Kako Ice Trekkers Ultra Review [Product Discontinued]

Kako InternationalEvery tourney needs a loser and iRunFar’s traction device throw down has one – the Kako Ice Trekker Ultra [Product discontinued]. The Ice Trekker Ultra did provide additional traction on ice, but its three competitors clearly outclassed it more or less across the board. In a crowded field of able competitors, leave the Kako’s debut version of the Ice Trekker Ultra on the bench.

The Ice Trekker Ultra shares the basic design of most athletics-friendly traction devices currently on the market – a flexible rubber ring that slides over entire outsole and onto a shoe’s upper when stretched with a web of flexible metal criss-crossing under the outsole. The Ice Trekker Ultra has a relatively simple rubber ring with four points connecting a trapezoid of chains over the forefoot and with three contact points connecting a triangle of chains under the heel. Almost immediately after putting on the Ice Trekker Ultra, it began compressing the toe of my right shoe which led to my big toe chafing enough that there is still a small raw section three days later. It wasn’t until the first big downhill that the inside front chain connection on my left foot started putting uncomfortable pressure on my other big toe, while the outside front chain connection on the same foot became annoying, as well.

The “chains” are actually metal cables covered with rotating steel alloy “X-Beads.” This construction provides the advantage that components that actually hold the underfoot traction piece together are not exposed to contact with rocks or pavement, which may enhance the Ice Trekker Ultra’s durability. Also on the plus side, there was no jingle like Tony and I occasionally had with the Kahtoola MICROspikes.

The Ice Trekker Ultras weigh in at just under 6 oz per shoe (338 g for a size medium pair), which is comparable to the Kahtoola MICROspikes and STABLicer SPORT. There are four sizes of the Ice Trekker Ultra:
Kako Ice Trekker Ultra sizing
While the Ice Trekker Ultra was not difficult to put on, it wasn’t the easiest traction devices to mount either. First off, you need to slip your toe between the rubber ring and front chain and then correctly line up the chains that mount to the rubber lest the connecting chains injure your toes. I also had to go back and adjust both Ice Trekker Ultras by pulling the rubber ring up over the midsole after an initial attempt at mounting them. On the other hand, mounting the Ice Trekker Ultra was aided by a small convenient handle on the rear of each device.

We would contest Kako’s claim “Ultimate Traction on Ice and Snow” and when it comes down to it, that’s what these devices are all about it. When I was running up an icy patch, Tony noted he saw my toes slipping back with each step. The Ice Trekker Ultra didn’t fare better on downhills, as I continued to slip when I tried to put on the breaks. I did get some friction, but my momentum kept me going. Overall, I’d give them a 2 out or 4 on traction. The Ice Trekker Ultras did run smoothly on pavement.

Don’t buy the Kako Ice Trekker Ultra – save your money for another traction device. Other devices to be featured later this week provided better traction, more comfortable designs, easier mounting, or less weight… and maybe all at once.

Have you tried the Kako Ice Trekker Ultra? If so, what did you think?

Other Winter Running Traction Devices

For more on the subject, check out our Best Winter Running Traction Devices article. You can also check out these individual reviews of traction devices for running on snow and ice.

There are 11 comments

  1. Caren

    Great, great topic and I can't wait to hear your review of the others (although I already have a strong preference for one!).Still loving your blog, always reading, just not posting. Keep up the great work.Also really enjoyed your interview on Flatlands Ultra – great job guys!

  2. Trail Goat

    Caren,Glad to hear that you are enjoying the topic. Thanks for holding off on commenting re your favorite traction device. Thanks for reading iRunFar, as well!

  3. Anonymous

    Purchased the Ice Trekker Ultras for my wife. With our sporadic snowfall and icing conditions, they were worn twice to go from car to office and from car to house. One of the attachment points tore off during the second wearing rendering an expensive product useless. ShoeChain.com ignored my request for an adjustment fir a failure that took place two-days past their 30-day warranty and I have filed a complaint with MasterCard.

  4. Terry B

    I'm not a runner but I live in the snow and wear 'sorels' (pac boots) every day. I have the icetrekkers DIAMOND GRIP model. I put them on my boots with the first snow in November and they stay on until the ice is gone in March. I LOVE them. They are way more durable than, and don't keep falling off, like Yak-Traks. I don't think they would be good for running shoes or light shoes, but on boots they are da' bomb!

  5. Grace Pereira

    I have an ice gripper that came apart. I was trying to find a mailing address for KAKO but can’t seem to find one online. I was hoping to mail it in and get a replacement.

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