Gear for Slippery Situation

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If you are a hiker and spent a lot of time on the trails, even in winter, occasionally you need to deal with ice and snow slippery enough, that it is difficult to stay vertical. There are many traction devices on the market that can be attached to your shoes or boots to help you with traction on the snow and ice. Many of them work reasonably well on the flat, plowed sidewalks, but just a few are great on hiking trails, which are often covered with uneven, frozen snow or ice. The biggest issue, that I encountered many times, is the fact, that they come off, and usually you don’t even feel that happening, and only realize the fact much later. However, there are some that once put on, they stay on in any conditions, and they also provide good traction.

There are three of them that are getting consistently good reviews. I have not had a chance to test all of them. I only have personal experience with Kahtoola.


Kahtoola Microspikes are popular and available in many retailers, like REI and Amazon. They are fairly easy to put on your boots, and once on, they stay on. The traction is provided by metal chains and spikes. The Microspikes are quite tough, and even though some people will walk with them on bare pavement, they do not get damaged.  They are a little pricey, at MSRP of $74.95 (2023 price), but well worth the investment.

Stabilicers Hike XP are designed for more challenging winter conditions, according to the manufacturer. I am not familiar with them, but they seem to be tough enough for rough trails.  The traction is provided by nine steel studs embedded in the tough elastomer sole.  They might be worth checking out. The Amazon price is from $ 40 – $60.

Finally, the YakTrax. The name is so familiar, that is often used as a generic term for the gear. The model that I want to mention is the YakTrax Pro. The traction is provided by a set of springs criss-crossing underneath the shoe. While they are not as robust as the other two, their popularity should attest to their effectiveness. They are definitely worth to be considered. Their MSPR is $29.99.

No matter what your choice is, it is nice to have a pair, because if you get out on the trails in the winter, eventually, you will encounter slippery conditions.

If you ever get a pair, please, post a comment, and let me know your experience with them.

Rich S.
Rich S.
Rich S. is a lifetime photographer and traveler based in Metro Detroit area. He has been traveling the Great Lakes area for over 30 years. Follow his blog about his trips, interesting activities and destinations in the Great Lakes region.

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