Winters in New England can be brutal, and walking a dog after a storm can be treacherous. Many pet owners choose to layer up from top to bottom with coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and warm boots to defend themselves against the elements. This season, I discovered a secret weapon to add to the protective armor: spikes, specifically, microspikes.
After a record-breaking cold snap with temperatures dipping below freezing for thirteen straight days, New Englanders may start to feel like we can handle any type of weather that presents itself. No matter how much abuse we may endure, there’s one form of winter weather that seems to halt even the bravest humans: ice.
When the temperatures change drastically from one day to the next, and precipitation shifts from rain to freezing rain, to sleet to snow, back to rain, in no particular order, one thing’s for sure, streets and sidewalks become painted in ice, sometimes the undetectable kind whether covered with a layer of snow, or disguised as a seemingly normal black surface, a.k.a. “black ice.”
In an effort to be proactive, the Huffington Post gathered some helpful tips to get through the ice safely just over 4 years ago in an article called “How to Walk on Ice Without Breaking Your Bones.” I wasn’t surprised to find that wearing the right shoes with the proper fit is key. To combat the ice, choose shoes that have enlarged treads or raised patterns. For extra insurance, consider investing in traction devices like microspikes that fit right over a hiking shoe or boot. The triangular ice picks on the bottom provide extra grip on the ice plus help to offer balance.
After having purchased microspikes to go on Iceland’s glaciers last year, I decided to take them for a test drive last week when temperatures were scattered, and water remaining from pop up rain showers quickly turned to ice. It took a little getting used to, especially on regular pavement, when ice was not present; however, for the many long stretches of thick, slick ice, the microspikes made me feel invincible on the ice. I was able to relax a bit and enjoy walking our normal neighborhood route.
Next time you want to exercise your pet after a winter storm, consider adding my secret weapon of microspikes to your arsenal – walking on ice will be forever changed.