Sunday, July 27, 2008

Choosing a Jogging Stroller

If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me about what type of jogging stroller I think is best...I would have at least a dollar. But that is a lot of times to write the same email. If only I had saved them...

Anyway, here are my thoughts on jogging strollers:
1. Terrain: Do you primarily jog on smooth roads or bumpy trails? Knobby tires will only require more energy to push so you don't need them if you aren't on bumpy roads that require greater traction and resistance to flats. Furthermore, though suspension sounds great, unless you are actually running on very bumpy terrain, it will just make more work for you to push through the suspension in order to make turns. Your kids can take it.
2. Storage: No problem here if you just roll it into the garage, but if you have to fold and/or carry the stroller at all, consider weight, ease of collapse and folded dimensions. Stick with 16" wheels rather than 20" which will take up much more space.
3. Cost: You could easily spend over $500 on a double stroller, but consider if you really need that. If you anticipate that your stroller will get relatively light use, there is no need to buy the most expensive on the market.
4. Wheels: The swivel front wheel makes turning easier if you primarily walk, but it is inferior to the fixed front wheel for running. Though you can usually lock the swivel wheel into place, the chances of it tracking crooked are greater than a fixed wheel and these strollers are often heavier.
5. Uses: Is this stroller exclusively for exercise or does it also go on errands and such? Lots of storage space and pockets plus a slimmer width for doorways are both helpful if this stroller is going to the grocery store.
6. Separate sun shades: If you have 2 kids, you'll want to be able to adjust seat backs and sun shades separately.
7. Accommodating an infant seat: Personally, I consider this totally unnecessary. How fast do you really think you are going?
8. Where to buy: has a huge selection and fantastic customer service.

Some brands to consider:
Baby Jogger Performance strollers are ideal for high mileage road runners.
The cost of a BOB stroller is not necessary unless you actually run on trails - which I do without a BOB anyway.
Dreamer Design and Kelty are good compromise options.
In Step is a good low cost alternative, but may not hold up well to heavy use.
Would YOU want to be the kid in the bottom seat of a Phil and Ted stroller?


sally said...

Great post! As for the Phil&Teds - you'd be surprised. I've heard that kids fight to sit in the bottom seat - they think it's cool.

Cassandraann said...

Very useful site! My daughter is 2 1/2 and I've put off buying a jogging stroller, but now that I've signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October, I am going to make the plunge! I'd like to as, how difficult is it to turn a stroller with a fixed wheel? It's convenient for me to run at the quarter mile track a block from my house, but I don't know if all those turns would be too much work with the stroller.

Cassandraann said...

I just commented but not sure if it went through!? Anyway, wanted to say great blog with very helpful info! I'm planning to buy my first jogging stroller, and am wondering, in your experience, would it be frustrating/too much hard work, to run on a quarter mile track with all those turns? I've been using a normal graco stroller, which does great with the swivel wheels, but it's a lot of work to push, especially with the handle bar being too low for me...