While these running shoes aren’t winter-specific, they hold their own in wintry climes. A Gore-Tex membrane keeps puddle water, slush, and snow out. And they’re built on a conventionally thick sole (14 mm), but with an unconventionally minimalist drop (4 mm), meaning you get the support and protection of a standard trail shoe with the benefits of a quick, low-profile runner.
These shoes aren’t designed for ice, but they slay mud and slush. Hexagonal lugs angle backward on the forefoot for enhanced agility and speed, then angle forward on the heel for aggressive braking. “The grip on the trail is unmatched,” a tester says. “They’re like cleats.”
The 99’s look like standard, meshy running shoes, so we were surprised when they didn’t leak in our test. The fully-gusseted tongue and Gore-Tex liner sealed out water until it was 3 inches deep (when it spilled over the top of the shoe). Bonus: From completely soaked, these shoes dried fully in about an hour.
Alternating fabric and metal eyelets create a system that you can cinch from the top with one pull. Metal eyelets let the laces slide through without friction, while the fabric eyelets catch them so they can’t slide back through the holes.
The rubber toecap, much like that on a traditional approach shoe, stood up to a season of trail abuse, protecting the upper from snags and abrasion.
$140; 1 lb. 5 oz. (m’s 9.5); newbalance.com