Yaktrax Ice Grips - Review

Yaktrax walkEach year in the United States, over 900,000 people are injured in “slip and fall” incidents, many of those from slipping on snow and ice. Yaktrax are a simple and inexpensive way to avoid becoming one of those statistics.

We've been personal fans of this fantastic product for years. They don't pay us to say this, it’s just a great product. That's our driveway pictured below.: We go up and down that several times a day, year round. Yaktrax allows us to walk safely and confidently in a variety of winter conditions - snow, slush, packed snow, ice and even melted and refrozen “black ice.”icy hill

Out of the Box

At the heart of the Yaktrax product is its patented coil technology – an invention inspired decades ago by the footwear of a Himalayan Sherpa guide. It provides multidirectional grip and 360 degree traction in any weather condition, allowing you to walk confidently and safely. It uses stainless steel coils wrapped around a rubber web – according to the manufacturer, the rubber is designed to hold up to temperatures as low as -40 degrees (fahrenheit) without breaking down.

yaktrax ice grips

The unique design is easy to fold up and stick in a pocket, and quick to put on and take off.  Since there are no cleats, you don’t have to worry about damaging surfaces underneath the snow and ice.

You can even leave them on for brief trips indoors, like we do. However we hasten to add that Yaktrax can be extremely slippery on surfaces where there’s nothing to “grip” (like tile, laminate or linoleum), and the coil ends can get caught in loop-type carpeting (particularly Berber). Use your own judgement and be very careful if you're going to try that!

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Sizes and Fit

Yaktrax come in unisex sizes Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra-Large. (Not all styles are available in all sizes.) If you’re close to the top of a size range and plan to wear them on boots or shoes with big soles, you might want to buy the next larger size.

Yaktrax Size Chart
Yaktrax Size Fits Men's Shoe Size Fits Women's Shoe Size
X-Small 1- 4.5 2.5 - 6
Small 5 - 8.5 6.5 - 10
Medium 9 - 11 10.5 - 12.5
Large 11.5 - 13.5 13 - 15
X Large 14+ 15.5+

 

Styles:

Yaktrax come in several different styles: the basic ones are Walk, Pro, and Run. For all of these except Yaktrax Run, the right and left are interchangeable.

  • Yaktrax Walk is the “original” standard style. Pros: Super quick to take on and off, folds to fit in a pocket. Cons: Can pop off your shoes when you’re wearing them. We’ve noticed that slush and wet snow conditions tend to cause this, but whether or not it’s more than an occasional minor annoyance depends on the shoes and how securely they fit to begin with.
  • Yaktrax Pro – Like the original Walker, but with a strap to hold them on your shoe. Pros: Stays on more reliably than the Walker, still easy to put on and remove.
  • Yaktrax Run– Designed specifically for runners, the Run has 3mm carbide steel spikes under the forefoot to provide true 360 degree grip when you push off, and normal patented Yaktrax coils under the midfoot and heel. They also have a more robust strap than the Pro, and a right-left anatomic design. Pros: Well suited to winter running. Reflective straps for better visibility and safety. Cons: The steel spikes don't hold up as well as the coils and eventually fall out.

yaktrax run - ice grips for runners

 

One very small drawback to the coil technology in general is that if you step in mud, it will get stuck in between and the coils. It rinses out easily enough, but its a minor annoyance.

For extreme snow and ice like packed snow and glacial ice, there's also Yaktrax Summit - designed for winter hiking, with heavy-duty carbon steel traction cleats. But that is a very different product. We may cover it in a future review.

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Durability:

With use, the coils will get bent and the rubber web will eventually break. You can sometimes extend the life of the coils by squishing them back into shape with your fingers, but no way to fix the rubber web once it gives out. In our experience, a pair of the Walkers usually holds up for a year or two (1-2 winters) – your mileage may vary. Keep a spare pair around in case one gets lost or breaks!

Summary:

Yaktrax is a brilliant product that has enabled us to walk safely and confidently in a variety of winter conditions saved us from falling dozens of times. The various styles have their pros and cons, but for the price, ease of use and functionality you can’t go wrong. We give Yaktrax a thumbs up and 5 stars.

 

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