Shoe Chains - Getting a grip when others are losing theirs!

  • 18-12-2010


A little preparation really does go a long way

Walking on icy and snow covered surfaces can greatly increase our risk of slips, slides and falls. Ice reduces shoe grip leading to increased likelihood of losing our balance  and having a fall.


Starting or stopping walking, changing direction and travelling up or down slopes can easily exceed our grip, potentially leading to slides and falls.


It’s all about the interface:  foot meets snow / ice. Shoe chains can increase grip and reduce the risk of slides and accidents under these conditions. Unfortunately, this risk can only be reduced and not eliminated.


Warnings and Caution

There are problems associated with using chains on inappropriate surfaces i.e. a shoe chain will improve your grip on snow however, if you move on to walk on a tiled floor or metal surface your grip will be compromised which could again lead to a fall.


The all important message is to use the snow chains as indicated outside on snow and not elsewhere. It’s all about appropriate footwear for the surface you are walking on.


Snow chains in my experience can greatly improve confidence, speed and stability on slippery snow / icy ground.  

In addition to this using a walking stick can increase your base of support and can help keep you on your feet when the terrain gets difficult.


We all use our vision extensively to maintain our stability and balance control when we are out walking. However, with diminished levels or no lighting we are unable to make use of this vital system. Our eyes let us know the level and pitch of the ground we are going to step on to as well as its texture (icy or stable). 

If it’s dark consider using a small to torch to light your way, better still consider a head torch which will leave your hands free for controlling your balance or using your walking stick.


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