Hiking in the snow: Wearing foot traction definitely helps


We have a number of new people who will be doing their first hiking in snow with us  —  if they stick around as the weather gets worse  —  most of our regulars have at least one kind of foot traction that they bring to the trail head when there’s snow on the trail, even if they decide at the last minute that the traction’s not actually needed.  Tiger and I have three different types.



These are the cheapest of the three devices we have.  We learned always get YakTrax PRO, which has a strap across the instep.  Otherwise they can come off your feet and possibly get lost.  These work well except in wet snow, when they can clump up and form ice balls.  Another drawback:  they’re a bit flimsy and the rubber connection points can break (though you can repair them using rubber bands).


Kahtoola Microspikes

These are a lot sturdier and they provide much more biting traction.  You can walk on serious ice in these and not worry.  But they’re quite a bit more expensive.  Drawback:  They do clump badly in heavy wet snow.  They’re more awkward than YatTrax for walking on pavement


Kahtoola Nanospikes

We bought these late in the season last year.  They have a different design and we don’t recall them clumping up.  They have protruding studs instead of claws.  They’re more comfortable to wear and they seem very sturdy.  Less expensive than Microspikes.  We don’t know how they’ll work on serious ice but they seem like they’ll be OK.


You shouild always shop around for better prices  —  they seem to be always on sale somewhere.


Our Nanospikes also work well on ice-covered sidewalks in town, where YakTrax and Microspikes are too bulky and uncomfortable.