This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.
Most every winter, I take a pair of my old beat up running shoes from the past year and turn them into screw shoes for running on the white ice that seems to have more than its share of territory where I usually run.
However, this year the weather has been warmer than usual with less snow (the Mid Atlantic region has gotten more of it than us), so I really didn't want to "screw" up a pair of old running shoes that I could use to wear to work - unless I had to.
Plus TheWife has a pair of YakTraks in the closet that she doesn't use, so I decided to wear them for a couple of my recent down-back runs. They do make a difference and allow me to run more confidently. So they do work as advertised and don't mess up a pair of running shoes.
Unfortunately, the model that I was using also is rather high maintenance and tends to shift around too much during a run, which forces me to stop (usually in a place I would rather just keep going) to readjust them.
Which ends up being a royal pain-in-the-arse. Especially when running with a spastic Jack Russell who is attached to me at the waist and doesn't want to just sit or wait around for me while I am messing with my shoes.
So quickly standing one-legged to adjust the YakTraks is just an impossibility and I have to plant my ass on the ground lift up my foot and then adjust them, while anchoring Bennie. Yeah, I also have to do this with my bare hands, because my gloves/mittens tend to mess things up and takes twice as long (yeah, I know I am so damn coordinated), so when it is 10-15*F (or colder) and the wind is close to gale force, it only makes things even more miserable.
Plus when I get to bare sections of tar or dirt, let's just say I don't enjoy the feel underfoot, which is understandable because that is not what they are designed for. The good thing is that if I want I can quickly slip them off and just run in my shoes for that section and then put them back on again when I get to where I need them - although to put them back on I have to plant my ass on the ground.
That versatility is nice. I do know that I run better down back with them on than I do with just my shoes, but the annoyance factor sometimes outweighs the benefit, so I needed to re-think what I doing if I wanted to run down-back with Bennie.
Time to screw-up a pair of running shoes.
However, I decided that if I wanted to run down-back over the next few weeks (hard to believe that February is almost half over) that I needed something with a little more gripage and didn't force me to stop every so often to re-adjust things, so they were not on the side of my foot.
So I got out my old PI N2 Roads and put sheet metal screws in the bottom. As you can see the pattern is a bit weird, but I put the screws where the most wear on the soles was (except for the toe area) - since that is where I land.
So we will see how they do this morning on our morning run down-back. The only screws I am really concerned about are the ones by the end of the toe box - the sole unit there is a bit thin, so they might be taken out after the first run if the screw presses into my toes too much.
We will see.
It would be nice if Pearl Izumi came out with a model with carbide tips for winter trail running - because that would be the ideal solution in my case. Get the fit/feel of Pearl's EM line and the added security of some metal underfoot for the icier sections that we run into during winter running.
Yeah, I know that they would be specialty shoes and not worth a damn for running on clear road surfaces, but would make a big difference for running on nasty white ice sections and even give a little more confidence when hitting the glare ice parts of trails or roads.
They did great on the white ice sections and compressed snow in the tire travel lanes down-back, although if I got off into the the powder, let's just say it wasn't as much fun - they just didn't have enough tread. However, what really surprised me was that while running on the bare tar sections, they did quite well.
Now I wouldn't want to 5 miles on bare tar in them, but the mile that I did, they did quite well. Which means that they would be good for storm running and those runs where there are multiple transition areas.
Overall, I was happy with how they felt, although wearing wool socks did make the right foot feel a bit more snug than I prefer, but still runnable.
I probably should have done this sooner.