This study investigates the relevance of several soil chemical extractions (calcium chloride, acetic acid, citric acid and a four-step sequential procedure) and predicted free metal ion activities in the soil solution to characterise the transfer of trace metals (Cd, Pb, and Zn) from soil to snail soft tissues over a large smelter-impacted area (Metaleurop Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France). The study was first performed on six snail species together and then specifically on Cepaea sp. and Oxychilus draparnaudi. When the six species were considered together, the accumulation of metals depended mostly on the species. When significant, total or extractable metal concentrations, or the predicted free ion activities, accounted for less than 7% of the variation of the metal concentrations in the snail tissues. Species-specific analyses showed that extractable concentrations explained approximately 25% of the variation of the metal concentrations in O. draparnaudi, and up to 8% in Cepaea snails. When using total soil concentrations and soil properties as explanatory variables, the models were generally slightly better, explaining up to 42% of the variance. The soil extraction procedures and predicted free ion activities used in this study did not accurately estimate the metal transfer from soil to snails and could not be used in risk assessment.