I first came across the idea when searching about winter running and was eventually led to Mat Carpenter's page, The Screw Shoe: the best way to run on packed snow and ice! on the topic.
It looked simple enough. I didn't have an electric drill but I was sure I could borrow one from someone. And the screws I could just pick up down at the hardware store, right? Wrong! I'm living in Japan and I don't know if this is a Japan wide thing but the type of screws that would work best for this project are not very popular here. Almost all the screws here are flat headed plus or minus (philips or flathead) type screws. Some stores had none and some had just a few that were too big. The big stores though, had screw shoe sets for sale! They had 9 mm sheet metal type screws being sold in packets of 6 for about 300 yen! This was clearly too expensive considering the high possibility that they will fall out of the shoe and end up flattening someone's bicycle tire somewhere.
I was finally able to get one store to order me some screws of the size that I wanted, 10 mm. So I ordered 50 and they sold them to me for 500 yen. Still a little expensive but a whole lot cheaper than the screw shoe sets.
I borrowed my father in law's electric drill and Aspen and I set to work on making my first pair of screw shoes. For starters we put 10 in each shoe.
With the power drill it was really easy. If you would also like to try and make your own and get more details on the whys and hows check out Matt Carpenter's site at http://www.skyrunner.com.
I also bought an Asics Reflective Tasuki. It is a band that you wear like a sash. I got this to make sure that no one hits me on my runs in the dark. If you buy running gear that was made for running, especially by the bigger brand names, it will probably have some reflective materials on it. Most running shoes do too. However, if you buy the cheapest stuff that you can find, then they might not have much if any. So, just to be extra visible to sleepy motorists I got this reflective band to wear. I brought it home and proudly showed it to my mother in law. She then told me that she got one at the 100 yen store! 100 yen? I paid almost 800 yen for mine! Oh well.
My motivation for running this winter is high. Now if only I can get rid of the sniffles!