I have been sick the entire week last week and through the weekend, and haven’t been able to get out to do any hikes. It’s frustrating, since the weather has been really nice. Today it was in the low 50’s. Ugh. So I’ve decided to write a little review about the Yaktrax “traction device.”

The trail surface after a few snow-falls, especially if there’s been a few warm days, tends to get packed down and can be rather slippery. This can lead to falls and potential injury. Not something I’m interested in experiencing. It also makes for slow-going. I have snowshoes, which offer great traction, but when there isn’t enough snow to warrant their use they’re just a bit too awkward. I decided to try Yaktrax, as a friend of mine who lives in Dutchess County, and used to manage a horse farm, has been raving about them for years.

Yaktrax come in two flavors, Walker and Pro (MSRP $19.95 and $29.95, respectively). They are identical, except for the Velcro strap on the Pro version. This strap goes over the top of your foot and helps keep the device on your shoe or boot when navigating uneven terrain. It seems to do the job quite well, and to me is worth the extra cost.

When I first examined them up close, the rubber didn’t seem as though it would be able to handle being walked on, especially with the steel coils wrapped around them. It just seemed too soft and pliable. I’ve used them now about three or four times, and have not experienced any damage at all.

They are fairly easy to put on a boot. Though it helps to be sitting down, they were easy enough to put on while leaning against a tree. They stretch over the shoe or boot in the way a galosh would: put the toe over the toe of the shoe, then stretch until it fits over the heel. Easy enough.

The only trouble, if it could be called trouble at all, I’ve had with these is that they sometimes slip a little if I’m going over very uneven terrain, like walking up a steep slope. I have to then adjust them at the top as they have shifted forward a bit. Not a big deal.

They are very comfortable and I really don’t even notice them most of the time. The traction they provide is astounding. I can easily march across ice and hard-packed snow with ease, never loosing my footing. I highly recommend them.

Yaktrax also makes insoles and socks, neither of which I’ve yet tried. Have you?

Online: yaktrax.com, or buy Yaktrax at Amazon.