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Screw my Shoes
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Mike Nielsen
(geophagous) - F

Locale: Pacific North West
Screw my Shoes on 06/30/2008 16:05:34 MDT Print View

I am taking a hike where there are prospects for short sections of slipperly hard snow.

Rather than going for full crampons for this short section I was debating something I saw somewhere, but can no longer find.

Basically they took small hex head metal screws and screwed them into the soles of shoes. Maybe 6-10 per shoe and claimed great traction. Put in when needed and remove when no longer needed. I already carry a tool that would work for this. They suggested fairly short screws, 3/8 or 1/4 so as to not penetrate the shoe too far.

Anyone here ever done something like that? I am thinking this will be a very light way to get better traction. Obviously they would not be like a crampon proper, but for places with non life altering snow it might make things much easier.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Screw my Shoes on 06/30/2008 16:18:25 MDT Print View

screw shoes

Works fine. Bring along a nut driver and some extra screws because they tend to work loose after a while. 3/8" works best for me.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Screw my Shoes on 06/30/2008 17:12:54 MDT Print View

I have used screw shoes. Works fine. The original write-up I saw was

As dondo says... you can loose screws, so bring a hex driver. I didn't think I was required the first time out. I didn't lose so many screws that I lost traction, but I did lose a couple.

Edited by verber on 06/30/2008 17:15:01 MDT.

Mike Nielsen
(geophagous) - F

Locale: Pacific North West
Thanks on 06/30/2008 17:20:36 MDT Print View

That is the site I saw, just could not find it.

Thanks guys,

Now I can go kill myself in peace!

Kristina Nethaway
(kneth) - F - M

Locale: 10,200'
better screws, fairly cheap on 11/26/2010 15:33:37 MST Print View

I found these screws, harder than the hardware store sheet metal screws, for less than $20 here.
If you install with an electric drill, with adjustable torque turned low, the rubber won't strip. I use 3/8" screws. Great except if you need snowshoes higher up, these will trash the deck.

Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
Re: Shoe traction on 11/26/2010 17:35:22 MST Print View

Peter Fogel
(pgfogel) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
screws in shoes on 11/26/2010 23:04:05 MST Print View

I've been doing this for years! I pre-drill all the holes and avoid a potential tear in the rubber. This way, in the spring you can remove the screws with no ill effect on the soles at all. I had to do some experimentation as to the best placement of the screws. It really makes a difference where you locate them.

I use 3 or 4 at the back of the heel and 3 or 4 rows around the ball of the foot area all the way across the shoe, almost in a circular pattern.

The screws actually seem to increase traction on the rocks!

As recommended carry a wrench.

Good luck

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Mini-Crampons on 11/26/2010 23:13:04 MST Print View

Is there a reason you don't want to use a crampon style traction product like the Kahtoola MicroSpikes or YakTrax? They aren't full crampons but provide traction when, and only when, you need metal cleats.

I understand that screws are convenient and the epitome of lightweight/cheap, but they aren't the best for LNT practices. Having the metal heads on your shoes for an entire hike when you only need the extra traction for a short section is negligent. They chip stone and dig deeper into dirt than rubber lugs, further speeding up erosion of trails. If you're traveling off trail, they could cut deep enough to damage root systems, which won't grow back until the spring, after the snow melt. There's also a "trash" aspect since they tend to fall out.

I think screws are an ok solution for sustained snow/ice covered trails, but for only occasional sections, it's more responsible to take the weight penalty of a lightweight crampon style traction device.

Plus, having to carry extra screws and a nut driver may negate some of the weight advantage.

Edited by upalachango on 11/26/2010 23:14:22 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
on/off on 11/26/2010 23:21:01 MST Print View

one thing to consider is how easy it is to take on and off ...

depending on the temps and conditions, taking off yr boot and screwing them in might not be the best thing in the world to do ...

nice thing about microspikes is that they are on/off in seconds

David T
(DaveT) - F
microspikes. on 11/26/2010 23:34:55 MST Print View


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Screw my Shoes on 11/27/2010 00:53:09 MST Print View

Bring back hobnails and tricounis!


Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Nail my boots... on 11/27/2010 01:07:49 MST Print View

Nail my boots

Found this image on the site. My dad back in the late 1950's had a similar pair of boots to these. He reckoned that nothing got your feet tougher than walking in a pair of hobnail boots (or made them more tender!).

However all that metal made for extremely good grip when walking down a telfon-coated snowgrass ridge in the Southern Alps or wallowing through bog. You can still get hobnail boots from this place in Dunedin NZ.

new hobnail boot

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Screw my Shoes on 11/27/2010 17:45:38 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/14/2015 21:02:00 MDT.

Jason Klass
(jasonklass) - F

Locale: Parker, CO
DIY Boot Studs on 11/29/2010 18:40:38 MST Print View

Here is an easy DIY Boot Stud Kit

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Screw my Shoes on 11/30/2010 07:00:58 MST Print View

Still another choice.

For short sections of ice or trips where I'll also need snowshoes, I prefer removable devices such as MICROspikes.

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Screw my Shoes on 12/02/2010 10:27:25 MST Print View

"At least they don't wreck your shoes and only take seconds to put on and off ..."

If those little 3/8 screws wreck your shoes, you got taken on the shoes. Anyway, this is a lightweight backpacking forum. All the slip on options weigh way too much.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Slip On on 12/03/2010 11:22:14 MST Print View

If those little 3/8 screws wreck your shoes, you got taken on the shoes. Anyway, this is a lightweight backpacking forum. All the slip on options weigh way too much.

While this is a lightweight forum, you have to look at the motive behind lightweight. The philosophy is a better connection with the outdoors (if it was solely about easing stress on the body we'd be horse-riders or 4x4 junkies).

If we are truly going lightweight to cover more distance and enjoy our time in the wilds better, it follows that we care about the wilderness. If so, then we should be stewards of the outdoors. This brings up the Leave No Trace concept that is huge amongst outdoors folk, especially lightweight backpackers.

Screws in the shoes are a lazy man's solution to mixed trail (mixed trail being the focus of this thread by the OP). They studs create needless wear and tear on iceless trail sections during winter, a time when there is little root growth to help stabilize the soil.

If the sole goal was to reduce weight, why even bother with screws? We're adding weight to have them in the first place (and then we need to carry a driver and extras for when they fall out). I haven't done the research on drivers, but I'm sure most weigh over an ounce, cheap, small tools usually aren't made with weight as a consideration.

YakTrax weigh a mere 4oz, are removable, provide similar traction benefits to screws, more wear tolerant and on top of all that leave less of a mark on exposed trail than screw type solutions should one not take them off.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Screw my Shoes on 12/04/2010 01:03:56 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 06/14/2015 21:03:12 MDT.

Kristina Nethaway
(kneth) - F - M

Locale: 10,200'
no lost screws on 12/04/2010 09:23:45 MST Print View

No lost screws from my shoes, used all last winter, more snow than rock. Don't torque them in too hard. I haven't taken them out and reinstalled them, that might be an issue. LNT scratches? I use one trail by my house often, haven't noticed them, but I'll look. They'd be death on slickrock, for you and rock. The holes and scratches left by poles without rubber tips in summer bother me... I'd love to hear about the 5 oz slip on shoes, really? for ice?