When it comes to snowshoe racing, snowshoe options abound with many companies delivering light and fast racing models. But although zippy snowshoes can save time on race day, remember that your actual shoes are just as crucial to your speed and comfort. Inside your snowshoe bindings, a heavy trail runner can slow you down, and a thin racing flat might mean cold, wet feet—which can also have a negative affect.
Saucony provides a solid combination of speed and comfort for neutral runners in its Ride 8 GTX ($140) trainer. GTX is the key word here—the shoe is waterproof, which means no frozen toes, wet socks, or moisture-induced blisters. Assuming snow doesn’t enter the shoe around your ankles (consider wearing short gaiters), your feet will stay dry for your entire snowshoe race, whether you’re running a 5K or a half marathon.
Not to mention, at only 9.4 ounces for a men’s size 9 (8.5 ounces for a women’s size 7), the Ride GTX is light and surprisingly responsive enough for snowshoe racing, while also providing ample cushioning and support. The shoe absorbs impact well while transitioning smoothly through each stride, even with snowshoes strapped to your feet.
Sidenote: If you’d like to snowshoe race in an even faster neutral shoe, consider the Saucony Kinvara 6 Runshield ($110). The lighter, sleeker cousin of the Ride GTX weighs in at 7.8 ounces for men (or 6.8 ounces for women) and is ideal for going super fast in sloppy conditions—but be warned, it is water resistant, not waterproof, so the shorter the race, the better.
Getting back to the Ride GTX, the shoe fits true to size and features a secure FlexFit upper with a padded tongue and heel collar. If you wear the Rides with snowshoes, you might be slipping and sliding on snow, but your foot will remain secure inside the shoes.
The Ride GTX is technically a road running shoe, so chances are you’ll want to wear it into the rainy spring season and beyond. Thanks to its durable construction and solid rubber and foam sole, you’ll still be running in these shoes long after you’ve hung up your snowshoes.