Shoe Snow Studs


Experience From - Norm Yarger , Dave Cooper , Martin Miller , Kevin Setnes , Nikki Robinson , Joel Zucker ,

Norm Yarger

I ran that race a year ago and I used instep crampons. They are light and cheep and not painful on the road crossings. They are small steel plates with bent corners that grip into the ice and packed snow. Each end has a slot and there is a strap to hold them to the instep below the shoe. I ran the strap through the laces in order to keep them from sliding down, and I found I had to keep the straps real tight to prevent them from rolling up around the side of the shoe, but they sure worked well. I used them again recently when the trails at our local state park were frozen. I paid about $5 for them, they came in a very small zip-loc bag, and I have carried them in my fanny pack under questionable conditions.

Dave Cooper

"Won't you hep me? What screws do you use? How do you put them in the shoes? Do they cause any pressure or hot-spots? Can one run on the roads for a bit with the screws in, or do you recommend trails only?"
Use #4 or #6 sheet metal screws. 1/4 inch if possible

Put in to the lugs around the outer perimeter of the sole. they go in easier with an electric (or power) screw driver. (no comments please)

Use on road or trails but will have some ware on the roads. Also can be slick in some wet services.

No pressure or hot spots although I have never gone ultra distance with this set-up.

Martin Miller

For the last two winters I have used hex-head ("6 X 3/8 slotted hex washer sheet metal") screws for running on ice. They have a short, sharp-pointed, threaded section that drills into the outsole of the shoes. The corners on the hex head do the gripping on icy surfaces. I place the screws around the outside of the outsole, not directly under my feet (not sure if this matters) and have never felt them. Put them in the areas that wear out the fastest (i.e. foot strike and toe off) and maybe a couple more around the edges. I've used an old pair of Brooks Addictions. The flat lugs on the bottom are perfect to drill into. Other shoes may not work as well.

Installing the screws can be tricky. It helps to have a vise to hold the shoe securely. I actually hammered a small nail into the outsole to make a hole that the screw could get started in. The screws wear down, too. If you don't take them out soon enough, they can grind down so that there are no corners or central slot for the screw driver. Once removed, they leave a small mark that does not affect the shoe's performance. My guess is that the screws actually save on outsole wear.

I've never tried running icy trails with them. Slick pavement is no problem, though. On dry pavement, you might hear some irritating clicking or scraping noises. And be careful walking indoors on the linoleum.

Kevin Setnes

I use a 1/2 inch (3/8 will do) sheet metal screw. I drilled a small hole through the outer sole, so that I could get the screw started. I put eight in each shoe around the outer edges. It is important to put two in the toe area as well as two in the heel area so that depending on how you plant your foot you are safe. It gives you much more confidence with these on and makes a big difference. I don't use them on new shoes, and don't use them on roads - unless it is like this morning ice covered roads. So I used them again with great traction.

I did not feel any of the screws pointing through, though on occasion if you put them in an area where the sole is thinner, it is possible to feel one poking away at you.

Nikki Robinson

Went to the hardware store last night and was able to find #6, 3/8" (they didn't have #4's). Put 8 screws in each shoe (4 around the heel; 4 around the toe) with an electric drill with a nut-driver attachment. Took me about 5-10 minutes.

Did a 5 miler this morning on somewhat icy paths in the park along the lake front. The screws worked like a charm! Only disconcerting note -- I have to run about a half mile from my home to the paths along sidewalks and roads. I felt like I would wake up the whole neighborhood (at 5 am, yikes!) with my clickety, clickety, clack. It probably wasn't that noisy; just seemed that way to me.

Joel Zucker

I know people stick screws in running shoes, and that they really work for some of them on ice and snow, but I think a lot of folks would be a lot better off if they just ran in other types of footwear when the ground underneath is treacherous. I have taken so many falls over the years in the winter that I now hang up my running shoes for months at a time and run in hiking boots with an aggressive tread pattern on the sole. Now that outdoor "cross trainers" are getting more like running shoes in terms of weight and cushioning, and even boots sold as "light hikers" approach the performance parameters of heavy shoes like the Air Max, it's not like you have to strap pounds on your feet to get the gripping power and support in slippery stuff that boots give you.

I've been running every day for weeks now before dawn in snow on rocky trails in my Air Mada II's, which are marketed as a hiking/approach/outdoor cross training shoe, but they work better than any trail running shoe I've ever tried. They're light enough to compete with running shoes on the weight criteria, and the tread pattern, especially on the heels, lets me run in the snow/ice/slush on the trails almost as fast as I can during the non-snow months. Especially on up hills and down hills, the difference is amazing. I used to fall about twenty times for every fall my two dogs took when we're out running; now they do more face plants than I do. I'm gonna' have these babies on my feet the whole 101.3 miles at Hardrock this year, so if that guy who wore Teva sandals out on the course last year comes back again, we'll make an interesting contrast.

Rather than stick screws in the soles of your running shoes, try running in light hiking boots if you're on snow-covered trails; you might be surprised that your running motion really isn't impaired, and aside from not falling nearly as much your feet will stay a lot drier. Emil Zatopek used to run in heavy leather boots all winter long, sometimes as long as thirty miles at a clip, and I don't think his times worsened too much because he wasn't wearing running shoes during the snowy season.