by Morgan Cvetkovic-Jones
Based high on the Colorado Plateau in Flagstaff, Arizona, Kahtoola were formed in 1999 by Danny Giovale who wanted to improve the safety of snowy approaches in lightweight, flexible footwear. Giovale suffered a near death fall after slipping on ice when returning from a rock climb, inspiring him to design a packable solution to changing and hazardous conditions under foot. Handmade in their small family workshop, ‘The Shop’, the Kahtoola Traction System (now known as the KTS Crampon) was Giovale’s first invention, setting the direction for Kahtoola’s future and every product they’ve created since – rather fitting given ‘Kahtoola’ means ‘directly’ in Tibetan. Over 20 years later and, although the company is slightly bigger, their mission is still the same: ‘Make the outdoors more accessible and rewarding by building exceptional products’.
What are Kahtoola known for?
Kahtoola are the leading name when it comes to packable and lightweight traction solutions. For the terrain and winter conditions that don’t quite justify a fully rated crampon, the Kahtoola spike collection is the perfect answer to any slippy slope or icy trek in the hills. In recent years, Kahtoola have expanded their spike collection to include EXOspikes which are perfect for trail running shoes and approach shoes whilst for those running in icy, urban environments, Kahtoola have developed the NANOspikes.
Kahtoola also produce an exceptional range of some of the lightest gaiters on the market.
Where are Kahtoola products made?
Kahtoola products are now made in Thailand, but previous models were made in South Korea.
‘Kahtoola for the People’ grants 1% of Kahtoola’s annual sales to support indigenous cultures and fund projects that improve communities, healthcare, education and the environment. Anyone can apply for a grant from Kahtoola with grants ranging from $250-$10,000 being awarded three times a year.
What sets Kahtoola apart?
The ultimate lightweight, traction companions.
This Video offers An Inside Look at Kahtoola Design and Technology