If there’s one item that I own that’s elicited any curiosity in people over the last few years then it has to be these Kahtoola MICROspikes. From work colleagues, to neigbours, they’ve seen these in use over the recent harsh winters and politely enquired about them before quickly ordering their own pair. Even if you only use these as urban traction devices, you’ll get your money’s worth over one season. If you like running and walking then they’ll probably not leave your side for most of the winter.
At first glance, you wonder if you’ve received some sort of predator add-on for a gimp mask, and spend the next hour or so just getting them onto a shoe. When you do work it out, they’re surprisingly easy to put on and off as the video below shows. Consisting of a wide rubberised / silicone band that wraps around and over the top of the shoe, and simple chain and spikes that then fit underneath, these are a really ingenious piece of design. Unlike some other similar designs, they’ve not got springs underneath, or half hearted pins. These sport proper metal crampon teeth, 8 of them apiece, and wil cope with any non-technical terrain.
Easily pulled on, once you’ve worked out the technique! At first glance it’s not obvious how they fit, but after a few uses it becomes second nature. They come in different sizes and I found that they fit a size 10 running shoe as well as walking boots, though I could imagine if you’re somewhere between sizes that you could find they fit trainers but are too small for the boots.
These have proven their worth from icy walks in the Carneddau where it wasn’t bad enough to get the crampons out, but too icy not to do something. As the spikes on the bottom are quite inobtrusive, running in them is easy. You’ll probably slow down a little, but you won’t care as you’ll be more than compensated by the disbelieiving people you pass running as they struggle to merely stay vertical.
If we get another winter like the last two then you should go out and buy one of these now. Actually, get a few as you’ll be able to give them away as one of the most coveted Christmas presents, so long as we actually see some snow this year!
The video below demonstrates how to fit them.