If you’re planning a hike in any sort of winter conditions, you need a good traction device. Knowing when to use microspikes, crampons, or snowshoes is a crucial task, as is choosing the right products. Yaktrax, makers of some of the most popular microspikes, designed a real winner with their Diamond Grip model. Check out our quick YakTrax Diamond Grip review to learn more, and decide whether or not they’re right for you!
What Do Microspikes Do?
Snow and ice are exciting things to hike in- a beautiful, bright, a winter wonderland. However, if you don’t have good traction with every step, what should be a great hike can easily turn into an unbearable journey, slipping and sliding everywhere.
Microspikes are an accessory that you can add to your hiking boots that give you incredible traction on snow and ice. They securely wrap around the bottom of your boots with a rubber sling, with bottoms made of tiny metal spikes. Especially where snow and ice is packed in and beginning to melt, it can get precarious, but the microspikes dig into those slippery surfaces, giving you crucial grip that your hiking boots or trail running shoes just don’t have.
The Basics: Diamond Grips Microspikes
Yaktrax’s patented diamond grip are unique for many reasons, and in my opinion beat all other basic and mid-level microspikes I’ve seen. Many microspikes you’ll see are made with basic chains, however with the YakTrax Diamond Grips, you get aircraft-grade stainless steel cables that then have diamond shaped beads on them. These diamond shapes are much better at digging into snow and ice than standard chain links. The diamond grips can also rotate 360 degrees ensuring they wont get stuck from buildup of snow and ice.
YakTrax Diamond Grips: Pros and Cons
- Makes snowy/icy hiking far more enjoyable
- Easy to put on and take off
- Stay on your feet without shifting
- Easy to transport in your backpack and TSA approved for traveling in carry-ons
- Best technology for microspikes out there- great traction that gives any boot an intense upgrade!
- They don’t prevent postholing (when you take a step in the snow and your entire foot or leg goes through into the snow)
- Not good for super steep trails, for those, you’ll want crampons instead-these are much sharper and longer where they will literally stab the snow and ice to secure you in every step.
The Bottom Line: YakTrax Diamond Grip Microspikes
Our first time using these was on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, when several feet of snow blanketed all the trails. We barely made it five minutes on the trail without them. Slipping, sliding, and making no progress. Once we put them on, we passed up at least a dozen other hiking groups in less than half an hour.
The Yaktrax Diamond Grips microspikes were easy to put on, stayed in place on our feet extremely well, and delivered on their promise of traction. Without them, I don’t think we would have made it up to Sky Pond when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in May. From the moment they were on my boots,
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size YakTrax Should I Get?
These microspikes are available in four sizes, from Small to XXL. Here’s which Yaktrax you should get, based on your shoe size:
- US Men’s Size 5-6, Women’s 5-7: Small
- US Men’s 6.5-9, Women’s 7-10: Medium
- US Men’s 9.5-12.5, Women’s 10+: Large
- US Men’s 12.5+: Extra-Large
- Oversized Shoes: Double Extra-Large
How Do You Put Yaktrax On?
The YakTrax Diamond Grip Microspikes are very easy to put on, and they stay in place while hiking with very few adjustments needed. Here’s how to put them on:
Your YakTrax, out of the box, will look a little like this (but cleaner):
There are two metal loops, one smaller than the other. The larger loop goes on the front of your foot; the smaller one on the back. To put your microspikes on, fit the front rubber portion over the toe of your boot. Then, grab the rear loop (very handy), and stretch the microspikes over your boot, like this:
You’ll want to jiggle and adjust them a bit to get them on perfectly. When you get it right, it looks like this:
Was this easy enough that we didn’t have to explain it or include pictures? Yes. Was it still worth it to show you how simple these things are? I guess!
Do Microspikes Work Better on Snow or Ice?
Though microspikes are helpful on snow, they are definitely better on ice. Snow can be tricky, because microspikes don’t prevent postholing, however if it is hard packed snow, the diamond grip spikes provide excellent grip. Ice is great for microspikes when you are hiking a generally smooth terrain, but if the trail gets steeper than about 30 degrees, we’d recommend getting a set of crampons instead.
If you have an upcoming trip that you think might have some snow or ice, definitely try out the YakTrax Diamond Grip microspikes! That’s about all there is to say- they are 100% worth the money and do exactly what you need them to do!
Read Also: Jetboil Flash Review
How we test backpacking gear
Every piece of gear we test is evaluated on one thing: how much it adds to or reduces the quality of a backpacking, camping, or hiking trip. We only review products that we actually own or have expertise using, and we create a 25-point evaluation for each product to ensure that our reviews are consistent and fair. Learn about how we test.