Yakking about yaktrax

Winter running saviors

So there were enough questions/comments on the yaktrax from yesterday’s post that I thought I would address a few:

Several people wondered if it changes your gait at all. My experience is no. They feel a bit funny for the first 1/2 mile or so, then you pretty much forget you are wearing them. I also found that I’d subconsciously try to dodge really slick spots, but then as soon as I remembered the extra traction I had, realized I was fine.

I was running in pretty icy conditions yesterday, which is where I find the yaktrax are most useful. In snow, you can keep fairly good footing, but the ice is another story.

Now–one funny thing I learned yesterday about the yaktrax and minimalist shoes–it’s a bit tricky. My shoes are extremely flexible, a good thing. However, that meant that the yaktrax pulled up on my toes too much. I started getting hot spots under my toes about half-way into the run. By the end, my feet really hurt. It wasn’t until I took my shoes off and noticed how radically the toes were being pulled up that I figured out why. Not really sure how to rectify this–maybe a bigger size on the yaktrax? Anyone?

Know that yaktrax aren’t the only game in town either. For years I had some other brand (don’t remember which) that had little spikes on the bottom of the rubber soles instead of the chainy things (technical terms, I assure you) on the yaktrax. Both work about the same from what I’ve experienced.

I’m thankful that some smart person came up with the whole concept of yaktrax–otherwise, many of us would be forced onto the treadmill. That said, I’m pulling for a yaktrax free winter here in Maryland!

What’s your experience with yaktrax?

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  1. says

    i have never noticed yaktrax changing my gait either. when you have 20 miles to run and there is ice on the ground, they are a godsend!

    my shoes are not minimalist (brooks adrenalines) and i noticed the same issue. after a really long run (20 miles) i felt like my toes were getting pinched. maybe a bigger size would help, not sure. the front part of mine actually snapped on one end so i have to buy a new pair. i’ll probably go up a size and test it out.
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  2. ~K~ says

    i never even heard of yaktrax until Run with Jess’s post about getting some for Christmas. This is my first die-hard running outside winter so i appreciate all the info about ’em!
    runner_girl5k at yahoo dot com

  3. says

    I found running on icy surfaces a lot easier than walking and that was without yaktrax – go figure. Still, next time I have a chance to run in winter conditions, I will try it on.
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  4. says

    I run in both– yaktrax and spikes(not at the same time…just varying). I prefer spikes just because they don’t mess with my footing as much. But, I really think it is all about preference. The other girls in my group swear by them!
    Fortunate for me, we are hovering in the 50’s here with record highs! No snow in sight, yet.
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  5. Katie Gibson says

    Running in Montana during the winter yak trax are really a necessity. But now that I’ve gone through 3 winters using them I have a little I would offer. I don’t think I would go up a size on the trax because they have to be really snug to stay on your shoes during the running. My feet were right on the edge of sizes and I sized up one year because they were out of the smaller, the wires were up around the sole of the shoe and I wore through that pair a lot quicker .
    I love the trax on snow, even on packed snow that cars have been driving on…but their usefulness is limited on ice. I was wearing mine during a snowy run last year and fell 2x’s because I hit frozen puddles that were cover with snow.
    I have worn through 2 pairs of the yak trax pro (strap across forefoot) model in 3 years. In between those 2 pairs I tried to go cheaper with the standard yak trax (no strap and apparently thinner rubber) and I busted through them in a week. I swear I’m not a giant… 5’4″ 120 lbs. They do wear out quicker if you are running on dry surfaces, and I will often try to run on the shoulder if I have them on and snow has melted.
    I did just purchase a pair of Due North spikes but I haven’t been able to try them yet. One of the folks at our running store said she has had a lot more luck with the spikes in icy conditions, but will switch to yak trax in the snow.
    Whichever you chose they are a great way to keep your training up during the winter and not go crazy because you had to run on the treadmill :)

  6. says

    I’m going to pick up some Yaktrax this year. I meant to last year, but we had enough snow that icy trails weren’t really a problem. I had very few TM runs last winter. I’d like to keep it that way this year, too, and I don’t want to have to hope for snow so I can run outside.
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  7. says

    Yaktrax MUST have been designed by an obsessed runner. Nothing gets in the way of an obsessed runner – not rain, not sleet, not dark of night … Or is that a postman?!
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  8. says

    Very great points here. My biggest fear w/ these however is getting shin splints from them. What you stated about them pulling up is somewhat what I am concerned w/. When my toes are a touch higher than normal (i.e. running on packed snow) I get horrid shin splints, do the trax add any height to the front of the foot w/ respect to the heel when you run?
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  9. says

    This is something that I might try in the future, maybe 10 winters from now. I will just run on the treadmill for now I think. (whimped out, I know) hahaha. I do however love to run trails if the conditions aren’t too bad. But I won’t run on roads if icy or snowed over too bad.
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