Monday, December 10, 2012

Best Traction Gear for Running on Ice & Snow *UPDATE 12/10/12


MY RECOMENDATION: IceTrekkers by Kako with Diamond Grip Traction System. These are what I am currently using and are working great for me. I haven’t heard anything negative about them except that they are heavier than the YakTrax. I take that back, I also heard that if you do not dry them after, they may rust. *No rust on mine yet. My only suggestion is that you try them on in the store; they fit different depending on the shoe. I initially tried the medium sizes 6.5-9 and the rubber pressed too tightly on my toes - size 9 shoe, Saucony ProGrid Razor 2. Using the larger size, there is some slight play, but not noticeable during runs. I’ve used them a bunch including during sections of Pikes Peak Fat Ass 50K and a number od other timed events.

Pros: Durable, great on icy trails, easy to put on during a run standing up
Cons: Heavier than YakTrax, have been know to rust, a bit pricier

UPDATE 12/10/12: I just pulled them off the shelf and they look like new aside from some dried mud.  I was told that they tend to rust, so I dried them off after each run and not a trace.  I ran throughout the winter last year and had a blast in the snow.  In fact I looked forward to running, didn’t always use them, but kept them in my pack on most of my longer runs.  On majority of the trails I can get away with just trail shoes; It is Colorado with heavy traffic hence the trails are hard packed.  I can see days where I might need something a bit heavier duty like MicroSpikes, but maybe I should be wearing snowshoes at that point.    

Weight: 5.95oz each Cost: $41.95


YakTrax Pro have been around for a while.  First, I have not bought a pair for myself because of the bad reviews, both from running friends and internet reviews (mostly REI).  I have used them though, my father bought a pair 10 years ago, loves them, and says they still work great. Granted he is 76 years old and doesn’t run.  He uses them mainly for walking the dog and maybe orienteering.  I just ran with a guy that told me he went through 3 pairs in a month before switching and the last pair broke during a long race.  He ran back with only one.  Although they might be good on the snow for walking and hiking, maybe even jogging, I don’t think they are that great for running.  In my opinion, they are not even that great on ice, the traction is just wire coils and can even be more slippery on smooth ice then without.  My father still argued me that they are great on ice.  I haven’t experienced that.

Pros: They are light, small and easy to pack, and can be comfortable depending on the shoe
Cons: Not fast or easy to put on, not the greatest on smooth ice, and the rubber is not durable for running

Weight: 3.25oz each     Cost: $29.95


MicroSpikes  Although I haven’t tried them yet, all my friends love them . . . that live in Boulder.  The spikes are a bit large for mixed trails, snow & no snow.  But if you live in an area where the trails stay hard packed, these are by far the best choice.  I live in a area where the sun melts most of the snow and ice off the trails,  so I felt that these were a bit overkill for me. With that said, I wear just my trail shoes until I start sliding.  My last run was mostly fresh snow covered trails for 18 miles and I never put them on. 

Pros: Durable, best overall traction, easy to put on during a run standing up
Cons: Heavier than the IceTrekkers, really expensive

Weight: 6.15oz each     Cost: $59.95



Grip Hobnail Kit To me these seem like a great option, but I am a bit apprehensive and they are pricey. They are $45 for the kit and a set of 10 replacement screws are $20. They are super light, temporary attachment, and don’t seem to destroy the rubber soul.  I do question the possible damage they could cause during long runs or multiple uses.  They mention that the screws can easily be attached and removed at a trail head, but after watching the video, I don’t want to stand there in the cold putting them in.  She took about 20+ seconds to attach each screw, in an ideal environment.  So I would predict at a trail head, it would take about 5 minutes to screw both shoes.  The other question I have is, how often do they fall out?   I would really like to try them.

Pros: Super light, removable
Cons: Very expensive

Weight: about 0.35oz each shoe     Cost: $45.00


Goat Head Sole Spikes™

These look just like modified screws, but definitely have a little different head, more spiky. 


Check out Trail Runner Nations’ audio review.

Cost: $18.95 / $21.95


The Screw Shoe: For Running on Packed Snow and Ice! By Matt Carpenter

This is by far the cheapest option, but I  haven't tried it yet.  From my research and conversations, everyone feels the screws no matter the size screw.  Carpenter swears by it though.  He has a great site that walks you through process.  Check it out.   

Pros: Super light, removable, very cheap
Cons: Some say they can feel the screws through the rubber, not as aggressive as a spike

Weight: about 0.43oz each shoe     Cost: $0.10 each


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