Does It Work: YakTrax Pro

>> Saturday, February 06, 2010

I first started running with YakTrax about 2 years ago. They work well, but they work better in certain conditions. Here’s my current pair of YakTrax Pro (note that they are the “Pro” model that has the Velcro strap and not just the “Walker” model that has no strap):

These have helped me train over the last 3 winters for 3 winter half-marathons. I have another pair of more generic “spikes” that slip over my shoes, but I vastly prefer my YakTrax. But they’re not perfect for everything. Here are my thoughts.

YakTrax Pro for running on ice: Grade of B-. Nothing will make it “easy” to run on the ice. YakTrax help, but they don’t make it seem like your running on a grassy path in the middle of summer.

YakTrax Pro for running on uneven, packed sidewalks: Grade of B+. YakTrax work pretty good in these conditions - they work on clear, slightly icy, or packed sidewalks. If someone has shoveled down to bare cement, YakTrax are still fine on that, whereas some other “spikes” are really uncomfortable on clear sidewalks.

YakTrax Pro for running on EVEN packed snow: Grade of A. This is the BEST use for YakTrax! During most of my winter runs this year, I’ve been running along the Mississippi River on a trail that is maintained by the city. That trail NEVER has uneven footing. It always has just 1/4 inch of packed snow, and that’s PERFECT for YakTrax.

Have you tried YakTrax? How about any other sort of “traction spikes?” Click on the “Does It Work” tag to see all posts in this mini-series. Happy weekend!!



Relentless Forward Commotion 6:43 AM, February 06, 2010  

as much as I miss the beautiful Vermont scenery, I'm very, VERY thankful I relocated to an area where I never have to worry about YakTrax! Great review though!

Anonymous,  7:32 AM, February 06, 2010  

I got the Pros this year - first time out one came off. Went to hardware store and got a roll of velcro and puts strips around the heel. Haven't had a problem since.

Emily 7:39 AM, February 06, 2010  

I have never tried the Pros...I definitely used Yak Trax while I lived in Vermont and am now kicking myself for not bringing them to DC as a blizzard dumbed feet of snow on us last night. You are right, there is never a good time to run on ice but Yak Trax make me feel like I won't break my back if I go out for a run, which is, you know, nice.

Chad 7:44 AM, February 06, 2010  

I have the Yaktrax Pro and I agree with your review. However, there are some negatives too. I don't like wearing mine on pavement because when they break, they break. You can't replace the coils (like you can replace the studs on other traction devices). So those days when it's half snowy/half pavement, I'm usually torn about whether to wear the Yaktrax or not.

Jumper 2.0 7:49 AM, February 06, 2010  

I love my yaktrax pro's! I have even found them to work well on the ice but I also run slower than you and mainly use it for long runs, recovery runs and maybe a tempo, no outright speed runs.

crossn81 7:49 AM, February 06, 2010  

I've enjoyed mine. I ran on Pike Island with them and that was a lot of fun. But if the pavement shows through I find myself looking for snow or ice to run on!

Julie 9:16 AM, February 06, 2010  

Hi Steve,
I pretty much have to agree with your grading theory. I love my Yaktrax! I do also have a pair of those running spikes...they seem to work better on the ice:)

Anne 12:27 PM, February 06, 2010  

Thanks, this was informative :) I just started running about 6 months ago and since I'm in Qu├ębec, Canada, I've been really thinking about getting yaktrax. I think that next winter for sure, I'm getting mine. The roads are mostly uneven or packed snow where I run, so yaktrax friendly.
I came by for a visit as I see your blog on many blog roles...I'll be joining your fan club :)

teacherwoman 2:01 PM, February 06, 2010  

Lovin' all the product reviews! :) I could probably use a pair of those yak trax just to get to and from work. geez.

Coach Liz 2:16 PM, February 06, 2010  

No snow and ice here so I have not tried these out. I don't think I will need a pair until I am forced to run further north.

Felice Devine 8:38 PM, February 06, 2010  

I've been considering getting these. Thanks for the review!

Carmel,  10:45 AM, February 16, 2010  

Thanks to the commenter who mentioned that they break easily; I'll keep a better eye on mine (Im thinking if I stay to more snow, less pavement, that should help?)

Overall, I love the fact that I can run on snow/ice. You still need to be careful, but it's an improvement.

What I like best (beside not falling) is that you get traction on the snow: your foot doesn't slip backward as you propel yourself.

Anonymous,  2:13 PM, February 16, 2010  

As an Alaskan trail runner, I can't say enough good things about Yaktrax Pro. I love 'em, and they saved my ass during a moose encounter along a slippery section last weekend.
Don't know how they rate on pavement, though, since I hate running on roads (borrrrinnnnggg).

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