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2020 Winter Buyers Guide

The Best Traction Devices of 2020

Keep footing firm on dicey surfaces

(Photo: Inga Hendrickson)
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Korkers Ice Commuter ($40)

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(Photo: Courtesy Korkers)

The smallest here, the Ice Commuter has a Boa closure system for a firm fit on your shoe and takes up very little space in a purse, pack, or briefcase. Essentially a studded heelpiece (there’s no forefoot platform), it proved effective on ice-splotched sidewalks when we needed a little extra stability.

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Hillsound FlexSteps ($55)

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(Photo: Courtesy Hillsound)

The FlexSteps are our favorite all-arounders. We used them to hike on hard-packed snow, then left them on for a stroll downtown. (They even stood up to frozen streets in midwinter Iceland.) The cleats are substantial enough to dig into ice without making the FlexSteps a hazard floating around in your daypack.

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Stabil Hike Macro ($70) 

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(Photo: Courtesy Stabil)

If your first thought when it’s dumping out is, Perfect weather for a hike, the Macro is for you. The half-inch steel spikes are ideal for thick snow and steep, crusty ice. We wouldn’t use them around town (they’re too aggressive for flat pavement), but when we needed serious bite on technical terrain, we grabbed the Macros. 

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Snowline Chainsen Pro ($50)

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(Photo: Courtesy Snowline)

Among the more budget-friendly options available, the Chainsen Pro isn’t light on performance. Unlike many spring-based traction ­devices we’ve tested, the coils didn’t kink up, and the grip remained even underfoot. Corrosion resistance is a selling point, too: after months on snowy trails, the metal showed little rust or wear.

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