Posted by: Karen | November 16, 2004

I Should be the Yaktrax Poster Girl

Although Calgary’s had unseasonably, enjoyably warm temperatures this last couple of weeks, I know I’ll be running on ice and snow soon enough. The next 5 months or so are going to give me a great training ground for ankle, knee, and all over balancing-body-part strengthening. In response to some recent questions on how one manages to keep training without breaking one’s neck while running through winter weather, here’s my recommendation for Yaktrax.

Yaktrax are amazing things. I have been wearing them in winter XC races and related training for the last two years and they give me an edge of confidence in negotiating hard-packed snow and icy turns on hills. I prefer trail shoes with yaktrax instead of running spikes for slippery trails as the trail shoes (in my case, Brooks Trail Addiction) provide more ankle support and the Yaktrax give traction over the whole foot base, where spikes only allow the front of the foot to dig in (my calves really appreciate me not using spikes). If you’re running on sheer, hilly, thick ICE or lots of MUD, spikes do have an advantage, but the Yaktrax are more versatile for varied terrain, and they are easily removed if you have a large patch of dry pavement to cover (you can run with them on pavement too, but they’ll wear out faster).

I don’t recommend them for mud, as they collect it. If you can sneak to the side of the trail and stay in snow you’re better off. Deep snow is a challenge in any footwear, but if you’re thinking you might have them on through some deep stuff, get the Yaktrax Pros, which have a top strap to keep them on your shoe better. The top strap helps keep them on your foot better if you’re going down steep hills, too.

Sometimes I just bring them along in a fanny pack or pocket in case I end up on long stretches of un-shovelled stuff. You can get other types of crampon-type dealiebobs for hiking or whatever, but the Yaktrax will stay on running feet better.

My last pair lasted me two winters (~16 races + winter training) until one broke last spring just before the last Grand Prix XC Race (wardrobe malfunction!). They’re good value for your $. I picked up a new pair this year and am really looking forward to using them again.

Don’t become a treadmill zombie.
Embrace the changing seasons.
Deeply inhale fresh air!



  1. those things make me (almost) wish for ice down here — I need something like that for general use!

  2. I LOVE winter running. though sometimes the snow gets to be a little much. And by march I am REALLY looking forward to Spring….otherwise I LOVE it. You never get too hot and afterwards there’s steam coming off of you. how cool is that?


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