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If you live an active lifestyle or simply enjoy going on jogs or long walks during the day, investing in a good quality jogging stroller can let you bring your baby along while getting your exercise in. While a traditional stroller is a safe option for everyday walks or short trips, they can be difficult to maneuver on rough terrain or uphill, and they typically can’t withstand large bumps and jostling while running.
“Jogging strollers are designed to be sturdier, lighter and more maneuverable and stable than regular strollers to withstand the forces of running with them,” said Catherine Cram, an exercise physiologist and coauthor of “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy.” Jogging strollers have three large air-filled wheels — two in the back and a solo wheel in the front — along with a suspension system that reduces the impact of bumpy roads. The front wheel can be locked in place to use while running or can swivel to navigate sidewalks and indoor areas.
“It's tough for a traditional stroller to ‘keep up’ with the increased pace — the smaller wheels need to turn at a frantic rate,” said Sarah Bowen Shea, co-founder of Another Mother Runner and host of the brand's podcast of the same name. Shea, a mom of three, also considers jogging strollers to be more comfortable, providing a “smooth ride” and “more room” as a child gets older.
And jogging strollers don’t necessarily have to be used only when running or exercising. In fact, many models can be used as an everyday stroller since they “come complete with some of the features and accessories you’d expect from a regular stroller, such as a large basket, multi-position recline seat, one-handed fold and even a snack tray and cup holder,” said Ashlee Neuman, deputy editor at The Bump.
What to consider when shopping for a jogging stroller
Experts noted several key features to look for when shopping for a jogging stroller, especially for new parents who haven’t yet tried one out. Strollers can be a pricey investment and tend to differ greatly in price and features, so experts recommend initially considering how often you plan to use a jogging stroller and the type of terrain you’ll use it on. If you’re an everyday runner and live in an area with a lot of hills, you’ll likely want to invest in a higher quality stroller.
You then should consider your lifestyle needs. “Will you be using the jogger for urban exploration as well or just exercise? Do you need a compact fold to fit the stroller in your car trunk or store in your home?” Neuman added. It’s also important to keep in mind that air-filled tires can require more maintenance than foam-filled ones since they may need to be occasionally inflated “similar to bike tire maintenance,” said physical therapist and personal trainer Sarah Duvall, founder of Core Exercise Solutions.
Baby gear expert Jamie Grayson of the Baby Guy Gear Guide noted that there is a difference between an all-terrain stroller and a jogging stroller — which is important to know before shopping. All-terrain strollers are essentially a balance between standard and jogging strollers — they usually have more storage space than jogging strollers and are designed for off-road use, including hiking and trail-walking, while having three or four large, air-filled tires. But all-terrain strollers aren’t necessarily meant for jogging, running or exercising, and parents who opt for them should look at the manufacturer’s recommendations. “All jogging strollers are all-terrain strollers, but not all all-terrain strollers are jogging strollers,” said Grayson.
Experts also recommend considering the following:
- Stroller weight: A jogging stroller itself can weigh anywhere between 20 and 30 pounds. “If you’re running up a lot of hills and you have a 20-pound baby in there, that’s a lot of weight to push while you’re running,” said Karen Reardanz, executive editor at Babylist.
- Safety tether: This is a wrist strap that’s attached to the stroller in case you lose your grip on the handle. Some strollers also offer a hand brake for quick stops or when running downhill, for example.
- Five-point harness: This type of harness includes two straps over the shoulders, two thigh straps and a crotch strap so your baby is securely fastened in the stroller.
- Adjustable handlebars: This can be a good option if you’re sharing the stroller with another person, or if you want to adjust them to your height “so your running form doesn’t have to suffer,” according to Neuman.
- Reclining seat: Reclining seats along with padding can keep your child comfortable while reducing the impact of bumps on their body.
- Folding: A folding mechanism allows you to automatically fold your stroller with the touch of a button, while compact folding lets you remove the wheels and fold it down for easier storage and portability.
Best jogging strollers in 2021
A favorite stroller brand among the experts we spoke to, BOB’s Revolution Flex 3.0 jogging stroller features shocks absorbers by the seating area to reduce the impact of bumps. Its adjustable handlebars offer nine positions that make it useful for a two-runner household, while the one-handed reclining adjustment for the seat can make it easier to lay your child nearly flat in the stroller.
Duvall, who used the BOB stroller with both of her children, called the folding mechanism a “lifesaver” since she could fold and unfold it with one hand while holding a kid with the other. Reardanz noted that the stroller is “durable” with a “large storage basket,” but can be “pretty bulky and heavy.”
The Thule Urban Glide 2 has car seat compatibility and a 75-pound weight capacity. “It’s a great pick if you want a dual-purpose stroller,” said Neuman, noting it can handle most terrains and has a swivel front wheel that locks in place. It also has a one-handed, compact fold, which is convenient if you find yourself driving to places to run — this makes it easier to get in and out of the trunk and store at home. “It’s more expensive, but if you’re a regular runner, it can be worth the investment,” said Reardanz.
Lisa Selby, a certified running coach who runs the blog Mile by Mile, said the Thule stroller is the only one she uses, both for running and walking. “It has a sleek design and doesn’t feel too heavy or bulky to push,” she said. For parents with twins, Thule also offers a double version.
Featuring a 50-pound weight limit, this jogging stroller has large bicycle wheels and a front swivel wheel that can be unlocked for casual sidewalk use. It also comes with a parent tray with two cup holders, a storage compartment for any essentials and a child tray with a cup holder so they can play with toys or eat snacks. The brand offers five multi-color styles, including Pink, Red and Yellow.
You can attach any Graco infant car seat to this stroller with a secure, one-step attachment, making it accessible to use as a regular, everyday stroller for younger children. The parent tray features a smartphone cradle for easy phone access and a covered storage compartment for easily storing snacks and small items like keys and a hand towel. And if your hands are full while trying to store away the strollers, the brand claims it has a “one-step fold” and can stand on its own.
With an aluminum frame, this 25-pound Joovy stroller is a relatively lightweight option. It features a click-in car seat adapter, a shock-absorbing suspension system and a basket and in-seat mesh pockets to store any necessary items. The oversized canopy can come in handy to protect your child from the sun, while the peekaboo screen lets you easily check up on them.
“If you, your partner, or caregiver is a cyclist, think about getting a stroller that converts from one that can be used for biking as well as running,” noted Shea. For people who have twins or hope to take two kids on a run, the Encore X by Burley — a brand that Shea recommended — is a multi-use stroller that has two padded seats, a water-resistant cover and adjustable handlebars. The included one-wheel stroller kit allows you to hook it up to a bike or transition it to a typical jogging stroller, and the seats can be detached to use it as a cargo trailer. If you’re hoping to go skiing, Burley also offers a ski kit.
You can convert this Bumbleride stroller into a modular system by purchasing a bassinet or infant car seat. Some standout features include built-in mesh storage pockets, a large storage basket, one-handed backrest recline and UPF 45+ canopies with a pop-out extension. For simple cleaning, the seat fabric and canopy are removable and machine-washable.
Safety tips for using a jogging stroller
Experts told Shopping the most important safety tip is to wait to use a jogging stroller until your child is at least 6 to 9 months old so they have better head and neck control to withstand bumps. “Some jogging strollers have adapters you can use with an infant car seat, which is fine for everyday use, but not for jogging or running,” said Reardanz. You should always discuss with your pediatrician before using a jogging stroller to consider your baby’s specific needs.
Reading your stroller’s manual is a great first step to ensure you’re using and assembling it properly. Cram suggested practicing using the jogging stroller before setting out for more vigorous exercise. “Make sure you know how to brake without too hard a stop, and get a feel for how the stroller handles with turns and changes in terrain,” she added.
Shea recommended always wearing the safety strap around your wrist to prevent a run-away stroller. “Typically you want to push the stroller with one hand and swing your other arm to allow your stride to be as natural as possible,” she said.
“Be sure to lock the front wheel, strap your child in securely and lower the canopy to protect them from the elements,” Neuman added. And if you’re planning on running at night, Grayson recommended using reflective tape if your stroller doesn’t already come with a reflective material.