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5 tips to enjoy snowshoe running!

Velofix Ottawa isn’t ALL about bikes. We service a variety of equipment and we love being active – whether it’s cycling, running, skiing, hiking, yoga, etc. This articles takes a short break from bike talk and focuses on one of our other favorite sports.

Snowshoe hiking has been around for thousands of years. Snowshoeing is great, for many reasons. It’s a fun way to embrace winter, it’s a good workout, can be social and it takes you places you normally couldn’t go with regular shoes.

There’s new category of snowshoeing that outdoor enthusiasts are flocking to: snowshoe running! Running snowshoes are narrower and lighter than their hiking counterparts, which give you a little more flexibility on the type of terrain you can run on. A lot of our summer running trails and mountain bike paths make for great snowshoe running in the winter. With a few tips and pointers, you can enjoy snowshoe running to! Here’s velofix Ottawa’s top 5 suggestion to make the most out of snowshoe running:

Dress for the weather!
-Like winter cycling, or running outdoors, you have to dress for the occasion. The clothes you wear for snowshoe hiking are likely too heavy and warm for you to run in comfortably. Consider wearing a good moisture wicking base layer against your skin, a wind-breaker layer facing the elements, and something in between, depending on conditions. You’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not overheating.

Cover your ankles
-When running, your socks might slide down and your pant legs might slide up. Having cold ankles can be uncomfortable and could cause injury. My suggestion is to overlap your layers and make sure they’re snug. I like to wear a set of athletic socks that are mid-calf or lower-calf, then pull my base layer over my socks, down to my ankles, followed by warm winter sock over my base layer and my wind-breaking pants over my winter socks. That stops snow from touching the skin directly and keeps you warm.

Running stride
-Aside from dressing properly to enjoy your outing, having the right running technique helps too! The biggest difference between snowshoe walking and running is that you should shorten your stride and really pronounce the foot strike. The shorter stride will increase your cadence (or “turnover”), making it easier to tackle obstacles. The punchy forefoot strike avoids heel drag, added friction and allows you to spring into your next stride.

Get the right snowshoes
-In the bike world, there’s a bike for every type of riding: road, mountain, touring, gravel, etc, and it’s important to choose the right equipment for the riding you’re doing. In the snowshoe world, it’s important to pick the right snowshoes for the terrain and type of exercise you’re doing. The shorter and narrower the snowshoe, the better suited it is for running on packed trails. The looser the snow is and the slower you’ll be moving (think running vs walking vs hiking), the longer and wider you’ll want your snowshoes to be.

Go with friends!
-Most sports are more fun with friends. Ottawa has some of the best network of trails and parc for us to enjoy. Most recently, Ottawa open the SJAM trails ( These multi-use paths are great for fat biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. For the month of March, velofix Ottawa wants to support the SJAM trails and help give them a little bit of funding to buy the equipment. Email for more details on the #velofixGive30 challenge. In this challenge, we want you to commit to 30 minutes of exercise, daily! If you miss a day, pledge to donate to SJAM and velofix Ottawa will match your donation up to $30.