Patterico's Pontifications


Product Review–Snow Trax

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:15 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Let me start by saying I don’t make many product endorsements and I am not being compensated in any way to say this.  I paid for the product I am about to discuss and now I am glad I did.   You see, yesterday when I got up my neighborhood was an ice rink.  There was about a quarter to half an inch of ice all over everything—the sidewalks, the grass, the roads and the car.

Now a few months before, I purchased a pair of these things called “Snow Trax.”  Here’s an image:

They are basically ice cleats that slip onto your shoes like rubbers or galoshes.  And they worked perfectly.  As long as they were on my feet I never slipped on the ice.

Of course that was the big caveat: “As long as they were on my feet.”  When I first went out there I wore my semi-serious snow boots.  The sole of the boots were so thick that it had trouble reaching to grip on the boot and as a result it kept slipping off.  When I put it on my normal work shoes, it wasn’t such a problem.  Still when you use them, pay attention to them.  Once they slipped off without me noticing and then I almost slipped and fell thinking I had traction.

This works great where I am, where you can expect a pretty decent amount of snowfall and the like each winter, but not typically massive and constant snow.  So if you live in Texas, its probably a waste of money because you will be lucky to use it once every ten years and by then you won’t know where it is if that storm finally happens.  And if you live in Alaska, you should probably invest in a much more serious ice cleat set up.  But where I live (Northern Virginia), it makes perfect sense.  I will be keeping one pair in my car and another in my house from now on.

Anyway, if you are a member of Costco, you can buy a pair here.  It comes out to ten dollars a pair, very much worth it.

And you can also find it on numerous other sites, just search for the name.

Update: This video is sort of on topic and pretty scary to watch:

Update (II): And here is more wild winter-related video.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

16 Responses to “Product Review–Snow Trax”

  1. I’ve used them for years – even have a more serious set for when it gets really ridiculous, replete with long ice picks on the soles and the whole enchilada. Use those babies about once every three years – but still worth it.

    Dmac (498ece)

  2. I wonder how well they’d work though on a thin glaze of ice over pavement. Hard points still slide on a hard surface.

    I left my house yesterday morning to walk the dog and to take out the trash. So I started down my driveway with the dog leash in my right hand and pushing the big wheely cart with my left hand. As soon as I reached the sloped part of my drive, my feet slipped out from under me – I landed on my butt – and I slid, still holding the dog and the cart – over 40 feet down the driveway gathering speed all the way till I ended up on my hands and knees at the bottom.

    After I changed to dry pants, my day was all downhill from there. Would these have worked?

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  3. Gesundheit — maybe. I rarely slip when wearing the Yak Trax Pro that I favor now. This is a spike-less design that doesn’t blunt on concrete or tear up carpeting. Folds into a quart ZipLoc bag for carry in your pocket.

    I’ve slipped using all sorts of shoe attachments, from YakTrax to spikey things to FootFangs to real crampons. You’ve got to watch your feet and feel your balance.

    htom (412a17)

  4. I’ve got the old Yak Trax, and you can still slip in those. And yes they flip off larger soles without you knowing it.

    Some conditions, you need the actual cleats. But those and Yak Trax both are hell on decks.

    carol (5a5d33)

  5. YakTrax work great, even on thin ice over sidewalks or street. I know, they saved me a lot of pain. I also like how they can fold up in a small bag in your coat pocket.

    I spent a very cold winter (2004-2005) in Montreal on an assignment that lasted 5 months. As the first snow fell I realized I did not have shoes for that kind of weather. I live in Southern California.

    I slipped and fell 3 times just trying to get to a mall to see if I could find something. I made it as far as a sporting goods store where I was glad to pay for these simple wonders. I still have them and I keep them where I can find them if we visit snow prone locations. They work over almost any kind of shoe. I have worn them on dress shoes, walking shows and running shoes.

    Roger Anderson (fdcb37)

  6. I’m buying 1000 pairs and shipping them with me to Doha next week – cause – I’m the smartest person in the room!

    Has Palin taxed these yet?

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  7. Up here in Red (Klamath) County, we get a couple of types of these in the farm/ranch/hardware stores. One set has small chains, while the other has spikes, a lot like the points on studded snow tires.

    Note: the chain type is worse than useless on glare ice. At best they give you a false sense of security, and at worst, they’ll facilitate the fall. Our former pastor’s wife used the chains on ice and shattered her wrist.

    The chains work well in deep snow. Alas, none of the products fit my size 14W boots, but my wife uses the spikes a lot in winter. We get an ice rink on the drive north of the house. I walk on the snow…

    Red County Pete (043ae5)

  8. I lived in Alaska for 25 years, and I tried every
    once of these that came along. the best are
    from a Maine company, they
    make one type like the one pictured here, and
    another one with a full sole and hex screws on

    John Cunningham (7e6e43)

  9. Thanks for the tip, Aaron! A friend of ours in northern Idaho just fell on an icy driveway and broke a rib. We’re sending him and his wife a pair and getting some for us too.

    T D (7d9cc1)

  10. God Bless Texas, suckers.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  11. dustin

    hey i was in dallas when they had that ice storm in the late 90’s. i want to say it was 1997. they had something like 300 accidents in an hour, sadly including my car. karma is a b-tch, dude.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  12. #8 @John — yes, the STABLicers work great, but they won’t fit in a pocket and they chew the hell out of everything. Mine live on my big Sorrels.

    htom (412a17)

  13. I like Houston.

    And so do those B-52 sized mosquitoes.

    Old Coot (f73cf0)

  14. If I lived back east and woke up seeing everything outside coated with ice, I wouldn’t be able to get my hockey skates on fast enough. 😉

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (e09322)

  15. Useful to me. fmskdjfsd

    Van Jurisch (8d04d1)

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