Living in Alaska · Running in Anchorage · Try New Things Tuesday

Try New Things Tuesday: Studded Shoes

Hi everyone!  I know I posted a few times recently that I need advice for running in the winter, and many people gave me awesome advice for dealing with crazy winter weather while running.  Also, many people told me that if I get to try any tips and find things that work I should share how it goes.  Well this weekend I got the opportunity to try something new that I wanted to share:  running in studded shoes!

trynewthingstuesday

You may be asking yourself why I need studded shoes when we have no snow in Anchorage and the temperatures have been above freezing.  And that’s something I was asking myself too, until I learned something interesting!  Down in the Lower 48, when it’s above freezing and it rains everything is fine on the ground until the air temperature drops below freezing and things start to freeze.  But here in Alaska, even though the air is warm (yes, 45 degrees is warm now) the ground is frozen.  There is a layer of permafrost underneath the ground in many places, and it causes the ground to be frozen, especially during the winter.  It also causes fun highway issues in the summer where it thaws and makes the roads buckle.  But right now, we’re feeling the effects of the frozen ground here.  Last week, it rained for about 1 hour.  When the rain hit the ground it immediately turned to ice (super fun to walk and drive on last week) and it’s still really icy in the woods where the sun can’t reach.  Which meant that any runs last weekend were going to be pretty slippery.

IMG_3459This will be a lot prettier with snow!  So impatient!

I was dying to go for a run though, so I decided it was the perfect time to test out my newly studded shoes!  The local running store here in Anchorage was running a half price special a few weeks ago on shoe studding, so I took them up on their offer and paid $5 to have them stud my old pair of Mizunos.  Apparently it’s super easy to do it yourself too if you have a power drill.  I found some great directions here!

IMG_3369

Then I had to get up the courage to actually use them!  They feel really strange on since the screws add a bit of height, and I was worried I’d trip or wipe out on the non-icy concrete or something.  After doing a bit of googling, I learned that I should be okay on concrete (although it will wear out the screws earlier), but that I should watch out for black ice because it”s not thick enough for the screws to dig in and I’ll be more likely to slip.  With my new found confidence in my old shoes, I headed out for a quick 2 miler to test them out!

IMG_3460

The shoes were definitely a good call, because everything on the ground was covered in ice.  As I did a quick warm up walk, I felt confident that I wasn’t going to slip.  When I started running, I felt the same way – until I got to the top of a hill.  Running down that hill felt so slippery, so I decided to run on the non-paved edge of the trail instead.  Even though it was covered in ice it was a lot less slippery!  I was able to run at a pretty good pace without having to stare at my feet the entire time.

IMG_3456There’s rocks and leaves under there…somewhere…

Overall, even though I had to run at a slightly slower pace I was able to get through my run almost as well as I would on ice-free ground.  So how did I rate my studded shoes?  I give them a 5 out of 5!  What!!!!

Pros:

  • They really worked!  I can tell that in deeper (not black) ice they were doing their job.  I can only imagine how awesome they’ll be in the snow!
  • Unlike YakTrax Run shoe covers, I don’t have to worry about them breaking if I hit a patch of ice-free concrete.  I can maintain my pace the entire run no matter what’s covering the trail.
  • On that note, I don’t have to worry about putting something on my shoes each time I want to run in slippery conditions.  I love my YakTrak Run covers but they do take a few minutes to put on and take off, and they cost enough money that I’m worried about breaking them by wearing them on the wrong conditions.  I’ll save them for days when my Mizunos are wet and I need to use my current running shoes.
  • I was able to put them on a pair of shoes that I know works for me but were running high on milage.  It’s helping me get the most out of my shoes (and my money!).
  • It was super cheap, and I can potentially do this on my own with future shoes if I ever own a power drill.

Cons:

  • The front of my shoes was slipping a lot, possibly because I was subconsciously tip-toeing at certain parts – especially going uphill.  There aren’t any screws at the front but I’m going to see if I can get my running store to put a few more up there to help make it more stable.
  • They don’t work on black ice.  But then again, nothing does.  I can’t wait for snow to cover all the black ice up!

I would definitely recommend studded shoes to anyone who has an extra pair of shoes that they don’t mind studding and who will be running in slippery conditions most of the winter.  I think if I would have had these in Philly I would have run outside in the winter more!  This winter, I’m not going to let ice and snow stop me from running!

Have you ever worn studded shoes?  How do you deal with running in slippery conditions?

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16 thoughts on “Try New Things Tuesday: Studded Shoes

  1. So interesting. I had never heard of this until your previous post and was curious to hear how they worked. You seem to really like than and I had no idea that it was so cheap!

  2. My FIL just bought a huge bag of these screws for his fly fishing boots, and he said I can take as many as I want to do my running shoes! Glad to hear they actually work.

    1. Haha! I thought it would be harder than it was! It does feel weird when I’m in my carpeted apartment, but when I’m running on ice it feels pretty normal! Fun fact: I can’t even walk in heels so I can’t imagine running in them!

  3. These are great!!! This is exactly what I need for running on the trail in the winter. I was looking into yaktrax but didn’t feel like paying a ton of money for something I wouldn’t use often. This is the perfect answer!

    1. Do it! Today we got like 0.00005 inches of snow while I was running and I felt great running like normal! And I know for a fact you might have a few extra shoes laying around that you could do this with 🙂

  4. I’ve never done this before, but you sure make it sound worth it! Last year I ran in yak trax, but I put them on old shoes anyways so I wouldn’t have to mess with getting them on and off.

    1. That’s a good idea! My one issue with YakTrax is if you come across a dry patch of ground you have a chance of breaking them. I’m pretty sure if you lost a screw or one broke down you could just put another one in there. I’m always paranoid I’m going to break something (I’m a klutz!).

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