What to look for in a jogging stroller

New mothers are often faced with overwhelming purchasing decisions on everything from cribs to car seats, cloth diapers to breast pumps. For many of us, jogging strollers are just another item to worry about as the baby’s due date approaches.

For a mom who runs, a good stroller can be your ticket to freedom, fresh air and exercise. But how do you know what stroller is for you and your wee one?

We own a BabyTrend jogger, which is OK but certainly not the Cadillac of running strollers.

 

Caroline Mackay, registered nurse, StrollerFit Saint John instructor and self-described stroller “connoisseur” offers her wisdom on the topic. She has owned several strollers and has taught StrollerFit for five years.

“I would like to offer some guidance to those who feel they don’t know where to start in this area which can be very overwhelming,” she says.

Read on to find out what jogger she recommends, and tips to help you decide what stroller is right for you. (Please note this post is not sponsored, and is solely based on Caroline’s opinions and experiences.)

Post-baby fitness: a Q&A with Caroline Mackay

Running after baby

How do you know if you should invest in a jogging stroller? 

Jogging strollers help with the ease of pushing your little one while moving at a faster pace than walking. They are often three-wheeled, with a front wheel that either swivels or is fixed. (You want to have your wheel fixed when jogging). Four-wheelers exist but look like all-terrain vehicles. This was my first stroller, the Quinny XL. It could go over sand, snow, or dead bodies. This is the stroller you want in the zombie apocalypse, but turn on a dime – it does not. 

Jogging strollers are often adjustable in the handle bar height, lighter weight, and have air filled tires for a smoother ride for both pusher and passenger.

You want something that can be used for everyday use though; you don’t want five strollers in your garage – one for shopping, one for walking the dog, one for traveling, one for running… many husbands will attest to this as it takes up garage space. Also, with most strollers, you want one that will accommodate your growing child.

It is not recommended to run with a child under the age of six months but most moms want to be out walking before that. A stroller with a car seat attachment is nice for when baby is young so as to not wake them so mommy gets her sane time. Having the three-wheel stroller in a swivel position will allow you to maneuver easily at the grocery store, etc. whereas a fixed wheel tends to be longer (think yacht) than many strollers. 

What qualities should a mom/dad look for in a jogging stroller?

Value for money is my goal but it is like a car and has to feel right or you won’t want to use it. The stroller has to be the right height for you and if there is a second user, ie. your partner, you may want to take that into consideration. Wrists need to be aligned with forearms, not at an angle. 

The angle that your child sits is another consideration. The BOB strollers have a reclined angle that older children don’t love if they are not used to sitting back. The Joovy is the same way though, as a friend who owns one points out, if they don’t know any different, it doesn’t bother them. The Chariot is pricey but super versatile and can convert to winter mode with ski attachments and bike attachment. I think that brand has the best set-up for infants I have seen- a sling/ hammock inside with a sleeping bag over top. You never have to worry about your child getting cold in that thing. 

That’s another feature to be aware of: a weather shield. High-end models have accessories that cost extra but weather shields fit snug and keep rain and wind out and are totally worth it when you run into bad weather. Also, babes are usually lulled to sleep by rain and they must take pleasure in the fact that mom is drenched and they are snug as a bug.

Would you ever recommend buying second-hand?

Absolutely! Buying baby gear is sort of like renting… you pay to use it, then sell it to someone else. The top-end brands hold their value and keep performing well if looked after. I bought my BobStroller second-hand and well-used for $300 and it is still my favourite stroller. I can lock the front wheel if I like, it is light, easily foldable and durable.  If you are lucky enough to find a Chariot second-hand, it will be worth the money. Always test out the gear before buying though, a broken brake or missing piece to a harness to be a deal-breaker.

How much should you expect to spend for a decent jogging stroller?

Strollers are on par with road bikes it seems. You are looking at about $700 to start for a new jogger. Accessories are extra, i.e. the Chariot does not come with a jogging wheel and runs about $100+ and note that all jogging stroller front wheels are different! I foolishly made this mistake when I went to a bike shop looking for a wheel to fit my import. I ended up paying big time shipping fees for a special wheel. This is why second-hand is the best way to go.

What are your top three recommendations for running strollers?

1. Look for a stroller that will meet multiple needs in your growing child’s life and won’t take up too much garage space.

2. Make sure the stroller is the right height for jogging – this is higher than walking.

3. Shop around, ask your friends (and me!) what they like about theirs and why. And then try theirs out. And then ask them if they want to sell it. Top Brands are: BOB for jogging and everyday use, Chariot for versatility in multi-sports and infant-carrying, Quinny XL for multi seat configuration.

Any other helpful tips for buying strollers?

I do want to note that jogging strollers are for people who are serious about running and need to get their running fix. Running with a stroller is not like running solo, you use different muscle groups and it is a heck of a lot harder. If you are someone who just wants to get out with baby, attend Stroller Fit classes, then most strollers will do the trick.  Even the classic Graco strollers will meet most needs of moms who do Stroller Fit. Those things are super light-weight, durable, fold down like a dream… and are considerably less expensive. 

What stroller do you recommend?

The BOB Revolution.

Stroller Fit is Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. in Saint John’s Rockwood Park. Classes are full for the May session, but will be ongoing throughout summer. For details, check out the Facebook group.
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Published by

April C

Writer, editor and mom in Saint John, NB.

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