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  • Writer's pictureMike Ehredt

Hillsound FreeSteps Snow Cleats

With winter conditions still prevailing here in north Idaho my training for the 2017 Boston Marathon and the Hardrock 100 in July have begun in earnest and despite snowy, icy conditions my torso has been able to remain upright!

I purchased a pair of Hillsound FreeSteps last fall and can honestly say that they are the 4 wheel drive of snow cleats in my closet. Now I have done the screws in the bottom of my shoes and yes, they do have their place and their limitations. Personally I don't want to take the time to screw them into a fairly new pair of shoes nor do I want to be running in an old pair. On hard packed roads screws work great. I have also used Yak Trax over the years and they are a cheap alternative to the cleats. With coil type-springs and an easy slip on and off design, I have found them sufficient for most conditions except ice and loose snow. Enter Hillsound. They utilize an elastomer rubber which I have yet to tear. The fit is secure and I felt no pressure on the toe cap of my shoes. There are 21 1/4 inch stainless steel spikes on the bottom and the placement is designed so that they can be worn for extended periods of time on hard surfaces. What I really like is the heel area which has a wider surface for improved traction. They are also relatively light at 12.6 oz. (size L) and pack small and conveniently. That being said, I avoid pavement and strictly use them on packed snowmobile trails or ice covered trails. The conditions on the day I shot this picture were very hard packed trails with fluff on top and when I reached the parking lot the snow had become wetter and resulted in some slight clumping. Overall, once I added the Hillsounds to my options for safe foot travel I have no reservations about staying indoors on those miserable days....

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