Winter Running Traction Devices

This past Friday, after 14 months of waiting, I finally got the chance to try the Kahtoola MICROspikes [iRF MICROspike […]

By on December 28, 2008 | 5 comments

This past Friday, after 14 months of waiting, I finally got the chance to try the Kahtoola MICROspikes [iRF MICROspike preview]… and that’s not all. When I traveled north to visit my parents for the holidays, I threw three pairs of winter traction devices into my car just in case there was snow to be found somewhere to the north. Well, early on the morning after Christmas I headed up to White Plains, New York to run with TWIR author, Anthony Portera. As we pulled up to Rockefeller State Park it was clear that White Plains was aptly named on this day. During our three hour jaunt over ice-covered hill and dale, Tony and I put four pairs of traction devices to the test. I’ll be sharing our findings over the next four days.

The author testing Rockefeller State Park’s finest ice.

Oh, you want to know which traction devices we tested? Well, we put metal to ice with the Kahtoola MICROspikes, Yaktrax Pro, Kako Ice Trekkers Ultra, and STABILicers SPORT. These oversoles varied as much in their design, construction, and weight as much as they did in the traction they provided. I feel like I normally mince my words, but not today. Here’s how I rank the traction devices I tested … from least favorite to the best.

Take a look at my individual reviews to see why I ranked the traction devices as I did, to share your own thoughts, and to hear what others have to say. [The easiest way to read the latest post at iRunFar is by subscribing via RSS or via email.] If you see that I’ve reviewed a device that you’ve tried, I ask that you post your comments for the appropriate day to maximize their helpfulness to other readers.

In the mean time, take a look at these winter running resources:


  • Andy Jones-Wilkins asks “Any of you ice runners out there ever try icebug shoes?” Well have you? Do you like them? Andy likes his.
Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.