If you’re looking for extra winter traction, but don’t want to opt for a dedicated winter shoe, the Kahtoola NANOspikes are a great way to extend the safety of your existing running shoes for winter months.

Kahtoola NANOspikes Features:

  • Design features 10 spikes per foot
  • Tungsten carbide spikes
  • Weight: 7.5 oz (small), 8 oz (med), 8.3 oz (large)
  • 1 year warranty
  • Price: $49.95

Kahtoola NANOspikes Review

Run, Frosty, Run!

When it comes to keeping fit during the winter, you have two options: 1) Exercise on your machine of choice (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc.) or 2) brave the elements and exercise outside. I’m personally a big believer in heading outside at all cost and using machines of boredom as a last resort. If you follow that same philosophy, then having the Kahtoola NANOspikes at your disposal will come in handy.

While the NANOspikes are made primarily for road running, I took them into the trails less traveled and used them on my local snow-covered singletrack. Combining them with the Scott T2 Kinabalu HS trail runners, I was able to get a weather-resistant winter trail running option.

Kahtoola NANOspikes Review

Compared to other traction devices, the NANOspikes are really easy to put on and they stay put without any additional straps or Velcro. Once installed, their snug fit keeps them in place in a variety of terrain. As far as fit goes, the only real annoyance was that the toe strap pushed down into the toebox and on my big toe. Extended running would get annoying, but my 3-4 mile outings were bearable.

Going this route, you’ll need to decide if it makes sense to invest in some gaiters. If you’re going to run primarily on hardpacked terrain, you might be able to get away without them, but if you’ll run in new or untracked snow, it will quickly make sense.

Kahtoola NANOspikes Review

As far as function, the NANOspikes did provide fantastic traction on hardpack and ice. Even though the spikes do cover the shoe’s treads, they do dig in and improve traction in loose snow, but do struggle in slush or soft snow surfaces. But then again, slush stymies traction with every shoe or traction device — even the Salomon Snowcross CS.

The Good

  • Easy install
  • Stay put really well
  • Perform well on hardpack and ice
  • Not bad on bare pavement
  • Doesn’t hinder stride

The Bad

  • Kind of pushes awkwardkly on the top of my big toe
  • Traction in loose snow is not so good

 The Bottom Line: Kahtoola NANOspikes

For not a whole lot of money, the NANOspikes can transform your running shoes into winter treads. Though they are built for pavement, I’ve found them to be great companions for hardpacked singletrack.

Buy Now: Available at REI.com 

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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