When the snow flies in Montana, the roads, sidewalks, and trails get icy, snowy, and slippery – FAST. If you’re like us, you want to be able to safely run and walk outside all winter long. Plus, with the Frozen Feet Challenge coming up, you’ll need to get out and log a mile a day, regardless of the weather! To help you figure out the best traction device for your needs, here’s a breakdown of the traction devices we carry in store!
Getting the right fit
The golden rule of traction devices is to try them on in store with the shoes you intend to use them with! There are a lot of high cushion and low cushion shoes on the market that will fall out of the size range listed on the packaging for the traction device. Consider sizing up or down to get the perfect fit. A fit that is snug, but not crushing, will let you run or walk for many miles without discomfort. If the traction device is falling off, loose, or the chains/spikes are dangling, it is too big. If the traction device crushes down on top of your foot, digs in somewhere, or slips off the heel, it is likely too small.
For road runners/walkers
Due North Everyday Pro – $26
The Everyday Pro has long been a favorite of road runners and walkers. These traction devices are simple and straightforward, with six replaceable spikes ($7) in a lightweight package. The Everyday Pro is one of our best sellers, and our most economical option. There are only two sizes, so those people on the fringes of the size range sometimes have a loose fit or a very tight fit. Be sure to try them on first!
Korkers Ice Runner – $70
We brought the Ice Runner in because it is without a doubt the easiest traction device to put on. Sometimes stretching a thick, cold, stiff, rubber traction device around your shoe is really hard to do. If you don’t want that hassle, the Ice Runner is for you! It uses a simple BOA lacing system to fit snugly over your shoe or boot. Not to mention, the Ice Runners have a total of 22 spikes, and they’re replaceable!
Kahtoola NANOspikes – $50
Kahtoola specializes in making traction devices, and the NANOspike is one of their originals. It features 10 spikes on raised plastic for excellent traction. The spikes are the perfect size for hitting the roads and sidewalks. They also work great on many trails around town, depending on conditions.
For both road and trail
Kathoola EXOspikes – $60
The EXOspike was new to the world last year, but it made quite the showing! It is one of our favorite traction devices for all around usage. It has just enough traction to tackle the trails, but not too much to be uncomfortable on the roads. Plus, a unique design in the studs on the bottom helps to reduce snow buildup. The EXOspike was a best seller last year and might be the best one-spike-to-do-it-all for Missoulians.
La Sportiva Hobnails – $27
Want to dedicate a pair of shoes to winter running? Hobnails are the answer! These studs screw into the tread of your shoe to provide excellent traction on both roads and trails. We recommend using these with a higher cushion shoe, as you will feel less of the screws under your foot while running. La Sportiva also uses a low, wide thread on the screws to reduce the amount of metal that needs to go into your shoe. Hobnails do require a special tool to install. We have one at the store that anyone is welcome to use!
Kahtoola MICROspikes – $70
MICROspikes are the tried and true traction device for snowy and icy trails. With large metal spikes, they bite into the slickest of ice. Runners and hikers can confidently tackle the steepest trails on Mt. Sentinel when armed with MICROspikes. A traction device like this is required for our race Running Up For Air Mt. Sentinel. MICROspikes are heavy, but very durable. They are our sturdiest, most aggressive option.
Did you know? If your MICROspikes become dull, you can sharpen them with a file! But be careful!
Black Diamond Distance Spike – $130
The BD Distance Spike squarely takes aim at the MICROspike. It offers the same spike layout on the bottom, but with less bulk and weight. Black Diamond says that anything more robust is unnecessary, and that the BD Distance Spike provides all the traction a runner will need. As far as we’re concerned, this traction device can easily handle any trail in Missoula, including those steep icy section on Mt. Sentinel. As a bonus, the upper is a water resistant softshell material that will help keep your shoes dry when moving through snow. Another perk is that the significant weight/bulk savings makes these spikes easily packable into a pocket or running vest. A newcomer to the traction device market, these spikes are definitely worth trying!