Winter Running Gear

I feel like no trail running forum would be complete without a thread for the gear heads!

To start it off, I thought I’d address something that’s top of mind for my locale: winter weather gear.

We recently had a few inches of snow here in Nashville, which for us was a BIG deal! I used yaktrax for the snow/ice, and they worked pretty well but not great. I asked a few folks on Twitter and the general consensus was Kahtoola microspikes, with DueNorth and some purpose-built shoes by La Sportiva as other options.

Anyone out there have any input or thoughts on the matter? We’re pretty inexperienced snow-runners around here!

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This week brought snow and ice to parts of Texas that haven’t seen any for 30+ years, myself included. I will wholly admit that I do not have snow running gear but I went out and enjoyed a few miles in the snow just because I know it will be a long time before I get that kind of experience again and may not ever at my home in Houston. It was an absolute blast and required a lot of focus as to not slip and fall because I do not have spikes or yaktrax but I have heard of both.

My go to winter running gear for the mild winters we experience in Houston, TX is:

  • Pants, when below 40 degrees

  • I always wear a headband that covers my ears to prevent cold wind from battering my eardrums

  • A long sleeve on top of a breathable pullover

My husband and I are planning a road trip later this year that will cover some states in the winter months who typically get snowfall

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Hope you guys are staying safe! My sister is in Austin and she’s been dealing with similar issues.

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Among my list of winter go-to essentials would be layers of Icebreaker merino wool.

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Icebreaker makes excellent gear! I’ve become a huge fan of all things Arc’teryx too!

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I have an arcteryx incendo hoody that I loveeeee down to about 30 degrees with a long sleeve shirt or skiing base layer under depending on pace. Probably my favorite piece of running gear. Below that gets into puffy or vest with a shell territory. Shorts with heavy weight compression gear keeps me warm down to about 0 as long as I’m not in deep snow. Gloves are typically just some cheap fleece under armour ones I bought a decade ago, maybe something heavier if I’m in sub zero temps.

For shoes, as long it isn’t icy my trail shoes have done really well. I’ve worn a variety of inov8s for years now and they’ve never let me down. If I’m dealing with ice or mountains, I’ve got hillsound trail crampons and my wife has kahtoola spikes. Both work well, but the hillsounds are more aggressive and I wouldn’t want to use them unless it was all snow and ice. I typically only used these in the catskills and adirondacks when I lived up that way and snowshoes weren’t quite appropriate. Overkill for most other stuff.

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I started my trail running career with some Inov-8s! Great shoes. And I’ve heard plenty good about Kahtoola, sounds like it’s definitely a brand worth trying!

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Lots of winter weather up here in northern NY. It’s like Canada, but a few less moose. I get by with trail running shoes even in the winter. I’ve used the yaxtrax items. But never really cared for them. Favorite running tights are Salomon brand. I’ve patched them up with a special neoprene fabric when they get holes. Lots of particular clothing items for my runs. I’m very picky once I find what works. Coldest run this year was -20 degrees. Most snow in a day was over two feet. Lol… it is the way.

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Here are the few things I learnt from my Alaska days (still true when we get winter in Bend):
*Dress for about 20° warmer than it is. You’ll heat up quick. (Vests are king when it’s windy). Layer up so you can peel away if you’re too warm.
*Search “screw your running shoes” for icy traction. You can also pick up some Icebugs (studded shoes), but if it’s occasional it might not be worth the investment. I can’t stand any slip-on options, don’t like that pressure in the tops of my feet.
*I love wool socks for warmth and dry-ness. Swift wick Pursuits are my fave.

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I think a lot of my favorite gear is made by Salomon! They’re fantastic.

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I spent many years suffering with cotton shirts, sweatshirts, and old jackets for my northern Iowa runs. I decided to invest in better gear this year and what a difference. I bought Sporthill pants and jacket, Speedgoat 4’s, and a variety of hats and gloves also.
The one area I still suffer is gloves/mittens - I’ve tried several and still can’t find a pair (or multiple pairs together) that can withstand below zero windchills for longer than 20-30 minutes before my fingers lose feeling.
My basic advice - you get what you pay for and todays gear is 10 times better than 20 years ago!

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Inov-8 shoes are pretty much the only ones that cope with the slop of winter in the UK and Ireland. I’ve used Mudclaws for everything from cross-country to fell racing, and the original RocLites for longer distance trail race.

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