good pair should last you for several seasons.
Other things to consider include:
The Shape and Weight
Ideally, snowshoes for running should have a streamlined, tapered design. This helps you maintain a natural stride and offers greater agility.
A narrow shape also reduces the risk of tripping.
The structure should be strong but lightweight to facilitate fast movement and reduce fatigue of your leg muscles and hips. This will allow you to run for longer.
Typically, running snowshoes are made with lightweight aluminum or foam frames.
The quality of the binding system can make or break a snowshoe! After all, there is nothing more important than ensuring that the shoe stays securely in place as you run.
The binding system should be made of high-quality, reliable materials. It should effectively prevent your foot from slipping from the shoe without exerting excess pressure on any part of the foot.
Occasionally, running snowshoes offer the option of a direct mount.
This is where you attach your shoe directly to the snowshoe without using a binding system at all. Some people prefer this as the lack of binding makes the shoe feel lighter.
Snowshoes for running need to have enough grip to keep you stable, especially if you’re running over slopes.
Features to improve traction include cleats or crampons that may be located at various positions on the shoe.
The 6 Best Running Snowshoes
#1. Atlas Race Snowshoes
– Ultra lightweight, single-handed binding adjustment, and spring-loaded suspension
– The best running snowshoes for speed
This is the most popular shoe in the Atlas Speed line and it’s just what you need for snowy sprints!
It has one of the most technical designs of all the shoes in this guide and features a very lightweight, durable V-Frame that tracks straight in deep snow.
That – along with the flexible Nytex decking – creates a platform that provides stability and flotation.
The Z Space Race Binding is quick and easy to adjust across the entire foot, with the Z-shaped configuration giving it a very secure feel.
You can even remove the binding if you prefer and mount your footwear directly, using the two Direct Mount Guides provided.
But the real selling point of this shoe is the spring-loaded suspension that you can adjust to three different settings for just the right level of responsiveness.
This system also helps absorb impact forces, protecting your joints.
Just be aware that this shoe is purpose-built for speed. That means it won’t be ideal for anyone new to snowshoeing and doesn’t have the versatility for more general use.
#2. Yukon Charlie’s Run Ultralight Snowshoes
– Built for users up to 225 pounds, with Tech Weave decking and excellent grip
– Best budget-friendly running snowshoes
Because these are among the most affordable running snowshoes in our guide, they’re ideal if you’re only just getting to grips with running on snow.
They use a Fast Fit II “Easy-Pull” binding system that’s ideal for beginners, as it takes just one pull of the strap to get into or out of the shoe.
The bindings are easy to adjust, too, for a secure, custom fit.
The ultra-strong aluminum frame has a rocker design and a tapered shape for speed.
Meanwhile, the decking is made from a durable polyurethane-coated nylon that stays soft even in very cold conditions. It also makes the shoes very quiet to use.
We like the way the Energy Flex axle system moves with your natural gait. It makes these shoes feel comfortable whether you’re walking, jogging, or sprinting.
And their versatility is enhanced by the front-mounted forged steel crampons, which are helpful for challenging uphill climbs.
#3. Crescent Moon Snowshoes
– Lightweight aluminum frame, optional heel lifts, and a tear-drop-shape
– Excellent grip in hard packed and icy conditions
The original model of these unisex snowshoes was named ‘Winter Gear of the Year‘ from 2008 to 2009.
The good news is that the redesigned Gold series 12 is now more efficient and even faster!
It has the same distinctive tapered shape as the brand’s other popular aluminum snowshoes.
This allows for a more natural gait and is highly maneuverable, preventing you from painfully hitting the inside of your legs and ankles.
The all-foot-encompassing binding with spring-loaded cam buckles is easy to use, holding your foot securely in every direction.
Just one pull of the loop on top is all you need to tighten or loosen the entire harness system with one hand – and without taking off your gloves!
The traction in icy conditions is superb and includes Crescent Moon’s unique climbing toe claw. This gives you a great grip when climbing and boosts push-off when running.
Another real bonus with these shoes is the option to engage heel lifts. These add a 2-inch platform under the heel and are great for reducing strain on your calf muscles during long climbs.
#4. Atlas Run Snowshoes
– Helix binding, BOA closure system, and a minimalist design
– Best binding system
Another offering from the Atlas ‘Speed’ line, the Run is a low-profile and lightweight shoe that feels so natural when you run that you barely notice it’s there.
It’s a little heavier than the ‘Race’ shoe but is more durable for rougher trails.
The Speed Helix bindings are exceptionally easy to use and – along with the closure system – provide a well-balanced and comfortable ride.
We also love how quickly the bindings can be adjusted if needed, although they’re so secure this shouldn’t happen often!
The shape of the frame tracks straight and prevents heel clipping, whilst the spring-loaded suspension allows your foot to maneuver easily whilst absorbing impact.
It improves traction, too, as it allows the steel crampon to penetrate more deeply into slopes.
#5. TSL Symbioz Racing Snowshoe
– Hyperflexible, very lightweight, with moveable rear crampons
– One of the lightest racing snowshoes available
Combining an incredibly flexible chassis with an ultra-lightweight design (just 1.3 lbs per pair), these shoes are built for maximum speed over snow.
Energy is stored with every landing and released as you push off, putting you ahead of the competition on race day.
But the flexibility from the chassis also absorbs plenty of impact force, protecting your joints and allowing for longer, more comfortable runs.
These are durable running snowshoes despite their low weight and the binding is fully adjustable, so you’re assured of a good fit.
They are best suited to packed snow, as the stripped-back frame and narrow tails are unsuitable for powder. They are also purpose-built for speed, so they won’t be ideal for more casual runs.
But if you’re looking for a high-quality shoe to give you the edge in competitive running, you can’t go wrong with this model.
#6. Crescent Moon Eva Ultralight Hiking and Running Foam Snowshoes
– Cushioned, lightweight, and silent to use
– Our favorite running snowshoes for recreational use
Ideal for everyone from complete beginners to seasoned pros, these versatile running snowshoes have features reminiscent of your favorite sneakers!
The first is the flexible rocker platform, designed to move naturally with your foot and with Crescent Moon’s signature tear-drop shape for maneuverability.
The second is the durable high-density foam, which is very comfortable and provides a bit of insulation, too!
It absorbs shock, taking some of the stress off your joints and reducing the risk of injury.
The hook and loop bindings couldn’t be simpler to use, yet they stay in place very securely.
Meanwhile, the durable rubber lugs provide excellent traction, with optional spikes provided for very icy conditions.
Whilst these might not be suitable for uphill climbs since there are no heel lifts, they feel great over flat terrain and we love the flexibility of the soft foam deck compared to the typical rigid frames.
The Best Snowshoes for Running: Key Takeaways
We hope this guide to our favorite running-specific snowshoes has helped you find a suitable pair for your next trek.
Running in snowshoes might feel a little different from running in your regular sneakers, but it’s great to know you can enjoy your favorite trails all year long.
What’s more, the strength and cardiovascular benefits gained from more challenging training will help boost your regular running performance too – so it’s a win-win!
How to Keep Your Feet Dry On Snowy Runs
Running in loose snow can result in wet socks within minutes, so protecting your feet as much as possible is a great way to stay warm on winter runs.
Check out our favorite running gaiters, many of which are suitable for wet conditions and all of which will keep out dirt and debris on rugged terrain.