Jill of All Trades: A simple shoe trick for tackling slick winter conditions

This week, Jill Washburn, our Jill of All Trades shows us a trick that distance runners use to be able to train in the winter.  It can also work for you when you need to get out, or even just want to make it to the mailbox, when conditions are slick.

Jill starts with an older pair of her running shoes, but you could use a pair of boots or work shoes, as well.  Jill says that you need #6 hex head machine screws, no more than 3/8" in length.  If you can find them shorter than 3/8", that is probably better.  Then, just screw the screws to the bottom of your shoes.  Place them around the edges of the soles of your shoes.  It will probably take 6 - 8 screws per shoe.

Depending on your shoe or boot, you may not want to put screws on the part of the sole under the ball of your foot.  It may cause discomfort over time.

Once the screws are in, you should be able to walk on ice that most people wouldn't be able to stand up on.  Make sure you test them out before you fully trust them.  Jill says that she has gone for a run in super slick conditions with these and not had a problem.

Some rules to follow:

Make sure that the placement is balanced, so your foot is in a neutral position.  You don't want the finished shoe to make your foot roll in or roll out (or forward or backward).

Make sure that the sole, or parts of the sole, of your shoe is thick enough to accommodate the screw.  Certain running shoes have air pockets or gel pockets that will be damaged if the screw punctures it.

Once you have the screws on your shoes, you cannot wear them in the house.  They will damage your floors, and they will be super slippery on normal wood, tile or vinyl floors.

Be mindful that walking on cement, gravel, etc. can wear down the head of the screws and reduce their effectiveness on ice.  They are easily replaced, but you don't want to slip and fall because the screw heads are too worn down.

That's it!  Jill says you won't believe the "bite" that these have when you're walking on ice!

You can watch Jill demonstrate the process by clicking on the video player above.