I have found that many hikers don’t understand about what the options are for microspikes, when to use them, or why to buy them. I thought I’d help out.
The main purpose for micro-spikes is traction on ice and snow that could be slippery. Depending on where you are walking or running, you will want different types.
The most intense type are crampons where each metal spike can be more than an inch. Unless you are planning to do some real ice climbing, you shouldn’t need those.
The next level is metal spikes, but smaller. I love my Cimkiz brand from Amazon. They normally run about $30, but they’re on sale now.
A medium level that still has good traction but is also good on regular pavement is the chain-style. IceTrekkers is a great brand and only about $25 on Amazon. These ones are better if you are mostly walking on pavement or sidewalks that might be slick.
It’s probably tempting to get the cheap kind you can pick up for about $10. I had a pair and they worked pretty well for a while, but they broke on a trail and then I had to slip and slide back down the trail. They are certainly better than nothing though.
Regardless of what you choose, I definitely recommend getting something. All the time I see other hikers sliding trying to hike without them. It’s definitely worth the small investment so that you can be safe. They can even be used on regular walks and such. Mail carriers and others who frequently walk outside could benefit from having a pair of micro-spikes, like the IceTrekker chains .
A limited variety are available at sports stores or seasonally at places like Costco. These are typically the lesser quality for $10-30. You can find lots of great ones at REI, but then you’ll pay $45-70. Kahtoola is a respected brand. I prefer to get some good ones on Amazon for cheaper. As I mentioned before, the Cimkiz are my favorite heavy duty ones and a best seller!
You can also get kid sizes on Amazon. The pair I bought for my 5 year old is currently unavailable, but there are probably more options. My older kids just wear small adult ones.