Source: bought it new
Compact devices ideal for established packed snowy trailways.
- Good traction on packed snow/ melt ice trails
- Not suitable for scrambling on icy rocky bluffs
I had meant to write this review back in the winter, but alas, work intervened...I have been using Pro's for some years and find them the best overall choice for packed snow and intermittent melt ice on trails. They work well for may on the north slopes on Sierra east side trails in California as well hiking the local peaks behind our home city of Vancouver.
I have found them to be less than ideal on scrambly rocky bluffs, but to be fair this is outside their intended use. The other plus is I can scrunch them into a pocket or waist pack for trail running outings.
Overall they continue to be a go-to piece for me.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $17
I think these were designed for packed snow walking trails and snow covered parking lots, not icy mountain peaks.
- provides traction
- don't last
- metals springs can roll
Yaktraxs are an elastomer web that stretches around the sole of the shoe. On the bottom there are metal coils which provide traction wrapped around the web . The PRO model adds a velcro band that secures over the top of the foot to help keep the device correctly positioned. I've never had any problem with keeping these on or correctly positioned.
The two major problems with Yaktrax are the metal coils rolling and the durability of the elastomer web. On packed snow or soft ice these bite and provide their best traction, but on hard ice or rock the metal coils can twist making for unsure footing.
The most serious failing is that the elastomer web seems to fail after one season of moderate use. I've purchased a few pairs and used them for maybe a dozen trail runs a winter and they have either failed at the end of the season or the first time they were put on the next year.
These work for some conditions, but I wouldn't want to rely on them for more challenging conditions.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: money
Great for car hauling and walking on ice.
- Great grip on ice
- Fits great when you buy the right size
- very strong
- I can't find any at this time
I currently haul cars for a living and this morning when I went to work everything including my truck was covered in ice. I tried to do my job with just my hiking shoes on and found myself slipping everywhere. I put on my Yaktrax Pro and no more slipping.
I am very pleased with product and have recommended it to all the other drivers I work with and they all want some now.
Source: bought it new
- Bunched up
- Steel moves
I bought these grippers because they looked more heavy duty than the mini spikes. After the third use, the steel coil started moving up the rubber out of place. It would ride up the side of my boot during activities. Then I would have to reposition it back to the bottom of my boot.
Lightweight, fits nicely over big clunky hiking boots, easy to pack.
- Easy to take on and off
- Not good for running.
These come in handy when hiking the northern side of the slopes. The reason I don't give it 5 stars is that the product boasts you can run in them. As a runner, I tried running over ice (shallow puddles of ice) and slipped. When hiking, these are great. When running at pell-mell, not so trustoworthy.
Price Paid: $19.99
Review from http://HuskyHiker.com
I have had my Yaktrax Pros for a couple of years now and love them… I have used them on everything from deep powder to crossing a frozen lake. They really grip!
When you open the package, they seem flimsy, it is a rubber web with some thin metal coils around parts of the rubber. They are kind of flimsy. The coils take some abuse. I have used them on ice-patched pavement and haven’t bent or flattened the coils. I can see how the rubber could break, although this has not happened to me.
Putting them on
They do have a left, a right pair, and a toe and heal side so some thought is required in putting them on. They are pretty easy to get on, just slip your toe in the toe side and pull the heal of the yak over your boot or shoe heals. Some adjustments of the sides are needed, and then tighten the Velcro strap over the top of your foot. The strap is what make the pros differ from the regular Yaktrax, and the strap is a big help original Yaktrax are known to slip off shoes easily so don’t skimp, go with the pros. If you are going to be wearing them on big winter boots, I would recommend getting one size bigger than your shoe size.
I have hiked in them, used them around town, and out when shoveling the driveway, and they really help keep you stable… I always wear them to shovel! On some hikes, if the trail is well broken in I opt for the Yaktrax rather than snow shoes. In snow, you will still slip and slide a little but on ice these things keep you put! Best of all at 6-8 oz (depending on size) you barley notice you are wearing them. One word of caution though DO NOT wear them in side especially on tile or linoleum floors, the metal coils provide no traction, and you will fall… trust me!
They might not be a burly as other traction devices out there, but they do the job. They are light and provide great traction, especially on ice. They stay on the foot, and I have been using mine for two years with no breakage (I can see how the thin rubber could break and this worries me when I am 3-4 miles into a hike). If you are looking for traction around town and for the occasional hike I would not hesitate to buy a pair of Yaktrax Pros…
Price Paid: $25
I went through 4 pairs of Yaks in as many years. Their lifespan is clearly one season at best with moderate use. I used to make my own version or the "pro" by tying an old shoelace across the top as a support strap before Yaks sold them this way. Compared to the original (walker) version, the top strap does make a significant difference in keeping the yak on your foot.
The problem with the Yaktrax is that they shift left, right, fore and aft during use constantly. I completely lost one yak in deep snow. It came completely off and I never found it.
When new, they stay in place for a while. Perhaps 10 minutes of walking, 5 minutes running. When the start to age and stretch out, they are constantly shifting around on the shoe.
Sometimes the whole front half of the yak slides up over my toe and I have to pull it back down. Sometimes the wire wrapped sections will slide almost completely to the left or right side of my shoe leaving no traction on the sole.
These are simply NOT for technical use or any kind unless out of desperation. For running they are not dependable at all.
- Ice: very good on solid smooth ice (hockey rink, frozen lake). As a sports team photographer I used these while shooting hockey team photos on the ice. If you walk flat footed, these will keep you on track. For running, sheet metal screws in the sole of your shoes all far more stable.
- Packed snow: moderate improvement over snow boots, significant improvement over running shoe alone.
- Deep powder: no improvement over snow boot alone and they tend to fall off.
- Rocks: dangerous - the coiled wire areas will slip on wet or dry rock.
- Loose soil / sand: good for transitional seasons when you could move back and forth between snow, ice and dirt during a hike.
Durability has grown worse. My first Yaks lasted an entire season before starting to fall off. Subsequent pairs have stretched more quickly. Appears materials are being compromised despite price remaining the same.
Price Paid: retail (~$25)
I’ve had my Yaktrax Pro traction devices for two winters now and was relatively happy with them for winter trail running, despite some limitations, until I got a pair of Kahtoola MICROspikes to test this winter (see my review of those). Now I’ll rarely, if ever, go back to my Yaktrax Pros.
This winter I’m pregnant, so instead of running on icy trails and dirt roads, I’m walking. The plowed and unplowed dirt camp roads I walk down are completely covered with either very hard, continuous ice or a combination of ice and slippery, packed snow.
The MICROspikes beat the Yaktrax for traction, hands down. One day I started out for a walk with my Yaktrax Pros on and encountered black ice covered with a dusting of snow. After several feet of tentative slipping, I turned around and came back for my MICROspikes, which performed perfectly.
In the past, while running in winter on trails and dirt roads with my Yaktrax, I’ve had several tumbles due to slipping on ice or snow clogging the coils. My MICROspikes have not clogged or slipped yet, even when walking in several inches of snow (neither traction device is designed for use in heavy snow). They always grip securely, biting into the ice. If I was able to, I would not hesitate to run in my MICROspikes, though I have to note that I haven’t been able to personally test them while running yet.
Even now, in my last trimester of pregnancy, I have no worries walking across any kind of ice in my MICROspikes. I can’t say the same for the Yaktrax. They just don’t inspire the same confidence in me anymore.
My Yaktrax Pros don’t show significant signs of wear, but I’ve personally heard from several other users who’ve had theirs wear out or break after regular usage. These include: an active friend who complained that he’s had to replace several pairs of Yaktrax after wearing them outside while cutting wood or doing other work around his country inn; a runner who busted through several pairs; and a pair of hikers, who were happy Yaktrax owners but recently bought their own MICROspikes after seeing mine.
I can’t comment on the MICROspikes’ long term-durability yet, since 2007-08 is their first season of availability.
Both the Yaktrax Pros and Kahtoola MICROspikes are easy to use, stretching over your regular winter trail runners or even boots, if sized properly. The Yaktrax have a Velcro buckle that fastens over the top of your shoe, while the MICROspikes’ elastomer shoe harness simply pulls on. Personally, I find both models easy to use.
Both traction devices are also small enough to hold in your hand or pocket until needed, you’ll have to beware of MICROspikes’ stainless steel spikes if you try this with them. Their design folds flatter and theoretically you could sharpen the spikes when necessary—not an option with Yaktrax’s coil design.
It should be noted that the Yaktrax are significantly lighter than MICROspikes. My pair of medium Yaktrak Pros weighs 5 ounces (142 grams) versus 11.3 ounces (319 grams) for my small MICROspikes. Yaktrax also cost half as much—$30 for Yaktrax Pros versus $59 for MICROspikes. However, for more active, demanding winter users that higher weight and cost come with far superior performance.
Yaktrax still have a place for the casual urban walker for whom the heavier, spiked MICROspikes would be overkill. If you only encounter consistent, packed snow on your winter walks and runs they may be an adequate, affordable choice for you. But if you’re a winter trail runner, hiker, or walker who encounters slippery ice or snow and wants superior traction, but doesn’t need crampons, check out the MICROspikes first.