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Hillsound FreeSteps6 Winter Traction Device

DESCRIPTION: Winter Traction Device
WEIGHT:340g (size large)
MSRP: $39.99

There isn’t a better proving ground for a traction device than a trip to our local Manitou Incline. I’ve had most types of traction devices and I’ve used all the ones I have on that stupid hill. It isn’t a place you want to take a tumble. Although it is better since the renovation which took place last year, I’d still rather stay upright


Pulling these out of the box in the Incline parking lot, the first thing I notice is how similar they are to another type of traction device I own. A huge difference is the price however, as the Hillsounds cost about half as much as the other ones.

There’s a solid feeling rubber harness, a few spike clusters positioned at different contact points, and only metal underfoot. The last point is crucial if you want them to last. I strap them over my trail runners and start off towards the pain train. Walking in them is comfortable. My shoes feel a little tighter due to the secure rubber but not uncomfortable. I have a hard time noticing them once I start off, which felt a little weird. I’m thinking to myself, do I really need these?  I can’t feel them, and I don’t feel like I’m sliding. I keep trucking up the never ending steps and catch up to an ultra-running looking fellow. Once I catch up to him the question if I needed these is very clearly answered. He is much fitter looking than me but I caught up to him and I figured out why when he slid 8 or so steps down right past me. My favorite part of him sliding past me was the awkward eye contact we made as he did it. He had a less aggressive trail running traction device on and they weren’t doing a thing for him. He was very quick to ask what kind of traction device I was wearing when he got to the top.

To put a little more test on these I went down the actual incline for the first half, and then ran down Barr trail for the second half. Zero slips on the way down which is better than I do on an average dry day.


  • Price- just over half the MSRP of a very comparable set up
  • Secure- not heavy for this type of device, although there are lighter ones on the market
  • A specific heel plate with spikes that seem to aid in downhill travel
  • Comfortable and hardly noticeable with solid traction
  • Great stability in forward and lateral movement, they didn’t roll to the side of the foot like I’ve experienced with other types


  • Appeared to be a little extra balling of snow under foot. It cleared quickly and did not seem to affect performance at all.


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