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Winter Running: Kahtoola Microspikes vs. Yaktrax (Giveaway!!)

Last September at The Shag, Brent, Bruce, and I each won a certificate for a free pair of Kahtoola Microspikes.  It took me and Brent a few months to actually send away for them, but the package finally arrived in December, just in time for the first nor’easter of the season.

When I first took them out of the box, I wondered whether they’d be all that different from the Yaktrax to which I’ve become so accustomed.  As soon as I pulled them on, though, I knew I was in for some fun.

These microspikes were like Yak Trax on steroids.

The principle is the same – the spikes act as small claws on the bottom of your shoes, digging into the ground to keep you from slipping and sliding on the ice and snow.

But here’s the difference —

(1) I’ve been wearing Yaktrax for a few years, and though I’ve generally had good experiences with them, I’ve found that when I’m running on trails (and especially, when I’m trekking off-trail), they often become dislodged.  They either twist out of position so I get hotspots and blisters, or they come off altogether.  In one race, I didn’t realize until several miles later that one of them had slipped off my foot (luckily, someone else ended up grabbing it and returning it to me at the end of the day!).  In contrast, the Microspikes are much sturdier.  The rubber is thicker and it stays firmly in place.  And, though I haven’t experienced them falling off, if they do, I’m confident that their bright red color would make them easier to spot.

(2) When I wear my Yaktrax, the ground always feels a bit spongy, like I’m standing on springs.  I notice this most when I’m running on roads, but it’s there on trails as well.  With the Microspikes, my stride felt more natural, especially on icy terrain.  The best part about these is that you don’t notice that you’re wearing them, until you take them off and realize how much ground you’re losing with each step.

Microspikes are more expensive ($59, compared to the $30 Yaktrax), and their sturdiness does add a bit of weight (11.3 ounces for a pair of microspikes vs. 5 ounces for yaktrax), but these tradeoffs are worth it to me for the better grip and extra support.

I can’t wait to break them out this March at the CNYO Snowgaine!

Kahtoola has generously offered a FREE pair of Microspikes to two lucky people!

For your chance to win, leave a comment with your favorite piece of winter outdoor gear.

For a second entry, post this giveaway on your own blog and link back.

Contest ends Saturday, January 8, at 11:59 PM.  On Sunday morning, I will draw names for (1) pair of women’s spikes, and (1) pair of men’s.


20 responses to “Winter Running: Kahtoola Microspikes vs. Yaktrax (Giveaway!!)

  1. Natalie January 5, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Nice!! : ) I haven’t tried the yax but these sound really fun! My nike hatphones for sure 🙂

  2. denise January 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

    oh, i’d love to try them because i’m not a fan of my yak trax at all. i just don’t feel right in them. and i agree, they tend to get dislodged/move a little. my favorite piece of winter gear…hand warmers and mittens. i’d die w/o them!

  3. Kari w/ Jogging with Fiction January 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

    those sound awesome!! My favorite piece of winter gear is my headlamp. Since it’s pretty much dark any time other than when I’m at work, I have to wear a headlamp to go anywhere in New England, land of zero street lights.

    p.s. I’m having a giveaway too!! http://joggingwithfiction.blogspot.com/2011/01/giveaway-and-review-ryders-sunglasses.html

  4. Laurie January 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

    My favorite winter gear is whiskey. My downhill skis are a distant second followed by my goretex jacket in third.

  5. Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I rarely have snow/trails to run around in… would these work on a track? 😉

    Right now, my favorite winter gear is my black tech hoodie that I got for Christmas. I’m not used to running in 30’s and 40’s, so any little bit helps.

  6. Nellie (The Midlife Cruiser) January 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I am hiding under my chair after looking at those Microspikes!!! I think they should be registered as lethal weapons. Now, since I HATE cold weather and snow and especially ICE, I’m gonna pass on this giveaway. I know, I know! How does one turn down the chance to WIN something?!?! Believe me, I tried to picture wearing them on a regular hike, but think they might make this girl stick to the dirt with all those pointy thingamajiggies.


  7. runninfromthelaw January 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Yipee – a giveaway!

    I have never used any sort of spikes or contraptions on my feet for winter running, even though I run outside in Minnesota all year long! I just slow my pace down. So I’d be super interested in trying them!

    My favorite winter running accessory is my neck gaiter. I pull it up and keep my face warm and cozy, and pull it down when I get too warm. Without it, I don’t think I’d make it past my front steps!

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  9. Val January 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Favorite winter gear — arm warmers!

    (and my water proof mittens, and a shovel, and my balaclava, and the calendar to count down to spring)

  10. Tim January 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Dermatone Skin Protector! Great stuff! No wind burn, no chapped lips, and I swear it makes it feel about 10 degrees warmer.

  11. Bill January 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    The YakTrax Pro have a velcro strap that keeps them in place for me, but I am assuming I will lose one on a run someday. I am wondering how the microspikes would feel on pavement. A small bungee cord has kept my wife’s yaktrax on after she lost hers early in a run.

    My Arbor snowboard can handle any conditions, and Smartwool has kept me toasty so far this winter.

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  14. brenda January 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    My favorite piece of gear is my Yak Trax. They are new for me, but a happy discovery. I’m always afraid i’m gonna fall on the ice….and with these micro spikes I shall fear no more! I’d even go hiking with Val!
    Pick me Pick me!!!

  15. Anne January 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Living in Québec, Canada I’d love to try those 🙂 Right now, the only thing I add to my feet for winter running is plastic bags over my socks to avoid getting too wet!

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  17. Bill January 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you for the microspikes prize! I received them two days after losing my YakTrax Pro. I used them yesterday for a hill repeat workout. They had great traction going uphill on the hard pack/icy terrain. On the first downhill, I kept rolling my ankle. The route was rutted with frozen footprints and mountain bike tracks. Not sure if the extra purchase of the microspike (vs. the yaktrax) had anything to do with it. Regardless, I found my footing and had a great workout.

    I think the microspikes will stay on my feet in their proper location in a way the Yaktrax couldn’t. Thanks again for the contest! Keep them coming.

  18. G. Anthony February 7, 2011 at 1:48 am

    i cant wait to get the chance to try some microspikes, but they dont sell them ANYWHERE NEAR ME! so my favorite winter grear is my Vibram Flows, they might not offer any traction because ive had them for more than a year, but i LOVE running through snow and slush in them. just the rush of shoving my feet into a foot of snow will get me out the door no matter how cold it is, and the neoprene is nice and warm, no need for socks.

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  20. Sue June 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Just saw these (Microspikes) in the Dolomites but were all sold out, I was so disappointed. As for my favorite piece of winter gear it would have to be my smart wool socks. They never fail me, keeping my feet warm-n-toasty in my favorite boots.

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