Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Spike

I'm lucky enough to have had a friend at the Mountain Equipment Co-Op store when I was researching my running shoe strap-on devices! (not that kind of a strap on: Kovas, Adam, Chris, Shawn, Jamoosh!)  (He's now a floor manager at Canadian Tire so I'm outta luck unless I want to test drive some windshield washer fluid!)

In looking and quizzing about different strategies for running in the snow, we decided to try out a quick snow run on King Street in Toronto with several devices.  Here's my review of the ones I tried.

[Nota Bene: I'm about 235 lbs, 5' 11", I usually take choppier steps than marathoners, and I land flat footed, or a little on the ball and toes - I also underpronate (supinate) my feet during my running gate.]


  • available at lots of different stores
  • don't need a lot of strength to put them on your shoes
  • funny Chinglish on the packaging
  • grip well on ice

  • rubber loses stretchiness in cold weather and heel slides off
  • do not grip well when spikes can't penetrate through to hard surface
  • uncomfortable running on hard surfaces
  • no traction aid on packed snow

shoveling snow on the drive-way in the summer
Slide Grippers

  • really really easy to slide onto a shoe
  • feels like you're wearing nothing at all
  • look good near curling rinks

  • really really easy to slide off of a shoe
  • feels like you're wearing nothing at all
  • look good near curling rinks
walking to tim horton's to buy 4 double-doubles and a box of assorted tim bits for your curling team
Yaktrax Pro

  • no slippage on the shoe whatsoever
  • good for ice, excellent on slush and snow, good on flat dry surfaces too
  • makes a terrifying chain clanking when you run by dogs and children that won't get out of the way
  • best road/side-walk/city trail combination

  • takes a little experimentation to figure out how to put them on your shoes
  • need to remove them from shoes, after use, else shoes will crumple into little ball of goo
  • if you put them on wrong the velco will rub the inside calf of the other leg during your gait
running in a variety of conditions like, dry hard tarmac, slush, icy-patches on side-walk, packed-snow tracks, and bridge-mix trails

  • excellent on ice and difficult trails
  • sense that the chains would not slide around on your shoe
  • seems like it's meant more for terrain and track

  • felt like I was damaging the spikes on clear road and sidewalk
  • a soft running shoe doesn't seem strong enough to resist the tension of the framework
walking from your BMW to the uncleared drive-way of one of your rental properties to see a bailiff evict dead-beat tenants from your money-maker

Along with my Garmin, the Yaktrax are going to go into my running hall of fame as facilitating an awesome run experience. There is no way to run fast without this shoe gear in the winter conditions I run in.

Don't forget about the 2-minute Burpee Challenge.  Only a few days left!  I'll post my video shortly!


cdnhollywood said...

Love my YakTrax. And they've lasted me a good 4yrs now.

Matty O said...

looks expensive and like a lot of work. I just wait for the roads to be clear and run on pavement all winter :(

Great review though... (someone has a bit too much time on his hands aye?)

GeorgiaSnail said...

If I ever move out of the south I will reference this post...

Who am I kidding?!?!

I'm sure this post will benefit someone...

Jennifer said...

Not something I'll ever get to try but I love your funny attitude!

Anonymous said...

I promise to pay my month!

Kovas said...

No screw-ins?

misszippy said...

Love that last review! I like my yaktrax too, even though mine have not seen light of day this winter!

Anne said...

Great review...and I agree. Gonna get me some yaks :)

Also, laughed out loud at your tribute to Chris!

Christina said...

Good review. I won't be needing it though. Winter here isn't as brutal as yours. In fact, when I post my snow pictures, I'm sure you will laugh your Yaktrax off!

Teamarcia said...

Oh stay off of that bridge-mix! Well it's probably better than running through the 'bridge mix" my dogs produce.
Yes you can do Boston as a charity runner---but it may be easier to qualify than to raise that boatload of $$.

Karen R said...

Strap-ons are for hard core people!

I'm impressed :)

Kate said...

This is funny and useful. I'm kicking myself for not buying a pair of Yaktrax this Christmas. We don't normally get enough snow to make a purchase like that worth my while. This year, of course, being the exception. Oh, well.

Jill said...

This will come in handy for Chris K!

Emz said...

And you guys think I'm nuts for running on a treadmill?!

those look painful.

Lisa said...

we've had a few days where i really wished that i had yaktrax. we just don'g get enough of those days for it to be a worthwhile investment for me

Forward Foot Strides said...

I'm glad I have mine, but I find they change the dynamic of my shoe a bit.

So I've just been treadmilling it.

Chris K said...

Um, yeah, I got nothing here. Thanks for the great new Blog names Andrew. But I really do like Wannabe Canadian.

Tortuga_Runner said...

I swear I read the rest of your post, but tonight I have the mind of a teenage boy and cannot stop laughing because you said "strap on". he-he-he-he

Molly said...

I'm with you on the yaxtraks, even if they're loud : ) oh, and I'm going to post the stew recipe for you tomorrow.

Nitmos said...

Yaktrax is wear it is at. Grammatical error intended!

Lauren said...

Running in the snow. Yikes! I'm afraid that I don't know if I'm that dedicated.

Have fun! I mean that seriously, not sarcastically. : )

Anonymous said...

nuttin' for me here... lol

southern termite.

Anonymous said...

but if I ever move up north (gat chance) I know who to call. :)


Adrienne said...

The only spikes we see here in Texas are of the track variety!

Nej said...

I screw sheet metal screws into the bottoms of my shoes. Works like a charm! (sounds a bit crazy I know, but it works)