As we head into the icy season, there’s one item the Trekkers can’t live without, Yaktrax! There’s several variations of these, I strongly recommend the ones with velcro straps that attach over the top of the foot (they aid greatly in holding the device to the shoe). Also, if you want to use them for hiking boots, I recommend you lean toward a larger size–so, if you wear size 10 shoes, I suggest the Yaktrax that are intended for sizes 10.5 – 12.5, NOT the ones that can only accommodate up to size 10. My personal experience was, the size recommended fits shoes just fine, but is almost too small for boots (they fit but they’re difficult to get on and off and they tear/wear out sooner).
These gadgets are a GODSEND for anyone who spends a lot of time walking outside in the winter months. We use them for hiking (obviously), but also for things like walking the dog, clearing snow, etc. They are especially effective for people who live in neighborhoods like ours where there is, literally, no flat ground ANYWHERE. The dog–with her 4-Paw-drive–takes off down the hill dragging you with her. You can A) hang on for dear life, running through the snow-covered grass to maintain a semblance of traction or skidding behind her on the slippery pavement; or B) walk easily behind her, completely in control (even if she’s slipping along), thanks to the Yaktrax–I speak from personal experience. 😇
There’s various versions of the traction implement on the gear: some feature chains, some studs, some springs, some spikes (depending on the severity of the conditions you intend to encounter). We’ve always used the “spring” version with great success (on extremely smooth/slippery ice, you may want something a little more hardcore). Prices range from under $20 to close to $200 (again, based on the intensity of the spike you are interested in).
A word of caution, be careful walking on these for long periods of time over hard dirt/rocks as they can become damaged. We regularly carry them with us and then apply/remove them as conditions require (fortunately they’re small and fold up well, so this is easy to do). I would also caution walking on them indoors (especially on hardwood floors or carpet) as they could tear/scratch that material (this risk will rise with the intensity of the traction material chosen).
As long as they aren’t too tight, they slip on and off quite easily. I would also recommend caution when using them in muddy conditions (though sometimes this can’t be avoided). They can be a HUGE pain to clean if the mud dries on them (though if you can wash it off using water or rub it off with snow, before it hardens, the difficulty decreases exponentially).
I would also suggest choosing the traction option that covers the most surface area of the boot/shoe (which is why the Trekker’s chose the “Pro” version). The exception to this would be, if you really feel that spikes are required for the activity you’re intending to use the gear for. There’s multiple brands of this product, these are the ones we use and have had great success with. My current pair has started to tear–due to being slightly too small for my boots causing them to over-stretch–and they’ve still lasted several years. Mr. Trekker got the exact same brand/type, the same time I did, and his are still going strong (under very similar use).
Below is a “shoe-sole” view of the Yaktrax, this is what bites into the ice:
If you’re looking for a low-cost tool to help you remain upright during the slippery, winter months, I strongly recommend Yaktrax!
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