The jogger stroller was the most important investment that I made when I had my son. It outweighed the importance of a crib even. Luckily, I had five years of experience working with running strollers at The Running Room before having my son. There, I learned how to set them up, about the features of each model they sold and I had even had the opportunity to run with them during group runs so that moms could take a break and run stroller-free.
I loved the freedom of going for a run or just walking trails with my son and our dog. I found that running was the best way to de-stress myself, calm a fussy baby, and take the poor dog out for some exercise all at the same time.
In this post, I want to give parents an idea of what to look for in what I like to call an “active life stroller.”
If you live in a rural area, a running or trail stroller will be a must just to get through gravel, mud, snow, or any non-smooth surface.
If you are an urban mom who doesn’t stray from the sidewalk often, then this type of stroller is not for your everyday use. I say that because running strollers are NOT store-friendly! The front wheel does not always swivel and because running strollers are typically a more stable design they tend to be bulkier in comparison to a traditional stroller. The point is to know your lifestyle and whether the investment will be worthwhile to you.
Would you prefer a swiveling front wheel with a locking feature? This choice is related to stability because running or using the stroller on uneven terrain with the wheel in the swivel mode can be unsafe. A small pebble at running speed could send the stroller quickly veering in an unplanned direction. If you plan to use the stroller for daily life as well as running or use on trails, then spend the extra money on a swivel wheel with a lock-in feature.
If you are an average size male this is not going to be an issue but if you are like me, a woman on the shorter side with a partner who is much taller, ensure you spend the money on a handle that adjusts.
The wider wheeled strollers tend to have more space underneath to carry supplies or for your shopping, and your child will fit in the stroller for a longer period, However, these wheels are not as easy to steer through doors or get into the back of vehicles.
This was a must for me, because if I needed to stop (poop patrol while running with a dog, checking on my son, tying my shoelace, etc.) and was on a hill, I had to be able to lock the stroller in place.
I’ll be frank, I have no idea why you would opt-out of having a sun canopy with an attachable rain cover. As little as one hour in the sun could leave your little one’s legs burned and, more importantly, the sun canopy protects their eyes. The rain cover also keeps the wind out of their faces and helps keep some chill off.
Size and ease of use are critical. Obviously, if you have a smaller car, you need the stroller to fold up small. “Easy” depends on you; if it takes four hands to collapse the thing every time, it will probably stay set up all the time. Most models require two hands to break down and set up, and in general, if you can manage it with only one hand you lose the stability features.
There is no right or wrong brand, the only thing that matters is that it works for you. I would discourage you from ordering one online without ever test driving it first. You may not like how it feels in motion or may discover it is too tall/short for you, take your time with this decision so that you get the right stroller for your needs.
Side note: It isn’t advisable to be running with your little one until they are strong enough to hold their heads up on their own. And always remember, it’s a wild, busy world out there – safety first!!