In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Jogging Strollers

Friday August 6, 2021
Top-ranked strollers were put to the test to find the best jogging...
Top-ranked strollers were put to the test to find the best jogging style stroller on the market (Thule Chariot Cross 2, Grand Safari, Burley Solstice, Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight, Bumbleride Speed, Mountain Buggy Terrain and updated versions of the Thule strollers not shown).
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
Over several months, we ran, jogged, speed-walked, and walked with these 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. Precisely the way most parents use this kind of stroller in the real world.

Run-ability


Run-ability tests included rating the strollers for their handlebar shape and adjustability, their rolling resistance, how well they tracked, and whether they offered adjustable tracking. We took all of the strollers running with multiple testers on different surfaces, including sidewalks and dirt hiking trails. We assessed how difficult it is to push them and whether they are easy to run with or a wrestling nightmare.

One key source of ratings and critique of run-ability performance was input from our running expert, Carrie Vickers, who put each of the strollers through the wringer during her ultra-distance race training, with her twin girls, and an older daughter. Also, we had testers of different heights, both male and female, to run each product, and assess field performance.

The under seat storage bin of the Thule Urban Glide is easy to...
The under seat storage bin of the Thule Urban Glide is easy to access and the zippered top helps keep items clean and safe from falling out. The additional back zipper pocket can be used for smartphones and keys.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Ease of Use


Testing ease of use required that we compare the features of each product and how easy they were to use under normal circumstances. Some of the conveniences looked good on paper but weren't useful in real life, and other features seem almost useless for a stroller you plan to run with. We gave points for expansive canopies that are easy to adjust and cover the passenger well, peek-a-boo windows that are large enough to see the baby, cup holders that don't drop items, storage bins that can hold diaper bags, and reclining seats.

Some of the strollers don't have many conveniences, and unlike other types of strollers, we don't consider this to be a downfall. Products designed for running don't necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles, and having too many means, it might be challenging to use them when you are jogging. However, we feel if they are going to have the features, they should be well done, good quality, and easy to utilize. We compared strollers against one another so parents can get a feel for which options are better than others.

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.

The Glide's 5 point harness is easy to adjust, but requires 2 hands...
The Glide's 5 point harness is easy to adjust, but requires 2 hands to release the buckle
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

We gave more points to single-action brakes over double action brakes believing that they are easier to use and more likely to be appropriately set.

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 photos or illustrations. They lost points for clumping together multi-language instructions that take longer to read, pictures or steps unnecessary for construction, and hard to follow or unclear instructions. The most straightforward products to assemble have clear text, helpful images, and the majority of the product already assembled.

Maneuverability


We put all of the strollers through a series of tests on different surfaces and multiple environments to determine their maneuverability and stability during use for their intended purposes. We jogged with them two-handed and one-handed, over flat hard surfaces, across the grass, dirt, and gravel, and manage stairs and curbs to determine which products were up to the challenge. The critical part of being a jogging product is moving well in tight spaces and various terrains at speed. Navigating on hard surfaces is a must; moving at speed is just as important. While the design of these products is for stability when running, it is also useful if they can move in tighter places without bumping into obstacles. We scored each stroller against each other based on which did the best moving through our obstacle course and real-life scenarios. The strollers that were easy to turn earned higher marks, the fixed wheel options that required less tipping or were shorter in length scored better than those that were hard to tip or knocked into things when turning.

Once folded it is difficult to see too much of a size difference in...
Once folded it is difficult to see too much of a size difference in the jogging products side-by-side
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Quality


We base quality on our overall experience and how the materials and fit and finish of each stroller compare 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. We assess quality by comparing each stroller and how well they held up after their brief period during testing.

Weight and Folded Size


For weight and folded size, we measured each product instead of relying on manufacturer specs. We wanted to ensure that all the products were rated using the same scale for weight and the same measuring methods. We weigh the strollers fully assembled with all their parts and measured with the same device by the same person. The values were then compared to each other and ranked. The smaller, lighter joggers earned more points in this metric, though the overall scores were weighted less in the overall scoring than in different stroller categories like umbrella products.