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.
* 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.