Gear Review: Yaktrax Run makes winter running safe and a great Christmas gift

With Yaktrax Run, snow and ice are no long an impediment to winter running.  Photo: Yaktrax

NEW YORK, December 18, 2012 — Turn any pair of running shoes into a snow stopper. With Yaktrax Run, packed snow and ice is no longer an impediment to winter training. Just pop Yaktrax Run onto your existing running shoes, and you can run naturally in the iciest conditions. This is a great gift for a runner who sometimes needs a little winter traction, but doesn’t want to invest in snowshoes —namely, runners like me.

I live in New York City, which my husband lovingly refers to as “The Tropics.” Compared to Canada, where he’s from, it is. We spend many a winter holiday in the snowy hills of rural Quebec. Whether it’s a Canadian Thanksgiving in October, an American Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December, New Year’s Day in January, Valentine’s Day in February, or Easter in March, there is usually snow on the ground. I know: I’ve been there for all the aforementioned holidays and days in between.

In winter, when I look out the window of his family’s farmhouse, which looks eerily similar to the Green Gables farmhouse of Canadian literary fame, all I can see is snow — covering the hills, covering the roads, covering the countryside, and often, tumbling down from the sky.

Yaktrax Run is designed to help traction on snow and ice. (Photo: Yaktrax)

With no treadmill or local gym for miles around, running outside is my only choice. I have spent those winter holidays running on ice, packed snow, fresh snow, deep snow, all sorts of snow. I try to wear my running shoes when possible, but sometimes I’d log a few miles in my snow boots because the footing was too treacherous or the snow too deep.

Not any more. Enter Yaktrax Run. The concept is simple. Yaktrax is designed to give runners better traction on ice or packed snow, enough for training during the winter with the same stability you have on dry surfaces. A natural rubber skeleton stretches onto your shoes and stays in place with a reflective Velcro strap. Removable carbide steel spikes line the ball of the device and 1.4 mm steel coils crisscross along the rest of the sole. The device is left-right anatomically designed and available in sizes small through x-large to fit a range of shoes sizes.

The author tested Yaktrax on a snowy run. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as -41 degrees Fahrenheit. What happens after that, I don’t know, and I wouldn’t want to find out. One caveat about the device: runners shouldn’t use it on gravel, concrete or sanded roads. This traction contraption is solely for packed snow and ice.

I tested Yaktrax Run in a Canadian snowstorm with fantastic results. The spikes and coils gripped the snow, and I sped along with ease. It was a marked difference from my runs without the traction device. A big bonus was that it didn’t feel any different than running in my regular shoes alone. I still felt in tune with the ground and didn’t feel like I had some foreign device on my shoe. I have yet to see how they wear over a long period of time, but with a heavier gauge coil than earlier Yaktrax models, they should wear well. They will be traveling with me to Canada and all other winter destinations from now on.

Yaktrax Run retail for $40 in the U.S. and $44.95 in Canada. It’s a great gift idea for the runner who doesn’t want snow to slow them down.  

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s weekly lifestyle web show about running. She has completed five marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.


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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.

 

A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

 

When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on RunKarlaRun.com, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

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