The YakTraxs strapped onto my Mizunos

Sure, DC doesn’t really get that much snow.  We might get a few good storms a year, leaving snow on the ground for about a week or two at a time, but soon after the temperatures will rise, the snow will melt, and everything will be back to normal.  But unfortunately for the DC runner, especially the trail runner, the type of snow we often find on our Mid-Atlantic dirt is heavy and wet, and turns straight to ice after packing.  That’s what is on the ground right now, and that is what is making my usual running routine a little more complicated.

Lucky for me, I was recently gifted a pair of Yaktrax Pro tractions
for my birthday.  They may seem silly for most city dwellers, but I’m happy to report they are anything but.  These shoe devices really change your ability to run in this snowy weather.  This past weekend I strapped on my new pair and took off up the Valley Ridge Trail in Rock Creek Park.  The snow which fell a few days before was hard, and I could count maybe a dozen sets of footprints that had already begun to blaze the trail.

The YakTrax Pro slides over the bottom of your shoe and has one strap to secure around the top.  I found that it fit rather nicely to my shoe size (10.5), but was definitely capable of stretching over a larger shoe as well.  After just a few strides up the trail, my timid ‘snow run’ turned into a full fledged trail run up the hill.  Only a few times throughout the 6 mile run was I concerned about falling, and that was more with footing uncertainty than slipping in the snow. The only downside I found was that the coiling on the YakTrax slipped out of alignment a few times, forcing me to stop and adjust.

For the most part the trail was empty for a Saturday morning.  I only saw three other runners, two of which happened to also be sporting the YakTraxs.

Are YakTraxs necessary for winter running in DC?  Absolutely not.  Are they fun and can give you a little more freedom with your runs after a snow?  Sure thing.

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