Ice Hiking With Homemade Shoe Ice Chains





Introduction: Ice Hiking With Homemade Shoe Ice Chains

Some winters we get cabin fever and really need to get out. This winter was such a winter, and when we tried, we found the hike was quite icy. Solution, shoe ice chains. Unfortunately, when one has a large family, commercial shoe ice chains are unaffordable. I priced out each pair between $20-50 US. I decided that they weren't so difficult to make, and headed down to my local home improvement store to obtain some supplies. I ended up spending about $5 US per pair.

Step 1: Observe Commercial Chain Construction

Take a few moments to observe how commercial ice chains are put together. Notice they have an outer ring with cross linked chains. 

Step 2: Obtain Supplies and Get Started, It's Actually Easy!done,

I went to my local home improvement store, purchased about 50 feet of small chain and 10 inch bungee cord packs. Take two of the bungee cords out, and feed the ends together. Once done, use a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the ends together to prevent them from coming undone.

Step 3: Start Attaching Chain

Loop the attached bungees over the boot or shoe you want to fit. If you do this right, it will fit multiple shoe types. Next, starting in the middle of the loop, separate a portion of the chain link a bit, slide it over the bungee and tighten it down over the bungee. Pull the chain down around the bottom side of the boot/shoe and find where the best fit, ensuring to keep the bungee loop even around the boot/shoe.

Step 4: Add Chain to the Front

Keep adding chain by separating the end link, wrapping it over the bungee and crimping it back down tight to the bungee. The front needs to be a bit looser to accommodate different size shoes.

Step 5: Add Chain in Desired Bottom Pattern

Add cross chains in your desired pattern. Ensure when crossing chain over chain to spread links and join them. 

Step 6: If Desired, Add Top Chain to Keep Things Taut

On my chains, I decided to add a top chain to keep things taut. I tightened one side of the chain to the bungee and the other side the link left open to clip on and off as needed. 



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    Very neatly done.

    I made these in order to trek around my town in 12 inches of snow. They worked pretty well the first hour or so. But after removal, they refused to stay together. Probably errors in my part. My suggestion, take a few hours to put them together and try them on when there isn't snow and ice on the ground to work out all the kinks. Also, but more chain then you think you need.

    Wanted to make these to save money over the commercial ones. But after pricing everything out, It looks like it will only be a couple more dollars to buy the nice commercial ones. Cheapest chain I could find locally is 52 cents a foot. 50 feet (as specified) of the stuff could cost $26!!! Then add bungee cords, time spend building and frustration. Does anyone else have a secret source for cheaper chain?

    1 reply

    You don't need 50' if you're only making one pair. Probably 5' would be more than enough for a single pair.

    Thank you for posting this. :)

    Congrats on getting featured on Gizmodo :)

    Will they last for long? Is the chain strong enough to hold even when they have been worn for a season or two?
    It's a great idea!

    Very, very cool. Might not last as long as the commercial ones, but for just 10% of the price what more could one ask for?

    Sorry, but I don't like your idea.The chain that you used is open link & the commeriaially made ones are of a closed link design. Which will last a much longer time than the ones that you made. Any stretch at all made on your homemade ones & the links will open up. Thanks for your idea, but no thanks!!

    Never head of chains for boots like chains for cars here in California, but this is way cool. I have lived in snow and in the Midwest winters, but this is new to me, thanks for sharing I learned something new.

    Great Instructable and I'll be following your description. We're in an icy condition right now in WI.



    I like it! Now I just have to find a hardware store somewhere around here. Not so easy in a foreign (to me) country!

    1 reply

    OH, and Favorited.

    I see what you did there. The old bait and switch.

    This is awesome! A few years ago I tried to fabricate my own version of the spiked ice climbers, and almost ended up taking off one of my fingers. This design is way simpler and much more affordable. Great work!