Yaktrax Pro Review
January 1, 2009 by Bryon Powell · 36 Comments
After years of hearing stories of the Yaktrax’s propensity for slipping off shoes at the most inopportune times, I was skeptical in trying the Yaktrax Pro. Well count me among the converted – these are the cat’s meow. The Yaktrax Pro are everything a runner could ask for in a traction device: lightweight, inexpensive, and grippy as all hell. In fact, they reached a pinnacle for which all traction devices should shoot – I completely forgot that I was wearing them.
The Yaktrax Pro come from the rubber ring with metal underfoot school of traction devices, but with some significant differences. First, the Yaktrax were – by far – the lightest traction devices I tested. To be more precise, at 169 grams for the pair they were half the weight of the next lightest traction device, the Kako Ice Trekkers Ultra. That’s the difference between strapping 3 ounces to each foot instead of 6 ounces.
Another key difference is that the Yaktrax Pro have a velcro strap that tightens over the forefoot. The straps help keep the Yaktrax secure with less rubber that other traction devices, which contributes significantly to weight savings.
Rather than providing traction with spikes or grooved metal as the over traction devices in iRunFar’s traction device tests, the Yaktrax derive their traction from a spring-like metal coil that wraps around a rubber core. While the coil looks flimsy, I assure you that they are quite hardy. They do not crush underfoot and I’ve heard of folks using the Yaktrax for many a harsh Wyoming winter without them wearing out.
The Yaktrax Pro front strap design also lessens the chance of a complaint that I’ve heard about other rubber ring design traction devices. That is that the rubber pulls the toe of the shoe up, which can lead to discomfort or even injury when used for prolonged periods.
The Pro is available in four sizes ranging from women’s 6.5 to men’s “14+”… whatever that means.
The only aspect where the Yaktrax don’t shine is in ease of mounting. Like its rubber ring traction device brethren, you slip your toe into rubber in the forefoot and then pull the rear of the ring up over your heel; however, the Yaktrax Pro’s design provides to challenges. First, the metal coils inevitably fold into a pyramidal shape. When the pyramid points downward, the rubber ring constricts and it can be difficult to slip your toe under the strap. When the pyramid points up, the coils press against the forefoot strap, which again makes it difficult to slip your toe under the strap. Second, you have to be mindful of the strap itself, as it could slip out of the slit through which it folds over itself. Despite these complications, it is still not difficult to mount the Yaktrax Pro to your shoes, it’s just not as easy as the other traction devices we tested.
As you can see in the video, you should note that there is a right foot and a left foot in each pair if Yaktrax Pro. When putting on the Yaktrax you should keep the loose end of the strap pointing inward. If you do this, any excess strap will hang on the outside of your shoe when you are running. This is better than the alternative.
Despite their diminutive design, the Yaktrax Pro provide 100% traction on pure ice. They are also fine on cobblestone and pavement, even if they have a slightly cushy feel to them. In fact, the Yaktrax prowess on pavement was one of my biggest reasons for choosing these as my favorite traction devices. The coils also provide solid traction on packed snow, though I suspect the Kahtoola MICROspikes would outperform the Yaktrax on deeper snow.
I give full iRunFar praise for the Yaktrax Pro. They were my favorite traction device, if only slightly ahead of the MICROspikes, and Tony said he really liked them and that they were “much better than the old ones.” It’s hard to beat their combination of light weight and great traction at a reasonable price. So all you city and suburban dwelling trail runners out there, go get yourself up a pair – you won’t regret it.
Call for Comments
How have the Yaktrax Pro worked for you? How do the Yaktrax Pro perform on deeper snow?
iRunFar Traction Devices Reviews