How To Aerate A Lawn With Spike Shoes

Aerating your lawn is beneficial for improving the soil's overall health and plants that grow in the soil. But it can seem like a tall task, especially if you have a big yard and have to aerate it by hand. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could aerate your lawn just by walking across it? The good is that you can with spike shoes, and we’ve done the research to explain how to do this.

Spike shoes are essentially sandals with nails on the bottom that you attach to the soles your shoes. To use them, follow these steps:

  • Strap them to your shoes.
  • Walk across one section of your lawn.
  • Walk the opposite way across the same section.
  • Repeat across the rest of your lawn.
  • Water your lawn.

It’s important to note that spike shoes don’t really help prevent soil compaction. Instead, what they do is open up the ground so that air and water can reach the roots of your grass and encourage them to grow better. This article will explain how to use spike shoes in more detail and answer any other questions you may have about aerating your lawn. Continue reading to learn more.

A garden aerator with spikes on the feet on a green lawn, How To Aerate A Lawn With Spike Shoes


How To Aerate Your Lawn With Spike Shoes

Spike shoes can be very effective at improving the health of your lawn if you use them the right way. It’s also important to purchase high-quality shoes to improve the chances that they’ll work as intended and last a long time.

Two lawn sandals on green grass


Spike shoes are just like they sound. They have sharp metal spikes on them to ensure that they puncture the ground. But the ground is not the only thing they can puncture, so be extremely careful when handling and wearing them. We’ll touch more on a few safety issues as we go through each step.

1. Strap Them To Your Shoes

The first thing you’ll want to do is strap the spike shoes to your existing shoes. The best type of shoe to wear with spike shoes is a sturdy sneaker or work boot. The shoes you usually wear to cut grass should be fine. 

How Do I Keep My Lawn Aerator Shoes On?

One issue that some people have with wearing spike shoes is that they come off of their feet. This is not only ineffective, but it can also be dangerous if you were to fall on the spikes.

Most shoes are one-size-fits-all, so they are designed to be worn by anyone no matter what your shoe size is. This is why buying high-quality shoes is so important.

Even if they do cost a little more money, the best spike shoes will have adjustable straps that you can loosen or tighten, depending on your shoe size. Spike shoes that have more straps are better. This will ensure that they don’t fall off as you are using them.

Click here to see these spike shoes on Amazon.

2. Walk Across One Section Of Your Lawn

Once the shoes are securely on your feet, choose a section of your yard in which to start aerating it. You’ll want to take slow, small strides across that section to ensure that the entire area gets punctured.

Note that if you take gentle steps, you may not be able to pull the shoes out of the soil. You can take forceful, stomping steps as long as you go slow and take small strides. The pace of your strides is important because if you go too quickly, you could fall.

This video will give you an idea of the pace to use when wearing spike shoes.

3. Walk The Opposite Way Across The Same Section

When you’ve walked all the way across one section of your yard, you’re going to turn around and walk back the other way across the same section. This will help you reach any areas that you might have missed during the first go. It will also help you become more comfortable walking with the shoes and developing a good pace.

4. Repeat Across The Rest Of Your Lawn

Once you’ve completed the first section of your lawn, you should have the hang of how to walk while wearing the spike shoes. You’re going to want to repeat that same process across the rest of your lawn, paying close attention to areas where the grass doesn’t seem to be growing as well. 

5. Water Your Lawn

Most of the time, when you aerate your lawn, you will water it beforehand. But with spike shoes, it’s best to wait until afterward. There are two reasons for this.

The first reason is that if the soil is wet, it can be harder to pull the shoes out of it. The last thing you want to do is get stuck. 

The second reason is that you will have opened up the soil, making it easier for water to penetrate the roots below. This is especially beneficial in areas where the grass isn’t growing as well. Give your lawn a thorough watering, using a hose or sprinkler, to ensure that all lawn areas are covered.

How Do You Aerate A Lawn With Pikes?

Aerating your lawn with pikes is essentially the same process as wearing spike shoes. Usually, the tool that is used is similar to a pitchfork. To use it, you just insert the tool into the ground, rock it back and forth to ensure that the soil gets punctured thoroughly, then pull it out. 

Continue the process across one section of your lawn, then go back the other way if you feel that it is necessary. Repeat the process across your entire lawn. The video in the above section also demonstrates the proper technique to use.

Click here to see this spike aeration tool on Amazon.

How Long Should Lawn Aerator Spikes Be?

The longer the spikes are on your aerator, the deeper the penetration into the soil will be. With that being said, you don’t want them to be too long because then the spikes will be harder to remove from the soil. Usually, spikes of around four inches are a good length because they’ll penetrate deeper into the soil without being hard to remove.

Which Is Better: Coring Aerator Or Spike Aerator?

Tines from ride on aerator that aerate the grass for lawn

One of the benefits of aerating your lawn is that it reduces soil compaction. But the problem with spike aerators, including spike shoes, is that they push and compact the soil farther down than on a surface level. Yes, it can allow water and fertilizer to reach the roots better, but it doesn’t actually remove any soil.

On the other hand, core aeration works by removing plugs of soil when you run the core aerator tool across the ground. This not only allows water to penetrate further into the soil, but it can also help to reduce soil compaction, especially with lawns that are more heavily compacted or have thick clay soil.

With that being said, core aerators are the better choice if you want to reap all the benefits that aerating your soil provides. Not only is core aerating, better for the soil's overall health, it can also be done more efficiently through the use of machines that attach to your lawnmower. Although more expensive, that would be the ideal choice if you have a large lawn.

Click here to see this tow-behind core aerator on Amazon.

See more: "Can You Over Aerate Your Lawn?"

Should I Pick Up My Plugs After Aerating?

Soil plug and hole from core aerator to stimulate root growth for lawn care services

If you want to remove plugs, you certainly can, but this is tedious work, and it actually isn’t recommended. The reason for this is that if you leave the plugs, they will start to break down over time. This process helps to return nutrients back into your soil. Leaving the plugs behind is very beneficial for the overall health of your lawn.

What Month Should I Aerate My Lawn?

The best time to aerate your lawn is in the late summer/early fall, more specifically around September or October, depending on where you live. Ideally, you just want to do it before the ground freezes because it can encourage your grass to grow a little more before it goes dormant for the winter.

You can also aerate in the spring, usually around March or April. This is typically done if your soil is heavily compacted. It can help remove some of the compaction, which can help your grass to thrive during the spring and summer.

See more: "Should You Aerate Your Lawn Every Year?"


Spike shoes can be effective at aerating your lawn to help water reach the roots of your grass. But, they aren’t the best way to aerate your lawn because they can still cause soil compaction. Core aeration is a better method because it has the most benefits for the overall health of your lawn. Thanks for reading.

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