Barely visible, and extremely dangerous, people slipping and tripping on ice is one of the main causes of accidents during the winter months so it’s probably best avoided. If you, for any reason, do feel a pressing need to walk on ice this winter – have a look at these safety tips below and prevent slipping!
Top tips for walking on ice
1. Make sure you are wearing suitable footwear – snow boots or hiking boots with good grip
2. Walk on designated paths
3. Slightly bend your knees
4. This may seem silly but try to walk like a penguin – The main idea is that your centre of gravity will be over your front legs. Spreading your feet out slightly, walking-flat footed and taking small steps whilst leaning forward will help to keep you upright
5. Never keep your hands in your pocket. Even if your hands are cold, you need your hands for balance so extend your arms
6. Walk at a slower pace and allow extra time to get to your destination. Rushing will mean you are more likely to slip
7. Wrap up warm with nice padded clothing – If you do happen to slip then you still have some cushioning from the ground
Choosing the right Footwear to Walk on Ice
The most important factor is making sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. For walking on snow and ice, you should definitely avoid shoes that have a smooth flat sole and heels. Shoes like this have absolutely no grip, and there is no way that they will stop you from slipping on ice. Plastic and leather soled shoes tend to be the worst for walking on slippery paths.
Look for some snow boots or hiking boots that have a large tread, and soles with deep lugs and patterned for extra grip on slippery surfaces. Shoes with non slip rubber soles are particularly good for this. Snow boots and hiking boots tend to be the best footwear to go for when it’s cold and icy outside because of their grippy soles. A few other benefits of snow boots are that they are insulated so will also keep your feet warm, and they come up higher on the legs so slush and snow will not enter into your boot.
Benefits of a hiking boots are that they will provide you with ankle support, are usually waterproof, and teamed with a nice pair of warm socks will also keep your feet warm.
What are crampons?
Crampons are designed to attach to your footwear to provide you with extra traction on snow and ice. Crampons are now becoming more specialised by activity, so some are better suited for snow walking, whereas others are better for waterfall and mixed climbing.
Steel crampons are better suited for general mountaineering and as they are highly durable they are great for steep, icy terrain. Stainless steel crampons have all the benefits of steel crampons, but also offer corrosion resistance. Aluminium crampons are lighter weight which are great for alpine climbs but if worn on rocky terrain they will wear out much faster than the steel crampons.
Not all boots will be compatible with crampons, so it is essential that you get the correct type of crampon for your boot and activity to ensure you are getting the safest and best use out of your crampons. For this reason you should always get your crampons fitted to your boots by an expert.
Stay safe when walking on ice this winter!