Footwear / Hard Goods / Tech / December 28, 2012

DIY: Installing Goat Head Sole Spikes

Goat Head Stainless Steel Sole Spikes. $20 (for a set of 30)

The Good: Durable construction, easy installation, excellent grip.

The Bad: You won’t be using these shoes for dry weather anymore, be sure you want to commit a set of boots to wet duty.

The Ugly: Any surface you see fit to stomp down on. A spiked boot is a brutal boot.

These small stainless steel bolts screw into the sole of your shoe and dramatically increase the grip on slippery surfaces such as mud, ice, or river beds. The cold-forged, heat-hardened, corrosion resistant stainless steel material will likely stand up to abuse for about as long as the boots I’m punching them into. I installed them in a few minutes with a bit of careful planning. Here’s the how-to install guide to getting the very best traction out there in the slippery wild.

DIY Sole Spike Installation:

Step 1: Pick a suitable set of shoes – The main purpose of the sole spike is to provide traction so let’s assume they will be spending a lot of time in snow, ice, mud or some other muck; opt for a waterproof shoe. Also make sure the soles of the shoe are thick enough to support the length of the spikes without stabbing the bottom of your foot. Lastly, a bit of ankle support is going to go a long way to avoid injury on slippery surfaces. I chose the burly Aku Sintesi. We have been testing them independently  for the past few months and they are perfect for this application. The boot is solid and supportive, has a firm sole, and sports the Gore-Tex waterproof liner.

Step 2: Evaluate the tread design and layout of the sole spikes, mark out the locations. – Be sure to keep in mind that stability is going to be achieved through a balanced design, so match the lugs up. Also stay away from any thin spots on the sole near the arch to avoid punching through.

Step 3: Screw in the Spikes – Using either the packaged wrench or a drill with the included adapter, screw in the spikes according to the order you previously marked out.  Cinch them down good, but remember that the semi- flexible rubber sole will not seat the bolt to refusal. It is possible to screw to the point that the threads tear out the material.

Step 4: Take a hike – Well, at least take a small walk to see how the spikes feel and grip. Avoid walking on hardwood floors, or tiled surfaces. It is important to note how stable the boot feels with the new tread design you’ve just added. Make some adjustments until the boot is comfortably stable.

Step 5: Now, go take a hike – Yep, get out there are really enjoy the new-found grip on slippery surfaces!

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David Skinner
David Skinner
With a wife & two kids, adventure has to come close to home. It’s a good thing he lives in Northern California where a short drive in any direction will land him near the water, a trail, or a mountaintop. His passion for adventure comes from a growing up in the Trinity Alps, and a few trips to the other side of the world. With about 10 years of paddling behind him and mountains all around, he’s ready to share a fun take on what makes this world a wonderful place to explore – one adventure at a time. Contact him at


Jan 30, 2013

[...] Add some killer grip on very icy terrain with a set of sole spikes (stainless steel screw-in spikes): Goat Spikes. [...]

Jan 02, 2013

I’ve been looking for something like this! Great review.

Dec 28, 2012

Thanks for the great review! I would add one point of clarification, that we do have a lot of customers who enjoy their Sole Spikes in dry conditions as well, especially of the trail is particularly loose or perhaps a softer sandstone surface. Also, for those interested, we are offering free US (and discounted international) shipping until the end of 2012. Thanks again and enjoy those Sole Spikes! Happy New Year!

    David Skinner

    Dec 29, 2012

    Thanks for the clarification Matthew! I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I grab a set of boots to head out into the wild where the trail may be suitable for them.

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