Traction Aids

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This article is a stub – email me your opinions and experiences to help expand this

When running on ice and snow, it is can be useful to have some form of traction aid. Also see Running in the Cold

1 YakTrax

YakTrax[1] a wide grid of plastic wrapped in wire.

1.1 Pros

  • Provide reasonable traction on ice
  • Fairly easy to put on and take off
  • Naturally fold so they can be carried in a waistband

1.2 Cons

  • The plastic can break if worn on patchy ice
  • Uncomfortable on flat surfaces, as the plastic tube/wires push into the foot.

2 Get A Grip

Get-A-Grip[2] is a plastic sheet that goes over the sole of the shoe with small metal studs.

2.1 Pros

  • Excellent grip on smooth ice
  • Not too uncomfortable on flat surfaces

2.2 Cons

  • Not such good grip on very rough ice or packed snow

3 Icebug Shoes

Icebug[3] makes shoes with metal studs that retract when running on asphalt.

3.1 Pros

  • Nothing to put on or off as they are built into the shoes
  • Great grip on ice
  • Studs retract, so shoe grips normally on rock and asphalt

3.2 Cons

  • The shoes tend to be heavy, and hard to find

4 Sheet Metal Screws

Short (quarter inch) hexagonal head screws can be inserted into the soles of shoes to give traction.

I have never tried this option, but I will. There could be great variation depending on how many screws and where they are placed. Screws could be placed across the shoes for good traction in extensive ice. Alternatively, screws could be placed in just the heals to 'duck walk' across short patches of ice.

4.1 Pros

  • Nothing to put on or off as they are built into the shoes

4.2 Cons

  • Some runners have had problems with falling due to lack of grip on bare rock

5 References

  1. YakTrax
  2. Get-a-Grip at Road Runner Sports
  3. Icebug, sold through Garmin in the US