Beef up your kicks to handle tricky terrain.

Winter conditions—snow, ice, slush—make it tough to get traction, altering your gait and potentially causing injury. So beef up your kicks to handle tricky terrain. Three ways to do it:

DIY Spikes

Grab your trainers or trail shoes, a drill and some sheet metal screws to create custom spiked shoes. The video below shows you that for about $5, you can modify your existing shoes for better traction on ice. This isn’t a solution for everyday winter running as over time, those screws would work their way through the sole and pierce the bottom of your foot. We suggest trying it out on an older pair of shoes first to see if this approach works for you.

Dedicated Winter Trail Shoes

Dedicated winter shoes with built in spikes are great for the hard core winter runner. Photo: AJ Johnson
Dedicated winter shoes with built in spikes are ideal for the hard core winter runner. Photo: AJ Johnson

Dedicated spiked shoes are best for runners who often find themselves on icy terrain, but may be overkill for standard trail usage. Several brands offer this option, including the Salomon SpikeCross 3 CS model we tested. Already a rugged trail shoe with great traction, Salomon adds small, carbide tipped metal spikes, five up front and four in the back, for even better traction in slippery conditions. These perform best on mixed terrain and icy cement paths. But at over $150 for a typical pair of spiked shoes, (the Salomon’s retail for $170), it may be hard to justify the cost.

Over spikes are like snow chains for your shoes. Photo: AJ Johnson
Over spikes are like snow chains for your shoes. Photo: AJ Johnson

Over Spikes

Like snow chains for your car, over spikes pull over your shoes for better grip. We tried the NanoSpike from Kahtoola, a rubber chassis that slides over your shoe (five sizes fit a Men’s 5 to Men’s 14) with 10 tungsten carbide tips, 6 up front and 4 in the rear to give you bite. The rubber has good stretch and a large pull tab makes them easy to pull on. They fit securely with a variety of shoes, from lightweight trainers to trail shoes. As with the Salomon shoes, the spikes aren’t large enough to hinder your stride on clear terrain. While they do fold down a bit, carrying these with you for emergency use would be cumbersome unless you’re running with a pack. At $50 and transferrable to any shoe, this option makes sense for athletes who occasionally find themselves on sketchy footing. Bonus: you can wear them with your work shoes.