Yaktrax are strap-on metal spikes that are designed to pierce through ice and hard snow which provides you more traction when running. Also known as “ice cleats,” these are affixed to a shoe or a boot with small spikes underneath. These are used to avoid sliding on slippery surfaces when walking or running during the winter season.
So, are Yaktrax good for running? Yes! Yaktrax are great for running in icy and snowy conditions. They allow you to extend your running season into the winter so you can maintain your fitness. Make sure to get the correct size and you’ll be good to go.
Dealing with traction on winter runs can be challenging for a road runner. Running in or just after a snowstorm can get pretty slick and challenging. This means that a fresh layer of powdery snow and a layer of ice are added underneath your shoes.
Yaktrax have carbide spikes on the forefoot to dig into ice. As long as the ice is thick enough, these spikes will grab in just enough to hold your footing but not so much as to interfere with your running.
Although yaktrax and trail running shoes are designed to handle wet and snowy conditions, there are tools that would make them handle snow and ice even better, especially in extreme circumstances.
How to choose your Yaktrax
Before choosing your Yaktrax and winter trail running shoes, ask yourself these simple questions:
- What distance will I cover?
- At what speed will I be moving?
- What is the primary use of the traction device?
- How often will I be using the device?
- Will I be running in ice, snow or both?
- How extreme will my winter running experience be?
The Difference between Yaktrax Pro and Yaktrax Run
Over the years of continuous research and innovation, manufacturers have developed numerous types of Yaktrax for different levels of traction, to suit every need. For winter running, there are two types of Yaktrax namely Yaktrax Pro and Yaktrax Run.
The Yaktrax Pro is ideal for someone who needs increased durability while running as it is equipped with a removable performance strap designed for stability. Yaktrax Pro are priced at $30.
- Spikeless, ultra lightweight design
- 360° of traction with patented skid lock coil system
- Durable natural rubber outerband for flexible fit
- Abrasion resistant 1.4mm steel coils
- Removable strap ensures a secure fit
On the other hand, the Yaktrax Run is made up of 1.4 mm steel coils, carbide steel spikes and is made from high strength natural rubber. These removable spikes and steel coils can give you 360⁰ of traction. Yaktrax Run is priced at $40. This is a newer version compared to Yaktrax Pro.
- Made of high strength natural rubber
- 1.4 mm steel coils
- Carbide steel spikes
- Reflective heel tab and performance strap offers safety
- Anatomic right/left design
The difference between Yaktrax Pro and Yaktrax Run is that on the latter, the coils under the forefoot are replaced by two studded rubber and plastic plates wherein the studs are made of carbide steel and the plates they are attached to are removable. The stud plates are removable and can be purchased independently if ever it needs replacement.
The heel of the Yaktrax Run retains the familiar coils from other models, and does a better job in deeper snow. Yaktrax Run are great on icy surfaces and snow-covered, plowed roads, and decent in fresh snow as long as it’s not too deep.
Unlike the Yaktrax Pro which has a strap that secures the medial and lateral sides across the top of the foot, the Yaktrax Run also integrates a wrap from the toe up to the strap. Additionally the designers moved this wrap strap forward so that it crosses further forward on the foot as opposed to more in the middle like the Yaktrax Pro.
The Yaktrax Run supports a forefoot/midfoot strike well because of the placement of the spikes, so no worries about that. A strong rear foot striker is going to land with a bit more on the coils but will still use the spikes to generate forward momentum during the later stages of the running gait when they shift onto the front of their foot.
Yaktrax Run is best for running and for really tough winter conditions.
Typically Yaktrax are made out of an injected molded thermoplastic elastomer. The coils are all woven and are protected against rusting. Yaktrax can be worn in temperatures as low at -41⁰F. Putting them on is not a dreaded chore because they are designed in such a way that they are very easy and fast to put on and take off again.
From the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at Yaktrax.com:
“The easiest way for most people to install Yaktrax on their shoes is to sit down, pull your foot up near your other knee and slip them over your shoe. Start from the front of your shoe and then pull them over the bottom of your shoes, securing them in the back heel area. You may also fit them over your shoe prior to putting on your shoes. Whatever way you find easiest is the best way for you.”
Combine your Yaktrax with a good winter running shoe
Yaktrax, although it helps a lot, still requires you to have a running shoe that is designed for winter running. For better winter running performance, be sure to partner your Yaktrax with these great shoe features:
Waterproof – Who would want to have watery feet when running in the winter? Soggy socks are the worst thing to have on your feet while running. Therefore, the best winter trail running shoes are equipped with a waterproof membrane on the upper part to help prevent this. Your shoes must get your feet back home completely dry.
Durability and Protection – Be ready for the terrain ahead of you on the trail! It’s actually difficult during normal weather conditions, but what more during winter?
Also read: Are Trail Running Shoes Good For Snow?
To prevent your feet from getting hurt the shoes must be generously padded along the sole to absorb the shock you might encounter along the way. Wearing high top ankle covers is also recommended for added protection.
Grip/traction – Every running shoe must have a solid grip to prevent you from slipping and sliding on slick surfaces. This also prevents accidents. Thanks to the outsoles and grippy lugs on winter trail running shoes you’ll be even better prepared!
Insulation – One of the best ways to keep your feet comfortable during a winter run is to keep them warm. Although a good pair of winter socks can help with this, the shoes also have a role to play.
Most winter shoes are equipped with an integrated knit sock that covers both of your feet and all your toes making them warm. There are some high top shoes that cover your ankles which prevent snow and water from penetrating through, which in turn, keep your feet warm and protected.
Yaktrax were originally conceptualized by an outdoor adventurer during his exploration of the Himalayas. This adventurer encountered a seasoned Sherpa walking with ease over the slippery icy surface.
What he then saw on this Sherpa’s feet sparked a revolutionary invention known as the Yaktrax. Thanks to this outdoor adventurer who conceptualized this genius invention, you no longer have to worry about slipping and falling when going for your winter run.
Testimonials from athletes and sports bloggers around the web:
“The Yaktrax RUN are a great addition to a winter running kit. They cost $10 more than the PRO but in my opinion are a much better version if you are a runner. They are ideal for icier conditions and will not substitute for a snowshoe if that’s the kind of snow pack you are trying to run on; they simply do not distribute enough force to keep you above the snow for long.
Traction and stability is excellent without buildup of ice and gunk. And if you wear a larger shoe, i.e. one with an extra large footprint or increased stack height, make sure to test them in the store for fit, or just buy a size larger.”
– Jason Taylor via endurancebuzz.com
“The one thing that surprised me is that it didn’t feel a lot different than running in my regular trail shoes. I still had ground feel and was able to increase and decrease my pace without having to be cautious of slipping.
Because of their weight and secure fit, the Yaktrax doesn’t leave you feeling like you have some foreign object attached to your shoe. The Yaktrax Run gives superb traction on ice and packed snow allowing you to get out there and get running during the winter.”
– Mark Ranum via activegearreview.com
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.