How to Screw Your Shoes

We’re buried under snow right now, but this kind of a base promises a heck of an icy season.  Here’s how we’ll be dealing with it.

With all the recent posts about the need for traction, it seemed time to revisit the time honored tradition of screw shoes. Screw shoes work great on ice and mud and tend to be less slippery on wet rock then yak trax or stabilicers. They do have their downsides– the screws do eventually fall out and you can often feel them a little bit in your shoes, (NOT the sharpness, the lack of give in the midsole where the screws are). While you can take the screws out at the end of the season your shoes really aren’t the same afterwards, so we suggest using an older pair to start with.


  • 16-32 1/4 – 3/8″ hex head screws
    3/8″ stay in considerably better, but 1/4″ are less noticeable when you’re wearing the shoes.
  • Power drill
  • Oldish pair of sneakers
  1. You will be putting the screw into the outsole and midsole of the shoe. The midsole will compress when you run so you want to be sure there is some extra padding.  It should go without saying, but this is particularly important if you run in a more minimalist shoe!
  2. Pick a spot to drill the screw in. You want to focus on where your foot makes the most contact with the ground, and on the thicker parts of your shoe. The tread of your shoe will dictate to a large extent where the screws go.
  3. Get a good grip on your shoe and drill that screw in !
  4. Repeat as many times as you want. 8-12 per shoe is a rough guideline. Keep in mind that over time a few are going to fall out.

And you’re done! Lace up your newly souped up shoes and head to the trails.