Author Topic: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes  (Read 681 times)

Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« on: December 13, 2018, 10:42:08 am »
We are going to Norway in February, hoping to see the Northern lights.  Having experienced Scandinavia in February once before about 12 years ago I know how treacherous the pavements can get when they are very icy.  Is it worth getting some of the ice grippers that fit over your shoes/boots?  There are various designs available, some are a sort of mini version of crampons with short spikes, some seem to be like a series of long helical springs under your shoes and some are just pads with short studs like they use in tyres.  Are any of them any good?

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2018, 11:17:01 am »
I've only used a cheap pair of studded ones but yes, they make a massive difference.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2018, 11:25:39 am »

Oh yes. I personally like the Katoona nanospikes for ice on pavement. I use them with studded tyres when cycling so I don't fall over the moment I stop and put my foot down... I've also used them to walk to the station when the roads were basically sheet ice. I really like them.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2018, 11:40:20 am »
Brilliant!  Thank you, I'll have a look at what I can get.  Although I still don't understand how a couple of mm of tungsten steel can make a rubber tyre or your foot stick like glue to ice.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2018, 11:47:30 am »
Yaktrax are pretty good. They are basically a coil of wire, no spikes as such. They give a reasonable grip on patches of ice or slush etc.

If it is all just sheets of thick ice, then maybe better with spikes. But for a mixture of ice and clear tarmac, spikes won't help so much. Also they could wear down quickly.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2018, 11:53:03 am »
Brilliant!  Thank you, I'll have a look at what I can get.  Although I still don't understand how a couple of mm of tungsten steel can make a rubber tyre or your foot stick like glue to ice.

It's a question of ground load. with 10 2mm diameter spikes, you have a total surface area of ~31.5mm² vs a normal foot area of say 16500m²[1]. So your body weight is now spread across a much smaller area, a sharper, hard, small area. Which can cut through the ice, and give you some sort of traction. Where a rubber tyre on dry roads is all about having a maximum amount of friction (whilst limiting rolling resistance...), over a large area, traction on ice with spikes is all about having the very high ground load, on a very small foot print[2].

Now there are alternatives, you can get traction on ice without going for spikes, but it requires a whole lot more science and design. Canada has a system where by shoes are rated based on their traction on ice. Probably not worth it if you're going to be in the ice for only a few days, but if you're seeing out a winter, shoes that meet such requirements are better. Tom Scott explains more here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1oRaUTbk3k

J

[1] Ball park, based on 75x220mm foot area

[2] Working out the comparative ground load in pascals based on the numbers provided and a 75kg human is left as an exercise for the reader...
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2018, 12:08:18 pm »
What are they like for walking on un-iced pavements? Or in snow and slush? Icy pavements in my experience tend to be a metre or two of ice, twenty metres of clear, two metres of slush, etc – maybe Norway has more unbroken sheets of ice.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2018, 01:40:44 pm »
What are they like for walking on un-iced pavements? Or in snow and slush? Icy pavements in my experience tend to be a metre or two of ice, twenty metres of clear, two metres of slush, etc – maybe Norway has more unbroken sheets of ice.

Noisy, but fine. I wouldn't want to walk across a wooden floor on them, and the polished concrete floor of the station at a run was an underwear changing experience. But on your typical pavement, tarmac, etc... they are fine. I used to use them to walk the 2.5km to the station, take them off in the doorway (having learnt my lesson), and get on a train. This was on a mix of frosted roads, sheet ice, and snow.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2018, 03:18:46 pm »
Kahtoola Microspikes are pretty much the standard around here for walking on packed snow, very sturdy and well made. Nanospikes are probably a better option for transitioning between snow, ice and dry tarmac. Yaktrax simply do not last, although the "Pro" model might be a little more durable.

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2018, 03:25:37 pm »
What are they like for walking on un-iced pavements? Or in snow and slush? Icy pavements in my experience tend to be a metre or two of ice, twenty metres of clear, two metres of slush, etc – maybe Norway has more unbroken sheets of ice.

Noisy, but fine. I wouldn't want to walk across a wooden floor on them,

J

Our wooden floor at home has evidence of nipping back to the kitchen for something I'd forgotten last winter when there was snow on the ground using cheap spikes from Mountain Warehouse  ::-)
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2018, 03:27:36 pm »
Although I still don't understand how a couple of mm of tungsten steel can make a rubber tyre or your foot stick like glue to ice.

Watch youtube video of the WRC rally cars in Sweden in February - it's the fastest event they do and is hugely impressive to have that much trust in your tyres
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2018, 03:39:03 pm »
Many years ago I was given a lift at night from a small rural airport in the middle of nowhere in mid-Norway in February.  The airport seemed to be on the top of a mountain and the road was fairly steep with a lot of hairpins and the driver just drove down the road at the sort of speed I would have done had it been summer and dry.  I was amazed that the car just stuck to the road and never gave any sign of slipping.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2018, 03:40:58 pm »
Many years ago I was given a lift at night from a small rural airport in the middle of nowhere in mid-Norway in February.  The airport seemed to be on the top of a mountain and the road was fairly steep with a lot of hairpins and the driver just drove down the road at the sort of speed I would have done had it been summer and dry.  I was amazed that the car just stuck to the road and never gave any sign of slipping.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atayHQYqA3g

Winter tyres make an amazing difference.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2018, 04:39:32 pm »
Sure do. I remember a friend from UK flying out to Poland and hiring a car midwinter while I was there. It was a Renault hatchback, back here he has (or had) a Land Rover Discovery. There was fresh snow, deep, on top of compressed. He wasn't sure how the little Renault would handle – but found that 2WD with winter tyres was grippier than 4WD with summer tyres.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2018, 06:56:52 pm »
Yes, a dozen times yes. We went on a Northern Lights cruise last winter, and the shoe spike things were great. Mrs M hasn't got great stability, even on summer pavements in England, but was fine with the slip on spikes. Most of the time on the excursions you won't be going anywhere too 'exotic' but even city streets (Alta for example) were packed ice.
We took poundshop ones and they were perfectly fine - you may want to pay more if you want to use them beyond your cruise.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2018, 02:04:20 pm »
You can get winter grade boots and shoes from Merrell that have winter rubber, like winter car tyres, that grip on snow and ice. At the moment a pair of trail or approach shoes with this Arctic grip sole unit is on offer for £75. They have 200g of synthetic insulation in the body of the shoe and better insulation in the insole area too.

I know from experience winter walking / running in the Lakeland fells that the right rubber on your shoes stops slips very well. I'm looking at getting a pair for Norway straight after Xmas. Off to geilo ski resort. Should be fun.

BTW talking to a Swedish guy who spends more time in Norway than Sweden, he said pavements generally get cleared and salted / gritted so not a problem. Unless straight after a heavy snowfall of course. It's out and about that's the issue.

You can buy winter boots (snow boot style) that are very well insulated and have the right rubber sole unit for not a lot of money.. Considering snow getting into your shoe cools you n down high boots can be a good idea when messing about in snow.

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2018, 04:09:00 pm »
I got the Icetrekkers, on the grounds that I wanted something suitable for icy pavement/tarmac, and I didn't like the look of the Yaktrax from a durability point of view.
So far so good, but I've not used them long enough to test durability.

For hillwalking, I'd use Kahtoola Microspikes (if not proper boots & crampons), but on road and pavement I'd expect the spikes to get blunt fairly quickly.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2018, 10:22:58 pm »
I got the Icetrekkers, on the grounds that I wanted something suitable for icy pavement/tarmac, and I didn't like the look of the Yaktrax from a durability point of view.
So far so good, but I've not used them long enough to test durability.
Looks like those Icetrekkers are now rebranded as Yaktrax Chains / Yaktrax Diamond Grip. Seems they are the same company anyway.

Re: Ice Grippers for Boots/Shoes
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2018, 05:58:07 am »
I got the Icetrekkers, on the grounds that I wanted something suitable for icy pavement/tarmac, and I didn't like the look of the Yaktrax from a durability point of view.
So far so good, but I've not used them long enough to test durability.
Looks like those Icetrekkers are now rebranded as Yaktrax Chains / Yaktrax Diamond Grip. Seems they are the same company anyway.
I have Yaktrak. Very good indeed.