This is the second in a 4 part blog post about winter running. The first was Staying Warm
. The next 2 will deal with lack of daylight, and nutrition/hydration in cold weather.
Winter makes running more difficult. Icy footing is frustrating and challenging. Adjusting your stride for icy conditions can be tiring. Having your foot slide out behind you when you push off gets very annoying, and falling down right sucks.
Yaktrax are a common commercial solution for icy footing. I have used Yaktrax. I bought them online, and paid about $25 or $30. They are a criss-cross of thick rubber strands, surrounded by a wire coil. They attach to your shoes and are removeable. I found they offered decent traction, but they wore out. It wasn't long before sections of the criss-cross pattern were completely gone.
Last winter I tried 'screw shoes'. My friend Dennis put 19 sheet metal screws in the bottoms of my trail shoes. Cheap and easy, they offered great traction.
Dennis wears out some of his screws, and simply adds replacement screws when necessary. When you no longer need the screws, they can be removed, and continue using your shoes.
The traction isn't perfect. I still slide a little on super shiny ice. But they are a great improvement over plain shoes, and I think they work better than Yaktrax.
I find them completely comfortable when running on snow, ice, and even completely dry surfaces. They do make a cool crunchy sound on dry surfaces. Make sure you take them off outside before you walk on your wood floors.
When I really need perfect footing, like for speedwork or a tempo run, I will head to the indoor running track. But screw shoes work great for easy running - long runs and recovery runs. I keep my road shoes for indoor running, without screws. Screws go on my trail shoes. When spring comes, I simply remove the screws and continue wearing them.
In summary - Yaktrax work okay, but wear out. Screw shoes are cheap and offer great traction, but don't wear them across your wood floors. When you need perfect footing in the winter, an indoor track is the best option.