Vermont is currently covered in a thick sheet of ice, as I whined about and as Lila Gendal showed on Eventing Nation. Sections of interstate highway were closed down as multiple plow trucks went off the road trying to get sand down. I had to be out and about for about an hour and a half as I re-arranged work details between our two buildings to accommodate the hazardous travel conditions.
This is a very long way of saying that Saturday, for the first time, I tried out a Christmas gift from my parents: STABILicers Ice Cleats. They are like studding your winter boots up for XC. I have been thinking about something like them for a while, since I walk to work on the average day, and of course spend a fair bit of time outside at the barn.
I could not possibly be more impressed with them. They were straightforward and quick to get on – required a bit of muscle to stretch the rubber, but not too much. It added perhaps 2-3 minutes to my morning routine. Then I walked outside…and didn’t slip. Not once. I want to stress that our driveway is a solid sheet, several inches thick, of ice. I stood while chipping ice off my car and was completely stable. I walked down sidewalks, up fairly steep hills, and across roads that were similarly thick sheets of ice without the slightest hint of slipping. In fact, I walked up a sidewalk perfectly normally and a few minutes later watched two men take tiny minute slipping steps down that sidewalk and still fall a few times.
I could instantly feel the grip of the cleats in the ice, and the added traction was amazing. I almost forgot about the ice entirely, and just walked normally. The rubber didn’t threaten to slip off my boots at all. I did take them off on coming back inside – I’m fairly sure that they were sturdy and sharp enough that they would have dug into our hardwood floors!
So two thumbs way, way up – these were a relatively inexpensive and absolutely clutch addition to my winter gear.