Kahtoola Microspikes grip ice and snow


Microspikes and boots on ice


The Kahtoola Microspikes ice traction system increases the stability of any winter shoe on ice and snow, taking the terror out of walking on frosty surfaces. Being able to hike on snow covered trails open up the possibilities for winter hiking, and Microspikes make all the difference. Microspikes are good for compacted snow and ice while snowshoes are indicated for deep snow where the hiker sinks down. Both can be carried on winter hikes to expand hiking terrain in winter. The popular devices were improved in 2016 with 38% less bulk, reinforced eyelets and an upgraded toe bale that adds comfort compared to the original design.

Microspikes are compact and relatively lightweight, weighing 11 7/8 ounces. They slip over a shoe or boot easily with no laces or straps to fool around with. A wide, stretchy elastomer ring slides over the top of the shoe and around the heel, while the spikes, which are attached to short lengths of chain, fit into place under the footwear. The 3/8 inch spikes are crafted from heat-treated 400-series stainless steel, which are visibly thicker and more durable compared to competitors. They are the standard among winter hikers.



Unlike the original test, performed in 2015 in the fourth year of a prolonged drought, this winter’s record-breaking precipitation provided unlimited opportunities to hike in snowy, icy conditions. In fact, almost everyone I know has experienced a thudding fall in icy parking lots and frozen snow. In this year’s test I found that the spikes offered exactly the same comfort and security on slick surfaces as long as the snow was fairly compacted and didn’t break through under my weight. They delivered excellent traction on my winter hiking boots or Sorels and provided the confidence to be able to walk without concern of falling. The spikes are very strong and can take the abuse of walking on ice-free pavement without bending, unlike some competitor products that are made with inferior materials. The lighter weight of the new model will be much appreciated when packed for spring backpacking trips when controlling excess weight is essential.

Kahtoola is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, which can receive 100 inches of snowfall a year. Founder Danny Giovale was inspired to fill a need for better traction devices during a slide in the Dolomites on a visit to Italy. The company launched in 2001 at the Outdoor Retailer show with their first product, Kahtoola Traction Systems (KTS) crampons.

Walking on snow with Microspikes

Walking with Microspikes

For hikers who need more traction and stability than the Microspikes are designed for, the K-10 hiking crampons are recommended. In addition to crampons and Microspikes, Kahtoola also offers Nanospikes for urban runners, with tungsten carbide nubbins that bite into slick sidewalks and roadways.

Microspikes add a whole new dimension to winter activities, especially during big winters when plentiful snow covers every outdoor surface and icy conditions persist long into spring.


Kahtoola Microspikes https://kahtoola.com/product/microspikes/

Comes with a tote bag.

Weight: 11 7/8 oz without tote bag; 12 ¼ oz with tote bag, medium size. Reviewer confirmed.

Available from Kahtoola or Amazon for around $70

Disclaimer: Disclosure of material connection: A sample was received for testing purposes, but the opinions expressed are solely those of the author.