How Ice Cleats Work

When the temperature drops below freezing and the ground becomes dangerously icy, you might be wondering, “What’s the best way to walk around outside without slipping and falling?” Ice cleats are a popular option among people who live in frigid conditions and struggle to stay on their feet in the snow. We answer the following questions in this article:

  • But how do ice cleats work?
  • Are they safe to use?
  • And what are the best ice cleats available?
  • Where can I purchase the best ice cleats?
  • Here’s everything you need to know about the effectiveness of ice cleats and how they work.

What Are Ice Cleats?

Ice cleats are an attachment that straps onto the bottom of footwear. They vary in design but usually feature rows of spikes or studs, which help you gain traction on snow and ice. Some snow cleats don’t have any spikes at all but instead feature rubber ridges and bumps to improve stability. Ice cleats are different from crampons, which feature much larger spikes for use in snow during mountain climbing expeditions.

Ice cleats are easy to fit onto your shoes. Most ice cleats are made of pliable rubber and which stretch to fit around most size shoes. Some designs feature Velcro straps that tighten around your boots, so your cleats don’t slip off while walking. 

Many ice cleats are composed of thermoplastic rubber, which can withstand temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice cleats are also easy to remove from shoes and can be fitted onto a range of footwear from sneakers to hunting boots. 

Ice cleats have been around for hundreds of years, with scientists and historians tracing their routes back to the Vikings. While in the past ice cleats were only utilized by older people, changes to designs have meant ice cleats are becoming more popular in day-to-day use. Many people now use ice cleats to go jogging or hiking in the snow to stay active even in inclement weather.

Ice cleats also come in very handy in industrial workplaces. Many companies require their staff to wear ice cleats while working outside, especially when operating heavy machinery during the winter. 

What To Consider When Using Ice Cleats

Now you know how ice cleats work, should you buy a pair? While ice cleats are useful in some situations, they can also be a hindrance in others. Wearing ice cleats doesn’t guarantee steady footing in wintery conditions, so you should continue to move cautiously on snow and ice. 

You should also be careful when transitioning inside while wearing ice cleats. It’s easy to forget your wear them while outside—however, ice cleats can be hazardous inside. Some designs will cause you to slip over if you don’t take them off before entering a building. Cleats with sharp spikes may also scratch hard flooring. 

Many modern designs consider these problems and provide what’s known as “Transitional Traction.” Transitional Traction is usually present on rubber-soled ice cleats and allows you to walk inside without any issues.

Despite some potential pitfalls associated with wearing ice cleats they are highly beneficial. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slipping on ice and snow causes around 1 million injuries every year in the US alone. Of these 1 million injuries, approximately 17,000 are fatal.With such a large number of injuries every year, it’s essential to do everything you can avoid slipping over on the icy ground. Ice cleats can reduce the chance of falling, potentially saving you a lot of pain and thousands of dollars in medical bills. You can pick up a pair of ice cleats for as little as $10, so it’s not a significant investment if you’re unsure how effective they’ll be.

Different Types of Ice Cleats Available

Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats

Yaktrax is one of the most popular ice cleat brands and with good reason. The Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats are composed of rubber and are wrapped in 1.4mm steel coils that provide decent traction on slippery surfaces. With an adjustable strap and stretch-to-fit rubber frame, these ice cleats will shape to any shoe with ease. The Pro Tractions Cleats have been tested in temperatures of -41 degrees to ensure they work in even the coldest environments. 

AGOOL Ice Cleats

If you’d prefer a traditional spiked model, consider the AGOOL Ice Cleats. These cleats are constructed from thermoplastic rubber, which is durable, lightweight, and will stretch to fit onto different shoe sizes. They also feature an adjustable velcro strap to ensure a tight fit. The bottom of these cleats boast 24 stainless steel spikes, which provide excellent traction and stability in snowy and icy conditions. You’ll even be provided with a storage bag for easy transportation. 

Limm Ice Traction Cleats

Limm Ice Cleats have a practical and straightforward design. Composed of stretchable plastic, they can be folded up to fit in your pocket. There stretchable design means they fit comfortably on all shoes, including hunting boots and fishing boots. They feature ten studs which provide ample traction on icy ground. 

Wodifer Traction Cleats

Wodifer Traction Cleats may be one of the sturdiest ice cleats on the market. Unlike the other entries on this list, these ice cleats are made from stainless steel. There chain linked design allows for flexibility and durability, while their stainless-steel spikes provide excellent grip. Only the upper part of the cleat is made of rubber to ensure they fit correctly. Despite being made of metal, these cleats are lightweight. You’ll also get a year’s warranty and 30-day moneyback guarantee just in case something goes wrong. 

ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats 

Another popular metal-based ice cleat is the ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats. These cleats consist of steel alloy beads attached to steel aircraft cable for superior durability and grip. The unique design of these beads means these cleats provide 360-degree grip and are self-clearing, so you won’t have any build-up of snow on the bottom of your shoes. 

Winter Walking Low-Pro Ice Cleat

Winter Walking Low-Pro Ice Cleats are perfect for all conditions. One of the key features of these cleats is they feature a Transitional Traction design, meaning you can walk inside and out without worrying about slipping over. They have 26 tungsten carbide studs, which are barely visible but provide exemplary traction. These small studs also mean you won’t damage hard flooring while walking indoors. 

Final Thoughts

Ice cleats are one of the best ways to prevent falls on ice and snow. They are proven to provide traction on icy ground by creating traction and friction through studs, spikes, and ridges.

A large number of Americans are slipping on ice each year, and this number continues to rise year after year. Northern U.S. states like Minnesota and Wisconsin experience a large amount of snowfall each year, meaning ice cleats will certainly come in handy during the winter months. 

When purchasing snow cleats, try to find a pair with Traction Transition, so you can safely walk indoors and outdoors. Snow cleats usually feature thermoplastic rubber, which is great as this material performs well in frigid temperatures. Thermoplastic rubber ice cleats are also lightweight, meaning you won’t burdened while trudging along snowy streets. 

Whatever ice cleats you decide to buy, they’re one of the best ways to prevent accidents on the ice. Falling on ice could cause you serious bodily harm and costing you thousands of dollars in medical bills. 

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