Back in December, I decided that I needed to invest in traction aids for our icy Ontario sidewalks (or rather, to prevent falling flat on my face on our icy Ontario sidewalks). After doing a lot of research on the pros and cons of different types, I decided to try ICESPIKEs. After trying them out for a few weeks, I wanted to tell you what I think of them.
ICESPIKEs are pretty much a fancy sheet metal screw that you install on the sole of your shoe. I bought mine from the Running Room for $24.99. It almost killed me screwing them into my newest pair of Sauconys, but the instructions assured me that they do not damage the sole and can be removed at any time.
Installation was a little time-consuming, but that may have been because I agonized over the correct placement of the spikes. I wanted them to be perfectly even, but that’s really not necessary and it’s nearly impossible when your shoes have a lot of deep grooves. Although it took a while, the install was easy and mindless. It’s definitely a project you can conquer while watching TV.
The next day, I took them out for a test drive. I loved them instantly. You could barely feel them and I felt confident on the sidewalks right away. They do not slip at all on ice or in thin slush. However, after the first kilometer, my feet went completely numb. I would stop to walk, my circulation would come back, I would run again, and they would go numb. I ended up cutting my run short and walking home. My feet sometimes go numb when I’m breaking in a new pair of shoes, so I figured that my feet were probably just getting used to them. On my next run, my knees were a little achy, but other than that, it felt like I was running in my normal running shoes. Since then, besides the clicking noise they make on the pavement, I don’t even notice I’m wearing them.
Here’s what I especially like about them:
- A few days after I bought the ice spikes, we had an ice storm. I was very happy that I had them! Everything was covered in a thick layer of ice. It was so icy that our car slid down our driveway during the night. So, for a few days, I wore the spikes wherever I went, and they worked wonderfully. They don’t budge even on thick ice.
- You can wear them on bare pavement without worrying about slipping or the screws breaking, although they might wear down faster. For the Resolution Run, I thought the roads would be snow covered, so I wore the spikes. However, the roads were bare. I ran the whole race on bare pavement, and besides sounding like a horse clomping down the road, I didn’t notice the spikes.
- They are light and they aren’t as bulky as other traction aids. No one can tell you are wearing them, and you’ll forget you are too.
Some potential negatives:
- You have to dedicate one pair of shoes to running on ice and snow. If you’re someone who keeps several pairs of running shoes on the go, this isn’t a big deal. If you only buy one pair at a time, you’ll need to invest in a second pair.
- Once you decide to wear the spikes, you have to commit to wearing them for your whole run, unlike cleats that you can slip on or off at any time if the sidewalks aren’t as slippery as you thought.
- Buying screws at the hardware store for pennies might work just as well. The manufacturers say that ICESPIKEs are more durable and provide more traction than regular screws, but I was still asking myself, “Did I really pay $25 for a few screws?” Here’s a great post on using 3/8″ hexagonal screws to winterize your shoes. Since I’ve never tried regular screws, I can’t compare them, but I like to think my ICESPIKEs are better. 🙂