Wednesday, December 22, 2010


For the majority of the winter, I (like most people who live where it is snowy) run on icy, snowy, slippery surfaces.  Traction can be a real problem when you are running on this for 4 months:
Main Street, Caratunk
Or check out last week's post for pictures of the road conditions when I run in the woods.  The thought of slipping and maybe pulling a muscle or something more serious is always in the back of my mind. Over the years, I have tried numerous over the shoe type devices (I am not naming names) and have been mostly unsatisfied.  I personally find these products not all that durable and kind of slippery if you get on an icy side slope. 

My friends at Mesh Marketing put me in touch with the folks at ICESPIKE, who asked me to try out and review their product. 

I am going to be a little lazy here and copy right from their website:

ICESPIKE is a semi-permanent traction system that can be mounted on any running or walking shoe, hiking or work boot, quickly and easily. Take any pair of new or gently used footwear, attach ICESPIKE, and enjoy outdoor fun and peace of mind on any terrain in any season! 

Don’t be fooled by imitation spikes (hex head sheet metal screws) that can be bought at hardware stores. ICESPIKE is specifically engineered of cold-rolled, tool quality steel to maintain hardness and integrity of grip ten times longer. ICESPIKE WILL NOT DAMAGE YOUR SHOES!

(Find out more about the ICESPIKE screws HERE)

Ummm. Wait. You mean actually I have to screw these things INTO the bottom of my running shoes? REALLY?  I needed to think about this.

I finally decided to test them out on an older pair of running shoes.  It wasn't so much that I didn't trust their claims that ICESPIKE does nothing to the shoe, but...for me screwing spikes into the bottom of my shoe was hard for me to jump right in and do.

The Installation

The ICESPIKE kit comes with 32 spikes plus 1 "Precision tool" - that is a fancy name for a hex screwdriver, but it does come in quite handy.  Besides having a hard time (mentally) screwing these into the bottom of my shoes, installation was easy. The instructions were easy and straight forward.

I think it took me 10 minutes at most to put the screws to both of my shoes.    See?
Not a lot of sneaker pictures here because I am changing brands...

The screws seem to only go into the rubber part of the sole of the shoe, not any deeper as to affect it's overall structure.  Here are some more pictures of the actual installation from the ICESPIKE website:

Testing them out
I have tested these numerous times in various conditions since I have gotten them.
  • Ice and Snow - They are really fantastic on snowy or icy surfaces, I really felt more secure running up and down the icy hills around town.  There is no question of the difference the ICESPIKE made for running in snow and ice, it gripped well on packed snow, ice, and fresh snow.  I do not feel they added any weight to the shoe at all, the spikes are fairly weightless.  As far as how they felt - when I was running on the ice and snow, I didn't notice them at all and really liked the extra traction they provided.
  • Bare Pavement - I am not in tune enough with my running style to tell you if it affected my gait or not, but I really don't think it did affect it at all.  They gripped well on the pavement, I did not have any problems with sliding or anything on the pavement like I do with other products.  I have read a few reviews that claim to not notice them when running on pavement.  I personally did notice they were there.  Besides the clack clack clack on the pavement your shoes make when wearing them, I could also "feel" them there.  Not a big deal on intermittent pavement/snow/ice but on a straight pavement run it did bug me just a little.   
OK I said various conditions. Those are the only 2 conditions I have right now. 

Taking them out
ICESPIKE claims that their use does not damage your shoe, and that you can take them out after use and use the shoe without them.  Multiple reviewers agree.  I decided to check it out myself.  I took the ICESPIKE out of one of my shoes to see what I thought.  There was a tiny hole the size of a toothpick, so it really didn't look like the shoes were damaged at all.

As a final test, I ran in them, and they didn't feel any different to me then they did pre-spiking. Taking ICESPIKE out left minutely small holes, I didn't feel any damage, and the shoes didn't feel changed to me. This being said, for me personally, I am usually ready to trade out my running shoes after a winter of running. They just get beat with the miles and if I do not trade them after so many miles, I end up injured.  This has nothing to do with ICESPIKE except to say it will be hard for me to really test this same pair of shoes in the spring because I will be on different shoes. 

Regarding my initital hesitation to screw ICESPIKE into my newer running shoes? After testing, I do not have a problem putting these on any shoes I want traction in the winter.

Pros/Cons of ICESPIKE

Pros - These are great for what they are made for - traction on ice and snow.  The traction from these is superior to other products I have tried over the years, the installation is easy and quick, the screws are very light and durable, and you can not feel them when you are running in icy/snowy road conditions, except that your traction is greatly improved.  These also work really well in mixed conditions, where the road is mostly icy/snowy with patches of pavement.  Installation does not appear to damage the shoe from what I could tell.  They were much more comfortable than other traction devices I have used in the past when on pavement. 

Cons - While these are great for running in slippery road and trail conditions, I do not recommend them for consistently running on pavement, as for me personally, I didn't like the "feel" of them.  In fairness, these are not made to be worn on pavement full time anyway.

Bottom Line
If you spend a lot of time running in slippery conditions, ICESPIKE will keep you secure.  ICESPIKE has turned into a key piece of running gear for me so far this winter.  It is a great product when used as it was designed for - traction on snow and ice - and I highly recommend ICESPIKE for that purpose. 

Want to get ICESPIKE now?  Check out their webpage HERE.

Disclosure: ICESPIKE was provided to me by ICESPIKE at no cost to test and review.  The above review is my honest opinion of the product.  If something is good, I will say so; if it sucks, I’ll let you know that too. That said, I probably wont waste my or your time writing a post about something that sucks, unless it's really that bad.


TerryR said...

I use screws in my shoes up here in Canada all winter and they work great.

One con of the IceSpike is their cost. I buy hex head screws - 30 of them - for less than a dollar at the hardware store and can be installed with a nut drive using an electric drill. Now granted they do not have the 'unique' shape of the IceSpike, but they do work well as I often run on ice (Rideau Canal).


Molly said...

wow, those are hard core.

Christi said...

Thanks for the review! I will have to remember this product if the weather in Coloradoo gets bad this year!

Jason said...

Great review. I have to say I am happy that I don't have to do this at all.

Now, let me ask you about the barefoot runner? Think ICESPIKE would leave he/she with issues in their feet?

KovasP said...

I'm looking into various things for traction - have heard good things about these, thanks for the review.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Wow, I am with you when I first read you screwed them into your shoes

thanks for the review

Emz said...


reason # 917 why I live in AZ. ;)

Lucas R. Tucker said...

I was wondering hwo they effected th shoe after use. Thanks for the review.

Robin said...

Whoa, those are cool. I don't often get the opportunity to run in conditions like that, but when it is icy here I just can't run at all. Maybe it would be worth getting some and just having an old pair of shoes that are spiked up and ready to go! Thanks for the review.

Heather said...

Thanks for the review. I am going to keep these in mind. The trail I run on is still covered in snow and ice and I bet these would come in handy.

*~*~* Tracy said...

I would think twice before putting those on my shoes,too, but I'm so glad they worked for you. Great review!

Quinton J said...

My hex screws from home depot work fine. but now I'm wondering if these work MORE fine?

Aimee said...

Great review! I'm glad they worked out for you!

Unknown said...

Wow... those things are for real aren't they? :) Glad they worked well for you!

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

I agree with Terry, not sure if they are work the money. Glorified screw?

Chris K said...

Those things are flying off the shelf here in San Diego :-)

MissFit Island said...

Great review. Living in the snow belt I'm typically running in the snow from October until mid to late April.

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

I do hope I never have to put those on my shoes. Although, I have really wanted to try running with snow shoes one day. Looks fun. Do you ever run in them?

Glenn Jones said...

I'm actually pretty stoked I don't need to worry about this here. Whew!

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