Top tips for running on ice (from YakTrax)
Facebook discussion came alive this morning after a tri club pal posted a message about his love of YakTrax grips for running in ice and snow. Meanwhile, I posted about the G-Force’s high praise for another ice grip product called EzyShoes Extreme. After this, people began asking which products were the best. I’ve already vouched for EzyShoes Extreme in a blog but hadn’t tried YakTrax and so I gave the main retailer of Yaktraxs, Specialist Ltd, a call.
Belinda, the main woman at Specialist Ltd, was extremely helpful. Her advice is that YakTrax shoes grips are best used on smoother ice and terrain. The Yaktrax grips are made of small coils of metal and she explained that they do not stand up well to gritty surfaces or off-road terrains where small bits of stone or grit can damage the coils. Where Yaktrax work best is on streets, whether you’re running or walking, or on smooth ice, such as frozen lakes. She says: “The YakTrax offer amazing traction on smoother ground and ice so I would say they are best suited to walking and running on streets.”
If it’s off-road running that you’re keen on, a sister product called Ice Screws are recommended by Belinda. These ice grips actually screw into the soles of your shoes and they will keep your feet grippy and steady in almost all conditions, except for black ice (see below). Ice screws look like they would also be very useful in wet and muddy conditions, such as when orienteering or hill running.
Belinda was very keen that customers are well informed about the best use for their products. She said: “TheYaktrax will end up beaten up if you run in them on rutted and gritty off-road terrain but on pavements where there is ice and snow they will be perfect. Likewise, the ice screws are best suited to off-road terrain. I am keen that customers know what they are buying and buy the right product for the right activity.”
Yaktrax offer a host of other tips for running on ice
While Belinda wants to point out that these tips are tried at your own risk she did have a number of other, perhaps cheaper, ideas for runners – and cyclists – to try when it’s icy outdoors. Many of these are genius, and you can be sure that she will be working on bringing some of these ideas into products in the future.
* Buy rubber roof paint, a gritty product such as sand and a foil tray from the supermarket. Pour the paint and grit into the tray and dip the soles of your shoes into this mixture to create a thin layer. Leave to dry and then repeat the process a few times. Belinda reckons this treatment will even work a treat when walking and running on black ice!
* For bike tyres, strap metal cable ties around the wheel and tyres at regular intervals and cross ways across the tyre. Belinda reckons these will help to give cyclists grip in mud, snow and ice.
* She also wonders whether press studs or, on thicker tyres, ice screws might work wonders on bike tyres. “I keep thinking that metal press studs would offer great grip for bike tyres. Or why not try the paint and sand tip?” she adds.
I was impressed by how honest and frank Yaktrax were about their products and since they will be sending me a couple fo products to try I will be writing a review in the near future.
Does anyone else have a favourite product for running in the ice and snow?