Pros: durable, provide safety when walking on ice
Cons: none, really, made in China
I usually buy my own traction aids, but this year my family bought me a pair. They even bought my favorite brand. They must be paying attention. And I am very grateful.
My shoes will take a size small or medium in shoe chains, but for those snow days, I need my big snow boots. The big snow boots need the large Traction Aids, which are a form of shoe chain. Just like putting those spiked chains on your car tires, putting chains on your shoes will give you traction on the ice.
Most men need the large size for their shoes, and extra large for their snow boots.
HOW TO USE THEM
These Traction Aids are rubber meshes, kind of like nets, that stretch over your shoes. I start by hooking the toe of my boot at one end, and then stretching back to the heel and pulling it up. The rubber netting does not always hold well, so from time to time I stop and give the heel end an extra tug, to make sure that it stays on my boot. It's a real hassle to have to backtrack and find the spot where the suction pulled off your shoe chain and left it in the snow.
When there is only ice, and no snow, the Traction Aids stay on very well.
HOW THEY WORK
Traction Aids have little plastic buttons on the bottom, resting against the soles of your shoes or boots. Sticking out of each plastic button is a spike made of tungsten carbide, which is a very tough and durable metal. The spikes are thicker than a safety pin but not as thick as most nails. If you have a pin or brooch with a pin and clamp fastener, that is about the size of these pins.
The pins poke into the ice, stopping your shoes from slipping. They don't hold so tightly that they would interfere with walking, but they do grip the ice and prevent a nasty fall.
The pins do eventually wear out, but I usually get through a whole winter of three months without needing to replace them. And I do a lot of walking.
They do include two replacement pins with these Traction Aids, and they might come in handy. For one thing, a walk on rough pavement might either crack the plastic or even cause one pin to come out of its place and fall into the snow. It might be impossible to find it hiding there. For another thing, you might end up dulling the end of a pin if you walk on rough pavement, as I often do.
These gadgets are not a license to be careless when walking in snow and ice. They work well when you act sensibly and walk carefully.
There are other brands and styles of shoe chains, sometimes called traction aids, but I like the quality and price of the Due North brand. My family paid just under $20 (over $20 with the sales tax), for safety and peace of mind while I walk around town in the winter.
I have tried cheaper brands, but the rubber parts wore out and broke. And often most or all of the pins would fall out after just a few uses. It's only a couple bucks more for good quality.
Recommended for ice and snow.
Thank you so much for reading my review!