In northern Vermont, our "between seasons" hikes can…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
In northern Vermont, our "between seasons" hikes can be marked by variable conditions, including frozen ground, ice, glazed snow, or anything else Mother Nature throws at ice. Footing can be quite treacherous, even on local trail networks; the Kahtoola Microspikes have allowed us to hike longer hikes, more challenging hikes, and in conditions where without the spikes, we would have stayed at home.
- Easy to put on
- Reasonably priced
- Seem durable
- Choice of colors (2)
- Largest size is still a bit small for a size 14 boot, Some clumping of snow underneath at a specific temperature range
The spikes are easy to put on; back is marked clearly, and the front has a bar (though sometimes I do not get the bar exactly centered). The size medium fits my size 9 men's boots; the largest size does not really fit a large size 14 men's boot.
The spikes actually exceeded our expectations; the traction they provide on even steep climbs is remarkable, for such a basic design. After a winter's use of over 40 hikes, they still look brand new.
The spikes are easily attached to my backpack straps with a carabiner, in case they may be used later in the hike. In the spring, we had some hikes where we started off in dry terrain, but then encountered ice or glazed snow. It was no effort to stop and put on the spikes. Since I have had knee and arm injuries from falls, it was reassuring to be able to confidently tackle sketchy conditions.
I did find that on two separate hikes, in temperatures around 40-45 degrees, that if the snow conditions were "just so," there was a lot of clumping and build-up. Instead of hiking on a 4-6 inch build up of snow, I just whacked the spikes with my trekking poles, and the snow dislodged. I know of others who have used WD40, but we have yet to go that route. It was such an infrequent occurrence, and not a particular fault of these spikes, that it does not change my opinion.
This winter was a particularly cold, and hence, icy one for our area. I encountered more people on Kahtoola spikes this winter, than in any previous year. We all raved about them!
Easy to put on, good traction in snow and ice, stays…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $64.95 less 20% off coupon
Easy to put on, good traction in snow and ice, stays put.
- Easy to put on and stays put
- Good traction in ice and snow
- Comfort—can't feel the spikes through hiking boots
I love to hike during the winter. What I don't love is falling on the ice. Almost every time I have hiked in snow and ice, I have slipped onto my butt at least once. That is until I purchased the The Kahtoola MICROspikes.
My first time out on them, I had to pave a trail in the newly fallen snow. Not so bad until I got to the steep part. The Kahtoola spikes kept me from slipping even once.
I love how easy the rubber upper attaches to my Ahnu hiking boots. They stay snug even when hiking on uneven rocks. I didn't have any trouble with snow and mud bunching up in the spikes.
The spikes are really comfortable to walk on. I could not feel them at all through my hiking boots. The chains add needed traction. Works well for snow-packed hiking trails and ice. I also used them in mud and they grip really well. I even jogged on a muddy trail with them and had no problem slipping going at a faster pace.
As far as durability, I have hiked several times on them and have not had trouble with them coming apart or the rubber breaking but I haven't had them long enough to comment beyond that.
A great product well worth every cent I spent.
Product review also appears on my blog, Outdoor Adventure Gals.
Absolutely the best for icy trails or on an ice walk…
Price Paid: $55
Absolutely the best for icy trails or on an ice walk in a frozen canyon.
I've had mine for a few years, and they're still not wearing out. The crampon spike are a good 1/2" long, and they stay sharp for quite a while. These are required when I take groups to do the Ice Walk at Maligne Canyon in Jasper, and they work both on the ice itself and on the steep and icy trails at the top on either side.
The other choices are to either go to a full crampon (okay but heavy) or lightweight traction devices like Yaktrax. Unfortunately Yaktrax have zero traction on ice — the springs just roll over flat on a hard surface. They also fall apart.
Since most winter trails have already been walked on, leaving frozen footprints to stumble over, I find I use my Microspikes more than my snowshoes on level terrain as well.
I had been using a pair of Yaktrax Pro traction devices…
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
Price Paid: sample provided by Kahtoola
I had been using a pair of Yaktrax Pro traction devices for winter trail running and was fairly pleased with them. However, this winter I got a pair of Kahtoola’s new MICROspikes to test, and now I’m never going back. The MICROspikes are super rugged, burly, and easy to use. Not only do they inspire confidence from the get-go, they deliver.
This winter I’m pregnant, so instead of running on icy trails and dirt roads, I’m walking. The plowed and unplowed dirt camp roads I walk down are completely covered with either very hard, continuous ice or a combination of ice and slippery packed snow.
With eight, 3/8-inch, stainless steel spikes per foot mounted on interlocking chains of stainless steel, the MICROspikes have the most rugged, aggressive construction of any non-crampon traction devices I’ve seen. The red, elastomer shoe harness is easy to pull on over boots (no Velcro straps or buckles to fasten) and its front is clearly labeled for proper orientation. Once the MICROspikes are on I don’t give them a thought. I liken them to snow chains for your feet.
Even now, in my last trimester of pregnancy, I have no worries walking across any kind of ice in my MICROspikes. They always grip securely, biting into the ice, and have never slipped. While not designed for heavy snow, my MICROspikes have not clogged, even when walking in several inches of snow. In the past, while running with Yaktrax, I’ve had a few icy tumbles due to clogging and slipping.
The MICROspikes beat the Yaktrax for traction, hands down. One day I started out for a walk with my Yaktrax Pros on and encountered black ice covered with a dusting of snow. After several feet of tentative slipping, I turned around and came back for my MICROspikes, which performed perfectly.
If I was able to, I would not hesitate to run in them, though I have to note that I haven’t been able to personally test them while running yet. Theoretically you also could sharpen the spikes when necessary—not an option with Yaktrax’s coil design.
The MICROspikes generate a lot of interest. Whenever I wear mine neighbors and friends comment on and ask me about them (I expect it’s the bright red color that first catches their eyes). Interested people have included hikers, who were happy Yaktrax owners but recently bought their own pairs of MICROspikes after seeing mine; a former outdoor retailer, who went home and checked out Kahtoola online the same day; and an active friend who complained that he’s had to replace several pairs of Yaktrax after wearing them outside while cutting wood or doing other work around his country inn.
Since I haven’t had the opportunity to test the MICROspikes while running or hiking more demanding terrain yet, I can’t attest to their performance under those conditions. However, I anticipate using mine for trail running next winter and taking them along on late fall hikes when crampons are unnecessary, but where I might encounter stretches of icy trail at higher elevations.
And since 2007-08 is their first season of availability I can’t comment on the MICROspikes’ long term-durability. However, after a couple months of regular use mine show no wear and I don’t anticipate any problems.
I’m taking a half star off my rating for one minor reason. The elastomer shoe harness left red stains on the heels of my light tan, Nubuck hiking boots. This doesn’t bother me aesthetically, but might be a minor problem for some.
It should be noted that the MICROspikes are significantly heavier than Yaktrax. My pair of small MICROspikes weighs 11.3 ounces (319 grams) versus 5 ounces (142 grams) for my medium Yaktrak Pros. They also cost twice as much—$59 for MICROspikes versus $30 for Yaktrax Pros. But that higher weight and cost come with far superior performance for more active, demanding winter users.
Yaktrax still have a place for the casual urban walker for whom the heavier, spiked MICROspikes would be overkill. But if you’re a winter trail runner, hiker, or walker who encounters slippery ice or snow, but doesn’t need crampons, you should check out the MICROspikes for their aggressive, secure traction and ease of use.
Ultimately, Kahtoola’s MICROspikes work as claimed and I’m very happy with mine. They’re a simple, trustworthy piece of gear I expect to put through their paces even further next winter.
March 28, 2008 Update
Just a short update: Today when I used the Microspikes in temps just above freezing I had a bit of snowballing underfoot. This is the first and only time this has happened, but I had to periodically wack my feet together to dislodge the snow, which was a little annoying.
I was walking over a layer of about an inch of fresh snow on top of heavier wet snow in warmer (around or just above freezing) temperatures. This seemed to be the optimum conditions for snowballing to occur. Other than this one-time episode, the Microspikes are still working very well.
Awesome traction, stay put, fit varying footwear.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
Awesome traction, stay put, fit varying footwear.
- Fit well
- Stay put
- Snow will ball up in right conditions
I wear these on everything from backpacking boots to my minimalist trail runners. I have run trails on hardpacked snow and ice and they have impressed me with their traction and how well they stay were you put them. I have great traction on everything from mud and slush to hardpacked snow and ice. They are hardly noticeable on your feet as far as weight goes.
The only downside is that snow will ball up on the balls of your feet if its the right conditions. This has only happened to me once when the temp was right around 32 degrees on fresh powder. Other than that they are great.
If there was a way to stop the snow balling in those rare conditions these would be the ideal traction aid, but it sucks to have to stomp your feet every few steps to stop from walking on a tennis ball sized wad of snow under your feet.
Kahtoola Microspikes are must have for any winter…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $47
Kahtoola Microspikes are must have for any winter hiker. Superior traction on some of the iciest trails. Don't leave home without them!
- Superior traction
- Great fit on boots
- Easy to put on and take off
- Very durable
- Some ice/snow build up between boots and chains
This is my first full winter using Kahtoola Microspikes. At first glance they don't look like much but it only takes a few steps to realize how much they help with traction.
I just came off a 13ish mile backpacking trip and I'm VERY impressed with them. I wore them the whole time I was hiking. For the most part we were walking through about 6 to 9 inches of snow but there was quite a bit of ice on the trail as well. Even on snow alone they helped out alot on the up and down hill sections. On ice they are second to none. You can stop on a dime with these things on.
They seem to be built very well. They feel very solid on your feet. After a full season of use, they show little to no wear on them. I would absolutely recommend them to any winter hiker.
Great for traveling trails that have iced over from…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $54
Great for traveling trails that have iced over from being packed down by snow and turned to ice. The fit is snug, and construction excellent. Each size fits a surprising range of shoe and boot sizes without making your feet feel crushed by a binding system.
- Easy to get on and off
- Stays on in use.
- Grip well when walking trails.
- If you heel strike, there will not be initial grip.
- But heavy
I bought these because I saw many on a mountain trail with them dangling from their packs. The trail had ice and snow (early season winter conditions) and I felt I would have had more confidence with some on as we scrambled up and down the snowy and icy rock strewn hike / climb.
I own Yaktrax Pros, and feel that these are superior for trail use. I think for running, the other brand would suffice. The actual spikes I think create odd pressure points under foot if you were running.
I really think these are well engineered. The plastic / rubber gasket that runs the perimeter of your foorwear fits well, and adjusts for a suprisingly wide range of footwear. My wife wears a women's 9 boot, and I wear a 9,5 men's boot, and we both use a medium Microspike.
Microspikes are like cleated snowchains for your feet. From the rubber ring, there are chains at various points for the front, sides and rear of the ring. The chains connect to spikes, and thus create flexible non-bunching mega traction under foot. Works for boots and runners. System type xc boots too, but not sure about my 75mm duck bill ski boots. Not likely.
Finally, they come in a choice of two colors; red or black. There's no left or right, so no need to pay attention to which foot uses which Microspike. Just look for the tab for the rear, or the funny metal spacer for the front, and you're good to go.
Kahtoola Microspikes are a fantastic tool to get you…
Kahtoola Microspikes are a fantastic tool to get you safely over light snow and ice. Very easy to pull on over any hiking boots. They also compact into a small space, though you might want to get a separate case to carry them safely in your pack.
- easy to use
- great traction
- can be used with any hiking boot
- can slip off in deep wet snow
I've used these for one season on snow hikes in the San Gabriel mountains where the snow was not too deep. They really shine in icy conditions to keep you from slipping and allow you to climb steep slopes that otherwise would be too slippery.
They are light, easy to put on and take off, and collapse to an easily carried space. They seem very rugged and well made, but I've only used them for one year.
The only problem I've had is when I've stepped in wet, deep snow, one came off my left boot and I had to backtrack to pick it up.
I have been using the same pair of Micro-Spikes for…
Price Paid: $60
I have been using the same pair of Micro-Spikes for four years now — winter on icy roads, trails and alpine windswept ridges. In spring or during winter thaws I wear them in areas where there may be mixed ice and mud. The great thing there is they never clog up and only rarely have they balled up snow on the bottom of my boot or shoe.
- Light weight
- Tough, stretchy rubber upper let you wear them on any shoe or boot
- They are tough. Used in boulder fields, around sharp ice and nothing seems to cut the rubber
- Price at $60 turns some people off.
One pair will fit all your winter shoes or boots.
They are stretchy rubber so they mold to the shoe or boot and you can hardly feel that they are there.
The 'spikes' and chains provide the kind of traction without fail that you can trust your safety and sanity too.
Since they are very stretchy they are easy on and easy off when you need them. They bundle up into a blob no bigger than a baseball so they are easy to carry in a pack or even in a pocket.
I have used them on icy parking lots and road surfaces, crossing or walking on frozen streams and rivers as well as in climbing-scrambling situations on ridges and summits where crampons would not have been the better choice.
What can I say that hasn't been said already, these…
Source: bought it new
What can I say that hasn't been said already, these are the best non-crampons you can buy.
The spikes stay on your boots. They grip ice and snow with ease. They really are the best non-crampons you can get. A must recommend.
Microspikes are in my pack every winter. The rubber…
Microspikes are in my pack every winter. The rubber stays flexible in cold, the spikes are good and long, and they fit over my size 14 boots. A bit hard to pull on, but that means they don't shift on inclines either.
Would I go up really steep snowfields? No, probably not, but for scrambling and iced up trails when snowshoes are overkill.. these things are worth the price.
I received the Microspikes for my birthday a few years…
Price Paid: gift
I received the Microspikes for my birthday a few years back. This has been one of the best gifts ever.
These things are magical on ice. I used to slip and slide and just tread slowly and carefully, but with the Microspikes on I have no hesitation whenever I take a step. These things give you a super solid and secure grip with every step.
If you hike in the winter or shoulder seasons I strongly recommend the microspikes. They are super durable, mine show very little signs of wear after 2 years of use. They also stay on extremely well, and require little to no adjustment throughout a day of hiking.
They are ok in snow, but are SUPERB on ice. Ice is what these are meant for.
A great product!
The Kahtoola Microspikes made running in the snow…
Price Paid: $59
The Kahtoola Microspikes made running in the snow and ice feel as natural as running on a dry road. I love them -- and they're easy to put on. (I shot a short video and included some add'l details at my site, therunnerstrip dot com, if you want to see more).
My only caveat is they wouldn't work well in deep powder, or on surfaces such as plowed roads that will have significant stretches of pavement. You need a minimum amount of ice/snow underfoot to make them work.
I have tried many, many traction solutions to navigate…
Price Paid: $60
I have tried many, many traction solutions to navigate our Rocky Mountain winters. For all around usefulness and dependability, I give the Kahtoola MICROspikes the highest score.
The stretchable rubber frame is both its greatest strength and weakness. Like Yaktrax, the MICROspikes can shift on your foot on off-camber trails. The difference is that the MICROspikes only need to be readjusted into position every 30 minutes or so. While the Yaks need it every 5 minutes when brand new and almost constantly when worn out.
The stretchable frame makes one pair work on my running shoes, hiking boots and snow boots. The construction is much heavy and better quality compared to Yaks. After one and a half winters on the MICROspikes, the fit is still true and tight on all my shoes.
Moist snow in near freezing temps has a tendency to clump and refreeze in the chains making a big lump of ice under foot. Same issue happens with cheapo strap on single cleat devices. The clump can usually be freed with a couple toe taps into a tree or the opposite heel.
The MICROspikes are easy to get on even in very low temps (0 - 10 F). This is different than the Yaks which become extremely stiff in temps below 10 F and very difficult to pull on with frozen fingers.
Easily packed and clipped to pack exterior for storage they are light enough to always be included in the gear selection. I can get them on and off with gloved hands quickly.
Traction is phenomenal with the MICROspikes:
- Ice: the spikes dig in and hold confidently ascending and descending
- Packed snow: can slip sideways on extreme (+45 degree) off camber steps but are generally stable for and aft
- Loose snow: these don't really have any affect greater than good snow boot soles in powder but make the transition from powder to ice almost unnoticed
- Rocks: although not good for the spikes, they do grab well on occassionally exposed rocks and don't slip off as chain only devices can
- Dirt and sand: any moisture will cause loose soil to clump and refreeze in the chain cross patterns requiring a quick toe tap to remove
Overall, these are the best all around winter traction device I have ever used. Yes, there are better solutions for specific extreme applications (crampons for deep and steep, sheet metal screws for ice running). But MICROspikes are the only single device that I carry constantly during winter treks now.
Excellent product. I have used it in deep snow where…
Price Paid: $53.55 CAD
Excellent product. I have used it in deep snow where boots tend to spin out and they provide good traction. The weight isn't a big concern but I can see if you're a "Minimalist" you might find them a bit heavy. The trade off is worth it.
After carrying these in my day pack on every hike…
Price Paid: $50?
After carrying these in my day pack on every hike here in New Hampshire for the last month - yep, they are so light I didn't care - I finally got a chance today to try them out. I climbed a small mountain near my home: snow and ice, including glare ice on quite steep ledge. I am amazed! (and I am not that easily amazed.)
These things are great. Dead certain traction on the way up and darn near the same on the way down. They made what might have been a slow tentative walk (I am in my sixties.) into as near a romp as I ever get. You forget you have them on and forget the ice too. It was as if I were going for a summer walk.
I know this is a bit gushy, but honestly I have not been as satisfied with a purchase in years. I used to have a pair of the Yak-trax: no comparison - fragile and not nearly the traction. Get the Microspikes.
I run on small rocks and dirt and in snow drifts.
Price Paid: $49.95 @ basegear.com
I run on small rocks and dirt and in snow drifts. I have used YakTraxs (3rd pair in two years) previously but they do not hold up running where I run. I just purchased the Microspikes and I was in love with them the first run.
I was amazed at the traction. You do not realize they are under your feet. They are light weight. Easy to take on and off.
I was lucky and found them on sale at basegear.com. But at regular price they are well worth the investment for those than run in the winter.
I had been using Yaktrax Pro for about a month here…
Price Paid: $59
I had been using Yaktrax Pro for about a month here in snowy Michigan when I found that they were wearing out. Switched to the Kahtoola Microspike and thought that I was in heaven. I felt so much more secure on ice/black ice, etc. in my Microspikes! Even on an icy/muddy trail, I didn't have one moment of instability.
I do have to say though, that just over a month later (about 3-4 miles a day, 3-4 times a week, sometimes running, sometimes walking), I have worn the chain just behind the last spike on both feet to the point that I am now putting them back together with anything I can find -- paper clips, wire, etc.
Today I am trying new chain completely on both of them. Hoping that I can make it through the icy season before I have to send them back for repairs! I guess I didn't expect that for the price.