In the second of our series of reviews on ice spikes we’re taking a look at the Ice Treads for Shoes, from UK retailer Ice Grips. Unlike the previously reviewed Pogu Spikes, the Ice Treads are designed for more occasional use on ice, rather than snow, and use a series of metal studs on the forefoot to provide the majority of their traction.
They’re constucted from a flat moulding of silicone rubber and are stretchy enough that they can be pulled up and over the front of your boot and heel to keep them in place. They don’t feel absolutely secure – they’re no crampon replacement – and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to stretch them over big boots, but let’s view these as a sort of handy emergency measure rather than as a product for regular use.
The studs grip well on sheet ice, allowing you to walk (or gently run) with a lot more confidence than in just shoes.
The midfoot and heel of the Ice Treads has a very tough steel coil running along it which also does a good job of biting in to ice, but works better on slightly less hard stuff like hard-packed snow. You get a slight slip when you land heel first, before the coils really dig in, which can be a bit disconcerting at first but things improve as you rock forwards on your foot.
The Ice Treads are far cheaper than more robust alternatives like the Pogu Spikes, and you can tell that they won’t last as well. I have some concerns over the way that the silicone rubber stretches over the toe of a boot, exposing itself to damage from any sharp surface. If one of the silicone straps breaks then these are useless and non-repairable.
That said, I reckon these would be a little more secure in use than the cheapest alternatives that have sprung-up in petrol stations across the country this month. The coils on the rear section allow you to keep a more normal, relaxed gait than if you just have studs on the front and the rubber, whilst vulnerable, is a little thicker than is used on cheapy versions.
SUMMARY: I probably wouldn’t consider these for off-road or wilderness walking, but I think they’d be a good bet for someone to keep in the car, or porch, for mornings where it’s unexpectedly slippery and you need a little more grip for safety’s sake. They’re no alternative to crampons or even proper shoes spikes, but at a much lower price they definitely have a niche for those of us who live in less snowy areas.