By now you probably already understand the difference between the running stroller, the swivel jogger, and the all-terrain stroller. If not, let me quickly explain. The Running Stroller comes equipped with a fixed front wheel that tracks straight. This design is meant to give the runner or jogger, the best and most durable set-up. The Swivel Jogger offers a swivel front wheel that can be locked into a fixed wheel position for light jogging. The All-Terrain Stroller also offers a swivel front wheel that can be locked into a fixed wheel position, but only for rough terrain, NOT jogging. If you are a SERIOUS runner, and you’re looking for a jogging stroller that will stand up to the abuse you intend to put through, then the running stroller is best for you and your little one.
What Running Stroller Features Should You Look For?
Safety Features – This should be your number one concern. A running stroller should come equipped with these standard safety features: a parking brake, hand brake, running leash, reflective stitching or patches, and a protective sun canopy. These are all a must! Deep seats are also a nice feature, as well as a front wheel fender that keeps debris from flying up into your child’s face.
Wheels & Tires – The running stroller should come equipped with three 16-inch or 20-inch pneumatic tires, which is just a fancy way of saying inflatable rubber tires, and aluminum alloy rims. The inflatable tire is best for rough terrain, and the larger the tire, the smoother the ride for your little one, but keep in mind that the larger the tire is, the harder the running stroller is to store. So, make sure the wheels are quick-release, that way you can store and transport your running stroller easier. Tire tread is also important, and it depends on where you plan to run. If you’re running on streets or smooth sidewalks with your running stroller, the racing slick tread, which is basically a smoother tread, is best. If you plan on running on mostly off-road trails, knobby tire tread is better.
Frames – The running stroller should also be light weight. Most offer frames that are built with aluminum alloy, which is both light weight and durable. Some of the higher-end running strollers come with aircraft grade 6061 aluminum alloy frames, which is basically just higher strength aluminum alloy. There are a few running strollers out there offering steel alloy frames, which is great because steel is usually stronger than aluminum and really doesn’t weigh that much more, however, steel also has a tendency to rust, whereas aluminum doesn’t.
Weight – Obviously, the lighter the running stroller the better, and anywhere between 24 and 27 pounds is pretty average. Running strollers don’t come with a whole lot of bells and whistles, mainly because weight is such a big factor. You want your running stroller to be easy to push, keep in mind that 25 pounds may not seem like much, but when you add 30 pounds of child to the equation, it adds up pretty fast.
Suspension – The running stroller should have some type of suspension, whether it’s spring air, or coil spring suspension. A good suspension system allows for better handling, as well as keeping your little one comfortable. The best way to explain the difference is that air springs tends to be a bit bouncier, whereas coil springs resists bottoming out better, providing a more plush ride. Sometimes you’ll see running strollers offering shock absorbing suspension, which is basically a coil spring suspension system with shock absorbers. Shock absorbers basically limit excessive suspension movement, and create a smoother ride. Some higher-end running strollers, like the BOB Ironman Running Stroller, offer adjustable shock absorbers, which allow you to reduce or maximize the absorption based on your child’s weight.
Handlebar – Running strollers are designed to be one size fits all, and for the most part they are, however some offer adjustable handlebars which are quite handy. The running stroller handlebar should be rubber, offering both comfort and a wipe clean grip. Some handlebars are even ergonomically designed to offer superior comfort. Also, check size dimensions on the running stroller itself. Some running strollers, like the Joovy Zoom ATS Running Strollers, are taller and therefore come with a taller handlebar.
Extras – As I said before, most running strollers don’t come with a whole lot of extra’s. They were designed for a purpose, and that purpose is running, so when it comes to parent trays and child’s trays, sound systems, and extra storage, all that stuff just adds more weight, which is something we don’t want. However, there should be at least an under-seat storage basket, and a seat-back pocket. The Joovy Zoom ATS offers a neoprene cup holder and parent organizer, which is nice because it doesn’t add a bunch of extra weight. Then there’s the Jeep Overland Jogging Stroller, which actually comes with all of those extra’s, but it also weighs 28 pounds.
Weight Capacity – Most running strollers offer at least a 45 pound weight limit, and the higher-end running strollers offer up to 75 pounds. An extra 30 pounds is a big difference, it could mean an extra couple years of use. I always figured that the price of the running stroller should coincide with the weight capacity. If you’re paying under $200.00, chances are you won’t get any higher than 50 pounds, but if you’re paying upwards of $300.00 to $400.00, you’ll probably get the full 75 pound weight capacity. So in other words, the more you pay, the longer it will last you.