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This winter, the snowy trails are yours for the taking. It's not always easy to know what footwear to choose for walking or hiking on snow. Snow boots, winter shoes or snowshoes for hiking? Choose a SnowContact sole!
You wouldn't think about driving on snow with summer tyres for fear of getting stuck or skidding. Well, walking on snow with hiking shoes is a bit similar. In fact, your hiking shoes are mostly designed for warm weather and are less suitable for cold, snowy ground. Which explains the faltering steps of walkers during cold weather...which is why we've developed the SnowContact sole. You wouldn't think about driving on snow with summer tyres for fear of getting stuck or skidding.
Thanks to Snow Contact technology, Quechua has created a new sole to ensure you enjoy maximum grip when hiking on snowy ground. Below Quechua explains the design and unique features of this new technology.
By listening to snowshoe hikers, Quechua teams identified a need to develop a special sole, capable of gripping, even in snow.
The shoes, which are designed for winter hiking - to be used with or without snowshoes - are equipped with SnowContact technology to deliver exceptional performance on even the most slippery of surfaces, such as snow or ice.
How do you make a sole that is less slippery and has better grip?
On frozen ground or hard snow, you can skid just like a car aquaplaning. The SnowContact sole is the result of extensive work carried out by the Decathlon group's Research & Development unit.
Thanks to our chemical experts, we have optimized the composition of the rubber by adjusting each ingredient. The properties of rubber allow the soles to change shape, so they can adapt to the contours of the ground which enhances their grip. The grooved lugs accentuate this flexibility allowing water to drain more easily between the sole and the snowy or frozen ground. The SnowContact sole is, therefore, more effective than the traditional sole on snow or on cold ground in winter.
On the soles of your shoes, you have lugs, which can vary in size. The larger the lugs (generally between 2.5 to 5mm), the easier it is to walk up slopes. The gap and spaces between the lugs help enhance grip. So, depending on the type of relief, you'll need to choose shoes with a sole specially designed to suit the terrain. You'll enjoy hiking in complete safety.
Although SnowContact soles will always be better than traditional soles when it comes to walking on ice, they are not really designed for this purpose. When it comes to walking safely on ice, you really need: crampons for snow shoes - not to be confused with mountaineering crampons. You can slip them over your shoes, like snow chains on tyres, so you can walk on icy patches. There's a wide range of available crampons designed for different types of terrain.
If you're setting off to do some winter sports, remember to kit yourself out properly:
It doesn't matter whether you prefer a winter shoe or snow boot, your feet will keep warm and dry for hours in the snow. In fact, they are both equipped with breathable, waterproof membranes. We also test the static comfort temperature, which is the temperature when you stop moving, as well as during exercise. In practice, this means that they all offer a guaranteed comfort range of between -5°C to -20°C, depending on the model. Enjoy winter hiking!
Hiking in the snow in uneven terrain
If you're going snowshoeing or for a hike, over several kilometres, it's best to choose a pair of shoes specially designed for walking in the snow. They'll provide greater ankle support for added comfort when exercising. On uneven terrain, both on uphill and downhill slopes, your feet will be more stable.
Which shoes should you choose for snowshoeing? Some shoes have reinforcements at the front and the back. These are very useful when using snowshoes. When attaching snowshoes to your shoes, these reinforcements provide greater comfort and help prevent pressure on the toe and heel area.
Walking in snow on relatively even terrain
If you're just going to play in the snow, or go for a short family walk, on relatively flat terrain, choose a pair of snow boots, commonly called, "après-ski "boots. They are higher than snow shoes, covering more of your calf, preventing snow from entering. They're softer and more supple which makes it feel like you're wearing slippers.
Once we've developed the sole, we carry out numerous tests to validate its design. We have conducted long-term field tests, lab tests and tests in ice-rinks. To do this, we worked with Quechua's certification unit. When designing the "adhesion "test, we chose a range of snow hiking shoes representative of the winter hiking market. After various tests on ice, observation tests and feedback evaluation questionnaires, we were able to determine threshold parameters which allow us to assess if the soles we've developed meet the safety threshold or not. We also carry out lab-based adhesion tests on patches of ice. Sensors provide feedback on the reliability or otherwise of the sole being tested. If the sole meets all the necessary requirements, it will be labelled SnowContact.