As the season progresses, trail conditions can quickly change from beautiful powder conditions to one big slab of ice to slush to everything in between. When we face those slippery conditions, winter traction devices such as Yaktrax can be worn over our shoes to provide stability on the trail. With steel spikes that dig into the ice and snow, we’re less likely to slip and fall while on our adventure.
At Snowshoe Mag, we had the opportunity to test the Yaktrax Ascent and Summit for slippery outings and have provided our reviews of each here. The trail featured had various conditions, including solid ice, snow cover on top of the ice, slippery packed snow, and areas of powder.
Some of the links in this article may contain affiliate links. When you purchase using these links, part of the proceeds go to Snowshoe Mag. Additionally, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please see our disclosure for more details.
The Yaktrax Ascent traction device is built for steep inclines, alpine trails, glaciers, and backcountry conditions. Sixteen spikes of varying lengths between 3⁄8 and ½ inches long, made of heavy-duty stainless steel, dig into the snow and ice to provide traction. Also, the Ascent includes six forward-facing toe spikes for steep trails. This model is the go-to for those alpine climbs.
Similarly, the Yaktrax Summit includes twelve carbon steel spikes, all 3⁄8 inches. Welded stainless steel chain links group the spikes. The Summit is ideal for winter trail running, glaciers, and winter hiking. Thus, this model can also handle those steep climbs, though they are less aggressive than the Ascent.
We had the opportunity to test and review both Yaktrax traction devices first-hand on one of our favorite trails with changing conditions. I felt the spikes dig into the ice and packed snow with each step. This additional traction made the ascent on the trail that much easier.
Unfortunately, I made an error in sizing and chose a size too big for my foot in both models. So, even though the spikes still dug into the ice, there was a little more slippage, especially on the descent, than I would have liked, especially with the Yaktrax Ascent. My husband, however, who chose the correct size, did not experience any slippage with either the Ascent or Summit model.
Furthermore, the Ascent comes with a three-point heel piece to reduce snow build-up, and the Summit comes with a segmented soleplate that flexes with the foot. The soleplate on the Summit worked great to prevent snow build-up. However, we had snow build up with the Ascent, especially as we experienced more snow cover on the icy trail.
The Yaktrax Ascent is available in sizes small to xx-large. For this Yaktrax review, I tested the large, which, based on manufacturer recommendation, fits sizes 7.5 to 10 M and 9.5 to 12 W.
The Yaktrax Summit is available in small to x-large. I tested the medium, which fits shoe sizes 9-11 M and 10.5-12.5 W.
Also, the Summit comes with a Boa closure that allows for additional tightening of the device. To tighten, you push the Boa closure button to engage and turn the button to tighten. You just need to pull the button up for a quick release to loosen the Summit. I was thankful to have the Boa closure on the Summit since I could tighten the Summit more than the Ascent.
To note, some individuals have mentioned concerns with the durability of the stainless steel lacing. But so far, we haven’t experienced any concerns about durability.
The On & Off
Both the Ascent and the Summit have a thick elastomer band that stretches over a wide variety of boot types. Both testers wore their Merrell Moab hiking boots with these devices.
I found it easier to put on the traction devices when sitting down or leaning against a tree. I don’t have great balance, so the extra support helped slip the device over my shoe.
Also, the Ascent does come with a storage bag, but I found it too small for easy use. So, I recommend using another storage method, which can be any bag that will not tear.
Since the Ascent comes with more spikes larger in size, they are my go-to for steep icy trails. However, if you’re looking for a more precise fit and foot maneuverability, the Summit may be your choice because of the Boa closure and reduced snow build-up.
For recreational outings that do not involve steep climbs, the Yaktrax Traverse is an option for all-purpose traction on ice, whether you’re in the city or the outdoors.
Have you used a traction device on icy trails, including the Yaktrax Ascent or Yaktrax Summit? What is your review of Yaktrax traction devices? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.
Yaktrax provided the Summit and Ascent traction devices for testing. All opinions expressed are entirely the author’s own. This article was first published on December 8, 2020, and was most recently updated on December 23, 2021.