Microspikes are essential for winter hiking. Here we take a look at the Kahtoola Microspikes in our review. We tested in real and harsh conditions. If you’ve been looking around for Microspikes, you’ll come across a lot of cheaper options than Kahtoola, but after years of winter hiking, and many broken spikes (though no broken Kahtoolas), it has become clear that spending a little extra gives you a much more durable product.
You can purchase the Kahtoola Microspikes on the following:
Kahtoola is a Tibetan word meaning “directly”, which in our opinion is a perfect representation of what these products allow you to do during winter hiking ascents. Instead of zig zagging across icy sections, and still likely falling on your butt, microspikes allow for wearers to maintain safe footing, and travel directly up snow, ice sheets, and other terrain.
Aside from the great name, Kahtoola is a company out of Flagstaff, AZ that has social responsibility in their blood. Kahtoola For The People is a program in place that donates 1% of sales towards indigenous cultures, and projects to support and improve communities.
You can read more about the company and social responsibility practices here.
Our Testing Scenario
Our experience with Kahtoola spikes has taken us across nearly every (if not all) NH 4000 footer in the winter, across many of the CO 14ers, and countless other places.
The spikes have taken us across terrain that has ranged from heavy snowfields, ice sheets, icy rocks, and much more.
We have even ran into scenarios where we passed on our spikes to other hikers in need.
About The MICROspikes
We have used a lot of microspike brands in our time hiking, but only a couple brands are capable of actually lasting. There are a few features that are specific to Kahtoola that make this product superior to the traction devices you’ll find cheaper on Amazon.
Reinforced Eyelets – The eyelets receive a ton of pressure when pulling your spikes over your boots, or even pulling them off. A new design by Kahtoola made these eyelets significantly stronger, and making it no longer the weakest point on the microspikes. This simple change results in a vastly more durable product.
Elastomer Material – Other traction devices snap in cold weather. The rubber just appears to be less durable, and that is because it is. Kahtoola has actually taken the time to develop and utilize a polymer that remains stretchy and durable in extremely cold temperatures. They therefore don’t snap after repeated usage, or during cold weather days.
12 spikes per foot (on all sizes)
3/8-inch spike length (1 cm)
Spike Material: heat-treated 400 series stainless steel
Weights per pair:
Small: 11.0 oz (312 g)
Medium: 11.9 oz (338 g)
Large: 13.1 oz (372 g)
Extra Large: 13.5 oz (382 g)
Pack size: 5 x 3 x 2 inches (30 in3)
Tote sack included
Care Instructions: Wash with lukewarm water and air-dry (do NOT dry with heat). Ensure the product is clean and dry before storage. Inspect before each use.
Because of the features we stated above, Kahtoola is a durable product, and they stand by them. These MICROspikes have a 2 year warranty which is honored on the website.
These are the extremely durable. We are amazed our microspikes haven’t broken yet. In comparison, I have seen fellow hikers break other traction devices on the first hike, and our team here has broken other brand’s traction devices on a way too frequent basis.
If you are walking on ice, you need traction. If you are into winter hiking, these are on the essential equipment list. No hiker with experience will head out on the trails without adequate traction, and these absolutely provide that. Nano spikes and crampons have specific use cases, but MICROspikes have the most versatile use case, being able to handle snow, ice, and rocky ice extremely well.
If you have ever been ice fishing before and had to tow a sled, or your gear, this turns impossible situations into cake walks.
If you are going to be hiking in snowy or icy conditions, or are in any need of a winter traction device, Kahtoola comes highly recommended by our team. We have all been the victim of purchasing a lesser quality product that broke too quickly, and specifically in the case of footwear traction. Do yourself a favor, and skip the purchasing of the cheap Amazon products, and go straight to something that will be able to take a beating.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about