Hi Hayley! 

Hope 2018 is off to a good start for you. I'm based in Toronto and went for a run the other day when it was above zero and my feet got absolutely soaking wet. I was hoping you might be able to recommend your favourite pairs of winter running shoes. My routes are usually a mix of street and park running, so if there is a shoe that can keep my feet dry and warm, that works for both pavement and trails that would be ideal. (This might be asking too much from a shoe - not sure! But dryness is probably at the top of my list).

Thanks in advance.


I know all about running in the rain, living on Canada’s We(s)t Coast, which means there has been more than one occasion when my feet have been soaked. I remember running a half marathon on a day it couldn’t have possibly rained any harder and by the end of the race each shoe weighed an extra 10 pounds. But I hate to break it to you…you are searching for a unicorn.  

I recommend you to choose what is most important to you and then compromise a little bit. If you want a dry foot then go with a gortex shoe, but these shoes aren’t great for pavement running and the gortex makes them hot and sweaty inside because in order to prevent the water from getting into your shoe it also has to prevent the water from getting out. A gortex shoe also tends to be a little heavier and stiffer.  Great for trails and hiking but not so great for longer runs out on the road.

If you want a lighter, more breathable shoe then go with a running shoe that has a bit of gortex in it. It won’t keep your foot completely dry but in all honesty, nothing really will if it is raining hard or you are running through slushy snow and puddles. You will have more flexibility in a running shoe but you will suffer in the trails as running shoe tread is not as grippy as the tread on a trail running shoe.

Your best bet is to go into a running store that carries a few brands of running shoes and has expert staff. Try on a few pairs and see if you like it. I personally don’t like heavy duty trail runners or gortex products so if I am running in the rain I just plan on getting wet. I have been known to leave a second running outfit in my car (sports bra, shoes, hat and all) and change out of my wet clothes and into dry clothes halfway through the run. Sometimes there is just no way to stay dry.

However, to try and help you the best I could, I spoke with some of my ultra-marathoner friends in hopes that they could direct me to the unicorn you are trying to find but they all agreed that what you are looking for doesn’t exist. One ultra-running friend says she just doesn’t care because she ends up so wet but her favourite shoe is the Salomon S lab. Another ultra-runner swears by the New Balance 880v7 GTX, which is a road runner but has a gortex upper to help keep you somewhat dry. The shoe I use for trail running and road running is the New Balance 910v4 GTX. I love it mainly because it is a cute shoe but it keeps my feet pretty dry as long as I am not running in torrential rain.

Pick what means most to you (look, gortex level, durability, and price) and then find the shoe that meets as many needs as possible. They will never meet all but with some compromise you might be able to keep your feet happy and dry.