$59 | www.kahtoola.com | 4½ Stars
Last year, the first December storm dropped a couple of feet of snow in one fell swoop. A shroud of ice and powder draped the trees, trails and cliffs. My rope and draws hung like icicles, tinkling in the stiff wind three pitches up the Redstein, a 700-foot local crag. The only way to get to my gear involved hiking a precipitous gully, picking my way across a sloping ledge, and scrambling up an easy ramp. I put on warm clothes and set off one Saturday, packing an extra rope, an ice axe and a secret weapon—Kahtoola’s MicroSpikes. Billed as a “traction system” these suckers are actually an economical, lightweight crampon that will literally fit in your pocket. Perfect for approaches where the ground varies from snowy/icy to bare, the MicroSpikes easily slip on and off. Since they have no buckles and don’t require a boot with a welt, they work on any shoe. I did notice that they sometimes shifted on very steep terrain, but alleviated the problem when I downsized to a smaller pair. If you’re planning on using these for steep approaches, consider sizing them tight, or packing crampons. Obviously, the MicroSpikes are useful anywhere that you need a little extra traction, but in some cases, such as my adventure on the Redstein, they make otherwise odious winter chores a breeze.
- 3/8-inch-long spikes.
- Dynamic stainless-steel flex-chain with a tough elastomer shoe harness.
- Lightweight. 9.8–14.4 oz. each, depending on size.
- Securely attaches to running shoes, lightweight hikers, everyday shoes, and snow boots.
- Available in four sizes that fit a range of shoe sizes from youth 1 to adult 14.