Review: Yaktrax Run For Winter Running

Turn any pair of running shoes into a snow stopper. With Yaktrax Run, packed snow and ice is no longer an impediment to winter running. 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.

Yaktrax Run, winter running

Karla runs in rural Quebec. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

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.

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.

Yaktrax Run, Winter running

Yaktrax Run (Photo: Yaktrax)

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.

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.

yaktrax run, winter running

The coils and steel spikes of Yaktrax Run give traction on snow and ice. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

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 running 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.

Disclosure: As a member of the running media, Yaktrax provided me with Yaktrax Run to test and review. As always, all opinions are purely my own. I really do believe in being honest about my experiences with every product I review. For more information read my Disclosure Policy.

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, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.


12 2012