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Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow?
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow? on 04/22/2013 19:16:43 MDT Print View

If I used some shoes with aggressive tread, would that be sufficient enough for hiking on snow? Without microspikes. Specifically I am thinking about early summer snowfields with very consolidated snow in the mountains.
I'm looking at the vivobarefoot neo trails which have decent lugs on them.
I just don't have enough experience with snow to know the answer to this and I've gotten used to hiking in shoes with crappy traction.

Edited by justin_baker on 04/22/2013 19:18:19 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow?" on 04/22/2013 19:25:21 MDT Print View

I still like hiking boots on snow, unless I figure I'll only encounter limited snow so my feet don't get wet. You'll slip and slide some, but for the most part will work. Makes hiking more fun, be careful you don't wreck. I used my trail runners going over Forester and Colby Passes a couple years ago in early August, just have to take some precautions.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow? on 04/22/2013 19:29:25 MDT Print View

When it's icy and steep you need micro spikes

Agressive lugs don't sink into snow (ice)

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow? on 04/22/2013 20:06:49 MDT Print View

If its warm the snow will be like slush. You will probably posthole if it's warm enough :)

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
snow on 04/22/2013 21:28:59 MDT Print View

I'm with Kevin I was in desolation last weekend and you should worry more about post holing and getting wet cold feet. Traction should not be an issue in the sierras right now with the given weather unless your hiking at night or peak bagging. All the snow I encountered was really wet and melting......FAST.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow? on 04/22/2013 21:30:16 MDT Print View

Get microspikes.

I've done plenty of shoulder season snow hiking in my inov8 roclites which have an aggressive tread. It does nothing when the "snow" has gone through a few freeze-thaw cycles. This is where you get "snice" that looks like snow but is hard and slippery. Hard rubber just can't punch through it to grip at all. Actually most of my snow conditions has been on the same trails that Kahtoola employees test their products...

You could always put screws in your shoes or get orienteering specific shoes that have carbide tips built into the lugs (inov8 I think still makes some). These would probably work but it's probably just easier to get microspikes.

You can always buy a cheap knock-off version from amazon for $20 or less but I'm not sure how long the rubber works and what the warranty is like. I'd still spring for the microspikes.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow? on 04/22/2013 21:44:37 MDT Print View

It sounds like microspikes are important for the shoulder seasons. I have seen the effects of thawing/freezing and it can be scary.

But what about the summer in the sierras(june/july)? Would they be of any use there, or does the hot sun keep the snow nice and soft? I am mostly concerned about getting over steep snow fields early in the summer.

The issue with microspikes is they are uncomfortable to use with minimalist shoes. They work well, just uncomfortable. For short sections they would be fine. That's why I am getting some minimalist shoes with good traction to help out with the sections where micropsikes aren't totally necessary.

Edited by justin_baker on 04/22/2013 21:49:18 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow? on 04/22/2013 21:59:13 MDT Print View

I hike in my TRs with double lugs in the snow with great success. In the pnw sloppy cruddy snow. Ice is ice and a different animal, but on frozen slush to fresh snow to whatever i do just fine with mine.

Fwiw i use garmont 9.81 bolt dls but they don't make em anymore cause they were too awesome and people were getting hurt. I love garmont but they must be having trouble... Cant even get an email answered.

Maybe its cause you are making funky ass rei shoes and not puttin down the real stuff. Your website is abhorrent.

Now I'm a scarpa fanboi. Just gotta find some bolt replacements for when they take a shit on me.

Sorry for cussin, children. Don't cuss, and brush your teeth twice a day.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Snow on 04/23/2013 05:07:22 MDT Print View

Most of my snow experience is trail running rather than hiking, but I find trail runners with gaiters fine for snow until I go to snowshoes. When there is ice spikes start to look good though.

Oh, and I found Yak Trax worse than worthless. They were OK on snow where I didn't need them and slippery on ice. I find Stabilicers work well for running on ice, but if you really need traction you probably can't beat something like kahtoola microspikes, unless you need full on crampons.

Edited by staehpj1 on 04/23/2013 05:08:35 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Snow on 04/23/2013 08:00:57 MDT Print View

Yak Trax were okay - until one of the rubber band pieces underneath broke and it became useless. If you're walking on snow with some rocks in it, they will cut the rubber.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Snow on 04/23/2013 10:43:05 MDT Print View

For me, the question of whether to bring Microspikes or not would be based on a guess at how extensive the snowfields are, as well as what times of day I'd be likely encountering them. Hiking through the Sierras in June on the PCT, I found that traction devices were rarely something that I wanted, and in some of those times when I might have, there were intermittent bare spots where you might be inclined to take them off (though microspikes in particular are pretty good for doing short bare ground patches). This was true for the particular year that I hiked; I make no claim about other years!

Hiking through much of Montana in June another year I did find the Microspikes well worth having. Much more extensive snow, and the microspikes held up (and otherwise worked) great over quite a lot of use.

On the AT in March on a high snow year, yaktraks worked very well, insofar as the biggest issue there was stretches of ice, not the snow. There was a lot of snow in the smokies, but for whatever reason I rarely had traction problems that I recall other than on significant stretches of ice.

Hiking and snowshoeing just around home I find that it's a little hard to predict whether I'll want any sort of traction or not. If I'm hiking up an extensive forest service road to access the area I'm going into, however, I'll typically bring microspikes.

So IMO it's pretty situational. Reasonable tread on trail runners is just fine for a significant subset of snow scenarios in my experience, and in the experience of a lot of other long distance hikers I know. The trick is properly estimating what things will be like for the particular trip you're contemplating.

Edited by brianle on 04/23/2013 10:45:47 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Agressive tread on shoes - good enough for snow?" on 04/23/2013 13:50:20 MDT Print View

On hardpack spring snow, I hike in my New Balance trail runners which have a nice aggressive tread. If it's soft/slushy I switch to my hiking boots for the higher uppers to keep the snow out. I don't mind damp feet on a day hike in mild temps, but I don't want to be soaked.