Kahtoola Microspikes review

25th September 2014

Kahtoola Microspikes Review

The great thing about  the British climes is they always keep you on your toes (pun intended). Last winter was mild for most of the UK. However, if you wanted to find some of the white stuff there was plenty out there. Although I wasn't intentionally seeking out ice and snow I did happen to run into an awful lot of it as I reccied the Paddy Buckley Round (North Wales) during the winter months.

Kahtoola microspikes

Whether it was the lack of a view or the treacherous ice that kept the hoards from the summit on February 9th 2014 I'm not too sure.

Thankfully I wasn't kept from the summit and was happy to be moving pretty effortlessly over the icy death crust as it was darned cold that day! My quick moving wasn't due to being flight footed but was due to the Kahtoola Microspikes I was wearing. I so nearly didn't take these with me this weekend and jeez would I have regretted that. 

On the Saturday I ran over Snowdon, the Microspikes were donned whilst perched on an icy slope after thinking I'd be fine with out them... how wrong I was. But it did at least give me the chance to put a pair on whilst in extremis. After many years of wearing climbing crampons I can confidently say these are so very easy to get on your feet, as easy as putting a sock on! 

As I dropped off Snowdon the ice cleared and I was back to my fell shoes.

MicrospikesDay 2 was a recce of the Carneddau and boy was I glad that I'd used the Spikes on Day 1. As I headed up Pen yr Ole Wen and ground cover went from rock to ice the Microspikes were out without a second thought. The difference they made to my confidence as I paced over the tops of the Black Ladders was incredible. The depth of the spike is enough bite into the ice and snow but without comprising the weight. For a run such as this, the 750 grams  you might carry is well worth the extra speed and security at which you can negotiate ice and snow.

 

 

Microspikes Pros.

  • I'd have thought Kahtoola would have considered this when designing the Microspikes but it is great that they're flexible unlike a standard crampon which has a metal bar under the arch  the flexible links allow the foot to function correctly and don't make it overly rigid.
  • They are unbelievably easy to put on. They come in a range of sizes to fit different shoe sizes and can be worn with pretty much any shoe (as long as it has a stiff heel - maybe not with your Crocs). 
  • Their weight (See below), they aren't heavy and to 95% of people excluding those wishing to go ultra light and ultra fast it's a no brainer whether to take them or not.
  • The build quality. I did a huge amount more recceing this winter and used the Microspikes on several occasions, probably a total wearing time of 36 hours, 36 hours of mountain running and they're isn't a blemish on them. The spikes are still sharp, the chain links look strong and the rubber hasn't corroded  or degraded at all.

Microspikes Cons.

  • There were times when I would have ideally wished for the 2 front spikes to be a little more prominent at the front of my foot.  Needless to say I was front pointing up 25-30 degree ice slopes without too much trouble.
  • They did ball up (clumps of snow) slightly but strangely between the shoe tread and top of the plate leaving the spikes exposed. This was only in some deep and wet snow so not really an issue as you'd generally just wear a 'naked 'shoe in those conditions (I was just being lazy and not taking them off).

Summary.

The Kahtoola Microspikes are not only a great piece of equipment that will stand the test of time, they are also highly versatile. I've personally used them for the following...

  1. Mountain running
  2. Approaching alpine routes in the French Alps
  3. Pushing a stuck car out of the snow
  4. Walking to the shops

They 're such a good thing to keep in the boot of your car or take on a walking holiday, believe it or not I've even seen people wearing them with their smart suit shoes walking to work. 

 

Winter 2014  New Microspikes.

The Kahtoola Microspikes have been updated and there is now a 'Mark II' version. The main alteration is the addition of 2 extra spikes on the rear bail. This wasn't an issue I had picked up on with the original Microspikes but this very simple addition which will, without doubt improve the traction and stability when walking and running downhill. 

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The images shoe the updated Microspikes. On the originals there was only 2 spikes under the heel. No you've got twice as much traction!!

Microspikes Carneddau

The Microspikes are indispensable when the conditions are like this.

 

For more info on the Microspikes click here > Winterkit

Or to buy your Microspikes click here > Be prepared!

As always questions, comments and feedback is welcome.

 

Thanks,

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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