Winter Footwear Recommendations

Winter Footwear Recommendations

November is Fall Prevention Month

Banner photo credit: Hikebiketravel

As the Alberta representative for North Vancouver based Urban Poling Inc., from 2012 to 2020, I made presentations across the province about the many benefits of walking with Urban Poles and in general terms, the fabulous activity of Nordic walking. In 2016 and 2017, I spoke specifically about the benefit of Nordic walking for preventing falls. At these talks, I also spoke more broadly about strategies for fall prevention, including the importance of good footwear.

In doing research for my presentations, I became very aware of the extensive number of broken bones and other severe injuries across Alberta due to the treacherous winter walking conditions. An article by the CBC, in particular, caught my attention because it stated that 90% of Canadian winter footwear failed a basic slip test. Unbelievable! I shared this information broadly at every opportunity I had - at presentations, instructor training and through my social media channels. Unfortunately, people tend to purchase winter boots based on how fashionable they look and how warm they are. I had always simply glanced at the soles to eyeball the amount of tread they had, without having any way to really assess how safe they were to wear on the icy and snowy mess that most of our sidewalks and trails become in winter.

In November of 2017, I gave one of my presentations in Elk Point, for Fall Prevention Month. One of the participants showed me her Icebug boots, with built-in carbide traction studs. I was very impressed. As soon as I got home, I promptly went on-line and purchased my own pair of Ivalo3 Icebug boots. These have been my everyday winter boots ever since and I love them dearly! What I love about them is that they have fantastic grip in snowy and icy conditions, but they also work really well on pavement and other surfaces. Before my Icebugs came along, I would walk around Canmore wearing icers or ice cleats over top of my boots. But when you came to bare pavement, they were very awkward to walk with and down right dangerous when popping into a store. So they would often have to be taken on and off, numerous times, which was difficult to do and very inconvenient.

  • Ivalo3 Icebug Boots

  • Ivalo3 Icebug Boots

  • Ivalo3 Icebug Boots

  • Ivalo3 Icebug Boots

My Ivalo3 boots work amazingly well for walking all around town and I can drive wearing them. After torrential rain in Canmore all day Sunday and colder temperatures this week, most parking lots are now like a frozen version of the grand canyon. Some sidewalks are the same, while others are perfectly clear. I am confident wherever I walk, with these boots on. The boots have 16 carbide studs that grip the ice, but the soles are also comprised of a very grippy special rubber compound. The studs, which are harder than steel, have some flexibility to them, which when combined with the rubber tread, make them adaptable to whatever the surface is. Of course, I usually bring my poles along as well. I have compared my boots to having excellent winter tires and my poles provide me with four-wheel drive. The combination is phenomenal! I had the misfortune of breaking both of my wrists in January of 2018 while ice-skating on Lake Louise. With my Ivalo3 boots, I was comfortable and secure enough to spend a lot of time walking outdoors that winter, casts and all! To learn more about Icebug’s traction technology, visit this link.

  • Two Broken Wrists!

  • Two Broken Wrists!

As I lead hiking and snowshoe tours throughout the cold Rocky Mountain winter months and can easily spend upwards of five or six hours outside in very cold temperatures when recreating myself in the winter, I wanted something more suited to extreme cold.  I also wanted a boot that was not studded so I wouldn’t risk damaging the bed of my snowshoes. Thus, I added the Torne RB9 GTX to my winter footwear collection last season.  As my feet suffer painfully when they are cold, maximum warmth in my footwear was crucial for me to be able to continue enjoying my active outdoor life.  The Tornes did not disappoint!  I certainly tested them to the max of -30C a few times and I was delighted with how well they performed.  These boots also have good traction.  Indeed, I ventured out on an ice-covered lake with them once, to see how well they were on ice and I was pleasantly surprised. 

  • Torne RB9 GTX

I was also very surprised to learn about Icebug’s industry-leading sustainability efforts, as sustainability is something very important to me.    Shop for IceBug boots on-line here or find a store locator: SHOP

DISCLOSURE:  This season, Icebug Canada has gifted me a new pair of Ivalo3 boots with their revolutionary BUGrip technology. 

What to wear & bring (Spring, Summer, Fall):

  1. Wear comfy casual clothes.
  2. Bring a warm extra layer & rain jacket, just in case.
  3. Running shoes are fine while light trail or hiking shoes provide even more support and are ideal.
  4. Please no flip-flops or sandals.
  5. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  6. Don't forget your water, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent and your camera.

What to wear & bring (Winter):

  1. Wear a long sleeve t-shirt/thermal underwear top plus 1 or 2 layers (i.e.: light fleece top, heavier fleece top) & a wind/waterproof shell. Heavy winter parkas and snow pants are usually too warm.
  2. Wear winter boots or lined hiking boots. Icers, which go over your footwear to prevent slipping, are provided when necessary.
  3. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  4. Bring water, gloves/mitts, a hat/headband, scarf/buff/neck warmer, tissues/handkerchief, sunglasses and don't forget your camera!

Reserve OnLine:

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Simply click the "Book Now" button, select your preferred date to check availability, fill in your personal details and then make a secure payment via credit card. The system will automatically send you a confirmation of your session with the relevant details.

Liability Waiver:

Liability waivers are a necessary part of any commercial activity experience. I recommend that you take the time now to review this legal document that you will be required to sign before we start our clinic or walk together:

View the Waiver

Your Health & Physical Activity Readiness:

We ask guests who are experiencing cold symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and practice self-isolation under the direction of the appropriate governing body. For almost everyone, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh any risks. For some individuals, special advice from a Qualified Exercise or health care provider is advisable before becoming more active. This questionnaire is intended for all ages – to help move you along the path to becoming more physically active.

Please review this Questionnaire if you have concerns about your health or fitness level for participating in Nordic walking.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refunds are given if a cancellation is received 24 hours or more prior to the clinic or tour date. No refunds are given with less than 24 hours notice. Clinics/tours go rain or shine. If the weather is extreme, then it may be cancelled with a full refund given.

Malcolm Hotel

Canmore Public Parking


Parking is available on-street or in public lots throughout Canmore. It is a good idea to arrive early on busy days to locate suitable parking.

Malcolm Hotel - Onsite


Restrooms are available at the Malcolm hotel in the lobby.

Canmore Public Restrooms


Public restrooms are available within a short walk:

Canmore Public Restrooms - Trailheads


Public pit toilets are available at all trailheads.

Canmore Various

Where to meet:

Starting locations will vary seasonally with instructions included in your booking confirmation.


Parking options will vary by location with details included in your booking confirmation.

Tour Canmore

Various Canmore Trailheads

Canmore Walking Tour 1.5 Hour

Canmore Walking Tour 3 Sisters

Hikes Cognito Form

Winter Hikes Cognito Form

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