DIY Running Spikes. Running Shoe Hack for Winter Running.

Want to run in the ice and snow (because you’re hard core and a lunatic?) … look no further than your basement screw stash.  DIY running shoe ice spikes for about $1.

Skip right to the Tutorial.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a runner.  A very, very bad, begrudging runner who limps along at a pace reminiscent of a sloth wearing mittens.

I hate running.  So, I’m kind of an elite runner in that respect.

I pick it up and then forget about it for months and then put my shoes on again to see if this, maybe this time, I won’t hate it. And every once in a while, it happens.  I run like the wind. I go and I go and I go and before I know it I’ve made it all the way out to the sidewalk without once crying.

Obviously I’m just kidding.  I’ve never made it to the sidewalk without at least crying a little bit.

So why do I do it? Well in the winter I don’t do much physical activity other than sit at my computer and type.  Once in a while I chase my cat around the house if they have a poo stuck to their bum.  And that’s pretty much it for physical exercise in the winter.

I do shovel and chop the odd bit of wood but not nearly enough to balance out the 14 bowls of chili and toast I’m likely to eat any given week.

So winter is my running season.  It’s when I need exercise the most.

This whole process has been fine for the past few winters in Southern Ontario which weren’t like winters at all. More like summers without the bug spray.  There was no snow or ice or anything.  But THIS year.  This year it’s the kind of winter you’d expect in Canada.  Snow, ice and freezing rain.  It’s perfect weather for curling up on the couch next to a fire, or, if you’re me, sliding down the streets in running tights and shoes, grappling for the nearest street sign or even penis it it happens to be nearby. Anything to stop me from slipping and sliding cartoon-style down the street.

Enter running shoe spikes.  They’re elasticized contraptions that slip onto your running shoes with studs and wire on the bottom to help your shoes dig into snow and ice.  Which in turn stops you from grabbing at penises.

These are great, but they can be expensive if you get into the high end ones and they’re, quite frankly, completely useless when they’re locked in a store that isn’t open.  Which is the exact situation I found  myself in a couple of weeks ago.

I felt like I should go for a run but it had been snowy and icy out for days.  Not wanting to take my life (or  neighbouring penises) into my hands, I decided I should buy some spikes.  The only problem was, this was at night and the stores were closed so I couldn’t go and buy any spikes.

So I hacked my running shoes and in about 10 minutes I had running spikes.

It was perfect.  And all it took was a few screws.

DIY Running Shoe Spikes.


#8, hex head, 1/2″ screws.  (approximately 18 of them)

Running Shoes


Screwdriver or socket wrench. (depending on the screw head)

The first thing you need to do is pick a pair of running shoes this will work with.  I had these two choices. My very old shoes which I love or my new shoes which I hate.

I chose to spike my very old shoes because they have thicker soles.

You’ll be screwing  #8, 1/2″ hex head screws into the bottom of your shoes.

If your shoes are thin soled shoes you risk the spikes sticking straight into the soles of your feet when  you run.  So … avoid that obviously.  Pick a pair with thicker soles.

Even at it’s thickest part the soles of the purple New Balance shoes weren’t thick enough to embed the screw into without going through the other side.

How to do it:

  1. Drill pilot holes into the soles of your shoes, either on the points of your sole you can see that you put pressure on, or around the perimeter of the sole.

2. Screw the screws into place.

3.  You’re done. No more slipping.

Here they are in action on snow and ice.


TIPS For DIY Running Shoe Spikes.

  1. Your shoes need to have a relatively thick sole.  Over 1/2″.
  2. You can’t use just any screws, they need a hex head because that’s what grips into the snow/ice.
  3. Checking the sole of your shoe will show wear marks where you hit the ground running.  That’s where to put the screws.
  4. Not sure where you hit the ground?  Do the outside edge of the soles.
  5. Keep your hand inside the shoe when you’re screwing in the screw to make sure it isn’t going through your sole.
  6. You have spikes on your shoes, not a posse of angels looking out for your well being.  Even with spikes, always run with caution, keep your weight evenly distributed and take shorter strides than you normally would.


The one GREAT thing I can say about running is how superior I feel after getting home after a long run (which is 5 km for me).  No joke. I feel like I am better than you, my neighbours or anyone who has ever existed on this planet including but not limited to Mother Theresa, Elvis Presley, the Pope and whoever invented coffee.  They.  Are hacks.

While I, am an elite runner.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


DIY Running Spikes.  Running Shoe Hack for Winter Running.


  1. Nadine says:

    Brilliant! Going to get hex screws tomorrow! Thank you!

  2. whitequeen96 says:

    But what if I WANT to grab onto penises to keep from sliding away? This has always been such a perfect excuse. “Oops, so sorry, but I was sliding and needed to grab onto something!”

  3. Bob Wilson says:

    Good afternoon Karen:
    My sister-in-law is a Canada Post letter carrier. I just replaced the spikes in her boots.
    She uses “Icer” brand spikes. They are similar to the sheet metal screws you use, but BETTER.
    The head is ground to make it sharp. “Re-studding Kit for Icers” is available from Lee Valley Tools, product number EL920. The kit includes a nut driver which makes installation/replacement easy.

  4. christina heggs says:

    Karen u are a life savor for me. Great shoes that I need. I have a rural mailbox and have to get the mail in bad weather. Have fallen in the past on ice to get there. I am retired now but wish I had these when I was working. Leaving the office at night in bad weather had to walk to the car alone. These would have been great to use then. Now I will walk and not worry so much.

  5. I like you for a whole lot of reasons…your humor is simply superb, you address mundane issues that I thought only flitted across my warped mind (spiked shoes and possible grab bars) and then, BEST OF ALL…you show us pictures of the box of screws AND the ruler, with the screw, along with your written handy notes.


    PS: While you’re updating your site, could you maybe provide us with a keyboard that has an “@” available for when we add our email. Yes, I know I’m being lazy…I know how to find it…but, thought I’d ask.

  6. linda in illinois says:

    this made me spit my coffee in 2018 as it did today in 2020.. love the penis reference then and now. vivid picture in my head… rofl

  7. or neighbouring penises??? Care to explain?

  8. Wendi says:

    Actually Karen, I believe that the correct term for more than one penis is “penisi” Think “octopi” ;)

    Seriously though, you truly are better than me, girl lol

  9. Shannon says:

    When the opportunity to watch your “how the spikes work” video appeared and the tomb raider trailer began I thought you were sharing how glorious you feel after a run! Then your real video began and I remembered about ads. Oh, and great hack!

  10. Melissa Golden says:

    I grew up in Alaska and my friends who ran during the winter had their shoes studded at the auto garages that stud snow tires. My understanding is they could stud bike tires too. Not sure of how much it cost, though.

  11. Tj kent says:

    Great hack, gonna do that to all my shoes here in WI. We just got over 1/2 inch of ice…. where is that box of screws now….

  12. Beth says:

    I need to see the video!

  13. Gerri says:

    I was just thinking the other day how harrowing it is to run in the ice and snow, and your post comes along to save the day!

  14. Jean Kruse says:

    No vid!

  15. Dale R Lacina says:

    They do this same screw technique on the tires of motor cycles and race them on ice covered lakes. Fortunately this is NOT on my bucket list.

  16. Dale R Lacina says:

    Video oh video,
    wherefore art thou video?!?

    Maybe this will work.

    Good thing I was not standing on your sidewalk before you got your spikes, or maybe not!?!

  17. linda in illinois says:

    Drat, no video will come up. I’m guessing that the running with the screws in doesn’t push them deeper and result in them going into your feet.

  18. Teresa says:

    I’m surprised there is no link for your nifty little “screw things in gizmo”

  19. jaine kunst says:

    I too get little exercise in the winter unless my horse is up to her hocks in the snow. Then she stays in and I just walk her in the barn. I get lots of exercise after I bake cookies though…you know running back and forth from my studio to the kitchen to eat the cookies.

    Great idea with the screws!

  20. Gayle M says:

    Can’t see the video either, but others said it popped up after commenting about no video, so…I’m commenting and hoping for the video.

  21. Catherine says:

    Will send this hack idea to my crazy runner daughter. Besides, she LOVES anything DYI. I talk about your blog to her all the time. Love your posts, missed you in January, but not too much as I was (still am….)in Spain, no rain, no snow, no ice, just walking over oranges, yes, really. No shoe hacking for that, just need a hockey stick to send them rolling down the side walk 😊

  22. Jane C. says:

    OK, cancel that – it just magically appeared.

  23. Jane says:

    I can’t see the video either. :-(

  24. Jan in Waterdown says:

    hmmmmm . . . any chance you have a screw loose? just askin’ lol

  25. Mary W says:

    Where’s the beef – I mean video? I’ve looked carefully, twice, and don’t see. What am I missing? Was this just a trick by your commenters to see if you were reading the comments? When I was a kid, kids stuck tacks in their soles to make a really neat tap noise but were outlawed by school officials. They learned to walk carefully on the sides when adults were around. Today’s kids would probably attach tiny whoopee cushions for a neat noise. Exercise? Personally I do diddly-squats! Much more fun but rocking really fast in my recliner is also fun unless I have a hot coffee.

  26. Suzanne Herbruck says:

    Posting to see video

  27. Elaine says:

    Thanks, Karen, for your great idea!

  28. Caye says:

    Great idea for old favorites!

  29. D Thompson says:

    Try a rowing machine. 5,000 meters will work.

    • Peggy says:

      Agreed – plus you can get the kind that stand in the corner and take up almost no space.
      Great full-body workout; no slip-sliding.

      I can’t see your pic/video either.
      Not sure I want to start doing Instagram. Why do you like it?

  30. Angie S says:

    Screws and penises galore in this post… me thinks you may be running because of a certain type of frustration!

  31. Ev Wilcox says:

    I feel so cheated! got no action video, nada, zip, nothing! Was there really one, or were you just yanking our chain? sigh….

  32. Julie says:

    This would have been a handy tip a couple of weeks ago. This is my giant “slender man” snow angel as I slid down an icy hill. I also have a pic with a crime scene chalk outline for funsies!

  33. Joanne says:

    That’s a great idea, but here in Ottawa where the dog park ends up being one very large skating rink, these are the only grippers I use—and I wear them hiking too!
    They stretch very well over any boots I have, plus they make me feel like a serious mountain climber. I think I could climb a frozen waterfall wearing them, haha!

  34. diane says:

    Hi Smarty Pants,
    I will pass this post to my running friends, definitely not my forte!

  35. Lillemor says:

    The hex heads are brilliant because they really do work and do not destroy your floors ( 🙌🏻) When I was as desperate as you the only thing I had available was plain ordinary screws – works like magic when you nip off their heads ( 🌹🤣 ) but they do kill your flooring if you have to slip them on anywhere else than on my thick rubbermat conveniently placed right by my door

  36. TucsonPatty says:

    I just sent an email to my siblings telling them that I just knew if only mom had bought those tap shoes for me, I could have totally taught myself to tap dance! Now, with your know-how and instructions, I think I could just put a little loose washer under that screw, and make my own tap-sneakers?! Was it Saturday Night Fever where the friend puts bottle caps on his shoes? I love this idea, and since I don’t have to run in the snow/ice here in Tucson, I’ma put this knowledge to use another way! Thanks for the great hack, Karen! ; ) Love it!

  37. Grammy says:

    You said “here they are in action on snow and ice” but there is no picture or video or anything other than your statement there. How can I believe you really took them out running on snow and ice without pictorial proof? Cool hack, though.

  38. Suzanne says:

    Careful on your floors!

  39. Stephanie says:

    You would crush the daffodils with those spikes …

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