Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Minimalist winter running with a toddler

About the time that Iris turned one, I started running once a month. That turned to twice a month and eventually once a week, interspersed with biking and general lazing around the house. Then winter came. General lazing around the house was suddenly interspersed with nothing. I started to go batty, not to mention gain a bit of weight. But every time I took Iris out, the temperature dropped and she came in with frozen footsie-pops. Poor baby! But I think, after a cozy test-run at -7Β°F, that I’ve finally got the outfit just right.


Let me back up a bit and define some terms. “Minimalist running” is defined by the footwear: the shoe structure is minimal. The shoe should have a 0Β° drop from heel to toe, none of that crazy “arch support” stuff, and a wide enough toe-box to let toes spread freely and happily as they will. “Running” is defined by a mid-foot strike. If you have a heel strike, no matter how fast you go, you’re still jogging. I run extremely slowly.


In high-school I used to slash my sneaks with razor blades to make them wider. In college, I taped each toe separately to keep them from rubbing. It was always a painful experience, but I pounded pavement faithfully. I enjoyed the running aspect of running. In fair weather and indoors, running was one of the few times I wore shoes. Unfortunately, at that.


Then this minimalist running craze happened. I got my first pair of those goofy-looking Vibram 5-fingers in 2008. They’re great! For me. In fair weather. But what to do in winter? Come the mukluk:


minimalist running with baby


I’ve had these shoes for four years. They were the last decent pair of mukluk-type boots made by Sorel. Now it’s all fake-fur and pleather or veganaiseβ€” whatever you call that stuff made to look like leather that isn’t, lined with stuff made to look like fur that isn’t. Horrid. Anyhow, after four years they have holes just about everywhere you can get a hole and they’re re-sewn and patched all over. Yesterday I bit the bullet and ordered a pair of $200.00 Steger mukluks. Yikes! I’ve oogled them for so long… Now I just have to modify my ice-grippers so they don’t eat holes in the bottoms.



(the extras are in case I stop a moment or go to a friend’s house; I need to change my soaking-wet clothing or catch hypothermia):


mukluk boots (this is the one and only reason I can call myself as a minimalist)


toe socks (x2)

neoprene socks or Gore-tex socks

wool socks (x2)

two pairs of leggings (x2)

long-sleeve T-shirt (x2 or 4)

bra (boobie-bounce arrester) (x2)

extra panties (I’m not going to tell you I wear panties. This is the one thing you must assume.)

wool camisole (x2)

hat (x2)

balaclava (I only own one)


fleece shirt in case I get cold

heavy wool sweater in case I stop at a friends house and want to look nice

snow-machine mitts


two headlamps & rear blinky light


all the extras (see above)

insulated bag with 2 canteens of warm water

backpack of useful things (potty seat, wallet, phone, crayons, clothing, lip goop, etc.)

camera & extra battery

TODDLER, wearing:


wool socks

fleece socks

Stones winter boots & boot liners

snow pants

long-sleeve T-shirt or dress

sweater with hood

thick fleece jacket with hood


rabbit-fur lined Mad-Bomber hat


I take a thick wool blanket, fold it in quarters, put half under Iris’ feet and fold the other half over her feet. I tuck my father’s huge Michelin-Man down coat around her and under her arms then top the whole thing off with a crib-size comforter.

And that’s it!

Totally minimalist.


2 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    I love your list. Have you thought about trying the Steger Mukluks? I don’t run (as you know), but they are very warm, comfy, and roomy.

    • Jessica says:

      I just ordered them the day I made this post! Haven’t gotten a chance to wear them because, after a few good feet of snow, it poured rain all day. πŸ™

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