Questions & Answers

Minimal shoes for walking on ice?

I am not a runner, but I've been really interested in minimal shoes since last Spring, and I barely wore shoes at all over the summer. I'm loving it! But I'm a college student in Michigan, and my campus gets really icy in the winter. Last year, I wore a pair of sneakers most of the time, and Ugg boots (with a thick sole and about 5 mm drop) when there was more than 2 inches of snow. I want to wear more minimalist shoes this year, but I need a boot that has good traction on ice (there really isn't any way to avoid it on campus). I have a pair of Merrell Contour Gloves that I loved through the fall, but as soon as it snowed, I was sliding all over the place! Now I'm back to wearing my Uggs. :/

Also, I've been trying to update my style (I'm turning 26 in a couple weeks and still dressing like I did in high school), so bonus points for something that looks nice enough to wear when I need to dress professionally or I'm going on a date. (That overly sporty look is fine when you're exercising or running errands, but in some circumstances, it just doesn't fit.)


Answers and Replies


There are not a lot of shoes out there with studs in them that I am aware of. The only ones I have tried are the Inov-8 ORocs, which may not be your thing as they aren't terribly minimalist and are very sporty.

One thing you could consider however is finding a shoe you like with enough rubber in it that you could put your own studs on. La Sportiva sells a kit that allows you to put studs in any shoes you want. Here is the link:

Of course studs like that won't work well indoors!

You could also go with something like Microspikes which you can slip on/off any shoes you like depending on the conditions:

Hope this helps!


A much less expensive alternative to the A.T. Hobnail kit ($51?!) is to buy a couple dozen 1/4" hex-head sheet metal screws. I've been amazed at how inexpensive and effective this is. You do need a shoe with a stack height of at least 6.5 mm, obviously, in order to avoid having the screws poke your feet. I've used my New Balance Minimuses and can run (and stop!) atop sheet ice without mishap.



I am in the heart of the Appalachians where we can get 220 inches of mixed snow a year. So I am working on this problem too and I do use sheet metal screws with good success - they are skates indoor though and wreck floors. The Terra Plana NEO trail seems like just enough sole to handle my katoola micro-spikes without feeling like you are walking on chains (they do have a lot of metal on the bottom) and I can take them off, what ever shoes I am wearing. Last year I spent well over 30 days in micro spikes and you'd look for ice to run over - the traction was that good.The other thing I'll try this year is NEOS lightest pair of overshoes. Very light sole, waterproof, and I can wear my STEM's or other zero drop shoe inside them while getting some winter-proofing. They are also easy to take off in the lobby of a building. I love Steger mukluks for winter running in snow - no ice, but they are hardly cheap and not a fashion statement. best of luck!


Yeah, all the of the spikes are probably great for hiking, running, or even just trail-walking, but I'm going to class, and it seems like overkill.. I might look into some of the removable ones if it gets bad, but as of now, I don't even have the actual shoes fit for winter anyway, so I think I should start there.

I've asked for vivobarefoot brooklyn boots for Christmas. I think those will probably meet my needs for an everyday winter boot- PLUS, they're cute. :) (I'm in that weird stage at 26 where I don't yet have a career, but I want to start dressing for success, you know?)

Thanks for all the suggestions!


I'd use ice cleats or grips, that you can just slip over your shoes temporarily and at the other side of the ice you can take them off.

If you put this search into Google you should find plenty of options:

traction covers for shoes in ice


I've used ice cleats / pull-on traction devices in the past (YakTrax Pro, eg.) and they work well on traditional shoes. But my minimalist shoes have such flexibility and ground feel that I found them really uncomfortable to use with those. In particular I could feel the ridges and studs underfoot in a very bothersome way, and the heel strap pulled the whole shoe upper into my achilles tendon. I much prefer sheet metal screws because they don't distort the sole and upper in the same way.



I was under the (probably mistaken) impression that moominmama wanted something to cross the ice with on campus rather than for protracted walking.

moominmama, it'd be great to know what you choose in the end. I hope you get the Brooklyns boots that you asked for :-)


I beg your pardon, moominmama, I got my usernames in a twist! I meant:

variableenigma, it'd be great to know what you choose in the end. I hope you get the Brooklyns boots that you asked for :-)


So I did not get Brooklyns for Christmas, but my mom gave me a "gift certificate" for some shoes (she wanted to make sure I have whatever options I want- she knows me well, lol). I started looking at the Brooklyn boot with the intention of buying, but found out that they run 2 sizes small. Since I'm a US 10 and that's the highest they run, I figure they won't fit me.

Sooo, back to square one. I really want something with some style (which is one reason I was drawn to the Brooklyn). It needs to be waterproof enough to handle 8-10 inches of snow, and it definitely has to be warm (at least as warm as a conventional sneaker). I can buy some of those removable studs to deal with ice, but I still need a shoe to put them on!! Argh, I hate shopping. :/


I do like the look of them (in warmer weather I wear moccasins frequently), but the soles look pretty huge, and I'm concerned about them being too thick and/or springy. I really love thinner soles for the ground feel. I suppose I'd still prefer that to a boot with a heel or one that restricts my toes, but I love flexible soles, too.

Try looking at Icebug shoes - they have minimalist and other styles with/without studs.

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