Over four months, we ran, jogged, speed-walked and walked with these 16 jogging strollers in all types of terrain; smooth, rough, hilly, bumpy, muddy, sandy, rocky, snowy, dry and wet. We used them indoors and outdoors. In crowded stores and open parks. We pushed and pulled them up. We folded and unfolded them and got them in and out of the car trunk. And we did all of this with baby and baby's gear in tow. Exactly the way most parents use this kind of stroller in the real world.
Run-ability tests included rating the strollers for their handlebar shape and adjustability, their rolling resistance, and how well they tracked and whether or not they offered adjustable tracking. We took all of the strollers running with multiple tester on different surfaces including sidewalks and dirt hiking trails. We assessed how difficult it is to push them and whether or not they are easy to run with or a wrestling nightmare.
One key source of ratings and critique of run-ability performance was input from the running expert on our review team, Carrie Vickers, who put each of the strollers through the wringer during her ultra distance race training, with her twin girls, and 5 year old daughter. In addition, we had testers of different heights, both male and female, run each product and assess field performance.
Ease of Use
Some of the strollers didn't have much in the way of conveniences and unlike other types of strollers we didn't consider this to be a big downfall. Products designed for running don't necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles and having too many means it might be difficult to use them when you are actually jogging. However, we felt if they are going to have the features they should be well done, of good quality, and easy to utilize. Strollers were compared against one another so parents can get a feel for which options are better than others.
In the metric of safety we considered safety features that could possibly affect everyday use. Most safety concerns depend on parents using the product as directed while heeding warning labels and cautions. We looked at how easy the features related to safety are to use and operate or potentially ignore.
For harnesses we assessed how easy they were to get on and adjust, and how difficult it is to get a proper fit for smaller babies. We think if a harness is hard to use then parents might neglect using it, if it is too easy children might be able to "get out of it" when parents aren't looking. Products earned more points if they were easy to adjust and use.
We also tested the tipping tendency of each stroller and at what degree the products would fall over. Weighted down with 20 pounds of "rock baby" the products were tested on a tilt table to determine the angle they would tip over sideways, and how much weight could be placed on the handlebar before it flipped over backwards. Because joggers are designed to be lightweight and easy to tip to turn while running these products required significantly less weight to fall back than most of the other categories.
Products were compared and ranked with higher scores going to the products that tipped at deeper angles before falling. Testing the back tip consisted of hanging weights on the back of the stroller with a simulated "baby" in the seat. This is done to simulate parents hanging a diaper bag on the back of the stroller or shopping bags. Something you shouldn't do, but most parents will at some point. These strollers required very little weight compared to strollers in other categories. The products were compared to one another with those requiring the most weight earning higher scores.
Quality factors are based on our overall experience and how the materials and fit and finish of each stroller compared to each other. For fabric we gave points for the weave, stain or water repellent properties, snag-ability, straight stitching, and how it attached to the frame. We reviewed the frame materials, hinge points, connectors, and if the frame flexed or the handlebars wobbled. We also compared the wheels of each product and how well they connected to the stroller. Quality scores were awarded by comparing each stroller and how well they held up after their brief period of time during testing.
Weight and Folded Size
Ease of Setup
We used a stopwatch for timing how long it took to get the products out of the box and ready to run using the instructions provided in the box. Products earned more points for taking less time, having easy to read manuals, no tool assembly, and useful photos or illustrations. They lost points for clumped together multi-language instructions that take longer to read, photos or steps that are not necessary for assembly, and hard to follow or unclear instructions. The easiest products have clear text, nice pictures, and the majority of the product already assembled.