No rubber or leather sole shoe or boot, regardless of tread design, provides a fraction of the gripping power of almost any ice cleat.
That's because gripping ice requires penetration.
People looking for shoes that grip ice are usually looking for shoes they can where everyday as opposed to shoes to wear just when there is ice on the ground. Unfortunately the qualities that make good ice cleats make terrible everyday shoes. Here's why...
- If the shoe has aggressive studs, screws they will obviously damage most indoor floors.
- Studs can be slippery on smooth dry surfaces like indoor floors or even sewer grate covers and manhole covers creating a serious slipping hazard.
- Using shoes with any type of cleat... even the most durable studs made from tungsten carbide... will quickly wear down if you constantly walk on bare, non ice or snow covered surfaces.
There are sprays that supposedly make shoes grip ice better. Reviews are mixed at best. But lets assume they work. This is an extremely non-aggressive approach. This would work best if the ice is perfectly smooth. That's because you need every possible point of contact to grip the ice. The cumulative traction provided by the entire surface of the sole treated with this type of spray provides a tiny fraction of the grip provided by just one aggressive, well-designed stud on an actual ice cleat. It's not for walking over rough ice when surface contact with the slippery surface can be very small. The effectiveness of all non aggressive traction approaches also diminishes as temperatures drop because ice becomes more dense.
The best shoes for walking on ice are those with a high quality stretch over ice cleat. That way you can use regular shoes for every day use and always be prepared for icy pavements and parking lots.