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Korkers winter boots feature interchangeable outsoles

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February 23, 2012

The Korkers Ice Jack is the heaviest winter boot in the line

The Korkers Ice Jack is the heaviest winter boot in the line

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Snow, slush, glop, black ice, slick ice, chunder ... no matter how grippy and surefooted your winter boot outsoles are, one of those surfaces is sure to have you grabbing desperately at the air as your backside prepares for a bruising. That's especially true if the sole doesn't include any type of metal traction cleats or bars. Korkers attempts to provide the perfect traction in all situations by offering an interchangeable outsole system with its boots. You can adjust your soles for snow, ice and more ice.

Korkers has been offering fishing wading boots with interchangeable soles for years. It extended its market footprint (pun intended) to winter boots this winter. Its IceJack, SnowJack and StormJack boots are all built with the OmniTrax 3.0 Interchangeable Sole System, and each boot includes the SnowTrac and IceTrac soles.

The SnowTrac soles are Korkers' versatile rubber sole that the company says is good for both wet and dry conditions. It recommends them for winter "trail adventures" and activities that include both indoor and outdoor elements.

The IceTrac upgrades your traction with a series of 16 carbide spikes. This sole is designed for more winter-intensive activities that may include slippery ice, slush and snow. Korkers recommends them for hiking in snow and ice, snowmobiling and working outdoors where slippery conditions exist.

The latest OmniTrax system allows users to install soles without even removing the boots. Snap the sole into place and walk forward - the orange tabs will lock into the shoe when you step down, providing a visual and audible cue letting you know the sole is locked and loaded.

For those that really immerse themselves in "extreme ice conditions," Korkers also offers the IceTrac Extreme, which is equipped with burly, 7mm carbide traction studs. We're thinking this would be the choice of ice fisherman and grandparents who walk five miles over a frozen lake to get to school every day. The IceTrac Extreme does not come with the boots and is available separately for US$39.99.

In addition to their innovative soles, Korkers boots feature Thinsulate insulation (200 g to 600 g, depending upon model) and 100 percent waterproof construction. The $200 IceJack includes a turn-dial Boa lacing system, while the SnowJack ($160) and StormJack ($140) use traditional boot laces.

While interchangeable soles appear to be unique to Korkers, other footwear companies offer similar traction systems. Icebug, a Swedish manufacturer of running shoes, winter boots and other footwear, offers shoes with built-in carbide spikes. The spikes actually retract into the sole on harder ground, so that they don't trip you up when you go from ice to pavement. While many of its shoes come with the spikes pre-installed, Icebug offers the Trail BUGweb for some of those that don't. The rubber accessory with integrated traction spikes is designed to fit into the sole patterns of certain shoes.

For those that don't want to spend the money on dedicated shoes or boots, add-on traction systems like Yak Trax and Stabilicers fit over pretty much any shoes.

Source: Korkers via The GearCaster

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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3 Comments

I wish somebody would do this with walking shoes. Recent designs have very durable uppers, with beefy but breathable mesh and PVC bumpers, making them much longer-lasting than walking shoes of the past that have crack-prone leather or lightweight fabric that would split and tear. But the soles remain a weak point. I hate throwing out perfectly good shoes just because the heels have worn down, and today's shoes are too difficult to resole.

Gadgeteer
23rd February, 2012 @ 02:31 pm PST

I would love to have a set of these right about now.

Alan Belardinelli
24th February, 2012 @ 03:59 am PST

This might work, but also might not work. In Norway we do get plenty of experience with various slippery stuff, so I'm a bit doubtful.

There is already lots of boots that work well in winter conditions, (and many more that don't). The type of rubber (soft and sticky) is the most important element of traction on all surfaces. On smooth wet ice, only spikes work. Several spike systems of various gravity are available to fit any type of boot.

This Korkers system of interchangeable soles may offer a system that is more steadily attached to the boot, since they are shaped to fit each other and the soles have more points where they are held in place. But there might be a big BUT: These attachment points seem to be fairly precisely shaped. There are a number of holes in the bottom of the boot, with matching shapes on the attachable sole.

I doubt that this is a system suitable for change on the go, as strict cleanliness would be necessary. Any snow or sand would probably prevent the attachment system from working, and sand may quickly wear out the system. These substances have a very good ability to penetrate into all nooks and crannies like this. As this is actually boots, they will be exposed to plenty of them while being in constant motion. Hmmmm....

Stein Varjord
24th February, 2012 @ 07:25 am PST
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