Sunday, January 17, 2010

Screw Shoes

I recently made some modifications to an old pair of Brooks Cascadia's. I cannot take any credit for coming up with this idea as I have seen it in magazines and online a number of times. However, generally the idea behind adding metal screws on the soles of running shoes seems to be to improve traction on ice and snow. Most of the time in Victoria, there is thankfully a lack of such frozen substances on the ground so it may not seem as though it would be particularly useful. However, I got to thinking that if it works on ice and snow it may also work to improve traction on wet rock, roots, logs, bridges, and mud all of which can be found in abundance here.

Once out on the trails, I found that my idea was correct and traction was greatly improved on nearly all surfaces. Traction on roots, wooden bridges, and logs was excellent. Grip on wet rock was also very good although it was still possible to slip on very smooth rock. Grass and mud traction was also improved, although if the mud was deep, it didn't help as much (I suspect that only long spikes would work in this case). The only real disadvantage that I found was that when running on hard surfaces such as pavement, the shoes were a little more punishing on the feet, but I did manage to mostly alleviate this by removing screws in the heel strike area where there is high impact. The only other thing that might be an issue is that they improve traction so much that if you don't happen to be wearing them, you might get over confident and end up biting it bad.

Making the modification was pretty easy. I just purchased some 1/2" sheet metal screws with 1/4" heads from the hardware store. Specifically getting this type of screw is important since most of the improved traction comes from the ridges on the screw heads. I used a small bit to pre-drill some holes in the high points in the sole and then added the screws by hand. I'm sure you could just use an cordless drill to add them without pre-drilling but I didn't have the proper bit at the time. If you have thinner soles, 3/8" long screws might be a better option to make sure they don't stick through into the inside of the shoe. Also, if you have gel or air packs in the shoes, it is obviously important not to puncture them.

1 comment:

Jeff Hunt said...

Cool post. Good job McGyver.


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