Who hasn’t been climbing a steep, leave-covered trail? Or, a muddy one? Or, a snow and ice-covered one? If you’re among those who have, you know traction is key to maintaining an upright position, as well as moving forward. Hiking shoes or boots without sufficient traction leave you slipping backwards or falling, instead of climbing towards your goal. Most of us want multi-purpose footgear; we don’t want to own a specific pair of shoes or boots for one specific purpose. The problem with this philosophy is finding a way to get the traction you need without purchasing specialized shoes or boots.
The answer, for those of us who want to wear our hiking boots and shoes on the streets of our city or town, is a traction cleat harness. These harnesses fit over our existing footwear, providing us with maximum traction when climbing, and coming off if we want to wear the shoes or boots somewhere where traction is not an issue.
How do you choose a traction cleat? Well you evaluate your needs: do you climb in mostly snow and ice? Do you need traction cleats geared specifically for these conditions? Do you want cleats that provide traction in a multitude of environments – the leaves, the mud, the rocks, and the snow? If so, then you need to search for a general-purpose system. Whatever your needs, you can generally find a traction cleat to suit your purposes, for reasonable money.
Here is a list of the top ten traction cleat systems in 2016:
10. Kahtoola MICROspikes Footwear Traction
This traction cleat system provides twelve cleats per foot. It has a low-profile elastomer harness and utilizes welded chains for durability. This system fits either a hiking shoe or a hiking boot equally well.
The system costs about the same as a good running shoe.
09. OuterStar Ice & Snow Grips Over Shoe/Boot Traction Cleat Rubber Spikes
These traction cleats are an inexpensive system fitting all styles of shoes – hiking shoes, hiking boots, sneakers, casual shoes, and dress shoes. Small enough to fit in your pocket, these cleats slip on over your shoes with a minimum of fuss.
Made of elastomer and steel studs, these cleats provide great traction on snow and ice. These cleats are great for hunting, ice fishing, walking, jogging, running, snow shoveling, or any activity done out in snowy or icy conditions.
These cleats are not for use in any conditions except snow and/or ice. That said, they’re a great bargain for folks who live where the winter weather is harsh.
08. Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats for Walking, Jogging, or Hiking on Snow and Ice
The Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats are another inexpensive way to keep your footing on the snow and ice. Constructed of rubber and high-strength stainless steel coils, the cleats fit over your shoes easily. The cleats can be worn over shoes or boots, providing 360 degrees of traction and stability.
This system can be used for walking, jogging, or hiking in snowy and/or icy conditions.
07. STABILicers Walk Stabilicers Ice Traction Cleat for Snow and Ice
These cleats are easily fitted over shoes or boots. Made from a proprietary elastomer, this system has a system of multi-directional steel cleats, providing a firm grip in snow or ice. These cleats pull on with a minimum of fuss and are small enough to carry in a purse or workbag,
These cleats provide full-foot slip protection, and maintain traction throughout your natural stride.
This cleat system is not as inexpensive as others on the list, but is still well within the price of a good pair of running shoes.
06. Uelfbaby Micro spikes Footwear Ice Traction System Safe Protect for Walking, Jogging, or Hiking on Snow and Ice
Uelfbaby Micro spikes are essentially the same as the StabilIcers Lite Duty cleats. Made from a proprietary elastomer, the shoes provide full-foot slip protection and a firm grip on ice or snow.
These cleats fit either boots or shoes, and are small enough to be carried in a purse or other bag.
These cleats are on the inexpensive side, and are a great deal for the money.
These cleats are for use on snow or ice only, and are perfect for anyone who has to be out of doors in harsh winter weather.
05. YUEDGE Universal 18 Steel Teeth Anti-Slip Ice And Snow Traction Cleats Safe Protect Shoes
The Yuedge Universal cleats are multipurpose; they provide traction in snow, ice, mud, leaves, wet grass, and other poor conditions. These cleats are easy to slip on and off, and they fit most shoes, sneakers, and boots.
The cleats have 18 spikes per foot, and give a firm grip on many surfaces.
These cleats are inexpensive, easy to install and remove, and small enough to fit in a purse.
04. Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
The second offering from Kahtoola, these spike are geared for running shoes, hiking boots, or insulated boots, not for street shoes.
These cleats are easily installed and fit snugly on the shoe or boot. These cleats are multipurpose; they provide traction on other surfaces besides snow and ice.
They are priced in the range of a good running shoe.
03. ICETrekkers Shoe Chains
This system is designed specifically for snow and ice. The rubber sling fits most shoes and boots, including dress shoes, and have a unique design to keep the snow and ice from building up on the cleats.
Tire chains for your feet, this system gives you firm traction in snow, slush, or crusty ice.
Inexpensive and durable, these cleats are a go-to system when you have to walk in snow or ice on a regular basis.
02. Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device
This traction device has an ergonomic design to give added stability to the spikes, and an elastomer harness that easily slips on over most shoes.
Designed for winter trail use, these cleats provide traction in snowy conditions, as well as packed snow and ice.
The price is comparable to a good running shoe.
01. Due North Everyday G3 Ice and Snow Traction Aid
This traction system is designed for the city dweller. Fitting over urban and light-duty casual, dress, and athletic shoes, these cleats give the wearer traction on icy and snowy city sidewalks and streets, as well as when shoveling snow-covered driveways.
The webbed design allows the traction system to adapt to the shape of your shoes, and it works with almost every shoe in your closet. The low profile makes the system nearly invisible, so your style is not impeded. Small in size, these cleats will fit in your purse, pocket, briefcase or the glove box in your car.
Inexpensive, these cleats give the city dweller more bang for the buck as they get around the city during a winter’s day.
These traction systems provide stable walking in a variety of environments. While mostly designed for snow and ice, there are a few who cover other conditions, and if you’re in the market for a multipurpose pair, you can find one on this list. If you live in the Great Frozen North, or you just like to visit it a lot, investing in one of these traction systems makes good sense.