Heavy-duty snow chains for shoes

I have used STABILicers for the past five years for daily outdoor work in the winter. There is no better, more reasonably-priced, long-lasting tool for keeping traction on ice and snow. They feature case-hardened, replaceable cleats screwed into a Vibram Sole with sturdy Hook-and-Loop straps that will fit most boots and shoes (STABILicers come in three sizes). They take just a sec to put on and take off.

I spend my day outside all year delivering residential heating oil, so I am in and out of yards where there is no shoveling or clearing. After my first run-in with ice, I started a hard search for something to keep me from killing myself or, at the least, from getting seriously hurt. First I tried the previously-reviewed Yaktrax. I liked them, but went through my pair in a week ($20 down the drain!). If you want a product for occasional use then go with the Yaktrax. If you want a product that will perform all day, every day then buy the STABILicers. And as soon as I can justify buying another set of traction aids, I will
and see for myself how the Kahtoola Microspikes work.

I put my STABILICERS on in the early AM and do not take them off for eight to ten hours a day. I tend to go from pure ice-covered walkways to snow-covered slopes pulling heavy loads, but I also walk on hard ground between the ice and snow. As such I tend to go through the cleats quickly. I go over my cleats nightly and may go a week without changing a cleat (sometimes it’s one or two a day). If you stick to using these on ice, the cleats will last for some time. Easy to change with a screwdriver or electric drill, they sell sell for around $5 for a bag of 50. I recommend buying one or two bags just to keep around. Personally, I buy ten bags at once, which lasts me a couple of seasons easy.

STABILicers are not indestructible. After a few years, I started to wear out one of the straps near the heel, so I bought another pair and now alternate. I find it is easier and less messy to change cleats when they are dry anyway. I also bought a set of the STABILicer Sport model which are rubber and fit over the shoe like a Yaktrax. Since these require a different, more expensive cleat, I use them only for hiking hard-packed snow trails and ice fishing, and never wear them on the pavement.

01/26/09 -- Robert Ferguson