Five Essential Winter Running Tips

2. Choose the right shoes and socks.

“Pay attention to the surface you are running on,” advises Terrence Philbin, DO, an orthopedic surgeon in Westerville, Ohio. “You want plenty of tread if you are running on ice and snow, so you have more grasping power.” At the same time, you need to have your shoe fitted properly. Road or trail running, pay attention to fit, feel and ride.

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“Toes should wiggle easily,” says Mike Simensky, a footwear product developer at L.L. Bean, “but feet should not slide around, or be compressed from side to side.” The essentials of fit, feel and ride are mostly the same for trail shoes as for road models: fit the shoe to the foot, make sure it feels comfortable when you move in it, and check to see that it has what you need to ride smoothly over your chosen running surface.

“The outsoles of trail-running shoes have deeper lugs and more aggressive tread patterns” than road running models, which improve stability and traction over slippery or uneven surfaces, according to Simensky. The sole is stiffer to shield feet from bruising, often including a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plate or insert sandwiched between midsole and outsole for added protection, often with protective toe counters. Select the shoe that best fits your needs. Better yet, keep more than one pair in your rotation so you’re prepared for changing surface conditions.

When choosing your socks, says Philbin, look for a warm sock that wicks away moisture. Many top brands such as L.L. Bean, Feetures, Wright Sock, Balega, Injini, Thorlo, Smartwool and others offer options made from antimicrobial, moisture-wicking materials such as wool blends that will keep your feet warm in the winter time.

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