Don't Slip! Wear Winter Traction!

Different winter activities, including but not limited to, hiking, running, and even walking, require different equipment. Making sure you have the appropriate traction is an important step to staying safe outside in the winter.

It can be overwhelming with all the options out there - luckily, I’m here to guide you in the right direction!


Winters are changing, it’s no secret and it’s not slowing down. This constant cycle of warming and cooling periods isn’t going to end and that means that your need for good traction isn’t going anywhere either. When your driveway is a skating rink or you’re simply trying to walk your dog, traction is necessary to avoid taking a nasty spill.

Grippin' not slippin' on the Colchester, VT causeway. Photo Credit: Molly Cournoyer.
Grippin' not slippin' on the Colchester, VT causeway. Photo Credit: Molly Cournoyer..

If you’re someone who needs traction for daily tasks or simply getting to and from your car to a building, there are a few different options for you. Icebugs with BUGrip are a great choice for someone who wants their traction to be fashionable. With Icebugs you have many different style options as the traction is designed into the sole of the shoe or boot. This way you aren’t fumbling around switching your traction device every time you get in and out of your car or enter a building! Just be careful with the embedded studs using Icebugs with BUGrip - I would recommend removing them once inside a building.

The other option is from Yaktrax - the Yaktrax PRO, which does have to be put on your shoe or boot. However, they have a streamlined design so that slipping them on your shoe is easy and efficient. Once they’re on you won’t even know they are there! Just be careful on certain indoor surfaces as sometimes the metal coils can be slippery on certain floors.

Road and Trail Running:

I can speak from personal experience that my mileage takes a serious hit in the winter. Thinking about tackling a road run that is more like a skating speedtrack or a trail that is essentially an iced over mountain stream can really make you want to stay posted up with your feet on the coffee table.

Two recommendations for road running in the winter are traction you add to your current shoes or built-in to the shoe.

First, NANOspikes from Kahtoola. NANOspikes are virtually undetectable once they’re slipped on your shoe, but will save you from taking a nasty spill on that icy patch of sidewalk. Because they are a flat bottom opposed to their cousin the MICORspike, they don’t get worn down when you hit those beloved dry patches of pavement or sidewalk.

For built in traction, I recommend the Icebug with BUGrip running shoes where traction is embedded into the sole of the shoe already.

For trail use, MICROspikes are awesome whether trail running or hiking. They are my number one trusted source of security on icy trails. The best thing about MICROspikes is that unlike their cousin, the crampon, they have shorter spikes, are lighter, cheaper, and perfect for those mid-winter Camel’s Hump ascents or Honey Hollow trail runs. If you are looking for traction that is suitable for both road and trail, EXOspkes are available in store.

I remember one particularly icy day last spring when I was hiking Camel’s Hump and had somehow FORGOT my MICROspikes! I got to a certain elevation and decided my safest choice was to turn around without them than risk falling.

Hopefully these suggestions have made choosing winter traction less daunting for you. I’m confident there is an option out there for everyone and thankfully, Skirack has all of these options and an incredibly knowledgeable staff to help you determine which ones are best for you!

- Abby Schaible, Former Skirack Staff