Gear Review: Winter Running Gear

By OutdoorsNW Staff

Special thanks to Leone at Shu’s Idaho Running Company who helped us with several of these reviews.



Portland entrepreneur David Sypniewski is getting real by encouraging runners to Run Real with his release earlier this year of SKORA, a brand new zero-drop running shoe. The SKORA’s Women’s BASE is anatomically constructed to a foot’s real shape. These high performance shoes are designed to get you to use your midfoot and forefoot when running with less heel strike. Other unique components are the slip-in sockfit, Velcro straps across the top of the foot and around the heel and a stretch upper. Retail price: $110.


This trail running shoe is lightweight and extremely flexible. The biomechanical flexible midsole construction allows a natural running motion. Our tester put this one through its paces on a rocky talus field and was impressed that it had great grip and traction, but didn’t feel every single rock through the sole. The Gore-Tex lining is nice, too. Plus, it just looks fast. Retail price: $200.

Salomon XR Mission

Salomon listened to feedback from runners and made a women’s specific shoe they call WSR (Women’s Specific Ride). Wide feet have ample room in the toe box and the SensiFLEX material grips both sides of the toes in a snug, but flexing, manner in Salomon’s XR Mission trail show. The mesh on the top and sides keeps feet cool while keeping the shoe’s weight down (about 9.5 ounces). You’re in and out of these shoes quickly with its Kevlar quick lace system — one pull and laces are snug and can be tucked away in a small “garage” pocket on the top of the tongue. Retail price: $109.95

Brooks Pure Cadence 2

This shoe offers the support you love from a stability shoe while still getting the light flexible feel from a minimal shoe. The Cadence 2 offers a slight arch that provides a great feel. The unique inverted heel along with the split toe box offers an improved run efficiency by keeping you more centered and balanced. Retail price: $120

Altra Instinct 1.5

If you’re a fan of minimalist shoes, check out the Alta Instinct 1.5 (Intuition 1.5 for women). It’s a zero drop (the heel of the shoe is the same “stack height” of cushioning as the forefoot), fully cushioned running shoe, with a unique foot-shaped toe box. It keeps your big toe aligned with your whole foot, instead of forcing it into a curve. You get a better push-off with each stride and a more stable foot platform — making for a more efficient stride with less fatigue.  One thing we love about Altra is their shoes are truly gender specific. They don’t just “shrink it and pink it” like some other brands. Retail price: $100

New Balance NYC Limited 860v3

The New York Styled shoe made its debut in mid-October. Inspired by graffiti art, it includes the NY city skyline, the names of all five boroughs and an apple on the heel. The 860v3 is the go-to shoe for over-pronators. With the contoured fit and larger crash pad and shank, this shoe offers enhanced stability. It’s designed to provide a light, smooth and stable run. This shoe ensures consistency in stability and looks good too. Retail price: Not released at press time.

Asics GT 1000

When you need a supportive, go-to training shoe, let the Asics GT-1000 be your answer. This shoe features a traditional dual density medial post to provide moderate support, while forefoot and rear foot gel units offer cushioning ample for logging the long miles. A great fitting upper keeps your feet secure yet comfortable, and with the smooth ride Asics is known for, this is a great everyday shoe. Retail price: $99.99

Saucony Guide 6

This is a great shoe with stability for those who want to be light on their feet and step out in complete cushioned comfort. You’ll love the feel from the moment you step into the shoe. This is a stability shoe that will help guide your feet naturally with each step. Retail price: $110

Skechers GOrun Ride

For a more lighthearted-run, check out Skechers’ foray into the running market. The GOrun Ride with GOdri is designed to give a more natural running experience, while protecting your feet from the wet winter weather. The Resalyte™ cushioning and unique sole sensors make this an ultra-flexible shoe. It promotes a mid-foot strike, and has an antimicrobial removable sock liner for sockless running, which is great as the ultra-low weight of these will knock your socks off! Also, no more one-color-fits-all styling. Choose from 10 bright color combos for fun running. Get a few pairs. Retail price: $80.


Yurbuds Ironman Series Inspire Talk Sport Earphones

Some of us just can’t run without tunes. However, most runners we’ve spoken to have problems with standard earbuds falling out during the pavement pounding of a long run. Winter is great because hats would hold them in place, but when you got too warm, you were out of luck. No more: thank you Yurbuds for coming up with a sport earphone that actually stays in place. Retail price: $39.99

Camelbak Quick Grip

Need a water bottle for a run, but don’t like belts? Try this little hand-held number by Camelbak. It’s got an insulated bottle with a locking Jet Valve™ for hydration on the run. Plus, the handgrip is comfortable and adjustable and has a little zip pocket you can stow your house key in. It’s a simple and practical solution for running. Retail price: $20

SPI Belt

No, it’s not an espionage tool — SPI stands for Small Personal Item. This stretchy little pouch that goes around your waist expands to hold a cellphone, keys and more than you think could fit. It’s like magic. Plus, it’s comfy when running. Retail price: $19.95

Footbalance Dynamic Blue Custom Footbeds

Warning: Running in custom footbeds will spoil you so much you can never go back to off-the-shelf again. This footbed is custom-molded for your foot at any participating Footbalance retailer. The fitting process takes only a few minutes, and the benefits are many: Improved biomechanical efficiency for better endurance, shock absorption and injury prevention. Your feet will thank you. Retail price: $80.

Energizer Micro Sport Headlight

Running in the winter in the Northwest means running in the dark, whether it’s morning or night. A lightweight headlamp is a key accessory for runners. Energizer has launched this new one, which features front and rear lights for extra safety. The front light has white LEDs while the back light flashes red. The price won’t break the bank either. This one would be a great gift for that runner you love. Retail price: $24.99

Fitsok Jewelpop CX3

These are great socks for the everyday runner. They are the usual Fitsok superior product: excellent airflow and moisture wicking, engineered heel, left-right foot construction, but with a pop of color in a tri-color three pack for women. Bonus: they are made in the USA. Retail price: $20.

Oofos Recovery Sandal

Step into these over-the-top comfortable after-workout “recovery shoes” and you’re likely to sigh, “ooo” as your feet sink into foamy heaven. What makes these sandals atypical is their proprietary OOfoam which offers 37 percent more impact absorption than in similar products. These sandals fit nicely into any backpack or bag and are the perfect thing to slide onto your feet after a long run. Available in thong (around your toes) or slip-in, in a variety of colors. Retail price: $39.95

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to our Enewsletter