Choosing a Jogging Stroller

Jogging strollers are a wonderful way for you to take your baby or toddler with you for a run or walk.  Not only can you maintain your exercise regimen, but your baby gets some fresh air and can enjoy the stimulating outdoor scenery.  It’s a win-win for everyone!

The popularity of jogging strollers has grown in the last few years and that’s good news for those outdoor enthusiasts because manufacturers are now producing a wide variety of strollers.  The one drawback though is that with such a wide selection, selecting the right stroller can be daunting given all the features found in strollers.  

What should you look for in a stroller?  Here are a few tips with regard to the various features:

  • Wheels – jogging strollers typically have three large wheels:  one in the front and two in the back.  Wheels are usually 12”, 16” and 20”+ inches in size, and deciding which size is right for you depends largely on the type of surface you’ll be using your stroller on.  For example, 12” wheels are best for smooth surfaces like sidewalks and bike paths whereas 16” wheels are good for relatively smooth surfaces and light off-roading such as cutting across a grassy field.  For frequent long-distance running and off-road use then consider the 20”+ wheel size.
  • Wheel metal – Alloy wheels and hubs win out over steel.  Sure steel is cheaper but it’s also heavier.  Additionally, it tends to rust.  If you live in areas where road salt is used in the winter or near a beach where ocean salt is common, you will need to get in the habit of rinsing the wheels off with water after each use to remove damaging salt residue. 
  • Frame construction – welded aluminum frames will be more expensive, but the trade-off is that they are lighter and more durable.
  • Harness – To ensure the safety of your baby, it is best to stick with a five-point harness, which offers the greatest protection when traveling at a great speed.  Most jogging strollers come with five-point harnesses today, but if you are picking up a second-hand stroller be sure to check for this feature.
  • Seat – A padded seat that reclines is an asset, especially if your child falls asleep while you are out enjoying your walk or run.  Reclining seats are also helpful for small babies who lack neck strength.
  • Size – Some strollers can be quite huge and cumbersome.  If you intend to travel with yours, its overall weight is important, as is its ability to easily fold down.  Therefore, keep your vehicle space parameters in mind when shopping.
  • Handlebars – You want to ensure that walking or running with the stroller is comfortable.  If you are hunched over or hanging on to the handlebars, you are likely to arrive home with more than a few aches and pains.  That is why handlebar height is important.  The optimal handle height for a stroller is easy to determine.  Simply stand up straight with your shoulders back and arms at your side.  Bend your elbows so your forearms are parallel to the floor.  The distance between your hands and the floor is your optimal handle height.   Also, keep in mind, if more than one person will be using the stroller, you may want to consider getting one with an adjustable handlebar feature.
  • Cover – If you want the baby to be comfortable while mobile, then you may want to ensure your little passenger is kept out of the hot sun or pouring rain.  A nice, large adjustable canopy can offer baby protection from the weather.
  • Weight Limit – Strollers that are more expensive tend to have stronger aluminum frames, which can usually support more weight.  This is a big consideration if you intend to get a few years of use out of your jogging stroller.    Be sure to also keep in mind that when you travel, you’ll probably also be carting around a diaper bag, snacks, toys, and everything else your baby/toddler may need.  Sometimes that feels like everything but the kitchen sink!  Regardless, it will add extra weight so factor that into your decision.  

Definitely, is a lot to think about with regard to features, and much of your decision will probably revolve around price, which is always a huge factor for any family budget.  Jogging strollers can vary greatly in price.   Prices can range anywhere from $75 to $500, and as with most items, quality strollers tend to be easier to use, are more durable, and retain their resale value.  Jogging strollers are one of those products where you ultimately will get what you pay for so proceed cautiously!