I hate fenders. I hate them so fucking much. They rattle and get in the way, and make your bike heavier and less fun to ride. It is a fact though that sometimes fenders are really nice to have. If you're riding in Minnesota winters they're pretty much a necessity. Last year I got into a nice set of Civia metal fenders. I liked them quite a bit because metal doesn't rattle like plastic fenders do, although I did make some modifications, like moving the strut mounts up and cutting off excess length from both the rear and front. (the Civia fenders are wicked long, for maximum coverage)
Well the rear one went awesome and I ended up leaving it on for the summer rain. The front fender however got destroyed on a particularly snowy and shitty day where I was traveling very slowly with a front end that was constantly wandering on me. I ended up kicking it enough times with my foot that the mount for the strut in the fender eventually pulled through.
So for this winter I've installed a mini fender. This solves two issues. no struts or fender to get in the way of your feet and a single hard attachment that doesn't rattle.
The fender was taken off an old Schwinn Stardust banana seat girls bike that I had lying around. I pounded the fender into a flatter shape with a rubber mallet on the concrete floor to allow it to fit a 700c tire. Then I simply used the stock hardware with a chainring spacer to take up the gap.
Here's my thinking: you don't always need a front fender. Typically when it's below freezing and not actively snowing the roads are fairly dry. For those times when you unexpectedly get caught on wet roads you have a decent enough fender that will keep you way drier than having none at all
on days when you know it's going to be wet, like today. You can add a downtube clip on fender and get pretty much full coverage. No strut or fender blade in your feet, and no worries.
I ran this setup for the first time during the rain storms today, and it worked great. There was a bit more splashing onto my shoes than you'd get with a full front fender, but it was totally acceptable and still way better in my opinion.