Ouch! Winter Slips and Falls! Three Ways to Avoid Them.

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If you haven’t fallen on ice, you probably know someone who has. Every year, thousands of Canadian make a visit to a doctor or the Emergency department of a hospital due to falls on ice ! As a matter of interest, Albertans have nearly triple the amount of hospital visits from slips and falls on ice as Ontario per capita (according to statistics posted by the CIHI).

Walking on the famous ice slabs of Abraham Lake is best done with aggressive ice cleats.

Some of us, especially elderly folk, tend to avoid going outdoors in winter because we don’t want to fall. Even if you’re not elderly, icy sidewalks, parking lots and hiking trails can pose hazards! We know that spending time outdoors is good for our physical and mental well-being and we shouldn’t be afraid to venture out!

We read winter boots reviews and we tested 5 ice cleats to find out which ones performed the best. Read on to find out our recommendations for safe ways to enjoy winter walking.

WE RECOMMEND #1 – THE PENGUIN WALK

You know it looks funny, but it’s the safest way to navigate an icy parking lot. Bend slightly forward and walk flat footed, with your feet pointed slightly out. Take short, shuffling steps. Walk slow!

WE RECOMMEND #2 – APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR

Wearing footwear appropriate for winter conditions is a no brainer! However, many winter boots that claim to be designed for cold and ice are neither! Claims of “outstanding traction”, often fall short of being slip proof. CBC’s Marketplace did an excellent test on 5 well-knows brands of winter boots. They tested them on flat and sloping surfaces. Mark’s Wind River winter boots with ICEFX© soles outdid the other brands by a wide margin (due to soles made with abrasive materials mixed in with soft rubber). Read the full report to see how your boot brand fared at www.cbc.ca

Winter boot manufacturers often claim that their products are great for cold and slippery surfaces, however, the truth is that most winter boots would be slipping all over this icy surface!

WE RECOMMEND #3 – ICE CLEATS

Ice cleats are quite possibly one of the greatest winter inventions (in my opinion)! If you don’t want to buy new winter boots and you don’t want to walk like a penguin, invest in ice cleats!
We tested 5 brands/designs of ice cleats, ranging in price from $15 to $90.
We took several things into consideration – comfort, how easy to get on/off, performance on flat ice and slippery slopes and expense.

  • A. Katoola MicrospikesOur top choice! These are amazing on ice and slippery slopes, but they’re a tad challenging to get on. Once on your boot, they won’t fall off if you’ve chosen the correct size. Biggest con is the price $$.
  • B. – Ice Trekkers Diamond Grips are excellent on flat surfaces and do well on slopes. They’re easier to put on than Katoolas, but the rubber is stiffer and may fall off over uneven terrain if you don’t get them on properly. Mid price range.
  • C. Yak Trax – These are the older version, with wire wrapped around rubber. They performed the worst of all 5 on ice and were uncomfortable to walk on. Hard NO.
  • D. Mid Sole Cleats – There are a variety of brands out there. These were really easy to get on and worked very well on ice, but felt a bit weird to walk on. Only recommended for boots with a heel. An affordable choice!
  • E. Full Sole Ice Cleats – These worked great on flat ice and they’re affordable, but the fit wasn’t great on our boots and the chance of them falling off over uneven terrain is higher than the others. They are comfortable to wear – we hardly noticed them.

The disadvantage of cleats is that you have to take them off to go into a building, so people tend to avoid using them when they’re in town. The good news is that there are now a few of brands of winter boots with retractable ice cleats! What an amazing idea! The two brands we found were very expensive and the technology is still improving. We look forward to testing them out for a future article on winter slips and falls prevention.

So get outside and stay upright! Enjoy the New Year!