As someone who suffers from cold in the extremities, (hands, feet… ears and nose), winter running has always proven a challenge. I love to run, but a glance at the weather forecast and one foot outside the door can have me retreating back inside and settling for a quick HIIT workout instead.
The misery of cold wet feet
Let’s face it, for many of us, there are few things more uncomfortable than being cold and wet. On more than one occasion this winter I have set off on a run only to be drenched by a sudden heavy downpour, from which I find myself sloshing home with cold, numb, chafed and freezing feet. I’m not a wimp by any means and I’m also not averse to challenging conditions, it’s just that some are more tolerable than others.
Whilst my Gore-text running jacket does a good job of keeping my upper body pretty warm and dry, my running shoes are soaked in minutes – and the effects hard to forget about and more noticeable as the km’s tick by.
Is there a solution?
Well, it seems that there is! Profeet recommended that I try the Brooks Ghost GTX and here’s what I can tell you about them, particularly as compared wth my regular Asics shoes.
The first outings were round my local rec grounds, now a marshy, squelchy terrain thanks to heavy rainfall and people tramping around and walking dogs etc… The Ghosts held good solid traction through the mud and as the water from puddles sloshed across the forefoot, remained impressively dry*. A 5K midweek run was a doddle and my socks were near 100% dry when I left my muddy shoes in the hallway.
Road, forest and frost
I noticed a firmer and decidedly less forgiving ride on the road compared with the Asics GT 2000, no doubt about that, but not a surprise given the thicker Gore-tex upper fabric, rugged sole construction and with less cushioning than I’m used to with the Asics.
But once into the softer terrain of the forest and woodland paths, these shoes again came into their own. Good grip across mulch, grass, moss and stone, up and down hill. It rained and my feet stayed dry – but much more than that, they were warm and toasty, a new and welcome experience.
Recreational use, dog walking, about town and even cycling … a big bonus with these shoes is their general all-round application. Because they are waterproof, windproof and breathable, it turns out that they are ideal multi-purpose winter footwear. Once on, I found very few good reasons to take them off, and the added benefit of warmth, (they resist icy winds and retain heat), has only added to their usefulness.
‘These shoes are my new best friends’
Although they took a little getting used to, as would any running shoe that is different to the old favourites, the Brooks Ghost GTX is a welcome addition to my winter running kit – and definitely here to stay. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have more than one pair of running shoes in circulation anyway, and their sheer versatility makes them a hands-down winner.
*An important foot note
Some people are sceptical about whether a Gore-tex shoe is a good idea or not. The possible downside is that should they by chance fill up with water, then you’ll be running around in a pair of swishy buckets. But thinking about this logically, if you, for example, allow water to breach the cuff of a waterproof or monobloc walking boot these will also become two personal foot baths.
Gore-tex running shoes are not ideal for sumps, Tough Mudders or anywhere where water will inevitably breach the cuffs. They are not for swimming in either (laughs)!
But they are ideal for those that suffer with cold feet and are running either on the road or cross country in a day-to-day, winter/wet weather (not crazy extreme) way. For the participants of extreme sports, I’m afraid there is no obvious cure for this kind of wet feet at present – it’s just part of the deal.
For everyone else – get yourself some Gore-tex shoes and enjoy the sensation of running with warm, dry feet.