Whether walking to the bus or light rail stop or walking all the way to work or the grocery store, walk commuting is a great way to get around in a city such as Minneapolis. Now that we’ve hit the middle of winter, walk commuting requires a bit more forethought to stay safe and warm. Here are some tips on how to have a safe and warm commute this winter.
- Footwear: Winter shoes should have visible treads rather than a smooth sole. Hiking boots are a great option as most will keep your feet dry, come up past the ankles to keep snow out of the shoe and are made to support active feet. It is also important to have warm socks; this can mean layering thinner socks or wearing warmer winter socks. If the ice is keeping you down you can invest in ice cleat slip ons for your winter boots - these are spikes or metal wiring attached to a shoe via rubber slip on that breaks up ice and can keep you from slipping.
Image from https://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/ice-and-snow-traction-cleats/
- Dress with the weather in mind: Dress in layers: Sierra Trading Post suggests wearing a wicking layer, a warm layer, and then an outer layer. When it comes to pants, it might be worth purchasing long underwear or leggings to wear underneath your jeans or other pants, as your legs will also be exposed to the weather and the wind when walking and jeans or khakis do not retain heat well, particularly if wet. It is also good to have a change of clothes in your bag or office, a shirt and pants, in case of rain or snow.
- Outerwear: Wear a good winter jacket, or layer fleece and a windbreaker, this will keep your core warm. The other main winter outerwear accessories to have are: a hat or headband, gloves or mittens, scarf or gaiter or ski mask. It is a good idea to have your ears, hands, and neck covered. It is also a good idea to have a water bottle, sunglasses, and sunscreen and chapstick. A full water bottle is good idea even in the winter to keep hydrated, sunglasses are great for the unexpected sunny day, and chapstick for windy days.
Photo credit: Frances Stevenson
- Pay attention to other road users: listening to music while walking is great but make sure you can hear and see everything that is going on around you.
- Plan your route in advance and avoid shortcuts as these paths might be located where snow and ice removal is less consistent.
- Find a pit stop on your route: if you are walking to work everyday or regularly taking a specific route, find a coffee shop or library with good coffee and bathrooms on your route to stop in and warm up before continuing on.
Enjoy your walk commute!