Kahtoola K10 Ultralight Hiking and Trail Running Crampon Review

Kahtoola K10 Ultralight Crampons

The Kahtoola K10 Crampon is a full hiking and trail running crampon designed for shoes with flexible soles ranging from trail runners to soft-soled hiking boots. Featuring a very flexible leaf string and superlight Chromoly steel, the K10 Crampons weigh just 21 ounces per pair (23 ounces with anti-balling skins), with burly 3/4 inch crampon teeth. Comparable to the Kahtoola KTS Crampon, which I reviewed two years ago, the K10 is much more comfortable to wear than its predecessor, in addition to being substantially less expensive (MSRP is $99.95, including anti-balling skins.)

Kahtoola K10 Crampons


Soft Sole Crampon

The K10 is a major step up in aggressiveness from Kahtoola MICROspikes, and suitable for thicker ice and packed snow where you want the added control of a crampon instead of independent points loosely connected by chain links.

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The major difference between the K10 and the  KTS crampons is that the KTS has a more secure front binding than the K10 and longer 1-inch spikes, making it more suitable for more advanced routes and hard ice. In comparison, the K10 is a major step up in aggressiveness from Kahtoola MICROspikes, and is suitable for thicker ice and packed snow where you want the added control of a crampon instead of independent points loosely connected by chain links.

Styled as a full crampon, the K10 has 10 spikes arranged in a traditional crampon pattern with 6 under the ball of the foot and 4 under the heel. These are connected by an adjustable bar called a leaf spring which is flexible enough to bend when walking over uneven surfaces. In contrast, traditional mountaineering crampons are extremely rigid and can only be worn with heavy mountaineering boots with soles that have no flex whatsoever.

Adjustable Leaf Spring Connects the Front and Rear Crampons
Adjustable Leaf Spring Connects the Front and Rear Crampons

The leaf spring can be adjusted without a tool making it convenient to switch between boots or trail runners. Size-wise, the leaf spring fits US men’s size 6-13 and women’s 7-14 for non-insulated boots and shoes, and US men’s 5-10.5 and women’s 6-11.5 for PAC boots and other large insulated hiking boots.

The K10 Crampon can fit PAC boots and larger insulated hiking boots
The K10 Crampon fit PAC boots and larger insulated hiking boots

This level of footwear compatibility is simply fantastic because it means you can combine a heavy insulated PAC or non-technical winter boot with an ultralight crampon for winter hiking. In my experience, it’s easier to fit a larger boot with the K10 crampons than the earlier-made KTS ones because the K10 binding is simpler and made of more flexible plastic.

The K10 has a new quick-fit binding system that uses webbing to secure the front and back of your foot to the crampon. One strap runs over the top of your shoe/boot just behind the toe kick and the other cups your heel in the rear binding by looping over the front of your ankle, with a small hook that attaches to your front laces to prevent the webbing strap from riding higher.

K10 Crampon Quick-Release Binding System
K10 Crampon Quick-Release Binding System

These two straps provide a very secure and reliable binding between your footwear and the K10 crampon for hiking or trail running. The binding is also very comfortable, especially above the ankle, because the quick release buckle can be positioned to the side of the foot rather than the top where it would cause more friction and discomfort.

Like more technical crampons, the K10 comes with anti-balling skins that prevent the buildup of snow and ice, so-called balling, under the foot if you find yourself walking through water or snowmelt. These are pre-cut synthetic templates that fit over the crampon spikes and weigh a fraction of what traditional crampon anti-balling plates weigh. If you switch between different footwear frequently, the skins can get in the way of the K10 leaf spring adjustment, but they are easy to take off and put back on and present a minor inconvenience.


I really like the Kahtoola K10 crampons and think they’re a huge improvement in terms of usability and fit over the more expensive KTS crampons. Although they have shorter spikes than the KTS crampons – by 1/4 of an inch – they are so much easier to adjust and so flexible that I plan to start using them exclusively when I want more winter traction than MICROspikes can provide for non-technicial winter boots or trail runners.

Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) received a pair of K10 Crampons from Kahtoola for review. 
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  1. Hi,
    Between these and Hillsound Pro which one would you recommend? Would either of these be suitable on Zamberlan GTX 996 leather boots?

  2. Purchased the K-10s now I’m looking for a suitable non water proof hiking boot in a wide witdth to compliment

  3. Just had a pair of these delivered. Intent was to use them on a size 13 Salomon Quest boot. Even at its longest opening it was still probably 1/2-3/4″ short. After some research found that there are long (and short) options out there.

    • You are cursed to have such big feet. I have another friend with that issue. Maybe full crampons with extended bars will work better.

      • I’m 6’6″ – without big feet I wouldn’t be able to stand upright. :)

        People love hiking with me though – they have me go in front because I clear out all the spider webs.

        Thanks for the response – I’ll take a look at something with extended bars.

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