Meindl builds a retractable spike system into its winter boots
The Gastein Spike GTX is one of the boots equipped with the new system
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.
About the Author
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
This is old news. Sievi Spike has been around for several years.
These boots would be quite useful in my area!
Why hasn't this been done with automobile tires!?
After seeing the complexity of the mechanism, I can't help thinking that simple rubber slip-ons with metal spikes are a simpler and much cheaper option.
fatal flaw: can you imagine how much tyres would cost to have this technology?
What do you mean, spikes are not needed during casual walks? I live with snow half the year. I don't go walking around if I need more than sneakers, but half the time, I use spikes on them just to get the mail and milk. I'd use them a lot more if they were retractable. I want spikes I can extend by touching heels and wiggling, and that retract when I kick the snow off by tapping the toes against a wall. The mechanism has to be sealed against water and ice, even when well worn. I don't want it on some great lumpy looking things; a lightly insulated high-top or a slip-on boot that fills a pant leg out would be OK.
Great takeoff on the US-based patented pneumatically deployed tire traction system. Seems to be having difficulty getting to market though.
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.
These look great, but... what happens when the soles wear down and start to expose the spikes? How deeply are they recessed? I have hardwood floors and, handy as these appear to be, I think that they'd ruin my floors, when they wore down.
As for tires, when I lived in the mountains, I used Spike Spiders, which were great for easy-on, easy-off, traction.
It looks like it's the same Tecvision equipment in the Sievi's. Of course Sievi makes safety shoes for work and Meindl makes hiking/walking boots so two different things.
Either way, nice system that I've never seen.
Dennis had these in the Sponge Bob Movie
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning