Fitness Articles

How to Choose a Jogging Stroller

Features Worth Paying For

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So you've been cleared for exercise after the birth of your baby and you're anxious to get outside and get moving! But who's going to watch your little one? If running or walking is your thing, you can take baby along in a jogging stroller. You'll get the exercise you crave, and baby gets a scenic tour of the neighborhood, with some fresh air to boot.

Jogging strollers have become more popular in recent years, motivating manufacturers to create even more models. This gives the consumer a great variety to choose from, but actually choosing which stroller to purchase can be a daunting task. Here are some features to consider when choosing a jogging stroller:

Wheel Size
In the world of wheels, size matters. A true jogging stroller has three large wheels: one in front and two in the back. The larger wheels mean a smoother ride because there is less rolling resistance. Wheels come in 12-inch, 16-inch, and 20+ sizes. To decide which size is best for you, think about how you will use the stroller.
  • 12-inch wheels are best for walking on smooth surfaces, like sidewalks, bike paths, and indoors.
  • 16-inch wheels are great for frequent outdoor walking or jogging on fairly smooth surfaces, with light off-road use (like cutting across a grassy field).
  • 20-inch (and larger) wheels are made for frequent long-distance running and off-road use.
Alloy or Steel
Look for alloy wheels and hubs, rather than steel. Steel is cheaper but is heavier and has a tendency to rust. If you have to get steel and live in a "salty" place (winter road salt, ocean salt), rinse the wheels and hubs after strolling to prevent rust.

Front Wheel: To Swivel or Not To Swivel?
Most jogging strollers have a fixed front wheel, one that doesn't turn. This is ideal for jogging, because this feature provides the stability and straight tracking that you need. But if you're using the stroller at the mall for example, a fixed wheel may become a nuisance when you have to tilt the stroller back onto its rear wheels to make a turn.

Manufacturers have created a "hybrid" jogging stroller with a swiveling front wheel, which boasts superior maneuverability for those indoor situations. However, a hybrid isn't the best choice for everyone. The swiveling front wheel is usually 12" or smaller, and although the wheel can be locked in position, the small size decreases the stroller's handling abilities—especially outdoors on rough terrain. So, if you plan to do a lot of running (or off-roading), consider buying both a true fixed-wheel jogging stroller and a traditional stroller for trips to the mall. But if you just jog occasionally, a hybrid makes sense. Think about how you will use the stroller when making this decision.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article. - 11/30/2013 8:34:12 AM
  • @Sandibetts: It's better to just let your son live his life instead of assuming he's going to get married and have kids. Not all of us do so, and live healthy, happy lives as well.

    Thank goodness my parents didn't have those kinds of designs on me, and were supportive when I told them that I had chosen not to have children and that I wasn't too keen on marriage either. Just sayin'. - 10/20/2012 1:40:26 PM
  • jog not job - 4/28/2012 7:55:58 PM
  • As a new father back in 1988 I had the where with all to strap my daughter into her stroller and I decided to try and job with a 4 wheeled stroller. At some point the two front wheels went sideways causing me to go over the top of the stroller and my daughter hanging upside down strapped in staring at me lying on the ground. Thank God I had her strapped in as small as the strap was. - 4/28/2012 7:55:19 PM
  • SANDIBETTS1
    My baby is nearing his fourth decade (38), however, this is good info to share when the wife and grandbabies come. sbb - 2/13/2012 6:17:21 AM
  • I have an InStep Flash and love it!! It's bright orange and has reflective lights on it--great for running in the early morning!! Mine also has a parentttray which I use to keep the kid's sippie cup and my keys in. I looked at a few models with child-trays as well, but didn't feel it was necessary, but it might be an added bonus if your kid likes to drink a lot while you're running. The only downfall of mine is that the canopy doesn't actually move; it folds in/up and out/down, but it doesn't actually move so if we're running head on into the sun, it's really not helpful even if it's in the open-most position. We just fix that by wearing sunglasses, but that is definitely a feature I wish mine had! - 9/2/2010 6:07:51 PM
  • I also wanted to say that we live in a northern city and I use my jogging stroller very happily walking on ice and through light snow. It is only once the snow is about 6" - 12" deep that I start to run into problems. And to think I was reluctant to spend the money in the first place! - 9/4/2009 2:14:46 PM
  • We have a Bob Revolution and I would highly recommend it. For the past 2 years I have used it every day for at least an hour of walking, plus we jog with it. It rolls well, has all the features recommended in the article, and has stood up to our wear and tear. Here in Canada it is around the $400 mark, but in the US these things are typically significantly cheaper.
    Happy jogging, everyone! - 9/4/2009 2:11:50 PM
  • GIANT-STEPS
    Two points I'd add to this article.

    Combination jog strollers and bike trailers are available and are an excellent choice for people who also cycle.

    24" wheeled jog strollers are available and will roll smoother and more efficiently than 20" wheels. I've looked for 700c wheeled strollers but haven't found any. - 1/26/2009 3:45:03 PM
  • Great article. - 7/10/2008 12:48:10 PM
  • LILMAMAVT
    This is a great Article. We are looking into getting a jogger, and now we can move in the right direction. - 3/19/2008 4:38:48 PM
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