Crampons make it easier to walk, hike, or run across slippery areas. They are most often used when hiking in icy areas, but crampons can be used in wet, snowy, icy, or soft ground areas to provide extra support. They do this by using spikes or studs to grip the hard parts of the ground that you walk on and give you something stable to stand on.
We researched dozens of crampons to identify the best of the best. To rank them, we considered their construction materials, the size of their teeth, how easy they are to use, and how effective they can be. We also considered their intended use as well as how you can use them in other ways while still being effective.
Walk with confidence in the Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
The Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System stood out as the best option among all of the crampons that we reviewed. Its use of microspikes, secure support structures, low weight, and durability make it a clear lead over other options.
In This Article
- The 5 Top-Rated Crampons for 2018
- Our Top Pick: Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
- Our Runner Up Pick: Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice
- Best Budget Pick: ALPS IceGrips Snow Traction Gear Slip on Snow Ice Cleat Traction
- Best Hiking Crampon: Unigear Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips with 18 Spikes
- Best Ice Crampon: Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device
- Who Should Buy a Crampon
- Important Features to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Crampons We Reviewed
The 5 Top-Rated Crampons for 2018
|Top Pick||Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System||4.6|
|Runner Up Pick||Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice||4.2|
|Best Budget Pick||ALPS IceGrips Snow Traction Gear Slip on Snow Ice Cleat Traction Plus 10 Extra Replacement Steel Studs (Available in S, M, L, XL Sizes)||4.2|
|Best Hiking Crampon||Unigear Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips with 18 Spikes for Walking, Jogging, Climbing and Hiking||4.8|
|Best Ice Crampon||Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device||4.7|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
The Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System is the leading option among all of the reviewed crampons. It is particularly useful when traveling over ice. However, it can be used to add traction in snow or loose soil. The use of microspikes makes it versatile and easier to use when transitioning from areas that need crampons to areas that do not need crampons. Essentially, you can put them on when you start hiking and keep them on until you reach your destination.
These crampons are made out of stainless steel, a material renowned for its strength and weather resistance. Unlike normal steel, stainless steel is rust-resistant and more resistant to abrasion or dents. That way, they will be in good condition when you need them regardless of how much you’ve used them. The top section is made out of an elastomer harness that is durable and maintains its flexibility well into the negative temperature range.
Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System Key Features:
- Stainless steel components
- Weather-resistant elastomer band
- Fits most shoe types
- 3/8-inch microspikes
Our Runner Up Pick: Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice
Walk safely through icy areas with the Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice
The Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice is your best option if you are looking to walk through slippery areas at a regular pace and want more support. Instead of spikes, these crampons use a coil system that consists of multiple stainless steel coils wrapped around an elastomer harness system. The result is a lightweight and low profile support system that is easy to walk on even on hard surfaces and get the extra support that you need.
These crampons are designed to slip onto your shoe by stretching the elastomer harness. It snaps back into place and conforms to the shape of your shoes. That way, they maintain a tight grip and won’t slip off under pressure. They are available in a wide range of sizes from extra small to large.
Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice Key Features:
- 1.2 mm stainless steel coils
- Temperature-resistant elastomer harness
- 360-degrees of traction
- Fits most shoe sizes and types
Best Budget Pick: ALPS IceGrips Snow Traction Gear Slip on Snow Ice Cleat Traction
Be prepared for slippery conditions with the ALPS IceGrips Snow Traction Gear Slip on Snow Ice Cleat Traction
If you travel through ice and snow on a periodic basis, ALPS IceGrips Snow Traction Gear Slip on Snow Ice Cleat Traction crampons are a better option. They are more affordable than most other crampons at $9 per pair making it easy to have several pairs stored strategically so that you always have the support that you need no matter where you go. They slip on easily and provide enough traction to handle snow and most icy places.
The biggest benefit to these crampons is that they slip on to nearly any shoe type and size. They are highly portable since they have an all-elastomer body with insertable cleat studs. The ten-stud array gives you plenty of traction while remaining lightweight and durable.
ALPS IceGrips Snow Traction Gear Slip on Snow Ice Cleat Traction Key Features:
- All-elastomer stretchy rubber body
- Low profile, easy to store
- Lightweight and durable
- Available in many sizes
Best Hiking Crampon: Unigear Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips with 18 Spikes
Travel long distances over the ice and snow with the Unigear Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips with 18 Spikes
Hiking requires a more durable and effective crampon design. The Unigear Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips with 18 Spikes is the best choice for hiking due to its combination of durable materials and efficient design. It uses heat-treated stainless steel for the chains and the claws. Each claw is 1/2-inch long and is strategically placed to proved the best grip possible.
The spikes are spread across the foot in a way that improves your balance. Extra spikes in the front make it possible to maintain a firm grip as you climb inclines even if you cannot place your heel on each step. The thermoplastic harness keeps them firmly in place so that each step is stable.
Unigear Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips with 18 Spikes Key Features:
- 18 stainless steel spikes
- Temperature-resistant thermoplastic harness
- Full stride coverage
- Wide heel plates for downhill climbs
Best Ice Crampon: Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device
Walk or climb over ice with the Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device
One of the most demanding challenges for crampons is climbing or hiking over thick ice sheets. The Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device is the best option for handling ice because of its cleat design. The spikes are distributed ergonomically to give you the best feel and endurance possible. The longer spikes also give it deeper penetration and grip into the ice.
To improve the overall effectiveness of these crampons, they are equipped with a flexible plate system. These plates are hinged and bend with your foot through your stride to provide consistent and comfortable support. The body is made out of a temperature-resistant thermoplastic combined with a velcro top strap for added support.
Hillsound Trail Crampon Traction Device Key Features:
- Extended spikes
- Hinged spike plates
- Added support strap
- Ergonomic layout
Who Should Buy a Crampon
Crampons are a good investment for anyone that will travel through snowy or icy areas. One of the worst situations for a hiker or mountaineer to find themselves in is to be trapped out in the wilderness and surrounded by snow and ice. Crampons make it possible to safely walk over snow and ice.
Crampons are useful because they turn nearly any type of show into a hiking snow boot. The added traction that they provide can mean the difference between completing a climb and turning back early. Anyone that can find themselves on foot in an area where the path is slippery can benefit from having a set of crampons readily available.
Walk with confidence in the Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
Important Features to Consider
When choosing crampons, there are several key features to consider. These key features include:
- Spike length. The length of the spikes determines how balanced and effective they will be in different situations. Microspikes are well balanced and effective on ice and light snow. Medium-sized spikes are effective in deeper snow and uneven ice, while longer spikes are most effective in deep snow and thick ice sheets.
- Spike angle. The angle of the spikes can also determine how well they hold. As they become more horizontal, the spikes become more effective as you roll your foot to keep it from sliding. Most semi-professional and professional crampons have a combination of varying degrees of angle for their crampons.
- Construction material. Most crampons use stainless steel to create the cleat system. Stainless steel is highly durable and weather-resistant. Aluminum is also used for its durability and lightweight. Most flexible harnesses are made out of a temperature-resistant elastomer.
- Anti-balling base. As you walk, ice shavings and snow can build up under your crampons and make them less effective. Anti-balling designs push the excess material away from your shoes to prevent buildup and slipping.
- Spike shape. Different spike shapes are available for different situations. Most crampons use a solid triangular spike system while others use steel coil systems. Some brands use proprietary variations on spike and coil designs for specific uses.
- Method of installation. How you attach the crampons determines how secure they are and which shoes you can use with them. Most slip-on models have a secure by flexible attachment system that may not be as effective in extreme situations. Semi-automatic systems have adjustable straps and hard points, while fully-automatic systems have all hard points for the most secure fit.
- Harness size. Crampons must be in the same relative size range as the boots that they will be attached to. Elastomer harnesses can stretch to match a wider range of shoes while crampons with hard point connections have a smaller range of compatible shoes.
- Contact points. The number of contact points determines that control over the amount of traction that you have. The more contact points there are, the more control and traction are produced.
- Flexibility. Crampons can have varying ranges of flexibility, which can be beneficial or harmful to the wearer. Heavy-duty use crampons tend to be less flexible while slip-on models have the most flexibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are crampons and how do they work?
Crampons are attachments for your shoes that consist of a harness that holds a set of spikes to the bottom of your shoes. When worn properly, crampons can be used to walk over slippery surfaces like snow and ice. The spikes piece the top layer of the ground as you step, which gives you a solid grip with added traction. Hikers and mountaineers often use them to climb snow-covered mountains or ice sheets.
Do crampons fit any boot?
Most crampons that have an adjustable harness can fit almost any shoe size or type. This is limited by the type of harness and its overall size. Solid-state harnesses are generally more difficult to fit, but provide a more secure fit if they do. Elastomer and other flexible harnesses can stretch to meet the needs of most shoes within a relative size range. These harnesses also contour to the shoe that they are on for a more secure fit.
What are semi-automatic crampons?
Semi-automatic crampons use a semi-automatic strapping system to attach to boots. This system is generally a fixed size with adjustable components. When you step in, you can use the system to tighten the grip on your boots. If the boots are the right type, the system will provide a secure and firm grip on them. These systems can be seen with adjustable straps or ratcheting straps, which are less flexible and more secure. Semi-automatic crampons are recommended when using specific boots designed to match the crampons and for moderate to heavy hiking situations.
How do you attach crampons to boots?
The method of attachment depends on the design of the crampon. Flexible crampons generally have an elastomer harness, which stretches around the boot and squeezes itself into place. Semi-automatic crampons have a more rigid system and are made to close around a specific class of boots that share similar dimensions. These systems tend to have adjustable straps that pull tight over the boot once you step into a semi-rigid frame. Fully-automatic crampons are designed with rigid harnesses and fit a boot with specific dimensions. These systems offer the most secure fit but tend to work on only a limited number of boot models.
Other Crampons We Reviewed
Walk with confidence in the Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
We looked at 20 other crampons. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best crampons list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your dog. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
When mountaineering, the Cosyzone Ice Snow Shoes Grips Traction Cleats Grippers Crampons are among the best choices. They have thick manganese steel teeth that won’t bend or break under pressure. When they are not in use, you can fold them down to a pocket size for easy transport. Putting them on is simple as well since they help to your shoes well with plastic elastomer binders. When worn properly these crampons provide a full 360-degrees of traction.
- Manganese steel teeth
- Plastic elastomer shoe binders
- Pocket-sized when not in use
- 360-degree traction
The Lougnee Non-slip Spikes Crampons are a simple traction support option for hiking in loose soil and wet areas. They slip on easily with a silicone strap. These crampons are available in large and medium sizes. The teeth and chains are made entirely of stainless steel, which means that they will hold up to the weather and rough surfaces for a long time.
- Available in medium and large
- Stainless steel claws
- Easy installation
- Silicone rubber strap
These MoKo 19 Spikes Ice Crampons are made from stainless steel and an eco-friendly rubber strap. They have 19 spikes which are made out of stainless steel to prevent rusting and wear. You can get them on and off easily by sliding them on. They also come in sizes from medium to extra large.
- Medium – extra large
- 19 spikes
- Stainless steel teeth
- Eco-friendly materials
The Uelfbaby Crampon Micro spikes ice snow grips traction cleats use a smaller tooth design that is thicker for better strength. Because of the smaller teeth, they are more effective on harder surfaces without sacrificing their effectiveness on softer surfaces. They have 19 spikes for full traction coverage. The elastomer strap makes it easy to attach them to most shoe sizes.
- Elastomer strap
- Smaller, thicker spikes
- Stronger weld points
- 19 teeth
The YakTrax Pro Traction Cleats are designed to help you walk on cold and frozen surfaces safely. They provide 360-degrees of traction using a coil cleat system. The coils are made out of stainless steel which is scratch and dent-resistant as well as weatherproof. The coils wrap around a rubber harness and provide more than 80 points of contact with the ground. The rubber harness also has a toe and heel brace to prevent slipping and a better fit.
- Available in small to extra large
- Coil cleats
- Stainless steel
- Designed for cold surfaces
For extra grip, try the Yatta Life Heavy Duty Trail Spikes 14-Spikes Ice Grip Snow Cleats Footwear Crampons. It is available in small, medium, and large sizes and easily attaches using a harness system. These crampons feature a linked chain system with teeth clustered around key pressure points. That way, you’ll get the most traction with each step. With a lightweight design, these crampons also help you avoid fatigue over long hikes.
- Light-weight design
- 14 spikes
- Designed for ice and snow
- Strategically positioned teeth
The Hillsound Cypress 6 Crampons are designed for traveling over ice. They have extra long teeth around the center of your foot for maximum penetration and traction. They also have a metal bottom frame that adds extra durability when puncturing ice sheets. The easy-attach strap system works like a snow ski boot buckle, where it latches shut over your boot with a ratcheting tension strap system. The result is a more secure fit so that they don’t slide or fall off. These crampons also come with an anti-balling pad on the bottom to stop snow and ice shavings from building up under your feet.
- Anti-balling pad
- Extra long teeth
- Metal frame
- Easy-attach strap system
The OUTAD Traction Cleats/Crampon for Snow and Ice is designed to function reliably in low temperatures. It is made out of solid aluminum components for added durability at a low weight. When not in use, they collapse down to a manageable pocket size for easy storage. The spike array features multi-directional spikes to give you complete 360-degree traction in heavily snow-covered environments.
- Aluminum components
- Multi-directional spikes
- Carrying bag included
- Easy strap system
If you are looking for extra support, try the Petzl Vasak Crampon. It has 12 contact points spread across the foot and uses extra long teeth. Some of those teeth are mounted horizontally and at various angles to prevent sliding when you step on the ice. These crampons are extensively tested and CE and UIAA certified. With a universal strap system, it can attach to any type of shoe available.
- One size fits all
- 12 extra long teeth
- Universal strap system
- CE and UIAA certified
If you are climbing quickly through icy areas, then the may want to try the Springk Traction Cleats Snow Grips Ice Creepers, Anti Slip 12 Stainless Steel Microspikes Crampons. They have an array of small teeth, which gives you even traction across your foot. That means better balance when walking over ice patches. They strap on with a rubber strap that stretches to fit different boot sizes.
- Available in large and medium
- Stainless steel chains and claws
- Lightweight design
- Small teeth
You can use the WEANAS Unisex Multi-function Anti-slip Ice Cleat Shoe Boot Tread Grips Traction Crampon when hiking in icy areas to provide more traction. They have 12 microspikes made of stainless steel, which gives you a more balanced step. Microspikes also make it easier to switch from icy to non-icy areas. Without risking damage to your crampons The strap is made out of a thermoplastic elastomer that can withstand extremely cold weather and maintain its elasticity.
- Stainless steel chains and teeth
- 12 teeth
- Thermoplastic elastomer strap
If you want a low profile crampon that still delivers high performance, check out the Yaktrax Diamond Grip All-Surface Traction Cleats for Walking on Ice and Snow. It uses a diamond bead system that the company created to drastically increase the number of sharp contact points. These diamond beads are strung on aircraft-grade aluminum cables for exceptional durability. The low profile of the diamonds makes it easy to walk off of the ice into non-icy areas without facing traction issues or damaging your cleats. You could walk with them on at all times and not have to worry about how they will perform.
- Available in small – double extra large
- Aircraft-grade steel cables
- Diamond bead teeth
- Hundreds of sharp gripping teeth
The Yaktrax Run Traction Cleats for Running on Snow and Ice is designed for high-speed travel in icy areas. Rather than using pronounced teeth, these crampons use a steel coil system to provide traction. The result is a low profile design that flexes with your feet for better foot positioning. These coils are wrapped around a rubber brace system that was rigorously tested. It can withstand cold temperatures as low as -41-degrees without breaking or losing its elasticity.
- Available in small to extra large
- Steel coil cleat system
- Rubber frame and strap system
- Safe in -41-degree weather
If you need extra traction while being able to go anywhere without stopping, then try the DUALF Traction Cleats, Snow Grips Ice Creepers Over Shoe Boot, Anti Slip 10-Studs TPE Rubber Crampons. They have a low profile and are made entirely from rubber. This makes them extremely lightweight. Each set comes with ten insertable cleat tabes that can withstand multiple terrain types. That way, you can go wherever you want without needing to stop and take these crampons off.
- All-rubber design
- Insertable cleat tabs
- All-day use
The EONPOW Ice Grips, Ice & Snow Grips Cleat Over Shoe/Boot Traction let you walk on any surface without needing to take them off. However, they are easy to remove quickly and can fit in nearly any carrying container. They simply stretch over your shoes and hold tight. The cleats are removable and have a low-profile design. With ten contact points, they offer solid traction in snowy areas.
- Small cleats
- Multi-packs available
- Easy to install
- Affordably priced
A quick trip over snowy ground is easier in the Ice Grips, AUTOXON Ice and Snow Grips Cleat Over Shoe/Boot Traction system. It is a stretch-on cleat system that can provide solid traction in lightly snowed-over areas. It has ten low-profile cleats that are interchangeable. The cleat pattern provides steady traction throughout your stride, making it easier to keep your balance on slippery surfaces.
- Fits casual and dress shoes
- Steel studs
- Stretch-on design
- Works in extreme cold
You can take the OuterStar Ice & Snow Grips Over Shoe/Boot Traction Cleat Rubber Spikes Anti Slip 10-Stud Crampons with you anywhere and use them as a quick solution when you need extra traction outside. They slip on over nearly any shoe type and you can carry them around in a pocket. The ten-stud design adds extra traction with steel bits that grab onto hard ground pieces. That way, you can walk confidently in snow and ice/
- Easy installation
- ten studs
- Extremely portable
Stainless Steel Crampons
These Black Diamond Contact Strap Stainless Steel Crampon are made mostly of stainless steel, which reduces their weight and makes them highly durable. They are rust-resistant and stay tough even in cold weather. The large steel teeth are able to piece snow and ice to provide better traction. When not in use, they are compact and easy to safely transport.
- Compact size
- Flexible strap
- Stainless steel construction
- Less weight
EnergeticSky Upgraded Version Of Walk Traction Ice Cleat Spikes Crampons are easy to install and collapse into a very compact system. They even come with a free carrying bag. These crampons use two large plates connected by a series of welded chains. The top is held on by an elastomer band that maintains is stretchiness even in cold weather.
- Free carrying case
- Abrasion and rust-resistant
- Welded chain and plate system
- Silicon straps
The OuterStar Traction Cleats Ice Snow Grips Anti Slip Stainless Steel Spikes Crampons provide 18 teeth across a chain link system that holds them in place. It is made of stainless steel to avoid wear and rusting. You can collapse them into a small carrier for easy transport when you are not wearing them.
- 18 teeth
- Medium to extra large
- Chain link system