User Review: Kahtoola Microspikes
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.