Kahtoola vs Hillsound Foot Traction: Which Is Better?

Kahtoola vs Hillsound Foot Traction: Which Is Better?

January 9, 2019 14 By Ciara Groesbeck

Hiking in the winter time is an absolute blast, unless of course you are slipping and sliding all over the trail. Luckily, there is an easy solution: Microspikes!

I often see people wondering what the difference is between two brands of spikes, Kahtoola or Hillsound— which is better?

After being an owner of both, it is apparent to me which are better (for me), but the real question is which spike is going to be better for YOU?

Let’s decide!

Happily Romping Or Scaling A Mountain?

First and foremost, where will you be using your spikes? A mountain? A field?

Happy to have my Hillsound spikes on a day like this!

You want to have the appropriate spikes for the occasion. You may require more of an aggressive spike for winter hiking in the higher elevations. While other times you may just need something for walking on a well maintained flat trail.

Let’s talk about each of the spikes individually now.

Kahtoola Microspikes

These spikes are great for trail running and for moderate hikes, where there isn’t a lot of ice.

Their red color makes them pop, so if they ever did come off of your boot/shoe, they will be easy to spot!

Spike Length: 3/8″ (Slightly shorter than the Hillsound)

Price: $55.00-69.95

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon

Kahtoola’s looking sharp against the crisp white snow

Hillsound Microspikes

These spikes are great for more extreme hikes where there is an abundance of ice and snow– they have a longer spike that can dig into these conditions easily.

They are comprised of black, thick rubber and velcro to attach to your boot/shoe. The velcro is very sturdy and not affected by wet conditions.

Spike Length: 2/3″ (Slightly longer than the Kahtoola)

Price: $65.00

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon 

Hillsound’s on a snowy day

My Experience, My Opinion

I started off with the Kahtoola microspikes. The first thing I noticed was the rubber seemed very thin. They went over my boot with a bit of effort, but I remember thinking that it would be hard to lose them! Coincidentally they have slipped off of my boots when hiking, but only when I have stepped off trail and post-holed, so I do not blame the brand. I still own my Kahtoola spikes and wear them when I am trail running as they still have some life in them, just not enough to get me up a mountain safely.

Trail running with my Kahtoola’s

I was gifted Hillsound spikes for my birthday this past year and they have proven to be so wonderful. These spikes are made of thick rubber and slide onto your boots like they were meant to be there all along. The velcro strap secures them onto your boot, and you definitely do not have to worry about losing them. Directly under the ball and heel of your foot, there is a plaque that gives the spikes better support to grip into the ice.

So again, which is better? For me this was an easy choice; Hillsound spikes all the way. I hike a lot in the winter and it is important for me to be as safe as possible. I feel quite invincible when wearing my Hillsound spikes, as they make walking up a mountain of ice, a breeze.

With the price of these spikes being almost identical, I would opt for the Hillsound on most any occasion. I truly believe you get more out of the Hillsound than the Kahtoola.

So which is best for you?

Which Will You Choose?

With all of this said, every brand of spike does have an expiry date. How long will they last? This depends on how many miles you hike, how often you are stepping on terrain that will wear them down faster (bare rock/ground), and how you handle them when you aren’t wearing them (Storage, etc).

My Kahtoolas wore down pretty quickly. I would say after a year or so of wearing them, I was looking to sharpen them or buy a new pair (Thanks Erik for the Hillsounds!). I am being much more strict when wearing my Hillsound; taking them on/off whenever the terrain is inconsistent and I have to deal with bare ground. While it is time-consuming to do so, you will absolutely be increasing the longevity of your spike, no matter which brand you choose!

I hope you enjoyed this review, and have chosen a spike that works best for you!

I would love to hear your experience with these brands, or if you would recommend an entirely different brand all together!

Happy trails,