As yet another winter storm is upon us, we are being subjected to more and more ice and snow on the ground that impedes our getting around. If you have never slipped and fell on ice, consider yourself lucky. The same goes for snow-it may look soft and fluffy but looks can be deceiving! Growing up in the Northeast, I have had more than my share of bumps and bruises from falling on ice and snow. Now that I have moved to the South, the inclement weather has decided to follow me here so that slip injuries remain a part of my life.
A product called Yaktrax has been brought to my attention recently. It is basically chain that attaches to your shoes with Velcro in the style of a crampon. A crampon is a device that allows traction when traversing over snow and ice. The chain helps you acquire grip on snow and ice so you do not fall. This seems like an ingenious idea and something I wish I had stumbled across a few decades ago. Yaktrax are cheap in addition to working well for their intended purpose, but what fun is buying something when you can make your own with paracord?
The amount of chain you will need to make your own crampons is going to depend on the size of your shoe. You want to have a level surface after the chain is applied, so consider a pattern that crisscrosses back and forth in a uniform manner so your balance is not thrown off. Take a look at your shoes and envision where you want your chain to go, perhaps even simulating it with paracord. Once you are happy with your patterning, head down to your local home improvement store and have them cut you some chain.
The chain you use is up to you but you do not want something extremely heavy and bulky. Small eyelet chain works well for the purpose of movement over ice. It will also be more comfortable on your feet. Keep in mind when selecting chain that you are going to be stepping and standing on that chain, so you want to avoid anything that will be harsh against your feet.
With your chain cut and ready to go, all you have to do is add it to your shoes. Flip your shoe upside down in your lap and lay your chain pattern out on the sole. With the chain in place, pass paracord through the links that are positioned to best serve as connectors. You are going to want paracord to cross over the toe and top of your foot in addition to going around the heel so the chain does not slip off. As you carefully wrap your paracord around, create a section where it will tie, much like a shoelace. Leave yourself enough slack to tie and discard any excess, burning the edges to prevent fraying.
Now that you have created snow and ice traction with the help of paracord, there is nothing left to hold you back from tackling slippery terrain. You should still exercise caution rather than tempting fate (or gravity as the case may be!), but a dramatic improvement in your traction and ability to get around should be noticeable. All it takes is a little bit of chain and some paracord to come to our rescue during these snowy, icy days!