Snowline Chainsen Pro and Trail Light Traction Review


TMS Ambassador, Rachel, breaks down the key differences between two of our favorite traction devices, the Snowline Chainsen Pro and Snowline Chainsen Trail Light. Read on to discover which one may be best suited for your needs!

Snowline Traction Review
The Pro is on the left and the Trail Light is on the right. Photo credit: Brian Shepp

The bus I needed to catch to work was about to pull away. I threw the car in park and swung open the door, hoping to hop out and wave to the driver and get them to wait just for me. And then before I knew it, my feet peeled out from under me, and instead of a graceful wave and smile, I was on the ground in pain. And probably everyone on the bus saw. Except I was half under my car, so maybe not. Suffice to say I did not get on that bus to work. Instead, I spent the day at home recovering.

You can see why I am now sold on wearing boot traction all winter long. And hopefully, you are as well, without having to suffer an injury (or embarrassment).

You can say I’m a boot traction connoisseur of sorts. I have tried many different styles and brands over in the years since my “incident” and I am somehow known for my boot chain knowledge, frequently texting out links to friends and co-workers about my current favorites.

Yet, I had never tried any of the Snowline traction products!  So, here we go, you get my take on these 2 in their Chainsen product line: Trail Light and Pro

Traction Basic Design

Both of these traction devices are based on the same design. There are triangle-shaped spikes that are connected by a chain underfoot. Then, rubber straps go over your shoe or boot.  The placement and size of the spikes are different for each model. They both come with carrying cases (essential!).

Snowline Traction Review
The Trail Light is on the left and the Pro is on the right. Photo credit: Brian Shepp

A Little Bit About Wearing Traction

Unless you have amazing balance, it’s most convenient to put these on while seated.  Taking them off it is bit easier to do while standing, but not for everyone!

I always like to have my traction case with me. None of these devices are great on dry pavement. It’s possible, just not that pleasant. I like to pop them off and put them in their case once the iciness has passed. 

A caution for all of these (and any shoe traction with a similar design).  Make sure your shoe or boot is heavy duty enough the handle the rubber straps squeezing whatever material they are made out of. They are great on a durable leather boot. However, designs like this have creased and created holes on my favorite winter trail runners. And then they are a little less waterproof with holes….

Snowline Traction Review
Snowline Chainsen Pro. Photo credit: Brian Shepp

Snowline Chainsen Trail Light shoe or boot traction

Snowline Traction Review
Snowline Chainsen Trail Light. Photo credit: Brian Shepp

The Trail Light has small triangle spikes under the entire foot and beefy rubber straps. These are designed for trail running, but I think they are perfect for Legacy Trail walking.  Have you seen that ice?!?!

PROS

  • Very secure on flat to slightly sloped icy surfaces whether running or walking
  • Functional on dry pavement since the spikes are on forefoot and heel and placed consistently.
  • Straps stay where you put them and are comfortable
  • Easy to put on
  • Durable

CONS

  • Not quite a shove-in-your-pocket kind of setup like some more minimal styles out there.

Snowline Chainsen Pro Boot Traction

Snowline Traction Review
Snowline Chainsen Pro. Photo credit: Brian Shepp

With these, I kinda feel like I’m wearing crampons although they are still a far cry from actual crampons.  The spikes are still only underfoot. They have bigger triangle spikes than the Trail Light. The spike placement is similar, with spikes under the forefoot and heel but the pattern is a little different. The chains on the bottom are beefier and they are more durable than the Trail Light.

PROS

  • Secure on hard snow on steep slopes
  • Straps stay where you put them and are comfortable
  • Perfect for a June-uary peak bag when the snow conditions are firm, making snowshoes unnecessary and unwieldy. Think Donner Peak or Castle.
  • Just as secure as the Trail Light for running, but not as light
  • Extra durable

CONS

  • Not great for dry pavement because you are quite a bit elevated off the ground.
  • Definitely not a shove-in-your-pocket kind of setup for the size of an y of my pockets, throw them in your pack when you’re done.

And the Winner Is…

There is no winner.  This is like a kids’ recreational sports league.  They both win.

Really though. It just depends on what you need.

I, of course, can find a use for both!

Check out this guide on running in the winter for more helpful tips & tricks.

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