Author Topic: Boots for real snow and ice?  (Read 465 times)

Boots for real snow and ice?
« on: November 18, 2019, 01:20:58 pm »
Ski trip coming up and after slipping around Geilo in Norway last year in normal hiking boots I'm wondering if there are decent looking snow boots with better grip for apres ski walking about?

Most I've seen look like welly bottoms with fabric or leather uppers. Any suggestions? Other than spikes that is,  I just need something I can walk upright in that can still go straight into shops and places without taking off and carrying spikes.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2019, 04:27:57 pm »
I've only used normal hiking boots walking about a resort, if necessary carrying a ski pole. I've used the rubber stretch ons with studs, but while they do improve traction they are a faff2, but you can walk in shops with them. Rud do some non-aggressive reasonably priced shoe snow chains, too.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2019, 07:16:25 am »
Anything with a real rubber sole. A lot of it is then adjusting your walking technique as well.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2019, 08:17:49 am »
In what way do you adjust your walking technique.  I walk with a planted or flat foot and shorter step to keep my centre centre of gravity closer to the load bearing foot if you follow my meaning. I walk slower and I still slip a lot. It doesn't help having a high CoG being 6'5" tall. Although not an uncommon height I reckon in Sweden but then I've not grown up with the same climate.

I've been told boots with a good grip but I see various cold country brands use more basic grips on their winter boots,  a waffle grip like early trainers or a little more than converse all star shoes/ boots. Plus I used decent hiking boots last year and despite a new and deep tread I went break dancing at least once.

One annoying thing is the difference between male and female snow boots. Most of the men's ones are like wellies to three ankle then leather, canvas or fabric up the shaft. Simply different in look to normal boots and shoes. Compare with women's proper winter boots. They have the similar welly hybrids but there's normal looking boots. These boots have the cold weather insulation plus winter suitable soles. You could wear them in the UK about town without looking odd. Not so with men's winterised boots. It's that normal look with winter performances I'm looking at. A simple, classic,  brown or black boot with insulation and winter grip.

It's looking like I'm going to have to get the welly style and use one week a year.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2019, 03:59:37 pm »
Having worked many seasons in the Alps I can assure you that no perfect ordinary boot exists having tried scores! I conclude some people have much better balance than me, or walk better, or something.
I have borrowed seemingly fantastic boots and been likened to John Travolta...
I did get a pair of boots in Switzerland (Jumbo supermarket) that had semi circular sole inserts, the insert was either just recessed, or flipped over to expose raised spikes, the foresole spikes positioned under the ball of your foot, the heel I think was spiked to the rear of the heel and parked near the instep.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2019, 04:20:58 pm »
In what way do you adjust your walking technique.  I walk with a planted or flat foot and shorter step to keep my centre centre of gravity closer to the load bearing foot if you follow my meaning. I walk slower and I still slip a lot. It doesn't help having a high CoG being 6'5" tall. Although not an uncommon height I reckon in Sweden but then I've not grown up with the same climate.
We're talking about walking round town, snowy and icy pavements, not out on the slopes? Heels are the thing to avoid IME. Stopping suddenly with your heel on the ground will have you sliding. And shorter steps as you say. And avoid metal plates, though of course you can't always see them, and slush. Mind you, it took me about three Polish winters to learn to do this.

Hiking or walking boots are usually decent in terms of grip and warmth. Though if you go skiing every year it might be worth getting something special?
The unwilling rider and the one who leaves each control in turn without reluctance, with no desire to come back, obviously cannot be making the same journey, even though their brevets are identical.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2019, 06:49:29 pm »
Cheap insulated winter boots from Decathlon (£12 a pair) were fine in Finland last year at -25C.
Walking on snow/ice is always a lottery, you just have to take it easy.

There were places we could run around throwing snowballs in perfect security, others where we were slip-sliding around all over the place.
Packed or unpacked snow was good, partially melted snow/ice was always the worst.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2019, 07:21:21 pm »
Height makes no real difference. Normal walking, we're 'falling' onto the front foot and while it sounds like you're adjusting for that, you also need to be more relaxed.,,but because you're worried about slipping, you'll tense of, which will cause over reactions, which then causes more slipping. It takes me about a week to adjust, so if you're only going to for a week, you may just have to suffer with it :).
Relax, take your time.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2019, 10:16:05 pm »
I had two pairs of montrail highlander trail shoes over a year and a half of challenge walks,  backpacking and walking in the hillier parts of the UK in all seasons. I used to wear fell shoes out in 2 to 3 months but these lasted 9 months each.

They also had amazing grip on any terrain I went on. The real revelation was a cold and deep snowy winter day scrambling up a steep snow slope and then down a long,  steady downhill on compacted snow and ice. I could run down the compacted snow parts only needing caution on ice. The week before I'd walked the same track in good winter boots b1 or b2 (la sportiva brand) with deep vibram tread. It was scarily slippy.

My only regret was not buying all the UK stock of size 9 montrail Highlanders when I heard they were no longer making them or anything quite like it. Seriously,  whatever the rubber on the sole it gripped well in winter. It seems to me there must be a winter boot with rubber that grippy.

This will be our second post xmas ski trip. If we can I think it'll be a yearly tradition now. Post xmas period was always a wasted time until last year's ski trip. It's what we're looking forward to rather than xmas day!

As such my thinking is to spend a little bit more each year to get new kit together. Last year I got ski trousers,  jacket and goggles plus extra thermals. I looked for boots too but left it too late so bought mid boot versions of my hill trainers. This year boots are my main purchase. I'm just struggling to find something good in winter that I like the look of / could use in the UK too.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2019, 08:10:15 am »
Have you tried walking with a pole? (Cudzo, Jurek pipe down) Either on hills with a walking version or in ski resorts with your ski pole? Having three points of contact, two always on the ground makes a fundamental difference to your stability. So much so, that many prefer two poles, especially walking and hill walking. For me, that's too much faff, but with a single pole you quickly adjust to using it as and when really needed and relegating to helping the rest of the time.

Been skiing now at least once a year, often more, for around thirty years and encountered all manner of resort conditions, and have a selection of shoe spikes/grip additions I've tried mostly for out of resort mountain walking. In resort, just normal walking boots (rather than shoes, the ankle support helps stability) and a pole.

Re: Boots for real snow and ice?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2019, 08:42:08 am »
Used to use poles but learnt they can't stop a slide. Not for me they didn't. Also with trips they don't help.

One spectacular pole caused fall I had involved the pole getting jammed in a rock and catapulting me over the top of you're pole onto my derriere in a painful way. Fortunately I had my hands out of the straps at the time. I think I stopped using them to walk with after that. I just carried them for my tarp.