Well the snow is on the way back and this is a good time for me to highlight the usefulness of the Magic Spiker which can greatly improve your walking in snow and icy weather conditions. Now I have some serious crampons for my mountain walking and when I go hiking in more challenging terrain – but they are a beefy bit of equipment and not ideal for just general walking.
If I am walking along low altitude paths and reasonably sheltered terrain but where there is still a lot of ice or snow around then my ICER studs are ideal. But they are not great for general shopping or walking around town purposes. For this you need something that provides good grip but is also easy and quick to slip on and off as you go from ice covered pavement to shop floor. You don’t want to wear any of the grippers or crampons indoors because the hard floors will quickly wear away both the stud and the rubber basket that goes around the shoe.
I find that the simple pull on and off action of the Magic Spiker is ideal for this sort of use. Initially it takes a few attempts to find the technique that works to best effect. The type of shoe or boot you wear influences how easy or hard it is to pull over the sole of the footwear but once there it is secure and you feel quite comfortable and safe as you walk. As with any type of crampon or anti-slip studs you need to slightly change the way you walk to the the best effect by putting your foot flat down – almost like a stamp but without the force – rather than the more natural rolling heel to toe step. Putting you foot flat down gives you a much better grip and also reduces the wear and tear on the gripper – it also reduces the chance of one of the studs being pulled out of the basket.
One of the things to realise about the sizing of the spikers is that they really are sized for shoes and as an accessory for shoes. You can use them over boots but you may need to purchase a larger size to make them easier to fit especially if you are of a size that is on the borders of the sizing chart. One of the reasons why I would not use these for walking or hiking of more established paths is that they only have studs on the front of the show – there is no extra grip at the heel so they really are not suitable for anything more than general walking to the shops or to work. If you want to walk off road so to speak then invest in a more expensive set of hiking crampons or insole crampons.
These will give you a lot more confidence for walking in icy and snowy conditions. However as with all these types of rubber and stud based footwear you should not use them when the snow or ice is patchy. In those conditions most boots will provide better grip and if you are walking from ice and snow on to hard footpath constantly then you will quickly wear out the studs and rubber.
If you are concerned about the grippers coming loose and falling off you can now buy optional accessory Magic Spiker straps that will keep your Magic Spiker from slipping off. But if you buy the correct size and fit them correctly the chances of the Magic Spikers slipping off are quite small..
I bought the Magic Spikers where it cost £16.99 with postage of £2.50.
They not useful for rough terrain but for general out and about walking these ice grippers gives you extra confidence and stability in walking on ice and snow.