Winter footwear

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Layne 13 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #4725

    For those of you living in places where you’ve had to shovel every day for the last 4 days:

    Do you run in the same shoe during the winter months? I run in the same model year round but after two near slip experiences this week I’m thinking about switching to a shoe with a different tread so see if traction would improve. Does anyone use trail shoes?

    Any experience with the ice grippers that slip on your shoes?

    I do so much of my running in the dark I’ve got to feel more comfortable then I do with my footstrike.

  • #19851

    Just last weekend I bought a pair of North Face trail running shoes (found out later they were voted “editor’s choice” at TrailRunner magazine, for whatever that’s worth). I’ve been out in them only twice now but on ice and snow covered trails. The feel good, primarily because the Gore-Tex has kept my feet dry. My normal shoes would have been soaked in no time. The new shoes still slip on icy pavement.

    The shoes are a lot more stable and stiff than I am used to. The forefoot cushioning also feels thin. But having run no farther than 5 and a half miles in them at one time, I don’t know if that will bother me. I doubt they’ll feel very good on long stretches of pavement but I’ll experiment (within reason).

    I did really enjoy getting out last on trails after dusk last night — in town and with a headlamp; it is deer hunting season and I’m not stupid. These tough waterproof trail shoes will definately allow my to get more life out of my road shoes.

    I have stretched those rubber grippers on regular walking shoes. The original idea was that I’d use them for running. But the 6 or so “spikes,” carbide or no, seemed to wear down to nubs by the time I was done soveling the driveway. I’d say their useless.

  • #19852

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Well, I don’t live in a place where I had to shovel every day for the past 4 days but I used to live in a place where that statement is probably holding true for my family that still lives there. I also had two near falls in the dark Wednesday.

    Personally, I use the same shoes all year. Of course, I am also on a 12 year streak of falling at least once every winter (in other words, I’ve fallen at least once every winter that I’ve run through the whole winter :P). I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting slick spots, even in the dark, but every winter I seem to have at least one occasion where I get caught off guard. Last year, it was twice. Once, when trying to quickly get across a fairly busy street, I made a quick turn and my feet were gone. Nothing but cross-country spikes would have helped me there as I simply made the mistake of making a sudden move without noticing the patch of ice I had just stepped on. The other was catching the edge of an ice covered curb cut that I couldn’t see due to several inches of fresh snow. Once again, nothing but cross-country spikes would have done a thing. If you don’t see the pattern, I don’t think any shoe that doesn’t have long metal spikes coming out of the sole would have made a difference in most of my winter falls.

    While I have trouble believing anything other than those metal devices you put on your shoes would make any difference on ice, I could see trail shoes making a difference in the snow. I’d be interested in hearing what those who have tried trail shoes in the winter have found. I’d also be interested in hearing experiences from anyone who might have tried those metal devices (YakTrax comes to mind).

  • #19853

    I don’t wear any special shoes for winter but I use the ones with the biggest “footprint” such as a control type shoe for the most stability.

    On the coldest days in order to stop windchill from blowing through the mesh uppers of my shoes I’ve wrapped cellophane around the front of the sock before lacing up.

    Winter is good for keeping you aware of your footstrikes when slippery. I use a “neutral” step when confronted with flat ice, sometimes slowing down to a sliding shuffle if there’s no friction. Also when confronted with slopes you have to “go with the hill” much like skiing on ice instead of trying to lean away from the downhill and losing traction. The point is to stay over your footstrikes instead of ahead or behind them. Sooner or later as Ryan said you will slip and fall. Learn to roll. It’s more dignified than a faceplant.

    cheers,

    Scott

  • #19854

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    ScottP wrote:
    On the coldest days in order to stop windchill from blowing through the mesh uppers of my shoes I’ve wrapped cellophane around the front of the sock before lacing up.

    Very interesting idea. You don’t have any problems with your feet not being able to breathe? This might be something worth trying on those really bitter days.

    ScottP wrote:
    Winter is good for keeping you aware of your footstrikes when slippery. I use a “neutral” step when confronted with flat ice, sometimes slowing down to a sliding shuffle if there’s no friction. Also when confronted with slopes you have to “go with the hill” much like skiing on ice instead of trying to lean away from the downhill and losing traction. The point is to stay over your footstrikes instead of ahead or behind them.

    Great point. Winter is a great time for working on your form. If you overstride on ice, you will know and you will quickly correct yourself. On the downhills, if you’re not letting gravity do the work for you, you will also know. See, ice can improve your running if you use it correctly. 😉

    ScottP wrote:
    Sooner or later as Ryan said you will slip and fall. Learn to roll. It’s more dignified than a faceplant.

    Or my favorite is to do a baseball slide, then stand up and give an emphatic “SAFE” signal. Makes falling in front of people (as it always seems to be when you fall) feel a little less embarrassing and we all know how important it is to look good on those training runs. 😉

    Seriously, learning to roll or otherwise absorb the impact of the fall is important for minimizing the risk of a fall related injury.

    Scott, great points. I’m glad you brought them up.

  • #19855
  • #19856

    I have found that applying some common sense combined with a little experience renders finding dry, ice-free running throughout the winter rather easy. If I felt like it were more of an issue (or if I were determined to run on ice-laden trails) I would go the d.i.y. route; rubber on ice is still rubber on ice, trail shoes are no more useful for negotiating black ice than racing flats would be.

  • #19857
    ScottP wrote:
    On the coldest days in order to stop windchill from blowing through the mesh uppers of my shoes I’ve wrapped cellophane around the front of the sock before lacing up.

    Ryan wrote:
    Very interesting idea. You don’t have any problems with your feet not being able to breathe? This might be something worth trying on those really bitter days.

    I have used bags that the newspaper or a loaf of bread comes in, with well fitting shoes I have no problems and I happen to prefer slightly damp yet warm feet to cold and dry feet or, worse yet, cold and wet feet due to unseen slush puddles.

  • #19858

    I run outside yearlong because anything longer than an hour on a treadmill really gets to me mentally. Got this from a guy in Oregon a couple of years ago, and have never looked back.

    Find #4 x 1/4″ hex-head screws and insert them on the bottom of your running shoes. These work amazingly well. They wil wear down and need to be replaced, but it is a small inconvenience for the peace of mind not having to stress out over sliding in the snow.

    You may have a hard time find thing this size, I did and eventually went on the next and purchased 5,000 from a manufacturer (hey I told myself I intended to run into old-age anywhay).

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that bigger is better. I tried larger hex-head (#6 x 3/8) nuts and found they played havoc on the legs when you ran in areas with light or no snow. Though they were much easier to find locally they stood a little too high off the ground and caused imbalances and stress on my leg muscles when I wasn’t running in deep snow.

    Another option is Ice Bugs:

    These are NOT cheap. I purchased a pair when they first came out. They were a bit tight and I got a 2nd pair of 12’s. These really do work. However, because of the cost I save them for the extreme weather runs. The mounts are plastic with retractable steel studs and can stress your lower leg muscles on runs longer than 10 miles.

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