Kahtoola Microspikes have rapidly become one of the most popular traction devices for hillwalkers as they are very good on iced-up paths when used by experienced hillwalkers. They were originally designed for running on snow and ice, and they comprise of a rubber cradle that comes in five sizes to fit over your footwear. Attached to this rubber cradle is a chain frame and a series of 10 spikes. Areas of the boot outsole remain exposed to provide some traction, while the spikes are 1cm deep and quite sharp, which allows them to grip well on hard ice. These spikes are not as long as full crampons so their grip is still limited and sometimes the chains come into contact with uneven hard ice before the spikes do, which can lead to a slip – so care is still required, especially when the ground becomes more uneven or the snow becomes too deep for the short spikes. But when used by experienced hillwalkers on frozen level paths, Kahtoola Microspikes do work well. They are not as good as full crampons on deep snow and hard ice or when stepping off the path onto frozen slopes, so care is needed in using them appropriately.
Materials rubber cradle with steel chain and spikes
Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight 430g (pair, size L)
The Kahtoola Microspikes are the best option for level tracks in this test.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013