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Traction devices to keep your feet on the ground

When there’s icy ground underfoot, the last thing you want is to end up slipping (especially if there’s anyone around to see). Winter boots are a great start, especially when they’ve got deep lugs and can dig into the snow, but for added confidence on slippery days, traction devices are a great tool to have on hand.

How to choose a traction device

The first thing to consider when you’re picking a traction device is where you’re going to use it. Are you going winter hiking, or walking to the mailbox on a cold morning? Knowing the activities you’ll be doing and the amount of ice you’ll be dealing with will help you make an informed choice.

There are three main factors to consider in your traction device:

  • Number of spikes: More spikes mean more traction, simple as that.

  • Length of spikes: Short spikes are better for thin layers of ice and are great for casual wear. Longer ones can dig in deeper for a better grip, but might be a hassle if you’re walking over other surfaces like pavement between patches of ice.

  • Attachment style: Traction devices fit over your shoes or boots, and some will be easier to handle with gloves on than others.

For more help staying upright in nasty weather, check out trekking poles and accessories to bring along on your walk.