Admittedly, this winter for Ohio has been a bust where snow is concerned. However, living where I do winter inhabitants are occasionally bedeviled by ice storms or significant ice accumulation. Late January for me was one such episode where we received between 0.25″ to 0.5″ of ice accumulation and a dusting of freezing sleet. Walking in such weather on untreated or partially treated surfaces can be very tricky. Fortunately for me as a Christmas gift I received two pairs of Snowtrax 2 slip-on cleats that made all the difference on that treacherous day.
The rather balmy day before I was hammering in some borders for a flowerbed, and absentmindedly left my rubber mallet out on our split-rail fence. Overnight, a winter storm blew through the area dumping freezing rain and sleet and deposited a thick layer of ice over everything, including my mallet.
My raised garden bed’s chicken wire fence suffered a similar fate, bent over by the weight of the ice.
As I mentioned earlier I received a pair of Snowtrax 2 slip-on cleats as a gift, so now was my chance to try them out in getting our cars, thoughtfully parked outdoors due to some furniture delivered to the garage, out from under their icy shroud. The cleats are made of tough, but flexible rubber with a set of metal heel cleats and a coil of steel around the rubber X encompassing the front of the sole. They are to shoes what snow chains are to tires: much needed additional traction.
Here is a top-down shot of the bottom (left) and top (right) of the Snowtrax. Note the Velcro securing straps with the reflective lettering.
Closeup of heel portion:
Close-up of front sole area:
I slipped the cleats on over my light boots for a snug fit. Earlier versions of Snowtrax lacked the reflective securing strap, so once slipped onto the shoe/boot the strap helped keep them snugly in place.
I embarked on some necessary outdoor cleanup chores sporting my slip-on cleats, and they did not disappoint. In my usage of them, there was absolutely no slip or give on the rough ice coating our walkway and driveway. Instead, it felt like I was walking with sure footing on normal concrete with the cleats digging in and the coils digging in and preventing lateral slides. To be sure, I was nevertheless initially cautious, but in using the Snowtrax gained confidence and went about my work. These particular Snowtrax 2 slip-on cleats have an MSRP of $27.99 at Costco (the location where these were purchased; Snowtrax 2 can be found elsewhere online as well)
After finishing the cleanup and de-icing our vehicles, I returned to the house and removed the cleats and went outside again. What a world of difference! Whereas before I had sure footing, now I was slipping and sliding all over the place … not a safe environment in the least. I carefully made my way back inside, slipped on the Snowtrax and promptly put the extra pair in my car for good measure. I occasionally travel through some rural areas and the slip-on cleats would be a wise winter investment during an emergency. I highly recommend these for dangerous winter conditions outdoors!
What I Like: Easy to get on and off; snug fitting; seem to grip ice and snow very well; reflective strip good for low visibility conditions; very portable
What Needs Improvement: It should be noted that while buyers and choose the appropriate size based on their shoe size, certain shoes with large, wide soles, such as some running or tennis shoes for example may not fit well or at all; depending on your shoe size and type, you may need to buy a size group up.