Winter running can be challenging for many reasons, but for most, conditions underfoot are a deciding factor if running outdoors is viable.
In all honesty, running outdoors is always viable, you just need the correct equipment.
For me, winter is arguable one of my favourite running seasons. I like the cold, brisk and dry air, I love running in the snow and YES, I love running on ice.
First and foremost, a specific winter run shoe with studs is always the best option. You can read an article, Running on Ice for more specifics.
However, for many, spending money on a winter run shoe can be prohibitively expensive. Don’t worry, a solution is at hand.
You can DIY your own winter run shoe.
- Pick a shoe that is coming towards the end of its normal day-to-day run life.
- Ideally, a shoe with a little more cushioning is a good idea as you will be screwing winter studs through the outsole and in to the cushioning of the shoe.
- Check wear marks on the outsole. This will provide you invaluable information about you and your run style, importantly, it will tell you where you strike the ground. The is the place for the studs to go.
- Plan on the outsole where you will add the studs in advance.
- Take your time.
I use a specific winter stud from Best Grip (code BG3040) which comes with 20 studs and the tool for easy and convenient placement. The tool is made of two parts, the handle BG5000 and the BG4000 attachment which holds the stud when applying.
If you already have the tool, you can purchase just the studs, the BG1000 has a thickness of 6mm and 6.2mm mounting depth which is ideal for most shoes.
20 studs provide 10 per shoe. I consider 10 to be a minimum and personally, I often prefer 14 or 16 depending on the shoe. My current specific shoe of choice for winter is the Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX (review to follow) which has 14 studs in a specific winter shoe with Gore-Tex upper.
I used a Hoka One One Torrent 2 for the purposes of this demo. This is a shoe that has served me well recently with 600km of use. It’s about ready to be shelved BUT it does have life left in it for winter.
The Hoka Torrent 2 is one of Hoka’s least cushioned shoes (why I like it) but it still has plenty of cushion to take studs.
You can see on the outsole how I am very much a forefoot runner with some supination. This makes it easy for me to decide where to place the studs. Of course, run style and technique does change in snow and ice, so, always make sure you have good distribution for added comfort and security.
Apply the screws one at a time. Ideally choose larger lugs that can host the screw better. Some outsoles will just not work, so think ahead.
Place the studs with at least 6 at the front and 4 at the rear. Typically, 3 rows of 2 works at the front and 2 rows of 2 at the rear, but one advantage of applying the studs yourself is that you can be specific to run style as tho where to place the stud of optimum grip.
ON THE CHEAP
If purchasing a specific winter stud such as the Best Grip is still a little more than you want to pay, you can purchase self drilling Hex Head screws (ideally slotted) ⅜ inch size #8 or #10 usually works.
I recommend pre-drilling pilot holes with a drill bit, maybe 1/16th in size. Make sure the shoe is held secure either by another person or ideally in a workmate or similar.
Drill the pilot hole slowly and obviously, make sure you go straight.
Once you have made pilot holes, you can then add the screws.
A specific winter run shoe is the best option, without doubt. They are specific for the job and provide a great run feel and experience. However, spending upwards of £120 for another pair of shoes with a very specific use, is just too much for many. Therefore, adapting a used shoe for winter makes sense. It puts additional life in to a shoe and provides an option for winter running that would not have existed before.
Using a specific stud like the Best Grip (or similar) provides the next best thing to a specific winter shoe, with the added advantage that you ca actually apply the studs where you want them.
If spending money on a specific stud is still too much, Hex Head screws have been used for adapting shoes for a considerable time, they are tried and tested and while not as good as studs, they can do the job.
Of course, the final option is to use any run shoe and add a micro spike such as Nortec. A micro crampon has uses but they provide a less than desirable running experience.
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