Last Winter when we had an extended cold spell I really struggled to walk on the roads around here with the dog as the hard packed snow was very icy and it was difficult to keep upright. At the end of the Winter I bought some Winter Trax shoes grips from QVC in anticipation of another hard Winter. I was beginning to this that I would not get to use them until last week when we got 6" snowfall overnight and suddenly Winter had arrived with a vengeance. I hunted in the cupboard, found the Winter Trax and put them over my dog walking boots to test them out.
Using the Winter Trax
They are easy enough to fit - basically they are a shaped rubber mesh which you hook over the toe of your shoes and pull the heel tab to fit them over the heel. On the sole they have coiled metal over the rubber mesh which crosses in the centre of the sole and it is this coiled metal which gives you the grip on icy surfaces. Once you have hooked the mesh over the base of your shoe you fasten a little velcro strap across the top of your shoe to make sure that they stay in place as you walk.
They recommend that you do not use them on tarmac or concrete but only use them on snow and ice. I found that where there were a few patches where the snow was clear it wasn't a problem to walk across in them although you are aware that they are there and obviously you wouldn't want to use them unless there was snow around. It is also recommended that if over time the coils get flattened you can pinch them again to ensure you get a good grip. I haven't found a problem with them flattening but it could be someone much heavier than me could find it more of an issue.
I found they were a great help and made a huge difference on hard packed snow giving me the confidence to take my little dog on his usual 5 mile walk each day when many of my neighbours were avoiding it. On areas of frozen water they are not as effective, they are better than being without them, but you can't really expect them to dig into frozen ice when the temperature has been down to -11 degrees and I didn't having a problem avoiding the ice. They were great on the footpaths and on the road and I wore them as I went around the field footpaths as well. They stayed in place very well during the walk and are very light so they don't make your boots any heavier. They should not be worn indoors and would certainly mark wood or laminate flooring so I leave mine by the back door and step into them as I leave the house.
Would I recommend them?
Yes I would. I certainly feel a lot safer when I am wearing them. I found I didn't need them on fresh show as my boots were fine without them but once it started to get hard packed they were a godsend. They are quick and easy to fit, they don't take a lot of space to store them. Watching the news I saw many people had fallen on ice and injured themselves. Mine cost less than £20 for two pairs from QVC and it seems a small price to pay for being safe when walking. Yes I recommend them if you worry about walking on snowy, icy footpaths.