Kahtoola Microspikes (2014)

Kahtoola Microspikes were the first non-crampon traction device to become a popular option for hillgoers. They were originally designed for running on snow and ice but they are now seen on the boots of hillwalkers. They comprise of a rubber cradle that comes in five sizes to ensure a good fit. Attached to this are chains that in turn link to metal plates where the spikes are located. The spikes are 1cm long, but there are only 12 of them and there are areas where the chain may come into contact with the ice before the spikes do if the surface is uneven. Much of the sole unit of the boot remains exposed, though, which further enhances grip if the boot has a deep lug pattern. The length of the spikes and their sharpness means they can cut through a layer of thin snow and bite into hard ice quite well, although full crampons offer an even better grip. Like others we looked at, Kahtoola Microspikes will also roll off the boot when traversing slopes, so they’re only suitable for level ground. But they’re very good on level hill paths with just a thin layer of ice, where using full crampons would be just
too unstable. 

Materials rubber cradle with steel chain and spikes
Sizes XS (1-4); S (4.5-7); M (7.5-10.5); L (10.5-14); XL (14-16)
Weight 430g (pair, size L)
Website www.betaclimbingdesigns.com

 

Verdict

Experienced walkers will find Kahtoola Microspikes useful on level hill paths, but when traversing slopes or crossing ice covered in deep snow, they aren’t a replacement for full crampons. They received the Trail ‘Best Value’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2014