Gear Review – Yaktrax

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(Disclaimer: I was given a free pair of Yaktrax Pro in exchange for my honest review of the product. Although, I do feel bad because I was supposed to do this last year but time, and snow, got away from me! Plus, the lady never followed up! Such is life, and without ado, here’s my review!)

Colorado is a strange place…when you want snow, there’s none to be found and just when you think spring should be starting…you get dumped on! This happened last year as well as this year!

Oh well, I do love Colorado! As they say, “if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, just wait five minutes!”

As an avid runner, sometimes it’s needed to run in the snow. If you don’t want to run on the wet, slushy roads dodging cars, you take to the trails. But snowy trails can sometimes be difficult. That’s why you need some sort of traction device. In the past, trail shoes have sufficed, or I just have stuck to the roads. Now, I’d rather be on the trails and trails shoes aren’t always enough to get up the steep slopes.

yaktraxOver a year ago, I was sent an email from a lady over at Yaktrax. She asked if I wanted to try them in exchange for writing a blog post about them. Super excited, and looking for a traction device, of course I said yes. This was the first product demo I got a request for (although not the first one I got around to doing). I had previously heard of Yaktrax from my shoe-selling days (a short-lived career at Dick’s Sporting Goods) and my co-workers all loved and recommend the Pro Version (versus the Run Version). I never bought them at the time, being a road-runner at that phase of my running life, but kept them in the back of my mind.

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When I first posted on my Facebook/Instagram that I had gotten them in the mail to try, I immediately had people responding to me with their different options on Yaktrax. From my friends, it was about half and half: Half LOVED them and used them all the time and the other half didn’t like them, AT ALL.

Obviously I had to try them for myself. I have since taken them on MANY runs over the last year.

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WHAT ARE THEY?!

Yaktrax are a traction device that fits over your shoes for when you run, walk or hike on snow and ice. They make a variety of different versions: XTR, Walk, Walk+, Run, and Pro. I received the Pro version. With this one, it’s just wires/rubber under your shoe. Some of the other versions have a plastic plate under the forefoot. I have not tried those.

You can look at the compare chart, but the Pro vs. other versions just means it has stronger steel on the bottom and a strap for the top of your shoe. This is good for running; they are strong and stay on your feet! Between the Pro version and the actual Run version, it lacks the spikes the run version has on the forefoot plate. From other runners, they like the Pro Version better than the run version.

You can get specific details on the Pro version I have HERE.

Disclaimer: In this picture, I have the toe part on wrong... The black part fits right inline with your shoe (lower than the picture shows) and it much more comfortable that way.

Disclaimer: In this picture, I have the toe part on wrong… The black part fits inline with your shoe (lower than the picture shows) and it much more comfortable that way!

MY PROS:

  • Provides great traction on ice and packed snow
  • When the snow is right, I can easily get up hills
  • Easy to put on and take off; that way if are running to a trail, you can carry them with you and put them on when you get there
  • Fit comfortably on my shoes
  • When conditions are right, you don’t notice they are there
  • Lightweight, by themselves
  • Affordable
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Cool design they make in the snow

MY CONS:

  • You’ll notice that I say, “when the conditions are right” a lot above….because if they are not, Yaktrax aren’t ideal
  •  Not good for slushy or loose snow, mud or rock patches
  • The toe part sometimes slips up and pinches my toes or falls off (this has only happened twice)
  • If the conditions aren’t right, you really feel them under your shoes, and it’s not the most conformable thing.
  • Sometimes they collect a lot of snow and/or mud and become very heavy or make your footsteps uneven; a sprained ankle waiting to happen

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THINGS I HEARD FROM FRIENDS:

  • “They break easily” (In my opinion, the people who have told me this have a very HEAVY running form.)
  • “There’s better [traction devices] out there” (I don’t know, I’ve never tried any other traction devices for running.)
  • “Watch out for solid ice though, they still side on that.” (I have used them on solid ice, and I haven’t slid!)
  • “I’ve had a pair for a few years and like them a lot.” (Me too!)
  • “I LOVE mine!!!!! And they make me feel like a total bad a$$ running in them!!” (I get that feeling too.)

CONCLUSION:

I like Yaktrax, but the thing about them is conditions have to be just right. If they are not, I won’t wear them and just run in my trail shoes. What are the right conditions? Packed snow (or ice). Not slushy, not loose and fluffy, and not sparse snow/ice.

After reading the reviews, the most common thing people complained about is they wear out really quickly. I have used them a dozen plus times and mostly when the snow is in the right conditions and they still are going strong!

When I do use them, they provide adequate traction, haven’t broken on me, and fit comfortably on my shoes. Since I have a pair, I probably wont buy another product and just keep using these! I have not yet used them hiking, just running, but I think they would be perfect for hiking during the winter months.

I definitely recommend these if you are looking for an affordable traction device (Pro version is only $29.99) and if it snows regularly where you run. I also have recommend them to my elderly clients that walk to places around town and they love them!

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Using my Yaktrax on Apex Trail!

Your turn: Do you use Yaktrax? If so, do you like them? If not, what do you use for snowy/icy runs?

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