Traction Devices: The Fields Tutorial

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Guest Post, Product Reviews

This is part of an off-season gear series by Josh Fields over on his blog Of Miles and Mountains. It’s definitely worth trying during a relentless winter such as this. If you’ve never tried making your own screw shoes then this will be of great help to you.

First and most importantly, screw shoes! You may have heard runners talk about this. It’s the cheapest and simplest option. You simply screw sheet metal screws into the sole of your shoe, so that the heads of the screws function as little studs and grip the ice, or the road below the slush. They work great on roads with black ice, or that have a layer of slush or loose snow on them. They don’t work as well in thick snow, or on packed trails in the snow.

What you’ll need:

For my screw shoes, I prefer #6 sheet metal screws, as the heads are lower profile. That way, you don’t feel like you’re running in soccer cleats. The best length depends on your shoe. If you have max cushion shoes that don’t compress much (firmer cushioning) you may be fine with 1/2.” If your shoes compress a lot, or are minimalist, you’ll likely need 3/8.” I couldn’t find 3/8″ at Home Depot, so I got self-drilling screws, and cut the ends off the ones in the extreme forefoot, where the cushion is slightly thinner and more compressible.

A drill with a socket, or a socket driver (looks like a screwdriver, but with a socket on the end. A ratchet will just frustrate you, as it’s nearly impossible to get the pressure applied straight.

Here’s a two-minute video to show you what to do.

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