Open main menu

DIY: Sheet Metal Screws

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: DIY: Sheet Metal Screws traction device

This has been my preferred solution for winter running for 20 years. There is nothing special about the "kits" of screws being sold for $20 in stores. They are selling you 50 cents worth of screws for $20.   

  1. Go to a hardware store.
  2. Ask for 3/8" or 1/2" galvanized (or stainless if you want to splurge) sheet metal screws
  3. Get a box of 100 (that lasts me about 3 years)
  4. Take your running shoes (or any rubber soled boot for that matter)
  5. Drill very small (< 1/16") pilot holes in 15 to 20 raised studs on the sole of each shoe
  6. Use a 1/4" socket or screw driver to drive the screws into the holes

Putting a dab of glue on the screws will help keep them in longer and seal the holes

They will fall out through the season so replace as needed (hence buying in bulk)


  • absolute best fit as they are mated to your shoes
  • easy to repair and replace
  • they don't all fall off at once leaving you without any traction while running


  • permanent modification so you will need to have a designated winter running shoe

Traction level:

  • Ice:  superb, stable ascending and descending
  • packed snow:  better than running shoe alone, not as good as chains
  • powder:  no improvement
  • dirt / sand:  better than shoe alone
  • rocks:  can slip especially as the screw edges wear down and loose "bite"

Price Paid: $5

I've been doing this for years!! Never a problem at all. Cheapest and best solution out there.


  • Perfect fit
  • Removable with no noticeable damage.
  • Cannot fail when needed most


  • Not so good if you need to traverse hard pavement.
  • Takes about 3 to 4 minutes each to remove or install. I carry a tiny wrench sometimes just in case

No review really necessary here. It's quite self explanatory. Other reviewer said it all. 

Source: Hardware store

Your Review

Where to Buy

Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.

You May Like


Price Reviewers Paid: $5.00

Recently on Trailspace

Patagonia Light Farrier's Shirt Review

Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp 5-Pocket Pants Review