Calgary has always been a great year-round destination for winter sports. However, if you’re going to be out running or hiking on the ice and snow, you first need to understand the basics of shoe traction for Canada winters. If you think that you can simply go outdoors during a Canadian winter without the right equipment – such as ice spikes or trail spikes for your shoes – think again.
In 2016, Canadian researchers at the WinterLab of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute decided to check out how the most rugged footwear fares on slippery wintry surfaces. The results were dismal – of the 98 pairs of boots that they checked, only 9 were able to keep their owners from slipping and sliding along a very modest incline.
The reality is that the majority of winter footwear that you can buy on retail shelves across Canada simply fails to keep you from slipping on snow or wet ice. And if you’re thinking of walking up or down an incline, forget about it: most of this footwear – even the heavy-duty boots with thick rubber soles – simply can’t hold up to icy and wintry conditions.
So what can you do if you want shoe traction for Canada winters?
The option of choice for running traction includes trail spikes. These are essentially metal spikes that attach to your shoe via a rubber upper. They are generally designed to be as flexible as possible, such that they can fit over any running footwear you might have.
Best of all, they are designed to be worn over a variety of shoes and boots. Thus, you could theoretically use them with regular rubber boots as you’re clearing your inclined driveway of snow, or you could slip them over your high-performance running footwear before going out for a run.
If you are looking for increased traction for sloping terrain, it’s best to look for quality ice spikes that function much like winter shoe chains. Similar to the winter chains that you place over your car to help it gain traction on icy surfaces, these winter chains also fit over your shoes and help runners and hikers cross dangerous wintry surfaces.
The key to the success of trailspikes and winter shoe chains is the pattern of metal spikes that help to dig into the packed snow or slippery ice. And, indeed, what the Canadian researchers in Ontario found was that, of the only 9 boots that met the test of non-slip traction, these were the boots that had tiny ice spikes on the underside of the shoe, almost invisible to the human eye. So just think of how much greater shoe traction for Canada winters you would get with metal spikes that you can actually see and touch!
Most people tend to ignore the need for proper winter foot traction until they’ve had a major fall on a slippery surface. By then, of course, it’s too late. The best solution is to come prepared for the very worst that a Canada winter can bring – and that means finding the right pair of trailspikes in Calgary that will keep you upright, no matter how slick and slippery the surface is.