Budget snow chains for your sneakers.

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Budget snow chains for your sneakers.

Posted on February 27, 2013

If you read my article, “snow chains for your sneakers”, you know that I think running in the snow can be wonderful.  You also know that for a few bucks ($29 – $59), you can buy snap on treads for the bottom of your sneakers, which will allow you to run safely and comfortably in snowy and icy conditions.

What if you are on a budget, and just don’t have the money for this gear?  Do you have to skip the joys of a run on a snow day?  Heck no!  All you have to do is make your own pair of “snow chain” equipped sneakers.  Doing this is easy.  All you need is your regular running sneakers, about $2.00 worth of sheet metal screws, and a screwdriver.

What you are going to do is insert these screws into the bottom of your sneakers.   You will do this from the outside in.  This will leave the heads of the screws sticking out of the bottom of your soles, which will provide all the traction you could possibly need.  It’s just that simple

To make your snow shoes, go down to your local hardware store, and some zinc plated sheet metal screws, with slotted hex washer heads.  Please make sure you get the ones with hexagonal heads, because this shape is what will give you the traction you will need.  You can usually find these for about $0.05 a piece.  You are going to need two different sizes.  You will need shorter screws for the front of your shoes.  This is due to the fact that the soles will be thinner on this part of your sneakers.   Buy twenty #8 screws with a length of 3/8” for your this purpose.  As for the rear (heels) of your sneakers, you should buy twenty #8 screws with a length of 1/2”.

As for tools, this project can be done with a regular screwdriver.  That being said, it will take a while (as well as some elbow grease) to do this by hand.  If you happen to have a cordless drill, go ahead and use it.  It will turn this from a 30 minute project into a 2 minute project.  Using a ratchet screwdriver can also help to make the work a bit easier.

Now, let’s get started.  All you have to do is get out your sneakers, and start screwing your new “spikes” into your shoes.  You should split the screws evenly, using 20 in each shoe.  They should be inserted from the outside of the shoe, into the bottom of the shoe.  Coming from the outside will allow the head of the screw to be exposed to the road, which will give you the ideal tread for snow and ice running.

Be sure to use the shorter screws (3/8”) in the front of the shoe, so they do not penetrate into the area you foot will occupy.  The longer screws (1/2”) should be used for the back of the shoe (heel), where the padding is deeper.  Spread the screws around, with the idea being that you want to have them fairly evenly spaced on the soles of your sneakers, with good overall coverage.

When putting them in, you should only tighten the screws to the point at which the head of the screw touches the rubber of your sole.  This is important for two reasons.  The first is that doing it this way will ensure that the screws stay in as long as possible without unintentionally falling out.  The second reason is that if you were to tighten past this point, you might damage the soles of your shoes by stripping out the hole you are screwing into.

That’s really all there is to it.  After you have installed your screws, get out there and discover how great it can be to run in the snow and ice, without having to worry about a slip and fall.  At the end of the bad weather, remove the screws, and your shoes will once again be ready for running on nice dry roads.

P.S. This technique works with almost all running shoes.  The only exceptions are ones with air, or gel areas in the soles.  With this type of shoe, I would not risk adding screws, and would instead suggest you save up for a pair of store bought “snow chains” for your sneakers.