September 1, 2008 When ice and snow cover the roads, people have been turning to snow chains for a hundred years in order to get traction. Now there’s no denying they work, but there’s also no denying that there has to be a better way. A new alternative for ensuring winter traction has been announced and the initial claims make the Navimetrix Snobootz look pretty good. Snobootz consist of a durable fabric boot which wraps around the tire. Rubber traction pads are bonded to the fabric which are embedded with steel cleats to offer aggressive ice-clawing traction. Independent university tests show the Snobootz are about 20 percent faster than snow chains from zero to 20 mph on a full-size SUV, 66 percent faster to install and at one-third the weight of chains, Snobootz are easier to handle and store. At US$250 a pair, they’re not cheaper than chains, but they are faster, easier and safer.
Snobootz is available for most popular car and light truck tire sizes and installation takes about a minute per tire. Snobootz are particularly suited to smaller cars that often have wheel clearances problems that prevent the use of tire chains.
Independent third-party testing at Michigan Tech University’s Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) proved that Snobootz was about 20 percent faster than snow chains on ice from zero to 20 mph on a full-size SUV. On a 10 percent ice-covered grade, Snobootz allow a vehicle to climb, come to a complete stop on the slope, and then continue the climb again without sliding backwards.
In KRC installation tests, Snobootz proved to be 66 percent faster than tire chains. This means the driver will be less exposed to roadside hazards, and more likely to use them when necessary. Also, at one-third the weight of chains, Snobootz are easier to handle and store.
Although Snobootz are not designed for extended use on dry pavement, the tough rubber traction pads have been proven to last more than 200 miles, which exceeds the life expectancy of tire chains on dry pavement.