Kahtoola NANOspikes turn running shoes into winter sports gear with tungsten carbide nubbins that bite into icy sidewalks and running paths. The low profile design allows the shoe to maintain flexibility while providing an extra measure of security in slick winter conditions.
The NANOspikes’ elastomer harness slips over running shoes with no laces or straps to fumble with. Two TPU plastic plates, one under the front of the shoe and the other under the heel, contain a total of ten nubs that dig into ice. The upper straps are flexible while the plates are firmer to disperse forces. Small nubs on the inside of the plates hold the device snugly against the shoe to prevent movement against the shoe, while the larger shock-absorbing cleats on the outside are designed to penetrate frozen surfaces. A chart on the company website assists with sizing. Five sizes are available (XS-XL).
Field testing occurred over the winter holiday break in Tahoe, which is enjoying a real winter for the first time in four years. Regular snowfall and varying temperatures has resulted in many icy pathways in the area. Roadways have been very icy, especially on the hills. With the NANOspikes the reviewer felt very confident about not slipping. They were very easy to get on over running shoes and surprisingly comfortable to run in. On packed snow, one would hardly know they were on. When running on dry pavement, they were noisier than shoes but not annoyingly so. A little noise was well worth the knowledge that that they would help once slippery hills were encountered. Going up hills was easy but going downhill would have been nerve-wracking due to the visible ice. Not once was there any slipping with the NANOspikes on.
The only issue was that the tension on the big toe on both feet was too tight with size small spikes. Adjustments were made several times to adjust the fit but it was not enough to make a significant difference. Blisters formed on the big toes and it was apparent that the sizing was too tight. After conferring with a company representative a size medium was provided and that fit much better, eliminating the snug feeling.
It should be noted that the sizing, based on street shoe size, overlaps. For example, the women’s small is for size 8-9 and the medium is for 9-11. The author wears a size 9 street shoe, which falls between the small and medium. The small size NANOspikes fit well on a low-profile shoe but the medium size fit better for a bulkier running shoe. It is recommended to choose the higher of the two sizes for those on the cusp, depending on the type of shoe that is worn.
NANOspikes are designed for pedestrian use only and are not suitable for mountaineering activities. For wilderness winter hiking, Kahtoola MICROspikes or crampons would be better suited.
Kahtoola, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, is based in an area that can receive upwards of 100 inches of snowfall per year. Inspiration for building better traction devices came to founder Danny Giovale during a slide for life in the Dolomites during a visit to Italy. The company launched their first product, Kahtoola Traction Systems (KTS) crampons, in 2001 at the Outdoor Retailer show. In addition to NANOspikes they also offer MICROspikes, which are very popular with the hiking crowd, and crampons.
NANOspikes can provide that extra measure of security on slick surfaces for anyone who walks or runs on icy paths.
Tote bag included.
NANOspikes available from Kahtoola for $50
Weight: 7.2-9 oz depending on the size
Reviewer confirmed weight: 8 1/8 oz without tote bag; 9 1/4 oz with tote bag, medium size
Disclaimer: Disclosure of material connection: A sample was received for testing purposes, but the opinions expressed are solely those of the author.