The first snow in the Northern Alps, but because of the Föhn-wind the snow very, very wet and sticky. Down in the valley everything had melted again, higher up it was up to 15 cm.
Surface I ran and walked on the following surfaces
– Narrow single trail: mud, roots, stones, 0 to 15 cm wet snow
– Forestry roads: 0 to 15 cm wet snow
– Wet forest soil with 0 to 15 cm wet snow
– Ice: none
Saucony Exodus – a solid trail running shoe with a not too pronounced profile. I would not run this shoe in snow because of the weak profile. It also fails hopelessly in the mud! Shoe size 10, MICROspikes size M
The MICROspikes in real life
Mounting Surprisingly easy to put on, also standing one-legged in the woods. Put it over the forefoot, pull up at the flap at the back – ready! You don't have to fiddle around for long.
Overall, they fit very well! I also walked a bit pathless through very steep (up to 45°) mountain forest. This is so steep that you can hardly walk in the fall line anymore, but have to walk zigzag. In zigzag, the front part slipped sideways two or three times, but just a tiny bit and not relevant for the grip.
How do you feel the MICROspikes on your foot?
If you start running without the MICROspikes, you can clearly feel the additional weight of 170 grams per foot after putting them on. I didn't feel the claws themselves as disturbing under the sole on hard ground - actually, I didn't feel them at all. But for sure the Saucony shoes with a rather firm midsole and insole surely contribute to this. Must try it with my much more sensitive Inov-8`s.
How do the MICROspikes perform?
– As soon as there was only a little snow, both running and walking was always and without exception better than without MICROspikes. Much better! No matter if uphill or downhill, steep or flat, fast or slow, if lots or little snow - always!
– The performance in the steep mountain forest WITHOUT snow surprised me particularly positively. That is sensational! Put your forefoot on the ground and walk straight up until the calves burn. Every farmer in the Alps, herder, forester, hunter, geologist etc. should try the MICROspikes.
– The feeling of more safety on steep, narrow alpine paths was striking. I wouldn't walk the direct path up to the local Schreckalm (typical pasture in the Bavarian Alps) under these conditions: a) it wouldn't be any fun and b) there are a few really steep parts where you have to be rather cautious. With the MICROspikes on my feet, the trail was really fun to run and I felt much safer.
– Running downhill was also great – no matter if on narrow snowy and muddy single trail that other hikers had already broken in, or on untrodden snow on climbs or forest tracks. The safety gain is considerable and I was also able to run faster.
Does snow stick to your feet?
Snow conditions were most unfavourable: it couldn't get any wetter or more sticky! And yes, it happened again and again - especially under the heel - that the snow stuck. The most annoying thing was the snow package between the sole and the spikes. But it comes off very easily: mostly on its own or you just kick against a tree or a stone.
Anyone who is familiar with the feeling of walking with crampons on their feet has got used to the slightly wide-legged gait of a sailor. You simply don't want to get caught with the crampons in your trouser legs or gaiters. With the MICROspikes this is not necessary. The spikes sit clearly under the sole.
Also posititve: The shoe flexes as well as without spikes. You don't feel that you have a traction aid on your foot when you roll off.
What you shouldn't expect: If the snow is deep and soft, you still sink in. Traction products are no snowshoes.
The MICROSPIKES have become an essential part of my trail running and hiking kit.
To be fair and open: I was chief editor of “Outdoor” magazine in Germany and have a pretty wide background on gear. But you should also know that I support Kahtoola with PR in Germany. However, this review not a sponsored post. I would tell exactly the same to my best buddies – even after the 5th beer!