I’m not running right now..obviously….I’m just tired, digging coffee, and my head hurts..later maybe.
Today I’m thinking about traction for some reason….well, the reason is, ICE!!!!..
Us runners should be like mailmen (postmen, mail persons?)..no matter the weather right?
Anyway, in a virtual clinic that I’ve been taking – I do that because I like to learn and share, and like to see what others have to say – and some was said that the instructor said made my head explode…….
A question was asked, ‘are winter spicific footwear necessary’ the answer given was ‘not at all!…..could that have been more wrong…….it was asked in a chat room, I responded YES!…the instructor for some reason said NO?…….
it may have been that the instructor lives in Costa Rica – he’s orignally from Edmonton in the great white north – but, YES!!!!….I’ve learned that the hard way…hitting my hard head on the ground, and smashing my skull……SAFETY FIRST!
Sure, you can always hope for the best…maybe it won’t be slippery, maybe you won’t fall, and if you do, well, you’ve fallen before – I fractured an ankle about 20 years ago, all it took was, well slippery leaves, it happens – there’s ways around the ice….and well, you need to run!…..NOT!
I like not having to think….the day I fell and broke my head, I had my traction aids with me, it would have taken a couple of minutes to slip them on.. I only had all day to run, I had all the time in the world, but not just those two minutes….could not be spared….
I was wearing my Hoka Arahi’s…and as you can see, NO TRACTION!
So yep, falling on my head helped wake me up….Now, I don’t even take the chance…I’ve also given myself lots of options….the easiest, was buying a pair of Saucony’s Peregrine Ice+……
That’s the trick isn’t it?
All I’ve ever heard was that traction aids, winter footwear, didn’t work, because some thought the products changed something…gait, stride, leg turnover, they were heavier…….I was one of them….not any more…once you use the products, and better yet how to use those traction aids properly….NO ISSUES!
Are they perfect…nope…like a good set of winter tires, if it’s really icy and slippery, you’re going to still slip, SOME….you still have to be careful and be safe…shoes, yep, be careful, just like you’d be on a fat tire bike, traction aids though, just make sure they grip…sort of like studs or better yet chains on a car or truck tire!
All this stuff will help you keep upright…but, again, the real advantage, I don’t have to think…just lace them up…………stick those grips on the bottom of your fave shoes for the season…you’re ready to go…
Another advantage to a winter specific shoes is GORTEX.…way to many people ask about winter specific socks…I’ve been running every winter since 1995, have always just worn the socks I had on when I bought the shoes……..they fit normal – a thicker sock? you’ll need a different size shoe – a
Sure there are winter specific socks, some better than other..I have been partial to what Mizuno has done with their breathe thermo socks ….they actually warm up as soon as you sweat, and will warm you up…and they arn’t those thick wool socks you think about when you think socks for winter….always remember, once you begin running, you warm up, the feet take a little while, but it happens….so, yeah, you don’t want a wet wool or cotton sock…….
With traction aids on your everyday shoes, sure, there’s that mesh at the toes, and wind chill may be a problem…..so, duct tape is a good option, or toe caps….they go inside your shoes, cover up that mesh, made out of neoprene, and they work, are thin enough not to change the fit of the shoe.
As I learned the past two weeks, the Peregrines arn’t the best when dealing with freezing rain…..for that, TRACTION AIDS……I have a variety, cause I like to try almost everything ( I sell the stuff, so, I should know how they work!)….Just feeling the shoes grip that ice just feels so sweet……..and you know what? someone the other day said they’re only good as long as the surface you’re running on is flat and level…..I have not found that…..as long as there’s something for those pins to stick into, you’re all good…
I’ll go from easiest to extreme,
these are my current favorite Duenorth Everyday….
On my current go-to shoe, the Brooks Adrenaline……..works perfectly with my gait, and my natural stride, the traction does not change that, the shoe still guides my feet…once I figured out how to properly put them on..…they have to be hard to put on so that they’re hard to fall off…..but, nah, my stride doesn’t change…if anything it makes it more perfect, and feel more natural…..at times I will try and make sure those pins contact and grip that ice, but for the most of my runs, not even thinking of them…I don’t slip, I don’t fall, I don’t hesistate at all…I go anywhere…..so the ice is not a concern, which is the goal.
Something I will say, it’s best is to pick a pair of shoes, and whatever option you pick, just leave them on those shoes for the winter……..So then, you don’t need to take the time, the effort to put them back on..if you don’t have to think, then, all good……these are on my Brooks Launches………they’re almost like snow shoes for snow…..so if I’m heading for an off-road trail with a ton of snow..I’m good…
I picked these up last season, and have yet to test them…They seem more built more for extreme off road……actually when I picked ’em up in the winter of 2020, the day after everything melted, and I just haven’t had a chance to use them YET!…..I’ve heard good thing about the Kahtoolas, so, yeah, anxious to use, but I think the conditions nee to be right….not sure how they’ll work with the Brooks Levitates, but they look sharp…I’m planning a visit to the Edmonton River Valley soon to some trails that I know will have more challenging conditions….so that’ll be the testing grounds….unless again, everything melts!
So bottom line…BE SAFE…….even if you just go to a straight trail shoe, more traction on snow and ice is the best option…….easiest……the trick is too, the right trails shoe, how much snow and ice will you be on….will be more wet than fozen?…….Some shoes, like the Brooks Ghost 14 GTX, seem better suited for a spin on the Vancouver Sea Wall in December….and I like that those shoes are specific for the job…too many times manufatures will just take a street specific shoe, will slap some GORTEX on, add some traction, and say here you go……I’m not going to mention the manufacture, but I bought a shoe like that a number of years back….the shoe was great, had a fantastc reputation, but the GTX version was awful….but consider the conditions…winter in Edmonton, Yellowknife, Seattle, Montana, Toronto is all different….so, you go to your fave shoe, check in with the folks there…and they’ll set you straight….we do that here every day!
Just don’t be like me…making that wrong choice, a fall took a second, it knocked me out for 30 minutes, and has affected my health, and my running for over two years so far……..it took a cracked skull to teach me a hard lesson……it shouldn’t have had to…….