When superstorm “Nemo“ was brewing a little while back, Cinnamon went for a 7 mile run but found it to be more of a 7 mile slide. Remembering a mention of traction devices, she asked the rest of us for some recommendations on how she could safely get in her runs while Brooklyn was covered in ice. Living in Boulder, I have my fair share of experience here, so I offered to help her out.
Like the U.S. Postal Service, we runners get the job done whether it’s rain, sleet, snow or hail, but it’s tough when winter weather conditions make for slick and icy trails. Most of us will be tough and complete those training runs, but if you’re like me, you’re afraid of falling. Plus, the snow and ice can mess with your footing which can lead to twisted ankles or general soreness from working those running muscles so differently. To get through these difficult conditions, Yaktrax may save the day.
Yaktrax are rubber devices made to stretch over the bottom of your shoe and fit snug at the toe and heel. Light, metal coils line the bottom of the device to provide stable footing on slippery surfaces. Yaktrax are also designed to withstand sub-zero temperatures!
The concept of Yaktrax was created by an outdoorsman who went hiking in the Himalayas and met a Sherpa who had no problems walking in icy conditions. He noticed that the Sherpa was wearing a coil-like device on his shoes, and presto..the light bulb went off, the patents were filed and a new company was created. The company was named for the Tibetan Yak and markets its traction products to runners, walkers, hikers, construction workers and anybody who needs to/wants to be outdoors in slick conditions.
I’ve been using Yaktrax for nearly four years, and I enjoy using them in snowy and icy conditions for easy runs. They give me peace of mind that I won’t slip, and I don’t feel like my stride changes as much when I run in the snow. I’m fairly clumsy, so this is very important to me! They are easy to put on and fit snug on the bottoms of my shoes.
While I do like them for easy runs, I find that I don’t do well when doing strides, pick-ups or any kind of faster-pace running. When the weather gets bad and I have to do a speed workout, I either accept that I won’t perform as well or I hit the treadmill. My point is that Yaktrax are likely not the answer for hitting those interval times. The coils don’t absorb the shock as well, and I notice more stiffness in my calves. I’ve also noticed that the coils break easily, but that’s to be somewhat expected given the impact of running.
Don’t get me wrong, Yaktrax are a great addition to your winter running gear. Consider them just for those easy runs to keep on track with your training program. The range in price from $12 to over $50, and can be purchased at most running stores or on Amazon.
Do you run with Yaktrax or any other type of non-slip device in the winter? What are your experiences?