Kahtoola, the inventor of Microspikes, has come out with a new lighter weight traction device this year called Nanospikes. Compatible with trail runners, most street shoes, and winter boots, Nanospikes weigh about half as much as Microspikes and have much smaller traction points, resembling tire studs, that are designed to provide traction on low angle trails covered with packed snow and ice.
The elastomer binding is very easy to get on and off, with reinforced eyelets to prevent tearing. However, Nanospikes are too small to fit over very large boots, such as mountaineering boots or large pack boots, and are really intended for soft-soled winter boots or trail runners with a less bulky “footprint.”
Made with tungsten carbide, each Nanospike has 10 studs, each 0.21 inches long, and can be worn interchangeably on the left or right foot. While small, the studs are very effective on preventing slips on ice and ice lightly covered with snow on fairly level trails. If you’re hiking or running up steep ice-covered slopes or snow packed by the wind, I’d recommend upgrading to Microspikes instead because they have longer teeth and provide better traction.
Fitwise, Nanospikes exert very little pressure on the top of the toes and should not lead to blisters, a key variable you should always evaluate when purchasing traction aids that have a strap running over the front of your shoe or boot.
However, the spikes can be felt when walking on hard surfaces and can become uncomfortable over time if the soles of your shoes are soft or unpadded. Personally, I have to take my Nanospikes off after about an hour when wearing lightweight insulated hiking boots or trail runners, because unlike microspikes, they start to hurt the balls of my feet during long hikes. But Kahtoola Nanospikes are perfectly suitable for shorter duration walks or runs.
- 10 spikes per foot on all sizes
- Spike material is tungsten carbide
- Weight per pair
- Small: 7.5 oz
- Men’s 7-8
- Women’s 8-9
- Medium: 8.0 oz ()
- Men’s 8-10
- Women’s 9-11
- Large: 8.3 oz ()
- Men’s 10-12
- Women’s 11+
- Small: 7.5 oz
Disclosure: Kahtoola provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample pair of nanospikes for this review.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
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