The first time I did a winter hike this season, I didn't even know microspikes existed. So when Matt and I went on Prairie Mountain trail back in November, it was a bit of a struggle. We had to fight our way up the slippery snow packed slopes with just our bare boots the entire way. As we went along, tons of people started passing us with ease. After a while I began to notice one thing they had in common. They all had weird looking red contraptions on their feet. Up until then, I always just assumed that you had to buy crampons for winter hiking if you wanted to have a better grip. But once I got home and did a bit of research, I realized there was a much cheaper option.
The more I read, the more I could see that people loved their Kahtoola Microspikes. So I decided to buy a pair of my own to check out what all the fuss was about. Boy, am I glad that I did. At $75.00 (as of March 2016), they are worth every dollar. The spike design is excellent for walking and hiking on packed snow, and even provides excellent grip on ice. I've taken the microspikes out for several winter hikes now and every time they provide great traction and help me to get to where I want to go without any problems.
The first time I took them out for a spin I was hiking Tunnel Mountain. The snow on the trail was packed and it made going uphill a breeze. It felt like I was walking on solid ground. When I got back to my vehicle and took them off, the first thing I did was slip on a patch of ice! It made me realize just how much of a difference the spikes made, even on something as hard as ice. In fact, the first time Matt used his microspikes, he had the same thing happen to him.
The second time I took the microspikes for a hike, Matt and I were going up Ha Ling Peak. This hike is essentially a climb the whole way so it would have been impossible to do without the spikes. This was proven to us when we ended up passing a couple of guys who were trying the hike with only their boots. One guy almost ended up sliding right through me as he tried going up a particularly steep hill. Eventually, they had to give up while we kept goig.
One of the other things I love about the microspikes (beside their awesome grip) is the fact that they're also incredibly lightweight. You barely even notice them on your feet and they fit easily into your pack when you're not using them (they come with a tiny stuff sack for storing).
In addition, they're incredibly easy to get on and off. They even have a pull tab at the back that allows you to slip the microspikes off with ease.
And just in case you're not sure which way to put them on, there is an inscription in the front (titled none other than "FRONT") that indicates which way they are supposed to go.
My only word of caution would be that when you take the microspikes off, the chains can sometimes become entangled if you're not careful. It's not a big deal and it's fairly easy to untangle them, but just be aware of this when removing the spikes.
The frame is made of stretchy rubber which makes it incredibly easy to pull the microspikes over the entirety of the boot. The spikes themselves are made of steel chain and spikes so it's very sturdy and doesn't bend or cave when under pressure.
Sizing: Small fits Youths' 4½-7 or Women's 5½-8½; Medium fits Men's 7-10 or Women's 8½+; Large fits Men's 10½-14.
Weight: 408g (Large)
All in all, I would give the microspikes a solid 10/10. I don't plan on ever going on another winter hike without them!