Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ICESPIKE - A Product Review

One of the great things I miss about doing book signings at expo is the ability to walk around and check out the newest running gear, gadgets and accessories. Those who wish to whip through the expo, packet in hand and eyes on the ground are often missing out. If you are a runner, chances are good you have a large supply of running gear. And you may have some well-worn-in running gear.  But that 1987 Turnipfest 7k cotton t-shirt you have been running in for 20 years is getting a little ripe. It wouldn't hurt you to look around.

For me, while I could not float around the expo in the Manchester Marathon as I would have liked, I was fortunate enough to be seated next to a product being displayed called ICESPIKE.  I was intrigued.

I do the vast majority of my running miles on the road.  In fact, I do the vast majority of my running miles on a loop across the street from my home. One of my favorite pastimes is listening to people tell me that the running on this concrete loop will destroy my knees, which might be the only part of my body which has never actually hurt. But I digress.

I had been fortunate lately to travel to place either before snow fell or after it fell and had melted this late fall / early winter. As such, I hadn't had an opportunity to test my ICESPIKE. However, a few days ago, a nice new wintry mix of snow and ice came into town and I excitedly screwed my ICESPIKE into my shoes. While other products to avoid slipping on ice slip over the shoe, ICESPIKE screws right into the soles of your shoe. Putting 12 into each shoe took me around 10 minutes of time total while I was watching TV.  I had been told that the product easily comes out and leaves virtually no mark but was skeptical. When I put one ICESPIKE in a place I did not want and removed it to place it elsewhere I was shocked: there was only the tiniest of pinprick where the ICESPIKE had been. OK, I am very intrigued!

Out on the run, I was curious how they would feel and was pleasantly surprised to notice that, well, I did not notice them.  The only time I could even remotely feel them was when I hit a completely bald path of cement.  And saying I felt them is a misnomer. In actuality, I could only hear them as they created the slightest crunch underneath my feet. My gait and footfall were not affected at all when I ran on he cement.  No slipping or sliding. I then found myself looking for particularly icy patches to test out the grip of the ICESPIKE. Try as I might I could not even begin to  lose traction when I hit those icy patches. Pretty nice.

After the snow had fallen and the sun came out to partially melt the snow and make it more icy, I went for another run. Again, no problems whatsoever with adjusting my running style to compensate for the ICESPIKE and no lack of traction. I was quite impressed.

(If you are curious how ICESPIKE compare to just run-of-the-mill screws, check out this detailed comparison by an RRCA regional director, Blaine Moore here.)

I would highly recommend that if you run in the ice or snow to invest in the ICESPIKE.  It gives you one less excuse to get out and get your run in when the conditions are less than ideal. And the owners of ICESPIKE, a family-owned business, live in a town called Marathon. You can't argue with that logic!


Moreover, as I learned after many more running in these ICESPIKE, they work wonders on trails as well.They grip dirt and handle virtually every footing underneath with aplomb.  I did have some times where wet or slick uneven rock gave me a little bit of trepidation but no shoe I know of works perfectly on that footing.

Now, nearly a decade later, I still love these!


Tracy said...

Very interesting. Thanks for the review. Living in Michigan, we rarely run outside in the winter, and I've wondered about different products that would enable us to get off the treadmill.

Outdoorpartner said...

How would you compare ICESPIKE with Yaktrax? I have the Yaktrax which work really well on trails. Perhaps the ICESPIKEs would be better for pavement then Yaktrax?

Dane said...

Indeed anything that gets us off the treadmill is wonderful.


I cannot compare as I have never tried Yaktrax.

Texas Transplant said...

I just use really short sheet metal screws screwed into the bottom of my shoes. They do the same thing and cost 3 cents each.

Dane said...

Texas Transplant,

Having tried plain screws I can attest there is a difference. But thank you for your opinion nonetheless.

OrangeBlossom said...

Thank you for your review of IceSpikes. I live in the U.P. of MI. I have recently started running outside and I have been using YakTrax. Depending on how long they last, I think I will try IceSpikes next.

Also, I like your Race Schedule on the side of your blog. Could you email me on how to make one?