Meindl builds a retractable spike system into its winter boots
German footwear manufacturer Meindl recently added an innovative solution for winter traction to its line. The metal spikes in the Tecvision Spike System provide traction during the slipperiest winter conditions and quickly retract back into the rubber sole when they're not needed. You can tackle all winter conditions with one pair of boots.
Most other traction systems we've seen, like Korkers interchangeable soles, require carrying around a set of spiked or chained soles or accessories. Swedish shoe manufacturer Icebug specializes in traction footwear, including shoes with built-in carbide-tip studs. The company has designed the studs to automatically retract on hard, dry ground, but we're guessing they might have trouble with certain types of ground materials, like carpeting.
The Tecvision system gives you integrated traction while ensuring that the boots are strictly rubber on ground when walking on dry asphalt, dirt, carpet and other surfaces where spikes aren't required. Since situations where you'll need full-on spikes tend to be rare for most of us, being able to retract them completely should prove an advantage over systems like Icebug's.
A simple gear system is built inside the boots, allowing the spikes to move in and out. A dial on the heel flips out and turns to discharge the six spikes. It then flips back into place flush with the back of the boot. The spikes are spread evenly across the sole to provide sure, steady traction on extra slick surfaces. Once the land turns dry again, simply turn the dial to send the spikes back into the sole. When the spikes are retracted, the sole is as versatile as any other boot and can be worn in the car and house.
Given that you won't need traction spikes during moderate weather or casual walks, Meindl is limiting the Tecvision system to a few of its beefiest winter boots. It will be available on next year's Gastein Spike GTX, Island Spike MFS and Arctic Spike GTX, all of which use GORE-TEX construction. A rep told us that pricing has yet to be set, but the boots will be available in September.
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As for tires, when I lived in the mountains, I used Spike Spiders, which were great for easy-on, easy-off, traction.
As long as the wear portion of the soles (heel, toe and forefoot) is sufficiently thick (and/or the spikes are sufficiently recessed), and the traction properties of the soles are not compromised in trying to avoid thinning, should be a seller.
Either way, nice system that I've never seen.