My review of the Yaktrax Active snowgrippers - Bridge to 10K

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My review of the Yaktrax Active snowgrippers

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10

I've had the "pleasure" of running through several Canadian winters now. Previously I've always just used the little grippers you could buy at the pharmacy for fairly cheap (the ones on the right in the middle picture). They have little spikes and slip over the shoes very easily but also can slip off the shoes during the run unexpectedly. If you're lucky, you feel your foot slip right away and can stop right away and put it back on. If you're less lucky, there can be a lot of backtracking, trying to find the lost gripper when you finally feel your foot slip. This year I was in the city recently so I stopped at one of the larger sport stores and bought the Yaktrax Active to try. I had been eyeing up the Yaktrax Run last year but they were quite costly and had really mixed reviews so I stuck with my el cheapos. This year, I couldn't find the run ones, only the active ones, but given they were half the cost of the run ones, I figured they were worth a go.

I woke up yesterday to a complete winter wonderland so yeehaw, last new piece of winter running kit to try out! I waited until the evening once the wind had died down, donned my new grippers and headed out for a run through the snow.

Pros of the Yaktrax:

* the strap over the top made me feel a lot more secure that I wouldn't lose them mid run. I still looked down often (as I need to anyways running through snow drifts) to ensure they were still there but that will likely pass as I gain more confidence in these grippers. The grippers were still in the same position on my foot at the end of the run a short they were at the beginning of the run despite running through some deeper snow and sliding off some curbs. I'm pretty sure I would've lost one of my other ones if I used them last night.

*they were more comfortable running on cleared sidewalks than my old ones. With my old ones I could feel each where each individual spike was on the underside of my shoe; I didn't notice that as much with the coils.

* the coils gripped the packed snow really well, especially when running on the road.

Cons:

* I'm not convinced the coils grip as well on the ice. We had a day of heavy rain the day before our snowfall so there was quite a bit of ice under the snow. I felt a little like Bambi on those patches, but I haven't run in my old grippers on ice since last year so maybe they would feel the same. I'm overly cautious on ice after taking a nasty fall last year when I was running without any grippers. I may have to take the old ones out for a spin tomorrow for a closer comparison.

* I found them a little precarious to run in on cleared paths or if there was only a really thin skiff of snow. I felt less stable running in them than what my memory serves from running in my spikes. Running on little metal coils on cement sidewalks is a little iffy, to say the least. But again, I may be a little over cautious right now.

* These grippers won't be as easy to whip off and on mid run like I would do running the park pathways when parts are cleared and parts aren't cleared, although maybe I'll get quicker at putting them on and will be able to do that with these grippers as well.

So overall, I was fairly happy with them but I may find that I choose my paths differently. Before I would look for as many cleared paths as possible, now I may be more thankful of the people who don't completely clear their sidewalks and driveways but just pack the snow down with their cars or the people who use their snowblowers and leave the thin layer of snow left behind instead of going back and shovelling it off like my hubby does. If you tend to run on packed snow, I would buy these without any hesitation. Now the true test... how do they hold up to a winter of running. There were complaints that the running ones weren't very durable, but they had replaceable spikes that seemed to be a weak point from reading other reviews and we'll have to see how durable the coils are.

19 Replies
Decker
DeckerGraduate10

A great review Sask. Yes I had the same issues with my Costco specials last year when I lost one on a run and had no idea it was gone till I got home :) . I like the idea of the over foot strap for security. Not sure how the coils would feel especially on the iron bridges we often cross which are frozen and angled. Our run leader swears by his trail shoes. My Saucs have been decent in the snow with a good amount of grip most of the time. Have to see how others in our group deal with the issue too.

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Decker

When I run the park pathway in town, there are several steel bridges I cross. They are absolutely lethal wearing my old grippers with the spikes and quite slippery when just wearing my trail shoes. It makes for slow careful crossing every time, but it is worth it to run the pathway otherwise. I guess we'll see what the coils feel like this year. It'll be interesting to see what everyone in your group does to deal with it. I'd be interested to know.

It's really interesting to hear someone else's experience with these guys! I wore the Pro series (coils only, but with the velcro toe strap) all winter last year after discovering my Brooks were dangerously useless on even the tiniest bit of frost, and loved them to death. Literally to death, I popped into Lidl wearing them on the way home from a run after the Beast from the East hit last year and the rubber finally snapped. I am a massive stinge, so seldom buy anything full price and got two more pairs in the sale this year (ah Sports Direct, I love and hate you in equal measure!). I thought about upgrading to the running ones but wasn't sure of the practicality of spikes for cleared paths. I know you say you felt a bit Bambiesque, but I personally found the coils alone gave me excellent grip on thick ice last year up over the hills, and on pavements where there was no gritting. Which was 90% of them here, thanks Edinburgh council 😂 I'm a coward on ice after coming off my bike one time and fracturing my knee so my feet slipping makes my heart stop—feeling secure on the slippy bits was a total gamechanger. I think I'll be using them to get me to work and back too!

Durability is my main con, as above the rubber did snap at the end of the winter. I'd been using them from late November—about March though, with a small spring hiatus in the middle before the snow and ice came back. I think the salt used to grit the pavements degrades the rubber, so if you mix up city and country running you may have to resign yourself to a new pair each year. I'm going to try to remember to rinse them off each use this year, to see if that helps. On the plus side, they are super cheap off season (mine were £5.99) so it seems a reasonable investment for safer winter running.

The only other con for me is that wearing the coils on certain shiny or tiled surfaces like my hallway is tricky, suddenly all traction vanishes and you have to stealth creep in a weird crouching position to reach the front door.

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Sqkr

That is interesting hearing your take on them. Thanks Sqkr. I realized after putting them on last night that I had left my jacket hanging on the banister. Because of the spikes I didn't want to walk on the linoleum so I crawled over to the bannister to grab my jacket. A sight, I'm sure 😂. I could see them being very tricky on tiles surfaces! The ice I was running on was thin little shiny patches so maybe I'll feel more secure on thicker patches. I'm such a chicken to fall again, it may have been my own perception. Maybe I'll have to try taking them off mid run on clear paths and see what those portion of the paths feel like without the grippers as a true test. I run in a hybrid trail shoe so they naturally have some grip. I take it the coils stood up ok though? It seems like they would get squished, but they seemed to retain their shape ok after one run. It would be nice if they lasted more than a season, but if I can get a whole season out of them, that will be acceptable, as well. I hate running on my treadmill and will do whatever it takes to stay running outside as much as possible in the winter.

Sqkr
Sqkr in reply to SaskAlliecat

Yes, the metal part of the coils withstood me running on them beautifully 👍 They stayed round and coily, the rubber snapping was a real shame as they were in great condition apart from that! But now I know I need to be a bit more careful I hope I can make them last a bit longer. No more Lidl detours, and a post run rinse is definitely in order.

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Sqkr

So having run 3 times with them now and a 11k run yesterday where 8k was icy, icy, I'm a big fan of these! They are much more comfortable than my spikes when running on cleared pavement and gripped fairly well on the icy bits. I'm not sure if I'll get a full season out of them though. I noticed one of the coils has unwound a bit at the toe and has cut into the rubber. Fingers crossed though that they make it. We're pretty early into the season though.

linda9389
linda9389Moderator

Oh crikey. Just reading this is making my toes curl and my legs tense up! I hate ice with an absolute passion. I hate it when we are skiing, when we are walking in a ski resort and when I am walking at home. I broke my wrist ice skating and have seen ice as the devil reincarnated ever since! Last winter I ran on the treadmill because of an injury that flared up as soon as I went outdoors, but which I could manage on the treadmill. But I hated it, and really hope not to have to use it this year. We're lucky enough to live in the south of England so we don't have the worst weather, but I already know my Brooks are slippy on wet pavements - I fell on my backside just running over a wet canal bridge, so I don't think there will be any security on ice at all! Maybe I should take a look at some cheap grippers. Is there no end to the kit you can buy for running? :D :D :D

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to linda9389

To think, all we thought we needed was a pair of trainers. It quickly grew into technical shirts and shorts, proper running socks, long compression socks, hydration belt, compression tights, long sleeved technical running tops, wicking running underwear, thermal socks, winter running trousers, a lovely winter running jacket, buff, proper running toque with a pony tail hole, running gloves...... did I miss anything? Oh right, a brimmed hat for running in summer, ice grippers for running in winter. Oh ya, a running watch.... I don't have anything hi-vis or flashing lights....yet 🤔😂

linda9389
linda9389Moderator in reply to SaskAlliecat

Oh no! There's a few more things on that list I still have to buy 😀😀😀

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to linda9389

🤷‍♀️ it’s a-shopping we will go, a-shopping we will go, hi-ho the merry-o, it’s a-shopping we will go 🎶🤣

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to linda9389

This spring, I’ve got a hydration vest on my wish-list. It will allow for longer, less supported trail runs and races 🤞👏🙄😁

linda9389
linda9389Moderator in reply to SaskAlliecat

I have one stashed in the wardrobe for hubby to give me for Christmas! Although today I managed quite well drinking out of my bottle for a change- usually I end up coughing, spluttering and choking, and the rest spills all over my hand! Am hoping I won't make as much mess with the bite valve 😀

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to linda9389

I think there is an art to using a bite valve as well while huffing and puffing on the run. Oh the skills we’ll acquire while running 😆

linda9389
linda9389Moderator in reply to SaskAlliecat

oh no! just been looking at yaktrax - we have them here too :D

Joy57
Joy57Graduate10

I love the name Yaktrax. Very evocative.. 😄

cheekychipmunks
cheekychipmunksGraduate10

Wow Sask, you should be a professional reviewer! Excellent. 👏👏👏

You must be incredibly fit running through snowdrifts. Legs of steel I expect! 🏃‍♀️❄️🏃‍♀️❄️ It does sound beautiful though, but I know what you mean about waiting for the wind to die down. We were in Boston and holy mackerel, when the wind whipped through the skyscrapers in the winter, it would take your breath away literally! ❄️❄️❄️❄️

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to cheekychipmunks

Running in snow is definitely a different challenge for the legs. I scaled my run back to a 7k from a 10k and I’m glad. My hip flexors and hamstrings were sore the next day, which I haven’t felt in a while. They feel good today though, so I’ll be heading out again soon hopefully if the wind is tolerable. I live in such a windy area 😩; it just means I really enjoy the calm days!

orangeguy
orangeguyGraduate10

I've had a pair of Yaktrax for a few years now and although here in the UK I don't need them that often when we do get snow and ice they are very effective and allow me to run whatever the weather.

SaskAlliecat
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to orangeguy

I've had a few runs in them now and have to say, I like them. They stay put pretty well, only slipping off the heel of one foot one time but I was running through some pretty deep snow on a trail. My only complaint is that a few of the coils near the end by the toe have broken already and one of them cut through the rubber so I fear they may not last the season (which is quite long in Saskatchewan, Canada). But I ran today on some fresh lightly packed snow with just my trail shoes today without any slipping so I may limit my Yaktrax use to when I'm more worried about ice or if I find my traction isn't as good on the hard packed snow with my trail shoes alone.

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