There are a million post and videos about how to attach standard screws to your running shoes for added traction. Most commonly this is used during the winter months for ice and snow. Standard screws will work, but Goat Head Gear decided to take it one step further and develop a specific head to maximize traction. The thing that caught my eye with these sole spikes was that they were recommended them for non-winter conditions. Dusty desert trails and slippery creek beds. Phoenix doesn't have snow, but we certainly have dry trails and slippery rocks.
Initial impressions- Goat Head Gear Sole Spikes Combo come packaged in a plastic carrying case and includes a short driver and magnetic bit. The magnetic bit that comes with the combo pack is transferable to a power drill for easy installation. If you don't need the driver and bit you can order the Sole Spikes packaged separately and save a few bucks. package includes 30 spikes and are available in to sizes (3/8" and 1/2"). Depending on the thickness of your soles you can opt for the correct length. Because I was using them on running shoes, the 3/8" Sole Spikes were the correct option. The spikes are designed with a specific head that forms four teeth, rather then a hex head. The theory being that they gain a more solid bite on terrain. The spikes also have divots on the underside of the head. These help to secure the spike in the sole and reduce the chance of loss. The Sole Spikes are stainless steel, eliminating the threat of rusting.
Use- There is plenty of information available online that describes the benefits of using hew screws for traction during the winter months. Pros even hold clinics on how to apply the screws appropriately. There is no doubt that Sole Spikes would work on ice and snow, but I was more interested in testing them on the dry desert trails. My current pair of Lone Peak 2.5 had 375 miles on them and had lost most of the lugs under the toe box. Before heading out and running the Bluff Springs Loop I installed the Sole Spikes where the previous lugs had been. A few miles into my run, I realized that the added traction was really noticeable. Not only was I able to get a solid bite on the dirt, but I literally felt like a goat on the rocks. I was concerned that the Sole Spikes might make navigating smooth rock sketchy, but they did nothing but inspire confidence. Recently the trails had seen some rain and their were opportunities to test the traction under wet conditions. I am happy to report that they were perfect for creek crossings. Their performance on the rock has me thinking about using them for canyoneering. They have much better performance on the rock then any shoe I have previously tried. As expected I did manage to lose two spikes on that 15 mile run. Most times I lost them seemed to be when doing a weighted pivot on rock. Even after losing two spikes the performance was the same. On my thin worn out Altra soles I can feel a slight change in the feel of the sole. You can feel the Sole Spike (not the point) but just that they are there. That being said I did not have any issues with pressure or blisters.
Final Thoughts- The Goat Head Gear Sole Spikes are the perfect solution for adding traction to any footwear. Wheather your adventures take you through snow and ice; creek beds, or dry dusty trails. By using the spikes you can extend the life of your trail runners. I have used mine for 70+ miles, which has extended their life for only a few dollars. Sole Spikes are available from their website here. Their website also has other gear available, as well as detailed installation instructions.
*Product was supplied for this review by Goat Head Gear, per my request.