Generally more studs on the Ice Cleats the better especially when they're intelligently placed over the entire bottom of the Ice Cleat. That's because you obviously have a better chance of the studs coming in contact with the ice especially when the ice is uneven. Once you lose traction it's tough to get it back.
It is possible to have too many studs. When this occurs you get the "bed of nails effect" whereby your weight is distributed over so many points of contact that the studs don't penetrate the ice. This is particularly true on very cold ice that is far more dense.
The ice cleats I recommend have a patented Heel Spike
. Think about how you naturally take a step
and what hits the ground first. It's your heel, right? Well if there's no spike there at the base of your heel you're likely to have your leg slide right out in front and from under you and you'll go down. Ice cleats without Heel Spikes force you to walk more flat-footed. That's not natural so you can forget to do it especially if you have to move in a hurry. You'll only find Heel Spike(s) on Winter Walking Ice Cleats.
The longer the stud the better up to a maximum of 2mm for ice cleats designed for walking and everyday use.
Once they get longer than 2mm the studs themselves become a tripping hazard. The longer spike is especially important when there's a thin layer of snow on top of the ice
that could prevent the stud from making contact with the ice.
The exception is when people are unable, or it's impractical, to remove Ice Cleats before going indoors.
Then 1mm studs on the Winter Walking LOW-PRO
and Winter Walking ALTRAGRIPS-LITE LOW PROFILE
Ice Cleats are the best compromise.
Your ice cleats should have an aggressive tread that's good for traction on deeper snow and. The tread should be designed to help expel snow and slush that can come between the bottom of your boot and the ice to help those studs to maintain contact with the ice. This is a major problem with spikeless ice cleats with coils.
You want them to stay on your boots so you don't walk out of your ice cleats in deeper snow. And you want them to not slip out of position so the spikes remain in place.
Basing your choice of ice cleats on price alone automatically qualifies you for a Darwin Award. If you don't know what that is you might want to look it up. The difference between the ice cleat that provides the best possible protection from a fall and a total piece of junk is less than $20 and most often less than $10. We're talking about reducing the risk of a life-altering injury... a broken hip, arm or leg, concussion, fractured skull or even death. We're trying to prevent an injury that can prevent you from working and taking care of yourself and your family. This is no time to be shopping in the bargain basement.
- Most customer reviews regarding Ice Cleats are written by people who in no way considered the questions I posed in the section above. And it's not the customer's fault because the people who sold them the Ice Cleats often don't have a clue or make no attempt to tell them about them.
- The perceived performance of Ice Cleats is relative. Many positive reviews for mediocre and sometimes even terrible Ice Cleats result from the customer's first experience with first Ice Cleats. That's because almost any Ice Cleat... no matter how terrible... is still a lot better than the traction provided by any rubber or leather soled shoe or boot alone.
- Some of the worst reviews result from purchasing Ice Cleats for purposes for which they were not designed. For example, taking light duty Ice Cleats on a mountain trail and then complaining how they broke in 15 minutes.
The best time to buy Ice Cleats is when there's no... and no chance of... ice or snow on the ground. The absolute worst time to buy Ice Cleats is when there is ice and snow on the ground because you'll settle for just about anything you can get on your feet to stop you from slipping and getting injured.
You risk life and limb and head out to the sporting goods or hardware store... if you can even get there... to purchase anything they might happen to have. Often they're sold out.
It's just common sense. You don't buy house insurance when your house is already on fire... it's too late. It's the same thing buying Ice Cleats except the risk is greater because it's to your personal well-being whereby the house is simply property.
You only have to slip and fall one time to suffer a life-altering injury or even death. And you can't always simply make the decision not to go out because you may already be out when you're surprised by slippery conditions. It's a fantastic, smart investment in something you hope you never have to use... like health insurance.