Beginner’s Guide to the Best Running Stroller

A few caveats first. Running strollers are bonkers expensive, so it’s a privilege to be able to consider “which $600 stroller is the best for me?!?!?” I know that, and if you can’t swing spending this much money on a stroller, I get that.

Also, baby gear companies lead you to believe you have to get a stroller for every scenario: a running stroller, a walking stroller, a travel stroller, a convertible bassinet, etc etc etc. My spouse and I were philosophically opposed to accumulating a bunch of cumbersome sh*t for our new babe.

We wanted ONE stroller to do a lot of things well, even if it wasn’t *perfect* for running. That’s where we started our search.

The two most popular running strollers are the Thule Urban Glide and many models of Bob strollers. My recommendation is a lesser-known, newer stroller – the Guava Roam.

I first found Guava while looking for an all-in-one sleeping solution for a new baby in a tiny bedroom. Their convertible crib and bassinet is one of my favorite baby products because of Guava’s focus on really good design for items that can multitask really well. I was thrilled when they came out with a stroller.

But…it hadn’t been released yet when I was initially shopping. Wirecutter very slightly picked the Thule Urban Glide over the Bob Gear All-terrain, so I started with the Urban Glide.

The Thule is objectively the best stroller for purely running. It lives up to the Glide name and really almost rolls itself. It’s lightweight, has a brake on the handle for controlling downhill speed, and did great on pavement.

However.

In the first few months, we had three tires pop. My spouse joked the stroller had become a subscription service since we were spending $20 on a new tire from the local bike shop every few weeks. (Yes, we could’ve learned to patch it but we didn’t)

We only ever took the stroller on city sidewalks, streets, and bike paths, so it’s not like we were even rolling over extreme terrain (which the Bob is better suited for anyway). For $600, I didn’t want to be spending hundreds of dollars more on replacement tires.

Plus, (inevitably) every time we did pop a tire, it was very far from home. It was *super* annoying during a time in our life where everything already felt extra complicated.

I had other quibbles with the Urban Glide as well.

It was really difficult to remember the correct position for the front wheel lock because it also locks in the wrong position for some reason. The alignment for the front wheel was also so sensitive I was re-calibrating it before and during every run.

The seat back also couldn’t be raised to be completely vertical, so Baby OB was always in a half-reclined position, which made sure the evening sun was beaming directly into their eyes (I also thought the shade canopy wasn’t generous enough). And, it glided so well on its own that it made me nervous to let my parents or anyone who wasn’t used to that borrow it (if you let go of it, it keeps rolling).

The most upright Baby OB could be in the stroller
Fully extended shade canopy on the Thule Urban Glide

Initially, I loved the running experience so much I was willing to put up with it. Until the tires started popping. We were considering whether to return it to REI, get the Bob, or just deal with it.

Then Guava released the Roam.

Guava put foam tires on the stroller. This meant it was impossible to pop a tire. It was worth trying for that alone! Plus, Guava had a 30-day return window that we could send the stroller back if we don’t like it.

Not worrying about popping tires was a game-changer. But ultimately, I ended up loving how user-friendly the Roam is (which a hallmark of all Guava products). The front wheel lock is an easy switch on the stroller handle (instead of by the front wheel) which also makes it impossible to lock in the wrong direction. Nearly two years later, I’ve yet to fiddle with the alignment once or have any tire damage.

The seat also goes all the way up and the canopy seems bigger, which made a big difference during pre-bedtime walks. With the Thule, a lot of parents would roll up a blanket to put behind their kid so they could sit up straight, but if I was paying that much money for a stroller, I didn’t want to have to do blanket hacks.

The Roam doesn’t have a brake on the handle like the Thule does, which I thought was going to be a bigger safety issue. I don’t run particularly fast (the fastest I was going was about 10 minutes per mile with a lot of walk intervals), but I did test both strollers on the steepest hill I could find in Denver. I preferred having the hand brake, but not if I had to put up with the tire popping issues.

We got the Roam when I was 10 months postpartum, and it was definitely at my upper limit for weight I could lift at that point. If we’d gotten it earlier on, I may not have been able to get it in and out of the car on my own.

However, I also realized that the heavier stroller made it significantly more stable. The sidewalks in Denver are such a wreck that I was often running in the road. If I didn’t have a protected bike lane, I’d want to hop back up on the curb quickly when I saw a car coming. The Thule felt precarious and top-heavy doing this, plus I couldn’t switch the front wheel lock off quickly.

The Roam handled these changes much more stably, and could take on the super bumpy sidewalks of Denver. The extra weight has also been hugely helpful for keeping myself upright walking on slick roads and sidewalks in the winter!

It’s incredibly easy to fold the Roam up, and it folds up more compactly than the Thule did because the handle bar folds in.

Guava has also released plenty of accessories for the Roam, all of which are (as usual) super easy to put on/remove and designed really well.

The foot muff and wind shield combo helps us get out year-round in the wild weather of Colorado. Baby OB (now a toddler) was a little nervous about the wind shield at first, but we told them it was their butterfly cocoon and that sealed the deal! Now they ask for their “cocoon” whenever it’s windy.

Overall, if you want one stroller that does it all and does it well, the Guava Roam is your best bet. It’s stable, easy to operate, and makes a great all-around stroller.

I bought the Roam and the foot muff myself. I’ve used the stroller for more than a year of runs, walks, and errands before writing this post. Guava did provide the wind shield/rain cover, snack tray, and carry-on bag to me for free.

I also purchased the Thule Urban Glide 2 myself and used it for approximately 3 months and 50 miles of running, plus walks and errands. I’ve taken both strollers on multiple road trips.

More questions? Let me know in the comments!

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