January 2, 2003 at 3:34 PM CST - Updated June 16 at 1:35 AM
We just got rid of one batch of snow and ice, and our Stormteam says it probably won't be long until we see another! So it's appropriate this Does it Work test looks at something that slips on your shoe, and helps you walk securely on snow and ice.
Amy Jacquin tests this one herself, by taking a walk on a snow-packed county road... with a layer of ice covered by about a-half inch of snow. The snow gives her a false sense of security, until she takes that one wrong step! Her feet slip from under her, her arms flail, and she about falls. She steadies herself, and proceeds much more cautiously.
Makers of the $20 Yaktrax Walker say it's the first mass-marketed shoe-traction device on the market. It's a flexible rubber net that fits over the sholes of your shoes. A metal coil is wound around the netting, that's supposed to give you grip.
It takes Amy just a minute to stretch the Yaktrax over her snow boots. Directions say to walk normally, and not change your gait at all. But Amy is a little wary... until she realizes she does have more grip than before.
"You can see the tracks I make solidly, here... and where I was slipping and sliding earlier," Amy points to the ground.
It claims to keep you from sliding "side-to-side" as well as "front to back." She tries to skid forward, but can't. However, she can slide her boot sideways.. though only a few inches, and it's rough.
Amy then tracks through deeper snow, into a ditch, to see if Yaktrax stay on her boots.... and she doesn't have a problem. However, Amy believes they might slip off if you play hard, or work outside. But there's also a "work" version that includes an extra strap across the toe of your shoe.
The manufacturer says the metal coils won't damage most carpet or floors. But Amy says, if it gives you this much extra grip outside, it's bound to leave it's mark inside!
And while it provides more security on snow and ice, she still urgse a cautious stride, especially since it's not fully stable from side-to-side. Amy gives the $20 Yaktrax a B+.
The Yaktrax is sold at the Alpine Shop in St. Louis. Or you can order them online at www.yaktrax.com.