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Winter Traction: Which Kahtoola Spike Is Right for You?

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Traction on snow and ice is a challenge. Two lightweight footwear products from Kahtoola are made to give grip.

To move fast and light, years ago our editor climbed Mount Rainier in a pair of Kahtoola crampons. The company, based in the mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona, is known for its grip-on-snow (or ice) products.

This article, sponsored by Kahtoola, breaks down two models made for wintertime activities on the mountain, trail, or frozen city streets near home.

Kahtoola NANOspikes

Kahtoola designed its NANOspikes for traction without bulk. Tungsten carbide spikes dot the sole, each held in a hexagonal node made of TPU for shock absorption (by a lightweight aluminum anchor).

You can run in the NANOspikes. Or use them for walking the dog, shoveling a sidewalk, or to trek across the city after a storm.

Kahtoola NANOspikes in action
Kahtoola NANOspikes in action

The company notes the footwear add-on will not affect gait or stride on pavement. They fit tight on a shoe or boot with a stretchy harness made of TPE (thermoplastic elastomers).

Unlike many traction products, the NANOspikes are fine for use on pavement when you hit a section of sidewalk that’s been plowed. The tungsten carbide spikes will not easily wear down.

NANOspikes Footwear

  • Tungsten carbide spikes (10 per foot)
  • Packed size: 6″ x 4″ x 2.25″
  • Two-year warranty
  • Made for: Winter road running; walking on icy or snow-packed hard surfaces
  • $50
  • More Info / Buy Now

Khatoola nano spikes bottom
The bottom of the Kahtoola NANOSpikes

Kahtoola MICROspikes

A set of stainless steel tips line the MICROspikes and give traction on snow and ice. Kahtoola makes these crampons with 12 spikes per foot. They pierce frozen surfaces with each step.

Unlike the NANOspikes (above), people use these for the woods, on frozen lakes, and for steeper terrain. Don’t plan to tread on pavement or hard ground, as the 3/8-inch spikes are built primarily for frozen H2O.

Kahtoola MICROSpikes can grip serious ice
Kahtoola MICROspikes can grip serious ice

It’s a unique design with welded chains connecting spikes to a web-like harness made of TPE. Step in, and the harness is made to wrap onto a boot or shoe, no adjustment needed.

The MICROspikes pack small, even fitting inside a jacket pocket when not in use. They are relatively lightweight for the category at about 11 ounces per pair.

Specs: MICROspikes Footwear

  • Stainless steel spikes (12 per foot)
  • Packed size: 5″ x 3″ x 2″
  • Two-year warranty
  • Made for: Hiking, running, and backpacking on icy, snowy terrain
  • $70
  • More Info / Buy Now

The bottom of the Kahtoola MICROspikes


This article is sponsored by Kahtoola. See its entire line of crampons and traction footwear products at kahtoola.com.

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