Kahtoola MICROSpikes

Who will be the first person to climb Mount Rainier or its ilk in Kahtoola’s new MICROSpikes? These are kind of pedestrian crampons. But with 10 spikes, each one 3/8-inch long, and made of stainless steel, the Kahtoola MICROSpikes could do real work paired with hiking boots or waterproof trail-running shoes to provide traction on snow and ice.

And they’re so packable and light that people (me, for example) will be real tempted to try and use them in lieu of bulky normal crampons for easy mountaineering. Indeed, they fold in and ball up small enough to keep in a jacket pocket. Total weight: 12.5 ounces per pair!

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I climbed Rainier in a pair of the company‚Äôs KTS crampons two summers back. (Here’s that review: http://thegearjunkie.com/kahtoola-kts-crampons) But the MICROSpikes, which debuted at the OR Show earlier this month and will be available for $59 in mid October, are even more feathery.

They’re essentially a rubber ring—the “shoe harness”—plus a stainless steel chain with spikes. The whole thing laid out looks like something I’d use to secure my Weimaraner while on a run.

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I put them on last night and tromped around some, and the system seems solid. A “shoe harness” made of a stretchy rubber flexes as you step in, then cinches tight. There are no buckles or straps, so they go on quick and fit clean.

Beyond stupid things like Rainier, these spikes would be perfect for wintertime trail running, or even just shoveling the sidewalk.

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They come in four sizes—from extra small to large—fitting a unisex size range from youth 1 to adult 14. MICROSpikes stretch to accommodate all kinds of footwear, including running shoes, lightweight hikers, everyday shoes and snow boots.

It’s only August, but I’m psyched for the snow to fall so I can try mine out. . .

Price: $59
Available: Oct. 15, 2007
Contact: www.kahtoola.com

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