For the outdoorsy-type, the winter can serve as a hindrance of sorts, at least when it comes to doing the activities they love. Whether it be hiking, going for a jog, or of course, any water-based activity, relocating to a warm, sunny area is certainly an option, but that’s not always the most practical idea in the world. If you’re willing to brace for the cold — and have the right equipment to do so — there’s nothing really stopping you from going out into the inclimate weather and doing the things you love. Well, other than slippery ice, of course. While you’re not going to be able to participate in any water sports in the dead of winter, you can, however, find the right gear to go on hikes, walks, and jogs, thanks to simple, easy to slip on traction cleats. These life-saving devices go over your shoe in order to give your footwear increased traction and, in turn, provide a safety net of sorts, so you can continue doing the things you love in the great outdoors. Because, let’s face it — even if you have the most expensive, high-quality winter boots, you’re still going to find yourself slipping and sliding all over the place. So if you’re looking for the snowshoe equivalent of tire chains, look no further — there are plenty of great options on the web. Let’s look at some of the best.
Best Overall Traction Cleats
For a durable, easy-to-put-on traction cleat that contains a heavy-duty grip and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, the ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats is a great overall purchase. Made of case-hardened steel alloy that’s then strung on a steel aircraft cable, these traction cleats are tough, durable, and provide stable traction in snow and ice. The patented “diamond bead” design contains hundreds of biting edges that provide grip in almost every direction. They’re also great for places that have alternating spots of winter terrain, as they’re able to smoothly transition through gravel, rock, mud, snow, and ice. Of course, the trekkers are highly stable, as they don’t wear out in subzero weather and don’t build up ice. A flexible, yet tough rubber sling allows you to slip the cleats on and off with relative ease. They don’t become stiff in the frigid temperatures either, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to get them off or, worse yet, ultimately breaking.
Strongest Traction Cleats for Stability
The STABILicers Walk Traction Cleat for Walking on Snow and Ice certainly live up to their moniker when it comes to stability, yet, they might not be as comfortable as the IceTrekkers. Still, if you’re looking for something with an actual cleat-like bottom (cleat-like, meaning like a pair you’d wear playing football or soccer), then these might ultimately be the better option. They certainly won’t fall off, as these stretch-to-fit cleats fit securely enough on any shoe or boot, given you get the correct sizes of the four offered. The cleats’ high-performance traction aids are durable and easily stand up to hard use. However, they’re also designed and tested to remain flexible in frigid temperatures, allowing you to take them on and off in the bitter cold. They feature full-sole coverage, which provides 360 degrees of traction for any outdoor activity, whether it be hiking or just shoveling your front steps. The heat-treated steel traction plates are deeply molded into the heel and forefoot of the cleats’ thermoplastic elastomer binding, thus ensuring the cleats will stay in place and prevent slipping or falling on nearly any winter surface.
Best Value Traction Cleats
The Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats for Walking, Jogging, or Hiking on Snow and Ice are an inexpensive, yet still highly-effective alternative to some of the other models on the market. These cleats are more like the ICEtrekkers, as they essentially operate in the same fashion of snow car tires. They’re made with ultra-durable 1.4mm stainless-steel coils wrapped around a heavy-duty rubber foot frame, which combine to make these cleats both non-intrusive and extremely stable. Perfect for walking, jogging, hiking, or running in the ice slush or packed snow, these traction devices are also adjustable, thanks to an over-the-foot rubber strap which provides increased stability and comfort. (Side note: they also come in four different sizes depending on your foot size, so despite the strap, you should still find the size that correlates with your foot size.) They’ve also been tested for breakage in temperatures as low as -41 degrees, so they won’t crack or fall off in even the most frigid of conditions.