REDUCE YOUR RISK OF SLIPPING ON ICE AND FALLING if you plan to take your walking or running sessions outdoors. These plastic, lightweight, slip-on traction cleats, from Yak Trax fit nicely over athletic shoes. The addition of abrasion-resistant, zinc-coated steel coils to net-like elastic bands, which stretch over shoe soles, is what provides stability.
I’ve used Yak Trax for years and they are fairly durable. The running shoes aren’t damaged by the devices, but the shoes do seem to show wear from being taken out in the snow regularly, especially if there is salt on the road. I reserve an older pair of shoes to place them on, not removing the Yak Tax after runs or walks, and keep the pair exclusively for outside use in the snow.
Running or walking carefully on hardened snow doesn’t permit speed work. I wear other shoes on days or occasions when the roads/streets are clear of precipitation and traction cleats aren’t needed or I’m indoors.
Mostly because I think the process of stretching the wet elastic tends to degrade it; by not removing the cleats I imagine I extend the time period before one of the bands breaks. The manufacturer may disagree and I may be wrong but this is how I wear them. Because the shoes get wet and must be air-dried overnight anyway, I just don’t remove the Yak Trax.
If one cleat of the pair breaks, I keep the undamaged cleat, and buy another pair. I’ve got a back-up in case of other breakage!
The feel is a bit awkward initially, possibly because of awareness that the cleats are on. After a short while I forget about their presence and am able to concentrate on running or walking.
I always wear thicker wool running socks to help keep my feet dry and warm, and pair them with wool / acrylic sweater-material leg warmers to cover my ankles too, like gaiters. If the snow is more than a few inches deep, they cover the shoe tongue/lace-up area.
Most running shoes have a mesh toe-box that lets snow seep beneath the mesh, where it melts. A tight-weave wool sock blocks the moisture from reaching the skin of my foot if the run is not too lengthy. The leg warmers keep my ankles toasty and dry and block some of the snow from crusting at the tops of the shoe. Real gaiters aren’t that warm, in my opinion.
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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