As new parents are sitting in the hospital holding their precious newborn, it may feel like time and the world is standing still. However, very quickly after the newness starts to wear off and the adjustment to life with a child begins, parents are figuring out how to manage life on the go with a baby.
Nearly every family with at least one child aged 4 and under has a stroller in their home, and often more than one. There are literally hundreds of different stroller options out there!
For physically active families, a jogging stroller is usually considered as an option, but is it a must have?
How do you even know if you are buying a jogging stroller vs a regular stroller? Do only avid runners use jog strollers? Someone help explain!
Jogging strollers are different from regular or traditional strollers in a few key ways. They usually have three wheels instead of four, and the wheels are inflated with air (versus hard plastic or rubber) to offer better handling on rough terrain. They maneuver well and hold up great to wear and tear. That’s why they’re so good for jogging or any outdoor use!
However, joggers are large and don’t store as small as traditional strollers. They’re also not typically a good option for newborns and if a mechanism inside one of the tires breaks, they can be difficult to repair.
Let’s explore more about the definition of a jogging stroller versus a regular stroller, pros and cons of each, best uses, and more!
Jogging Strollers Explained
What is unique about a jogging stroller?
This style of stroller has certain characteristics that make it more ideal for running, hiking, and other outdoor activities with your child.
Jogging strollers have one large wheel in the front and two smaller wheels in the back. The 3-wheel design makes them more agile and maneuverable, which is necessary at the higher speeds of jogging compared to walking.
All jog strollers also have air-filled tires and suspension, which allows for a smoother ride on uneven terrain like unpaved trails.
Additionally, jog strollers have a sturdy cross bar style handle that can allow for intermittent single-handed pushing and overall easier pushing while jogging.
Some of the pros or benefits of a jogging stroller are:
- They are sturdy and more heavy duty than a traditional stroller, so they can be used in places like nature trails, gravel paths, and over grass which you may encounter at outdoor festivals.
- Generally, they have a higher weight capacity than standard strollers, which means you can use them even as your child enters his preschool years.
- Some jogging strollers can be converted to bike trailers, which provides another opportunity for outdoor family fun with your child.
- The suspension makes for a much smoother ride, which can prevent your child from bouncing and jostling on a walk or run, keeping them safer and allowing them to view the scenery more easily.
Some cons or drawbacks of a jogging stroller are:
- Jogging strollers are intended for use with children aged 6 months or older. There are jogging strollers that come as travel systems, but using the infant seat with a jog stroller adds considerable weight and would make effective jogging very difficult.
- Due to their larger tires and wider and sturdier frame, they do not fold up very small. Thus, they can be problematic to store and even to put into the trunk of a smaller vehicle.
- The air-filled tires in jog strollers can require actual tubes to be replaced if they are damaged and these oftentimes must be special ordered leaving you without a functioning stroller while you await the parts to arrive.
- Because it is unsafe to jog with a child fully reclined, most jog strollers don’t have a full recline option, which can result in your child possibly struggling to nap while in the stroller.
- Their wide frame and overall larger footprint can make it difficult to navigate in places like a crowded mall or airport.
Regular/Traditional Stroller Explained
Regular strollers come in a variety of styles/types including travel systems, umbrella or lightweight strollers, and stroller frames/car seat carriers.
Travel systems allow an infant car seat to connect directly to the stroller and then be easily removed to place back into the car seat base.
Umbrella strollers are designed for older children and are very lightweight but are very simple with no frills like cup holders or a storage space underneath.
Stroller frames are simple lightweight structures that allow many different brands of infant car seats to fit into them.
Traditional strollers all have 4 wheels that are not inflatable and are designed for use on smooth surfaces like tile, wood, pavement, and well-maintained sidewalks.
What are some of the pros of a traditional stroller?
- Particularly with travel systems, it grows with the child from newborn up to 3 to 4 years old, so there isn’t a need to purchase multiple strollers.
- They fold smaller/flatter/more compact than jog strollers, making them easier to store and easier to carry on public transportation.
- Many of them have features like cup holders, and removable snack trays.
- Because they are not inflatable, the tires can’t go flat.
- There is often the option to purchase them in color coordinated patterns with an infant car seat of the same brand.
- Some of them have mechanisms allowing the user to collapse or fold the walker using just one hand.
What are some of the less attractive aspects of the regular/traditional stroller?
- They do not maneuver well over any uneven outdoor surface.
- The materials for the frame of the stroller are not made to withstand as much outdoor/heavy duty use. So, if you do use them in those conditions frequently, they may wear out more quickly.
- You can’t safely jog, run, or hike with one.
- They typically have lower weight limits than jog strollers, so your child may outgrow them while they still may need them for longer trips or events.
Wrapping Up & Final Verdict
The array of strollers available in this day and age is somewhat mind-boggling. There are so many colors and styles and brands that it may feel overwhelming when trying to decide what to put on your registry or to purchase yourself.
The choice of a jog stroller or a standard stroller is one many parents consider during stroller shopping.
When deciding on what is the best fit, ask yourself:
- “What kinds of activities do we enjoy as a family? Are they outdoors or indoors?”
- “Do I enjoy running and/or biking and do I plan to continue that once I have a child?”
- “Will we travel using public transportation often when our child is young?”
- “How much space do we have to store a stroller?”
The answers to these questions combined with some of the information you have gleaned from this article will help you make a well-informed decision.
That decision may be a jog stroller, a traditional stroller, or even one of each.
No matter what you choose, and you can be confident you made an educated decision that will result in enjoying many family strolls together!
Hope this helps!