Screw Shoes!

What’s a Winter Running Screw Shoe?

When I started running in the winter last year, I quickly found out what an incredibly frustrating experience it is when dealing with snow, slush, and ice. Each day in the winter is a different combination of managing footing, temperature, and effort. Unable to justify the expense for winter running shoes, I searched for alternatives.

That is when I discovered the Screw Shoe method. Using sheet metal screws, a drill, and an old pair of runners, I used this set of instructions to transform an old pair of Asics into the snow tires of running shoes.

Setting Up the Shoes

Purchasing the screws was a little confusing for someone who doesn’t frequent Home Hardware very often. I purchased the 8 1/2 inch screw, since it was the smallest size available.

At home, I held one shoe tightly between my thighs, and used a drill to plot out 19 holes on each shoe. I followed the tread, trying to keep the balance equal across the shoe. I mirrored the pattern on the other one. And then, I put in the screws!

I left them all slightly loose, preparing for some compression of the cushion.

8 1/2 Inch Screws DIY

Front Placement

Front Placement

Heel Placement

Asics Running Screw Shoes

Screw Shoe Performance

The first run in my screw shoes, I was cautious. They gripped to ice well, and also helped on packed snow, or light slushy snow. When I hit bare road, I could feel the impact of the pointy screw ends on my feet, though not to a painful extent.

The shoes felt heavy, but my traction in winter conditions was overall vastly improved. If I was running any time without bare sidewalks, I would absolutely wear these.

I did not experience much water from the holes in the soles, though the construction of these shoes (with light mesh, no water resistance) allowed for wetness to seep in. This was never a huge issue, as my feet always remained warm. I usually stopped noticing after a while.

The Shoes

Asics Running Shoes

Screw Shoe Recommendations

Even though I have real winter runners now, I find that they are still not as effective to grip on packed snow as the screw shoes. I would absolutely recommend this to others. If I were to do this method again, I would:

  • Use a 1/4″ or 3/8″ screw instead of 1/2″ like I did the first time. Over time, the screws started to really poke my feet, especially in the ball of the foot/toe area
  • Experiment with progressive placements – Some people suggest placing the screws only around the perimeter of the tread, which would reduce feeling the screws on the foot. It would be easy to add more inside the perimeter if necessary.
  • Choose a shoe with some water resistance. This would increase the overall performance of the shoe.