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
  • 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.  🙂

-Mandy-DSC_0815_3 2


Ice Queen: Installing Running Spikes

A few things you should know about me: I am not agile, my motor skills are definitely lacking, and I am terrified of falling.  That’s one reason why running is a good sport for me.  There isn’t a whole lot of skill to master.  I can walk, so it isn’t too much of stretch for me to put one foot in front of the other at a faster rate.

However, one caveat (among many) to my running ability is ice.  As I mentioned, I’m scared of falling, especially on ice.  When I see a slight shimmer on the sidewalk, I slow down to a jog.  If I actually see ice, I have to walk.  Ice mixed with a downhill?  I panic and come to a complete stop.

You would think that I would have invested in some traction aids at some point over the past few winters, but I tend to over think things and I couldn’t decide which ones to buy.  So, after about a week and half of snow, I decided to dive in and buy some traction aids.  After some more internet searching and indecision, I finally decided to try Icespikes.


I picked them up at my local Running Room for $24.99.   This includes 32 spikes and the tool to install them.  I decided to get the Icespikes for a few reasons:

  • They are supposed to be very durable, lasting over 500 miles.  I was initially going to buy a pair of Yaktrax, but I’ve read that the coils break easily on bare pavement.  The Icespikes can be worn on sidewalks without breaking.  The sidewalks around my house change every few feet between packed snow, ice, and bare sidewalks.
  • They are lightweight and do not affect your gait.  (I have yet to test this.)
  • Although they are semi-permanent, they can be taken out of your shoe without damaging it.

The website recommends that you install the spikes in new or gently used shoes, so I ended up using my newest pair of running shoes.  Using a ruler and marker, I measured out the placement of the spikes.  The instructions recommend using six spikes in the front and six in the back, 3/8″ from the edges and evenly placed.  You are supposed to avoid placing the spikes in the deep channels.  Detailed instructions can be found here.


The installation went fairly smoothly and quickly (about a half hour).  I took them for a quick spin yesterday, but I’ll write a review in a few weeks when I’ve had more time to try them out.  We are supposed to be getting a big ice storm this weekend, so I should get a good opportunity to test them.  Don’t they look cute in this Lowenbrau box?  I think so!


Do you use traction aids in the winter? What is your favourite?

-Mandy- DSC_0815_3 2