Yaktrax XTR Extreme
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
Don't seem to be made for hiking.
- Few dollars cheaper than Kahtoolas
- Snow won't ball up under feet.
- Made cheaper than the Kahtoolas
- Anti-Balling plates seem to lessen traction.
- Heel susceptible to sliding up back of boot/shoe.
My girlfriend got these for hiking because they were a few dollars cheaper than the Kathoola Microspikes which I use. They seem to fit her boots tightly, but the heel always sides back and up the back of her boot on a descent. The main reason for this is that the two spike plates are not joined together. There is nothing to stop the heel plate from sliding other than whatever minimal friction the user's boot sole has with the plate.
The Microspikes are connected with chains that also provide added traction. Speaking of traction, I feel that although the plastic they put between the spikes that is supposed to stop snow from balling up on your feet does exactly that, it also has a negative effect on traction. It is a slippery and smooth surface up against the snow, and it seems to reduce the effectiveness of spikes to grip hard pack/icy surfaces in comparison to the open chain design of the Microspikes.
These are not well designed for hiking.
I ended up going to Lowes and buying chain which I welded the links shut on to connect the bottom two plates with an X of chain and that solved the heel sliding problem.
I saw your post and am sorry about your mishap with the new XTR. Our VP of Sales would love to reach out to you to discuss your experience and provide feedback. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Price Paid: $60
I have had consistently great experience with my Yaktrax Pros. When I saw the ad for the Extremes I headed for my local store and snatched up a pair (and I even paid for them ;).
Today I did a hike up a fairly steep hill with about 1700' elevation gain and 20-35 degree slope using them for the first time The ground was frozen and there was about 8-12" of fresh snow -- the ground is rocky.
First, I wear about a size 10.5 shoe so I purchased the mediums, designated to fit a US 9-11. I think the Extremes were slightly too big for my 10.5 5.10 approach shoes (waterproofed) but if I had been wearing boots they might have been sized correctly.
They seemed to work fairly well but when I finished the hike and returned to the car to remove the Extremes I found several chain links opened and one chain hanging loose -- a link having opened wide. On inspection I noticed the links are not welded but are just pressed together.
I don't think they, despite the name, are designed for tough environments -- my hike was not long (about 2 miles round trip) nor particularly "extreme." These are not what I expected from a Yaktrax product.
Price Paid: $40
They did a great job in 6" of Smoky Mountain snow. On my return hike I ran into two hikers who were following my tracks, envious of the obvious "bite" I was getting. They mentioned they were slipping a bit and had to check out my XTRs. They added them to their wish list.
You're glad you have them when crossing streams - ice, snow, water, wet rocks... Very easy to put on and off, not once did they feel like they were slipping off.
Price Paid: $44.95
Hiked to the summit of Mt. Liberty in the White Mountain National Forest of NH on Wednesday, November 3, 2010. About 2-3 inches of snow approximately half way up which continued to the summit. Conditions at the top were not terrible; about 3 inches of snow, and some ice on the exposed rock surfaces where the snow had either been blown off or slightly iced over.
I was wearing a Kahtoola Micro Spike on my left boot and a YakTrax XTR Extreme Micro Spike on the right boot. Hiking up to the summit I noticed very little difference in either manufacturer. At times it appeared that the footing was slightly less aggressive on my left side (Kahtoola).
However, the major difference was realized while descending. At times I purposely chose the path less traveled in order to give both micro spikes the best test possible given the conditions at that time. Clearly, the YakTrak XTR Extreme micro spike provided consistent gripping and stopping ability that was at times 20-30% better then the Kahtoola micro spike.
At several points the left foot slipped ahead of my trek and left a wad of snow that had built up under the Kahtoola Microspike. At least on this hike down Mt. Liberty, at no point did the right foot with the YakTrak XTR Extreme micro spike slip out from under me.
Ben, the individual that helped me at the EMS store in Concord, N.H., asked me to write a review on these micro spikes; so I am.
I would to thank my hiking companion Merry Ann for the invitation and date to hike Mt. Liberty on this day as the time together, weather, views, and lunch on the summit were all stella. She also provided the initial guidance on the foot gear that was needed that day.
Paul A. Jadis