For outdoor enthusiasts who spend considerable time in snow country, a pair of Yaktrax are an incredibly helpful addition to your snowshoe equipment list. Developed for walkers, runners, hikers, and other winter athletes, Yaktrax strap easily to the bottom of your shoes, reducing the chance of falls.
Named after the sure-footed Tibetan Yak, Yaktrax stretch over a variety of shoes, from casual walking to winter boots. Abrasion-resistant, hand-wound stainless-steel coils and spikes cover the bottom of your shoes to bite into packed snow and ice. This footing provides stability and grip in all directions and gives users the same traction as the Yaktrax’s namesake mountain sheep. Thus, users can take their normal stride without fear of falling or risking injury with short choppy strides that can shorten leg muscles and tighten hamstrings.
“This really is a fantastic product, from its lightweight (3 oz.) design to the advanced coil system, it easily allows users to freely move across snow and ice without fear of injury,” says Steve Couder, vice president of Yaktrax. “Over the years, we have received countless stories from users who swear by the product and recommend them to friends and family.”
According to the company’s marketing representative Ashley Upchurch, the City of Vail, Colorado believes in the product so strongly that they supply and require all city works to wear Yaktrax during the winter. The result has been a drastic reduction in slip and fall injuries.
Prior to a deep woods trek, snowshoers can use Yaktrax around the lodge or in milder conditions. Some snowshoers strap on Yaktrax while on packed trails, then switch to snowshoes when they get to deeper snow. Given the lightweight design, Yaktrax easily fit into a backpack for use as needed.
The product comes in two designs: Yaktrax Walker Yaktrax Pro. According to Upchurch, the Yaktrax Walker is the original Yaktrax version. It was designed for those walking across icy parking lots, sidewalks, or for simply walking your dog, for example. “It’s perfect for a quick easy way to stay safe on snow and ice,” says Upchurch. The Walker is typically worn by pedestrians or elderly, and is simple to put on and take off.
The Yaktrax Pro is designed for those who spend considerable time outdoors during the winter. “Mail carriers, runners, or someone who faces winter conditions on a frequent basis will benefit from wearing a pair of Yaktrax Pros,” says Upchurch. The product is designed with a more durable rubber blend, and coupled with a nylon strap that snugly fits over the forefoot. Police officers, EMS personnel, snowshoers, athletes, trainers, and many others employ the use of Yaktrax Pro. To date, millions of Yaktrax have been sold.
Features of the Yaktrax Pro include:
- Easy to take on and off
- Removable performance strap secures fit
- Walk, jog and run naturally on slick surfaces
- Spike-less and ultra lightweight design
- Can be worn in temperatures as low as -41° Fahrenheit
- Helps reduce the risk of falls on snow and ice
The marketing representative shares a real-life application of Yaktrax. “Recently, in Des Moines, Iowa, a man went out for a routine run. Unfortunately, he slipped on a patch of ice and fell down and embankment and towards the river. Police, emergency personnel, and camera crews all watched helplessly as numerous attempts were made to get a safe footing on the steep slope that separated the emergency officials from the victim. Due to snow and ice accumulation, it was virtually impossible to reach him. A cameraman, who had a pair of Yaktrax, loaned them to an EMS worker who was then able to get down the slopes and safely rescue the injured runner.”
Yaktrax users appreciate the product’s gripping ability on ice and compacted snow, and the fact that they are easy to put on and take off. The one knock is that the steel coils sometimes bend out of shape. Upchurch reminds users that “Yaktrax are not designed for use on ski boots or mountaineering-type equipment, and definitely are not to be worn indoors!”
Yaktrax are available in more than 10,000 retail locations in about 20 countries. The Yaktrax Pro retails for $30, and the Yaktrax Walker, $20. For more information, visit www.yaktrax.com.
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