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Should you wear spiked shoes in Norway during winter?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Should you wear spiked shoes in Norway during winter?
Should you invest in a pair of spiked shoes to help you get about Norway in the winter? Pictured is Aker Brygge, Oslo in the snow. Photo by Ranurte on Unsplash

Norway’s big cities can feel like giant ice rinks during winter, and when the going gets tough, the locals normally slip spikes onto their shoes.

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While Norway is typically well prepared for winter, shortages of sand and salt and rapidly changing weather mean some pavements and paths can be neglected and end up incredibly icy.

On the worst days, large parts of towns and cities can resemble an ice rink far more than a pavement. 

This puts people at a higher risk of falling over as they go about their daily business. Most of the time, when you fall on an icy surface in Norway, the main thing that might hurt may be your pride. However, serious injuries such as broken bones and concussions can still occur.

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Well, one thing you may have noticed is a few residents wear spiked shoes to make it easier to tackle slippery surfaces.

So, should you invest in a pair of spiked shoes for yourself?

Luckily, you have several choices available to you. First up are relatively inexpensive ice grippers which you attach to your shoes. These can cost between 150 kroner and 300 kroner.

They are easy to attach to most shoes and give you a good grip on snow and ice. These are a popular choice with many people in Norway and can even be used to carry on with outdoor sports, such as jogging or running, during the winter.

Slip on spikes can be found everywhere from sports stores to pharmacies. 

Some grips will come with short spikes and rubber soles to maintain traction. Others come with as many as 20 spikes per foot and much longer points to help you get a better grip.

The simple grips with a few short spikes will suffice in most cases. Although, if you are really worried about slipping, struggle with balance, or are more prone to breaking bones, you can invest in a more robust set of spikes.

Another option is a pair of winter shoes with spikes already fitted, although in most cases, this will likely be overkill and may end up being more impractical than helpful.

The reason for this is that when you enter a lot of stores, shopping centres, museums and restaurants, you will be asked to remove any spikes to be allowed in. This is because the spikes can damage the flooring in these areas.

If you have a pair of shoes that come with the spikes already installed, then you may have to carry around a spare pair of shoes with you. This is in addition to carrying around the likely wet pair of spikes. 

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What do the locals do?

Most Norwegians get by fine without attaching spikes to their shoes, however they have become more common in recent years.

Many will still prefer to opt for a sensible pair of shoes or boots with a good tread.

Typically, you’ll more likely see elderly people use spiked shoes to get about, sometimes with a pair of ski poles.

This is because most main streets in the cities will be adequately prepared for snow, meaning you should be able to get decent traction with most sensible pairs of shoes.

However, changing temperatures can lead to entire roads and pavements melting and freezing back over before there is a chance for them to be gritted.

Additionally, some side and residential streets may be overlooked by local authorities, meaning there may be a few stretches of road which are more perilous than the main road.

In these areas, and when conditions are particularly icy, you’ll see more locals opt for a pair of ice spikes to get about.

Generally, it may be better to buy a pair of spikes and not need them, than need them and not have them. If you do decide to opt for a pair, it's probably almost always better to go for the slip ons over the shoes with inbuilt spikes. 

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Comments (1)

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Edvard 2023/01/06 13:11
Hi. Regarding carrying a spare set of shoes if wearing spikes - you can buy covers for your spiked shoes which prevent damage to shop floors etc. Easier to carry than a spare set of shoes
  • Anonymous 2023/01/09 11:10
    Yes, that's true! We will update the article accordingly. Thanks, Frazer

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