This post is sponsored by the New Balance Chicago. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
There’s a small subpopulation of runners in Chicago who actually look forward to running in the winter months. When I tell people that I prefer to run in 35 or below and snowing, I get faces of shock, disbelief and a lot of skeptical looks.
But it makes a lot of sense! For someone like me who suffers from seasonal allergies, asthma and a hatred for running on busy sidewalks lined with tourists and strollers, it’s the perfect scenario!
I stopped into New Balance in Lincoln Park on a cold, snowy Saturday for a new pair of shoes, hoping to find some like-minded runners who understood what I needed to survive the cold months ahead.
Upon arrival, Henry took me through a few steps in order to find the right shoes for each specific foot type. For the past 10+ years I’ve been running, I’ve been buying shoes on pure fashion, not function. As a result, I found myself in physical therapy this year due to strain caused by shoes that weren’t supportive. So I needed an expert.
We essentially pressure mapped my feet and I learned that I carry most of my weight on my heels. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I definitely need heel support when looking for the right shoe. My arches are also a bit high.
Then, we tested the strength in my ankles to look for any wobbling. This could signify that I need more support on the inner or outer part of my shoe. Thankfully, I passed this test and was able to review my walking footage. I felt like I was on Project Runway. MAKE IT WORK.
We then measured my feet. Of course my left foot is longer than my right foot by a little less than half of a size. But on long runs when your feet swell a bit, this can be a big deal. I tried on a few pairs and voila! I found the perfect fit and am obsessed with the coral/navy combo.
If you’re a little bit crazy like me, there are just a few things you need to keep in mind (and tools you should have) to run safely in the winter months.
Winter in Chicago. First things first, Chicago can get incredibly cold. Polar vortex cold. Mix that with slick sidewalks, icy roads and minimal sunlight and it can be a running recipe for disaster.
Be safe and don’t force it. There will be days your alarm goes off and it’s not safe to hit the road. Make this a treadmill day and try not to be too frustrated. The last thing you need is a torn ligament or a broken bone from slipping on the icy sidewalks.
Invest in a good pair of shoes. Since the roads can be slick and there might be some slush you’re stepping through, you need to have a pair of shoes that will keep your toes dry and prevent slipping.
Protect your head. Well, mostly your ears. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having cold ears and snow hitting your eyes when you’re running. By wearing a headband or a hat, you’ll be able to run longer and hit your mileage.
Base layers. I am not above wearing two pairs of leggings on the really cold days! Even with sub zero temps, you’ll still want something with sweat-wicking fabric.
Outer layer. Thankfully technology has changed the wool and flannel options for outer layers. I’ll be wearing this super cute (but incredibly functional) turtleneck around town! It was 10 degrees and I was still warm!
Wool running socks. Trust me on this. You’ll only need 10 pairs and end up wearing them every day.
What’s the coldest weather you’ve ever ran in? Comment below and enter into the New Balance giveaway for:
- Free Fit Analysis with your very own Fit Specialist
- Free pair of shoes (retail value up to $175)
- $50 Gift Card towards another pair of shoes and/or apparel