Gear Review - Yaktrax Pro Ice Grips for Shoes
With the cold winter weather on its way, I felt it would be a good idea to review the ice grips I bought last year to help me safely walk along roads and footpaths without slipping over on the ice.
The past couple of winters have been really dangerous as councils keep cutting back on the amount of grit they spread on the roads and pavements. This makes both driving and walking incredibly difficult, especially during January which is typically the coldest time of the year.
However, while there are now winter tyres and tyre chains available for cars, the same is true for everyday shoes and walking boots. However, stock still seems limited and I was only just able to get a pair last year.
Dubious about how effective they would be, I purchased a pair of Yaktrax Pro ice grips. While they were a few pounds more, they do feature an adjustable Velcro strap as their main selling point over other ice grips. I was taking a bit of a gamble, so a few pounds more for the feeling of extra security didn’t make a lot of difference.
Like the other ice grips, they are made from a strong, stretchy plastic that you pull over your forefoot and heel while the rest of the mesh wraps around the side of your shoes, creating a very snug, secure fit. The extra grip for ice and snow is then provided by little rings of metal coiled around the centre of the plastic mesh which improves your traction on slippery surfaces so that you can walk normally.
So after fighting to get these things to stretch around my size 11 shoes, I set out on to the icy streets for a test run. Or rather, a cautious test walk. However, once I gained a little confidence to walk normally and eventually tried sliding on a huge patch of black ice, I discovered that the ‘sticky’ rubber mesh under my feet, combined with the metal coils stopped my feet dead in their tracks every time.
Ironically, the ice grips fitted so snugly around my shoes that I doubt the Velcro strap has really made any difference. However, it certainly increases confidence that your grips aren’t going to slip out from underneath your feet.
I can imagine that this is a more important feature for people with smaller feet considering Yaktrax’ one-size-fits-all approach to their ice grips. And apparently joggers go running with these attached to their trainers too, which means that Velcro strap could become much more important if you’re brave enough to attempt running on the ice.
Almost a year on and my Yaktrax are still in good condition. Although physically pulling them off your shoes at the end of the winter season can be a two man job if you’ve got particularly large shoes.
But I would definitely recommend purchasing a pair of ice grips for extra safety on the streets and footpaths. It’s also worth paying an extra £2 for ice grips with adjustable straps.
Fortunately, as more manufacturers and retailers are realising that there is a growing demand for these products, we should see less expensive crampons on the shelves and more affordable ice grips in sufficient numbers so that we can all enjoy a stroll through the winter scenery in safety and confidence.
Review date - 29th November 2011 - Reviewed by AS