Lighter Alternative to Snow Boots for Women and Men of the Sandwich Generation

by Kaye Swain

Our weather is easing up a bit this week, but we have certainly had more than the norm of snow this year. As you know, this is my first real experience with serious snow – the kind that requires snow shovels, snow boots for women, men and kids, rock salt and careful walking.  Because of that, I was quite interested when Lauren Wattie from Jordan David, "the largest and oldest manufacturer of All-Traction™ Footwear," asked if they could send me some of their Spare Spikes ice cleats for shoes to "test drive them" so to speak. As a Sandwich Generation senior home care giver and grandmother, I am always on the look out for resources that can help my family, as well as all of you. I told them I'd love to check them out and share my honest opinion with each of you. In the mail arrived three pairs and here's the scoop.

First of all, you are probably wondering, as I was, what exactly are Spare Spikes? As Lauren put it, they are "ice safety footwear that can best be described as winter walking “ice slippers” that are light-weight, compact, and fit easily and conveniently over all types of shoes and boots." 

Spare Spikes are ice cleats for shoes

Spare Spikes allow you to wear tennis shoes that are easier on the feet than womens snow boots

I also discovered, partly from their website and partly from my senior mom's and my experiences:

  • Basically, they are a flexible rubber sleeve with spikes/cleats in the bottom that increase traction and can reduce slips and falls in slippery, outdoor winter conditions.
  • There are eight small cleats and even an extra cleat in case one falls off. That's how they got the name Spare Spikes. :)

Spare Spike ice cleats for shoes open

  • For myself, they were, indeed, really easy to get on and off. My senior mom, however, was unable to do them by herself. She just doesn't have the range of motion needed to put them on alone. It's fine for her because she lives with me and I can help her. Another dear senior of mine who lives alone wouldn't be able to use these at all as he would not be able to get them on without help, due to his health issues and limited range of motion. 
  • They are definitely nice and light weight – less than four ounces per foot. For those struggling with things like arthritis foot pain, that is wonderful!
  • They are barely noticeable when on your feet and they can be easily folded in half and even carried in a pocket or purse – although I'd make sure I had a couple of large plastic bags to pop them into as they do get wet after walking in the snow. 

Spare Spikes ice cleats for shoes - one open one shut

  • Ours ran a bit small. My senior mom wears 8.5 and I wear 8.5-9. According to the chart, she would wear a small and I would wear a medium. When we tried them on, the small was too small for her tennis shoes. The medium fit both of us quite nicely. HOWEVER, I noticed another reviewer whose husband – a younger runner – needs them to fit extra tight for running and he thought they ran a bit big. So if you are a marathon runner, keep that in mind. :)

I tried them out on thick snow, thin crunchy snow, and an icy walkway.  In the past, wearing only my tennis shoes, I've only occasionally noticed some slippage issues as I walk in the snow and ice. Wearing these definitely provided a bit more traction, though. I especially noticed this with the thinner, slipperier areas. It doesn't mean I didn't slip or slide but when I did feel a little slippage, I also noticed they kind of grabbed to give more stability as I walked. 

Making tracks in Spare Spikes in icy snow

Walking in deep snow in Spare Spikes ice cleats

I am blessed with an excellent sense of balance. I think it comes from spending every summer climbing all over rock piers as my dad fished and my mom relaxed on the beach. As a result, walking in the snow rarely bothers me, other than the occasional piece of ice I miss spotting.  My senior mom, on the other hand, has reached a point where she is not comfortable walking in snow or ice at all without my arm to help her. It's just too slippery for her. Even with the snow spikes on, neither of us felt comfortable letting her "test drive" them in the snow itself.

They do seem to be quite handy. If you have to go out in the snow on a regular basis, perhaps to walk a dog or on your way to work in dressier shoes, I think they would be a big help. I live in my tennis shoes and Keens, so I get excellent traction from both them. Therefore,  I don't need to wear Spare Spikes on a regular basis. Especially since I go in and out of the house too often, and they can be hard on floors and carpets. I'd have to take them off and put them on several times a day. However, I do intend to put them in the car as part of my winter weather emergency kit. Very useful for emergencies for both my senior mom and myself! And in a situation like that, she would definitely appreciate having them! :)

Jordan and David's website was quite interesting, including a history of ice cleats in general. I would have enjoyed reading this to my senior dad to see if he remembered any of the original types that existed. You can find ordering information at their Spare Spike site, Winter Walking, where I was pleased to note you have a 30 days money back guarantee to try any of their products. They do have to be returned in an unused and salable condition, the same as most shoe stores require. It would give you a chance to make sure the Snow Spikes fit, that you or your senior parent can, indeed, easily get them on, and that they will work well for you. 

Overall, I think these are an excellent option for the Baby Boomer Generation. They make a nice alternative to living in snow boots for women and men. They are particularly useful for those who have to go out in the snow with shoes that offer little or no traction. They would also be very useful for seniors who can put them on themselves or have someone who can help put them on and who already go out in the snow now, giving them an extra measure of safety. And as I said before, they will definitely be added to my Sandwich Generation senior home care giver "tool kit" for emergencies for both my senior mom and myself. 

Notice how these spare spikes actually give your shoes coverage like snow boots for women

Would you or a special senior in your family like to give them a try? I have one pair, size small, which should fit women's shoes 7-8 or men's shoes 5-6 1/2. Leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for these Spare Spikes. Be sure to add your name and your email address. For extra entries for this drawing, you can:

  • Sign up for the FREE SandwichINK email which will not only get you an extra entry for the Spare Spikes but it will also keep you up to date on all kinds of Sandwich Generation resources and info to help and encourage those caring for the elderly relatives in their family along with their grandchildren. Make sure you then come back and leave a separate comment that you signed up.
  • Tweet this, then come back and leave a comment that you did.
  • Write about this at Facebook, come on back and leave yet another comment. :)
  • And, finally, blog about this, and, of course, one final comment. 

Each comment/action counts for one entry. The contest ends on March 14, 2010 at midnight. After that, one name will be randomly picked from all the entrants' comments and posted here, along with sending the winner an email. That person will then have one week to contact me with their mailing adress, otherwise another winner will be randomly picked.  

All right, all of you Sandwich Generation senior home care givers and grandparents. This is a fun contest just for you! Enjoy! :)

UPDATE 3/24/10 CONGRATULATIONS TO MARY FROM ELDERCAREABC WHO WON THE SPARE SPIKES!!! :)


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kaye Swain

New at SandwichINK:: Lighter Alternative to Snow Boots for Women and Men of the Sandwich Generation http://bit.ly/9iur0O

2 Mary Nix

I don’t know that mine are this brand, but they look just like these. I have these on my winter boots permanently as we often get a lot of ice under our snow so I wear them when I snowblow.

If you got them on your Mom’s shoes, was she able to walk in them? My folks aren’t so mobile anymore and so I noticed they had a bit of trouble.

Anyway– I wouldn’t live without mine.

Mary

Mine

3 Kaye Swain

Yes, she couldn’t get them on without help, but she could walk in them in the house. I didn’t want her to “test drive” them in the snow as she isn’t as steady on her feet as I would like but I have put them in the car in case of emergencies because then they would be better for her in the snow than just regular shoes and easier to deal with then regular snow boots for women. She has those but they’re hard for her to walk in, too.

That’s a great idea to wear them when snowblowing. I’ve just been shoveling and will use them for that as well. :)

Have a terrific weekend. :)

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