You’re on a ski holiday but you can’t hit the slopes because it hasn’t stopped snowing for three days solid and everything’s shut. You’ve tried running and hiking, but all the trails are icy and you end up sliding about like Bambi, unable to make it up the slightest incline without ending up on your already bruised arse. A walk to the pub is in order, but the pavements are covered in permafrost and it’s safer to dodge cars in the road because hey, at least that’s been cleared. Salvation is found after the second overpriced pint and a generous helping of free WiFi: Kahtoola Microspikes.
These things are simply beautiful and beautifully simple. A stretchy urethane ring is attached to some stainless steel chains, attached to which are some stainless steel spikes. The rubber ring goes over your shoe, holding the spikes against the sole. Available in three sizes and fitted in seconds, this setup gives you the ability to sprint with confidence on solid ice, without so much as a cursory downward glance.
Since ordering a pair online I’ve worn them on many trail runs and hikes around Chamonix, where the same ‘large’ fits comfortably over my Saucony Peregrine running shoes (pictured) and my Salomon Quest 4D hiking boots. They’re small enough to fit into a jacket pocket once you’ve scraped off the dog shit (gotta love France) and don’t seem to mind the occasional foray onto rocky ground or tarmac.
Bottom line: an ingenious and reliable product that can make the difference between being stuck indoors and enjoying the trails. Just get a pair.