10 BEST MICROSPIKES FOR HIKING IN 2022

by | Gear Guides

So you want to find the best microspikes for hiking? Us too – we love to hike the trails here in beautiful BC whenever we can. As well as many destinations beyond, of course. 

This guide to the best microspikes for winter hiking takes you through all you should know before buying hiking cleats. Including the best ice spikes for hiking on slippery ground, a range of microspikes reviews for the top products and the best snow cleats your hard-earned dollars can buy. 

For those in a hurry, take a quick glance at the table beneath this intro to get a good idea of what kind of products make the best snow spikes for hiking or the best ice cleats for walking or running. 

In a rush? 

Click here to see the number one microspikes overall

By the end of this post, you will know what to look for when buying the best hiking spikes as well as why, when and where to use them. We also answer frequently asked questions around the topic of the best spikes for hiking, walking and running.

If you want to know whether winter hiking cleats would be useful to you, check out the section beneath the table first. Here we define what microspikes are and what they can do for you. We also cover Yaktrax and what they are. 

Above all, it can be a question of safety, so our advice is not to skimp on your research and to budget according to what you really would benefit from as well as your means. 

*Wild About BC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please note we only link to products & services we personally use or trust. 

Winter shoe spikes

Best Microspikes for Hiking Comparison Table

This quick reference microspikes comparison table lets you see the key features of recommended products at a glance, for a brief overview of the top options. 

NameKey FeaturesBest ForPrice
Kahtoola MICROspikes2-year warranty, leading brand, great level of gripMedium duty tractionSee Prices
Kahtoola NANOspikesTop brand, 2-year warranty, smooth flow overgroundRoad runs & walksSee Prices
Kahtoola EXOspikesMedium duty wear, major brand, 2-year warrantyTrail treks & runsSee Prices
ICETrekkers Diamond GripA popular product, lightweight & low profile Wear over usual shoesSee Prices
Yaktrax Diamond GripGreat value, patented design, original microbead brandLight duty tractionSee Prices
Yaktrax Run2 types of grip, reflective velcro, made for speedTrail & road runningSee Prices
Camp Snowline light tractionEasy to fit, sleek & lightweight for carryingCarrying onto trailsSee Prices
Camp Snowline Chainsen UltraUltra-rugged build, tough spikes, range of sizesHeavy-duty tractionSee Prices
Black Diamond DistanceSoft protective toe, athletic design, great gripGoing the distanceSee Prices
Hillsound FlexStepsSolid build, great traction, secure & flexible fitFlexibility & durabilitySee Prices

What are Microspikes and When Should They be Used? 

Microspikes for winter hiking, running and walking are a piece of equipment that attaches to your footwear to give added grip. The idea is that they reduce your chances of falling, skidding and sliding over slippery ground.

You may also come across articles and products that mention the best crampons for hiking, so it’s worth addressing the main differences between the two before going into more depth regarding winter hiking spikes. 

Types of Microspikes

Microspikes for boots and shoes consist of a number of points that are connected together by chains. There is a binding joined to this, and that is used to secure the microspikes to the hiker, walker or runner’s footwear. 

Variations in microspike designs are usually concerned with the number of points, or their size and shape. As a general rule, more or larger spikes normally mean better grip – but more weight and less speed. 

Microspikes vs Crampons

So – microspikes vs crampons. What’s the deal? Well, the key factor that sets them apart is how heavy duty they are. Crampons are a serious bit of kit for those whose outdoor adventures involve thick snow or ice, going up and down slopes, or climbing icy rocks and mountains.

Crampons offer improved grip in comparison to spikes for hiking in snow and ice, so if you’re planning to hike across a glacier, scale an icy rock face or descend a slope covered in snow then they’re ideal. 

While crampons offer better grip than microspikes for snow and ice, there is a trade-off. Crampons tend to be heavier and may be more expensive. They will give you the confidence to cross very slippery or frozen terrain – but will also slow you down. 

Microspikes vs Yaktrax

Another term you may stumble upon is Yaktrax. These are more like microspikes than crampons are, though some don’t actually have spikes on them. 

Instead of a small number of spikes, Yaktrax may be fitted with multiple small beads that are diamond-shaped, and these are used to provide traction on snow or ice instead of points. 

ICETrekkers is an alternative brand offering a similar design, with many diamond beads rather than a series of spikes. One of their products is also recommended and our review can also be found below. 

Just to confuse matters, Yaktrax makes products with spikes and/or coils as well as their patented beaded type. One example is the Yaktrax Run, which is reviewed lower down the page. 

The Pros of Hiking Microspikes

The best hiking microspikes will typically be lighter than a set of crampons. They consist of a series of smaller spikes, bound together so they can be fitted to the wearer’s shoes or boots.  

Where extra traction is required, the microspikes give a walker, hiker or runner the confidence to cross slippery ground safely, and are used where the higher level of grip offered by crampons would simply be more than necessary. 

Mini spikes for hiking are much easier to get used to than crampons and allow you to move much faster than is possible when wearing a heavy-duty set of longer spikes. This means they can be worn for winter runs as well as hikes. 

The Cons of Hiking Microspikes

The downside of microspikes for hiking boots and shoes is that they do not offer as much grip as a set of crampons. If you need heavy-duty winter hiking footwear for climbing, inclines or to wear when exploring a glacier, then crampons would be the best choice – although we have included one set of heavier-duty microspikes in this guide. 

Even the best microspikes for hiking will slow you down in comparison to when none are worn. The safety factor, however, does tend to outweigh this particular disadvantage. Slipping on icy or snowy ground can lead to serious injuries – even in rare cases brain damage – so moving too quickly is not the best idea anyway.

Other minus points concern the financial cost, as well as the fact that you may have to carry your set with you if hiking before you reach the more treacherous surfaces. For this reason, weight may be a key factor to consider when choosing the right product.    

When to Use Microspikes 

In comparison to crampons, hiking spikes for boots and shoes tend to be used on ground that is flatter. If you want to trek where there is snow or ice but the terrain is fairly level, then microspikes should serve you well. 

If your usual hiking or trail running footwear isn’t providing enough grip, then microspikes footwear should give you the added traction you need – while allowing you to progress much faster than when using crampons. 

10 Best Microspikes for Hiking

Kahtoola MICROspikes Review

Best for – Medium duty traction

  • Number of spikes – 12
  • Sizes – S to XL

Kahtoola microspikes are some of the best in the business and we have no hesitation in recommending them for your winter adventures. This Kahtoola MICROspikes footwear has traction in the form of 12 spikes, with four at the heel and eight to the forefoot. 

A Kahtoola microspikes sizing chart is supplied on the listing, so you can pick your size according to your usual US men’s and women’s sizes – or even by using European sizing. This product is recommended by the manufacturer for use during winter hikes, icy treks and even when trail running on slippery terrain.

These traction spikes offer great grip in a lightweight product and attract some very positive ratings and reviews – and they’re far from expensive too. For peace of mind, a 2 year warranty is also provided.  

We’re wild about:

  • 2 year warranty
  • Great level of grip
  • Top outdoor brand

Not so wild:

  • Points may be overkill for some

Click here to view these Kahtoola microspikes on Amazon

Kahtoola NANOspikes Review

Best for – Road running in winter

  • Number of spikes – 10
  • Sizes – XS to XL

These Kahtoola NANOspikes are much lower profile than the MICROspikes and are designed for faster movement over the ground than the brand’s EXOspikes. They are therefore ideal for running along sidewalks and roads during winter. 

These microspikes are thus ideal for light-duty use rather than hiking the trails, and are some of the best microspikes for running shoes. Like Kahtoola’s other products, they are highly rated by those who have already made the investment. 

Four colours are available, so you can even make a style statement in black, red, charcoal or teal if you want to. If you like running even during winter – or even going for walks on icy or snowy roads and sidewalks – this product could well be the ideal pick for you. 

As well as improving safety, these microspikes are lightweight yet tough and come with the backup of a two-year Kahtoola warranty.

We’re wild about:

  • 2 year warranty
  • Leading brand
  • Smooth movement over ground

Not so wild:

  • May take longer to fit
  • Not for more challenging terrain

Click here to view Kahtoola NANOspikes

Kahtoola EXOspikes Review

Best for – Hiking or trail running

  • Number of spikes – 12
  • Sizes – XS to XL

If you want something in-between Kahtoola’s heavy-duty MICROspikes and the light-duty NANOspikes, the EXOspikes are a great option from one of the leading brands in microspikes. The EXOspikes also come with the usual Kahtoola two-year warranty. 

These microspikes are good for trail runners and hikers alike and have bigger spikes than the NANOspikes but smaller ones than the MICROspikes. In fact, the Amazon listing for all three of these products includes a comparison between the three – to see that, just click on the product link provided below and scroll down a little.   

There are 12 spikes on these and they’re ideal for use during winter hikes, runs and walks along the trails, away from the city sidewalks and roads. They are streamlined, comfortable to wear and compatible with trail running and hiking footwear. 

We’re wild about:

  • Major brand
  • 2 year warranty
  • Medium duty microspikes

Not so wild:

  • Can take time to put on
  • Not the best for sloping ground

Click here to view Kahtoola EXOspikes

ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Review

Best for – Wearing over regular shoes

  • Numerous diamond beads
  • Sizes – S to XL

This ICETrekkers review covers a product that is more akin to a set of Yaktrax than a set of microspikes, and a detailed explanation of the difference can be found further up the page. In short, rather than spikes, they are fitted with multiple diamond-shaped beads that grip the ice or snow instead. 

The ICETrekkers Diamond Grip is ideal for wear when moving over solid ice or snow as well as rock, gravel or mud. A key advantage is that they can be worn over your usual shoes, not just hiking or trail running footwear – although as you can see from the product image they will not be compatible with high heels.

Multiple edges grip the surface for added traction, while a self-cleaning design prevents the build-up of snow or ice. Strung together with steel aircraft-grade cable, this is a reliable and versatile product that’s ideal for fans of wintry outings in or out of town. 

We’re wild about:

  • Sought-after brand
  • Lightweight & low profile
  • Can be worn over dress shoes

Not so wild:

  • Can wear quickly on some surfaces

Click here to view ICETrekkers Diamond Grip

Yaktrax Diamond Grip Review

Best for – Lightest duty option

  • Numerous ‘biting beads’
  • Size – S to XXL

If you like the look of the ICETrekkers Diamond Grip, then these YakTrax are pretty similar. The two products attract the same kind of reviews and ratings too, so the choice may well come down to personal preference. Unlike microspikes, traction is supplied by means of multiple beads. 

The Yaktrax are fitted with hundreds of Diamond Grip beads for multi-directional traction on a range of surfaces. The brand says they are great for switching between gravel or concrete and mud or ice, for instance, as each bead swivels separately to alter the traction level.  

One more aircraft-grade steel is used, and this is joined to the footwear via a rubberized binding. They are recommended for wear with regular outdoor shoes such as hiking boots and are great when your walks or hikes involve passing over a variety of terrain. 

We’re wild about:

  • Patented design
  • Great value price
  • Use with regular outdoor footwear

Not so wild:

  • Less durable than others
  • Not for heavier duty wear

Click here to view Yaktrax Diamond Grip

Yaktrax Run Microspikes

Best for – Trail & road running

  • 6 spikes plus steel coils
  • Sizes – S to XL

Yes, Yaktrax are known for their patented multiple grip beaded design, but that’s not all they manufacture. This set of microspikes for shoes is made with runners in mind, and uniquely features a combination of small spikes and steel coils for grip.

The first defence against slippery terrain is provided by six small spikes. Behind these, there are stainless steel coils wrapped around the binding that crisscrosses over the bottom of these slimline snow spikes for shoes.

If you want to carry on running during winter or wish to go on hikes that are mainly flat, then the Yaktrax run is a lightweight option that will take you from street to trail. The velcro strap also offers both an improved fit and added security, and has reflective detailing for safety. 

We’re wild about:

  • 2 types of grip
  • Speedy transit
  • Reflective velcro strap

Not so wild:

  • Not the most durable build

Click here to view the Yaktrax Run

Camp Snowline Light Traction Microspikes Review

Best for – Carrying around in a backpack

  • Number of spikes – 12
  • Sizes – S to XL

Like the Yaktrax and ICETrekkers options, these Camp Snowline microspikes can be worn over most outdoor footwear. In terms of microspikes (rather than crampons), these are comfortable and lightweight to wear over hiking boots or shoes and are fairly similar in design to the Kahtoola MICROspikes. They even have the same number of points.  

Quick and easy to fit, this lightweight set of microspikes is a good one to go for if you need to carry your microspikes around with you, as they don’t take up a lot of space or weigh too much. If you want a heavier duty set from this brand, check out the review of the Snowline Chainsen Ultra, below. 

For winter hikes during wintry weather, this Camp Snowline light traction device is a pretty decent all-rounder.

We’re wild about:

  • Quick to fit
  • Ultra sleek & lightweight
  • Compatible with most boots & shoes

Not so wild:

  • No sizing guide
  • Less rugged build

Click here to view Camp Snowline

Camp Snowline Chainsen Ultra Review

Best for – Heavy-duty traction

  • Number of spikes – 14
  • Sizes – S to XXL

Although we’ve outlined the main differences between crampons and microspikes above, there is sometimes a fairly fine line between the two. This product can thus be described as a crampon, but as the images show it is more akin to a microspike in design. 

We are therefore including this as the heaviest duty option covered here. Everything about it is tough and rugged – from the super-strong binding that fits over your hiking boots to the longer, sturdier spikes that are evenly spread across the bottom of the footwear.

If you’re swaying between microspikes and crampons, the Camp Snowline Chainsen Ultra could well be the one to opt for. 

We’re wild about:

  • Heavy duty points
  • Ultra tough binding
  • Good range of sizes

Not so wild:

  • Heavier, slower & bulkier to wear

Click here to view Camp Snowline Chainsen Ultra

Black Diamond Distance Microspikes Review

Best for – Going the distance

  • Number of spikes – 14
  • Sizes – S to XL

The name pretty much gives the game away with these winter shoe spikes for hiking. They’re perhaps the ideal running shoe microspikes as they’ve actually been designed by Black Diamond with the athlete in mind.

One of the differences is obvious even after a quick glance – the binding is made from a combination of the elastomer normally used as well as a softer, more pliable material. The innovative design of the softshell toe section is made to provide both a better fit and added protection.

With 14 8mm points, a good level of grip on ice and snow is assured and the eyelets have been reinforced to ensure these spikes stay put. The stainless steel is also heat treated for rust resistance and durability. 

We’re wild about:

  • Athlete driven design
  • Great grip on many surfaces
  • Protective, well-fitting toe cover

Not so wild:

  • Higher price tag

Click here to view the Black Diamond Distance

Hillsound FlexSteps Microspikes Review

Best for – Flexibility and durability

  • Number of spikes – 18
  • Sizes – XS to XL

This is another product that may be sold as ‘crampons’, but fits the microspikes category much better as it’s made for traction in urban areas and on the trails. So while you wouldn’t go ice climbing in these, you might well wear them for a wintery hike across frozen ground.

As the ‘flex’ part of the name indicates, the bendy binding on these makes them very simple to put on or remove. The elastomer is secure, and there is also a velcro strap for securing them to your outdoor footwear.

These microspikes are built to last and come with a two-year warranty from Hillsound. Another good all-round option that’s recommended for hikes, walks and even running. 

We’re wild about:

  • Flexible, secure fit
  • Solid build quality
  • Great traction

Not so wild:

  • Not for fast running

Click here to view the Hillsound FlexSteps

What to Look For When Buying Hiking Microspikes

When investing in shoe or boot microspikes there are certain features to bear in mind. These include putting them on, the kind of grip, microspikes sizing, materials and the weight. 

Type of Grip

The way that each set grips does vary. Some allow you to wear hiking boots with ice spikes, while others are designed as small, rotating beads. One pair in this guide has steel coils as well as small spikes.

In general, a bigger spike – or more of them – will improve grip, but may also slow you down. If you’re not sure, check what type of wear the manufacturer says each product is suited to. 

Putting on Microspikes

You may be pleased to learn that when it comes to hiking ice spikes, microspikes are much easier to put on than crampons are. 

The main things to check are compatibility with your outdoor footwear and how easy – or not – they are to fit into place. One featured set will even go over many regular pairs of shoes.

Weight 

If you will walk for a while before needing to wear microspikes, then do keep in mind that you’ll need to carry them with you. 

Heavier microspikes might weigh you down more, but they will offer a higher level of traction. It’s a question of priorities – and sometimes compromise.  

Materials

The majority of microspikes are made using metal spikes, coils or beads, and metal chains may also join them. The binding is made from stretchy, flexible material for fitting over your footwear. 

Do be aware that steel can corrode, especially if the microspikes are put away before fully drying out. This can make rust-proof materials worth looking out for.

Sizing

Microspikes are available in a range of sizes – usually small or extra small to large or extra-large. If in doubt, there are sizing charts often provided so you can work out what will fit best.  

Hiking Spikes for boots

Best Microspikes for Hiking – FAQs

What should I Look For in Microspikes?

The section above addresses what to look for when buying hiking boot spikes and similar products, but in a nutshell, you need to think about the intended purpose. This will determine the level and type of traction, and other features, to look out for.

What are Microspikes for Hiking?

Microspikes are a piece of equipment that attaches to each shoe to give added grip when traversing ice, snow or even mud. They normally fit over regular hiking footwear and have either spikes, beads or coils to give the wearer more safety.

Are Microspikes Any Good?

Many people, wherever they live, swear by microspikes for keeping them going during winter. This applies to runners and hikers alike, and even city dwellers who live where icy conditions can be found. 

Microspikes are good because they improve both safety and movement across slippery terrain. The bottom line is – they can make that crucial difference between going out and staying home. 

What Size Microspikes do I Need?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here, just as there is not when buying, as sizes vary from one brand to the next. A sizing chart is often provided, so you can check that. 

This often includes both European and US sizes. If you’re in the UK, you will probably know your European size too. If not, do check –  US sizes are not the same as UK ones. 

Snow spikes for shoes

Conclusion

Buying the best ice cleats for boots really can open up a new world during winter, whether that’s taking to the trails or keeping up with your runs through the city park. 

We hope this guide has helped you track down the best snow traction cleats for your cold-weather adventures – whether they take place here in BC or overseas.

One thing’s for sure – you will be safer when out on slippery terrain and wearing the right hiking ice cleats than you would be without them, and who can put a price on that?


Interested in picking up some more gear for your adventures? Check out our other guides:

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Hi, we’re Luke and Roxy, a couple of adventurers that are head over heels in love with British Columbia, Canada.

We share our activities and outdoor adventures with the hope of inspiring others to get out and enjoy beautiful BC!

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