I had a pair of Yaktrax Run’s sitting in my Amazon shopping cart last winter when the snow finally started to melt and I opted to wait on them. I had a hard time justifying buying a pair of traction cleats for my shoes in a state that traditionally doesn’t get a lot of snow. I got a pair to review in the Fall, (you can read about my first impressions here) but I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to get any place with snow to give them a spin this winter.. Until now. We finally got some snow and after several days trapped indoors with two rowdy boys, they provided the perfect excuse to leave the house for a nice 6 miler.
In case you don’t know anything about Yaktrax, I’ll give you a brief rundown on them. Similar in concept to snowshoes, they are these nifty contraptions you can slide over any pair of running shoes to give you some more traction to run on the snow and ice. There are carbide steel spikes up by the toes and some abrasion-resistant steel coils under the midfoot and heel area. They even have an anatomic right/left design and clearly show a “toe” and “heel” instruction so you can get them on right. Easy Peasy!
The snow had already started to melt by the time I got outside to test my Yaktrax, and despite the fact that the instructions clearly state that they shouldn’t be worn for gravel, concrete, or roads cleared of snow, I had several patches of wet pavement with no snow. What this did provide me was a chance to see how they performed in several states of weather condition.. wet pavement, sloshy-melty snow, fresh powder snow, hard packed snow, and even some slick icy terrain.
The first thing I noticed when I started running in them was that the steel coils made my stride feel a bit “spring loaded.” They were a bit loud under foot and I felt like I was running on loose gravel. I started off tentatively and increased my speed as I got used to them. They were surprisingly lightweight on my feet and they gripped the road really well.
Obviously, they didn’t perform as magically on pavement as they did on ice, but that is to be expected when you are a rebel and you go against what is recommended for usage. Still, they weren’t difficult to run in, even in the areas where there was clearly no ice. The snow felt good to run on and the satisfying crunch only encouraged me to keep trucking along. The sloshly stuff was also easy to navigate.
As for the icy patches, the Yaktrax performed amazingly. I’m not going to tell you that you won’t slip on the ice while wearing them. There were a few places that I felt I could have slipped, so you should not get overconfident while running in them. But I never felt in danger of falling as I have in other scenarios and they hugged the streets and trails without issue. I am really looking forward to wearing these on future snow days in Oregon, whether running in them or just going for a hike in them.
My only piece of advice is to be sure to strap the Yaktrax on well. About 4.5 miles into my run, the back of one of the Yaktrax slipped off the back of my foot. It didn’t cause me to fall or anything, but I had to stop and get it re-adjusted which is not an easy task in gloves. It only happened once and I am absolutely positive it was user-error related. The Yaktrax are not loose on your feet at all if you have the right size and I don’t anticipate that to be a common problem. They fit very snugly over any pair of shoes.
All in all, I would never hesitate in buying a pair after having worn them. My qualms about them being a good investment are totally resolved, as these are well worth the low cost even if you only wear them once a season. Oregon gets a fair share of ice in the winter, and these are the best option out there to combat that.
Products & Price:
Specs (from website):
The Yaktrax RUN is the only traction device anatomically designed to meet the needs of runners braving the winter elements. Run naturally on packed snow and ice with the Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction. Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces. The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit.
More about YAKTRAX:
Yaktrax was originally conceptualized when an outdoor adventurer who was exploring the Himalayas encountered a seasoned Sherpa striding confidently across the slick, icy surface. What was seen on the Sherpa’s feet sparked a revolutionary invention – the Yaktrax patented coil traction device.
Since then, a global company has grown and helped athletes, construction crews, public service workers, soldiers, outdoorsmen, and many more walk, run and work on packed snow and ice.
Named after the sure-footed Tibetan Yak, Yaktrax is proud to offer a wide array of ice traction devices for your shoes in addition to winter accessories. Whether you need the Walk for getting to the bus stop or mailbox or require extreme outdoor traction with our XTR, Yaktrax will always provide solid, predictable traction you are used to on dry surfaces.
Thank you to Yaktrax for providing us with a sample pack. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews