Design at Kahtoola 2017-11-01T16:20:25+00:00


We’re rethinking the way you approach your outdoor adventures.


As industry leaders in flexible footwear traction, quality and excellence is at the forefront of everything we do. We are driven to combine excellent design, innovative thinking, and high quality with a long-term global view to develop products that enhance the enjoyment and safety of outdoor human-powered adventures. And to achieve that, we believe our products must really work.

The history of the company speaks to that ethos. Knowing that accidents similar to his own were not uncommon and often ended far worse, Kahtoola Founder Danny Giovale set out to build a product that mattered, was geared toward the human experience, and would potentially save lives. The goal has always been about meeting design standards, which is why our product line is so defined. We believe that great design produces great results.

At Kahtoola, we are very cautious about the areas we develop, but when we do choose to follow a new concept, our focus is on ensuring that even the aesthetics of a product has functionality. Every step of the design process—from putting an idea to form to finding where something breaks—is critical to our success, and each product has gone through numerous iterations and testing to best serve our customers.

Just as someone putting on a pair of our flexible traction products wants to feel confidence in each step they take, everything we do at Kahtoola flows forward with that same mindset. From our company values and brand, to product design, to customer service, to our global manufacturing all the way down to product aesthetics, we share a commitment to overall quality and confidently stand by our gear.


In 2012, we were given the unique opportunity to develop specialized crampons for motivational speaker, best-selling author, entrepreneur and mountaineer Kyle Maynard, who was born with congenital amputation—his arms end at the elbows; his legs end at the knees. We were honored to be a part of his attempt to summit Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, and by carefully studying his mobility challenges we designed a custom set of crampons for his arms and legs.

After a successful ascent of Kilimanjaro, we then collaborated on his next climb in 2016, Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. That, too, was a successful ascent, with one pair of specialized crampons getting left behind near the top. They’re still up there … somewhere.

We worked with orthotic specialists to discuss the challenges Kyle faced. This collaborative effort helped ensure that Kyle’s orthotics and crampons worked in perfect harmony, allowing him to move efficiently through any terrain he encountered.

The crampons are designed using CAD software and are water-jet cut from the same 4130 chromoly steel used on Kahtoola’s KTS and K•10 Hiking Crampons. They are then hand-bent, and the orthotics are fitted with a custom attachment system to ensure total security while helping Kyle achieve his goals.

In fall of 2017, Kyle returned to Flagstaff as the keynote speaker for the 28th annual Flagstaff Festival of Science. It was a packed house.

To learn more about Kyle and his adventures, visit Kyle Maynard.