Having Traction on frozen areas are so important. Ice traction shoes assist you in snow and ice and permit you in getting across steep snowy landscapes. The 16 Best Crampons and microspikes can be placed underneath your shoes or boots are handy for traveling on slippery and slick surfaces. They help you hike with ease, climbing frozen areas, and mountaineering.
Crampon frames are available in steel, stainless steel, and aluminum and each material is created for a different activity. The aluminum crampons are lightweight and created for non-technical climbing. However, steel crampons are heavier and sturdier for mountaineering. Select the one that is best for you. This guide will assist you in finding the best crampons and microspikes for your next adventure.
Top 18 Best Crampons and Microspikes
|KAHTOOLA MICROspikes||Check On Amazon
|Hillsound Trail Crampon||Check On Amazon
|KAHTOOLA NANOspikes||Check On Amazon
|KAHTOOLA K-10 Hiking Crampons||Check On Amazon
|ICETRAX V3 Tungsten Winter Ice Grips||Check On Amazon
|EnergeticSky Ice Cleat Spikes||Check On Amazon
|Yatta Life Heavy Duty Trail Spikes||Check On Amazon
|YAKTRAX Icetrekkers Diamond Grip||Check On Amazon
|Unigear Traction Cleats||Check On Amazon
|Outdoor 360 Ice Cleats||Check On Amazon
|Uelfbaby Crampons||Check On Amazon
|STABILicers Walk Traction Cleat||Check On Amazon
|YAKTRAX Walk||Check On Amazon
|ALPS Ice/Snow Grips ||Check On Amazon
|Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats||Check On Amazon
|Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro ||Check On Amazon
1. KAHTOOLA MICROspikes
The Kahtoola MICROspikes are great on loose trails, muddy areas, and through streams. They are lightweight and sturdy, there are 12 stainless steel spikes per foot on all the sizes-small, medium, large, and extra-large.
They are an amazing choice for ultralight backpacking and can fit easily when stored in the included tote bag. There is a built-in toe bale and strengthened eyelets permitting for a 50% lower profile elastic harness. This product comes in red and black. Additionally, the microspikes come with a two-year warranty.
Sample Customer Review… I take a 9-9.5 US shoe size and the medium fits great. We went for a hike on a gravel path that was iced over (after a rain) then was experiencing a slight thaw of the top layer of snow creating a slush/water-covered ice surface. There were no problems going up or down hills in conditions that would have been hazardous to stay on the trail. Other walkers went off trail to navigate their way. After 3 miles the spikes showed no signs of wear even after a short walk on the parking lot and unfrozen trail. The rubber (silicone, I believe) kept the spikes firmly attached and didn’t slip.Read more at Amazon.com
2. Hillsound Trail Crampon
The Hillsound Trail Crampon is made out of stainless steel and has 11 spikes. The spike length is 1.7 cm. The spike material are heat-treated carbon steel. The pair weighs 16.3 ounces. This crampon has a velcro strap located over the top of the instep.
The stainless steel construction has a plate system underneath that holds the steel spikes securely. The ⅔” long spike is designated for major trail work. The flexible harness fits both lightweight and heavy hiking boots and insulated boots. The Trail Crampon includes a two year warranty.
Sample Customer Review… I bought these for my husband as a Christmas gift after doing research on whether the Kahtoola Microspikes or the Hillsound Trail Crampons were better. My research showed Hillsound had the edge with more spikes and long spikes. We’ve had crazy weather this winter and my husband used them the other night to sand our very steep driveway in water-on-ice conditions. He’s a man of few words, but his statement “These are amazing!” says it all.Read more at Amazon.com
3. KAHTOOLA NANOspikes
The Kahtoola NANOspikes weigh about 9 ounces. There are ten Tungsten Carbon spikes connected to an aluminum anchor on each shoe. The spike design bites into icy surfaces. It also sports an elastomer harness. They are the lighter version of the Kahtoola MICROspikes.
They are easy to take on and off with the raised heel. It permits for simple withdrawal and removal. A two year warranty is included with this product. The included toe bail created from TPU material provides additional security and stops the toe from pushing through the forefront of the elastomer harness.
Sample Customer Review… After slipping numerous times on our inclined driveway this winter I finally ordered these on the recommendation of a friend who has the microspikes and swears by them. Given I spend most of my time on pavement, the nano spikes made more sense. They are a lifesaver. I can walk up and down our driveway and run the snowblower anywhere even if it’s completely iced over and never feel even the slightest bit of slip. They’re mostly easy to get on and off, only taking a minute or two, even while sitting in the car. They feel a tad tight… They’re the right size, but I think they were designed for running shoes and I wear a thicker hiking sneaker, but they’re not uncomfortable. One thing to note is that while they’re great on ice and thin slush, they do not work great trudging through deeper snow (at which point the spikes aren’t able to cut through to pavement for grip).Read more at Amazon.com
4. KAHTOOLA K-10 Hiking Crampons
The KAHTOOLA K10 have 10 4130 Chromoly steel spikes on the bottom of each foot, as well as two spikes in the front. The spikes are evenly spaced out in two rows. It is attached to each other across the boot bottom from the heel to the toe by Kahtoola’s copyrighted LeafSpring Flex Bar.
This feature permits the toe and heel spikes to bend underneath and keeps tension while you walk. The LeafSpring Flex Bar is easily modified to fit different durations of hiking shoes and includes a lifetime guarantee. The weight per pair is 21.5 ounces. It merges the attributes of more pricey mountaineering and ice climbing crampons with a lightweight design. It was created to work in a state where crampons and heavier soled boots may be your only other choice.
Sample Customer Review… I used these with my ultra lone peaks 4.0 on the PCT this year. So far I carried and used them from Kennedy Meadows to Kearsarge Pass and into Independence. So roughly 90 miles of carrying them. Not sure how many miles of walking in them. They got the job done. Better than microspikes but not as good as full crampons so make sure you understand that when you buy them. Used them going over Forster Pass and they did the job. Would have been nicer to have boots with them in that case but I made it up and over without too much trouble. Super sketchy though, very glad I didn’t fall at any point. I did poke holes into my shoes from not paying close enough attention when walking in them. Photos are of Forester Pass in the Sierras on May 23rd of this year.Read more at Amazon.com
5. ICETRAX V3 Tungsten Winter Ice Grips
The ICETRAX V3 Ice Grips have an elastic body that emcompasses the bottom of your shoe and has 9 tungsten carbide studs that project about 0.2 inches. It has an original StayON toe cap that guarantees a tight and secure fit on most kinds of footwear.
The StayON toe cap style stops the ice cleats from falling off or moving out of place when wearing them. These cleats are easy to slip on for most footwear. Secure and place the toe cap of the traction aids over the front section of your shoe, next pull the heel of the grippers over the back of your shoe.
These snow grips are packable and portable to be stored in a compact manner. This product ensures night-time safety. It has built-in reflective heels for night-time visibility when traveling in low light conditions. It reflects light from car headlights and streetlamps.
They are designed to handle heavy use throughout cold weather conditions and have strong reinforced joints and surface created from an unique rubber compound that stays sturdy and retains flexibility in cold temperatures.
Sample Customer Review… I live in Minneapolis where we have lots of icy weather and I walk about 3-5 miles per day, regardless of the weather. I’ve had these on my winter walking shoes for about 1 month now and used them about 1/2 dozen times (the other days weren’t icy enough!) and they work fantastic. They even worked like a charm when we had totally glare ice the other day. I’m a size 9 women’s shoe and they stay on really nicely (I bought the size s/m). I also got the size x/xl for my partner who wears men’s size 11 and he loves them as well. They’re very hearty, make walking on the ice easy peasy with NO slipping, and are super easy to put on. I don’t tend to take mine on / off since I worry about stretching them out over time, but they may be fine if you use them this way also.Read more at Amazon.com
6. EnergeticSky Ice Cleat Spikes
The EnergeticSky Ice Cleat Spikes are crampon-style spikes that offer 19 points per foot, each sticking out about ⅜” from the bottom of your shoe. The points were constructed out of stainless steel, which is impervious to corrosion. They provide great traction on all kinds of icy surfaces.
The cover is made out of silicone and will not tear or snap. It has been tested to remain stretchy to -60 degrees fahrenheit. It has full sole coverage on the heel and forefront. This helps to maintain traction when traveling. The cleats fold small enough to be packable in a pack or in any vehicle. It is satisfactory for walking on ice and snow and hiking tilted terrain.
Sample Customer Review… These spikes provide excellent traction on ice. My wife and I used a set to hike Mount Marcy recently. We might not have made it to the summit and down without them. They held up to the full 15 miles without failure. The points were subjected to ice, snow, bare boulders, and constant streams of water. They never came off once until I was ready to take them off. Easy to put on and the added strap over the top helps keep them on. I look forward to using them again and seeing how well the steel points hold up to more miles.Read more at Amazon.com
7. Yatta Life Heavy Duty Trail Spikes
The Yatta Life Heavy-Duty Trail Spikes decrease the risk of slipping and keep you locked in place on the ground. It uses stainless steel spikes and chains which are linked with the original spike design. This product is lightweight and will not weigh your feet down when walking, hiking, or fishing.
It can be worn with most footwear due to the effective flex-chain and sturdy shoe harness. They can be put on and come off with ease and can be worn with various hiking footwear. The Yatta Spikes lock in place and offer additional traction and support necessary to comfortably hike and travel. It is available in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.
Sample Customer Review… I know these are a little more expensive than the Yak Tracks but I hike twice a day with my dogs in some pretty rough terrain with lots of loose dirt and leaves then cover it with ice or snow and go up steep hills no hiking boot works. I always see the yak tracks hanging at the trailhead cause they fall off. I put these on an old pair of hiking boots and they are great! I keep them in a bag in my truck just in case I need them.Read more at Amazon.com
8. YAKTRAX Icetrekkers Diamond Grip
The YAKTRAX Icetrekkers Diamond Grip provides sturdy traction to trail runners and hikers in various terrain and icy trails. This product has small diamond-shaped beads that are secured on aircraft-grade steel cables. The beads pivot independently to grip slick surfaces with many edges. The outer band is made of natural rubber. The chains and eyelets are steel with zinc coating. Per pair, this product weights 8.3 to 11.9 ounces.
Sample Customer Review… Very effective on all kinds of ice. I live in New England and walk my dog every day regardless of the conditions, so effective traction control is really important to me during our long winters. I also have a steep driveway and without some assistance, I can sometimes slide downhill when trying to shovel snow, which is no good at all. I’ve tried a number of different types of traction control products, including regular Yaktrax, Stabilicers, Vibram Arctic Grip soled-shoes, etc., etc., but nothing is as good as these Yaktrax Diamond Grips. THEY WORK. I also appreciate their versatility – they are low-profile enough that I can fairly comfortably walk on the pavement with them on my shoes (can’t do that with crampons) and tough enough to enable me to hike on icy trails in the woods. They’re well-constructed, durable, and not too difficult to put on. I consider these essential gear for venturing outside on icy surfaces.Read more at Amazon.com
9. Unigear Traction Cleats
The Unigear Traction Cleats offer an amazing grip in deep snow and on thick ice. It has 18 crampon-style points that can plow into soft surfaces and provide great traction. The main section of the elastomer band is made out of flexible Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) which is both anti-abrasion and anti-tearing.
There are 18 spikes per foot, 12 spikes at the front, and six spikes at the back. The wide heel plate has three spikes and secures declining traction. The spikes were created out of heat-treated stainless steel which provides longevity and corrosion resistance. They are easy to take on and off with tight and adjustable straps.
Sample Customer Review… I got these a minute ago but finally made it to the mountains to use them. I was definitely impressed. I went on a 7-mile hike in the ice and snow. I live in Colorado so this time of year is treacherous. The last time I did this trail it was in the same icy conditions and it took me 4 hours to complete. Slipping and dying every other step. It was miserable. This time, in the same conditions, it took me 2 hours. I was climbing up the ice with no trouble at all, actually moving faster than my dog. On the way down, I jogged the entire way with no issues. Definitely a great buy and I’m happy to not be hindered anymore trying to hike during this winter weather. They’re very comfortable also, I don’t even feel them wrapped around my shoe. I was kind of worried they might feel bulky but I didn’t notice them.Read more at Amazon.com
10. Outdoor 360 Ice Cleats
The Outdoor 360 Ice Cleats has 19 steel spikes so you can easily navigate on snow and ice. There are welded double chains on each cleat for great traction. The lightweight elastic shell assists in protecting you from slipping or falling when walking, hiking, and other activity on snow and ice.
They go overshoes and boots effortlessly due to the stretchy rubber of the cleat. The rubber is created to be strong enough to handle tearing or breaking even in icy climates. The steel spikes won’t break or rust. The spikes and double link chains on these cleats are made out of stainless steel so they grip into the snow and ice firmly and last for a long time.
Sample Customer Review… I absolutely love these ice cleats. While we haven’t had much snow, what we did receive keeps softening during the day and freezing once the sun gets low. All the trails I usually walk are currently ice-covered. These are a dream. They are very secure on my hiking shoes even without the velcro straps. I used the size chart and the fit is accurate. Make sure there is no slack when you put them on your shoes. I find it easier to put on my shoes before when I don’t have them on. I have used them almost every day for the last two weeks. Well worth the money. The storage bag is a nice touch.Read more at Amazon.com
11. Uelfbaby Crampons
The Uelfbaby Crampons have 19 stainless steel spikes that can plow into multiple terrains. The steel chain can stop you from moving sideways and keep you safe. The high-quality steel spike and chain system offers amazing traction on many icy surfaces. The long-lasting elastic harness guarantees a firm hold on your shoe in cold temperatures.
It has an ergonomic plate system for additional spike strength. The cover is created out of silicone, which is very elastic and will not snap or tear. It has been tested to remain malleable to -60 degrees fahrenheit.
There is complete sole coverage on the heel and front of the crampons. It assists in continuing traction when you move. This product is available in five colors: black, carbon black, orange, dark black, and rose red.
Sample Customer Review… Had the pleasure of hiking in the snow later in the season (April) by Flagstaff AZ. While I do wish I had snowshoes instead (at a few 5ft deep parts I sank into) these cleats kept me from sliding. They stayed on the shoes well, I had great traction on shallow unpacked and packed (groomed) snow and I think they’ll work well for icy conditions as well. They studied enough that I felt comfortable leaving them on in patches without snow. I got the XL size which fit well on my 9.5 full sizes Oboz hiking boots.Read more at Amazon.com
12. STABILicers Walk Traction Cleat
The STABILicers Walk Traction Cleat have 24 tiny steel teeth that are located in groups across the bottom of the foot. The rubber body is convenient to step into and locks in once on a shoe or boot. It has sturdy rubber and the silhouette of the cleat is slender and packable.
The product comes in three colors: black, blue, and orange. It has several directions of heat-treated steel traction plates that are in the heel and front of the thermoplastic elastomer binding for complete surface contact. There is total sole coverage that offers 360 degrees of traction for various activities. It has high quality traction aids that are made to be tough and flexible in cold temperatures.
Sample Customer Review… My favorite ice cleats, and I have tried many types (I live in the Arctic Circle). These do not get caught on metal stairs, are not slippery on pavement/sidewalks (icy or not), stay on better than most (and if they do come off the bright blue makes them easy to locate, avoid black!!), and are some of the easiest to take on and off. My boots are size 10/10.5. My size L cleats are perfect. Love this product. They ARE slippery on linoleum floors!Read more at Amazon.com
13. YAKTRAX Walk
The YAKTRAX Walk sports zinc-plated COIL grippers high strength steel coils that are wrapped around rubber underneath the foot. It can prod into snow, ice, dirt, and rock. They are lightweight, packable, and easily slip on and off. It attaches easily to the shoe of your choice with its poly elastomer blend harness. It is made out of 70% recycled content.
Sample Customer Review… Just received my Yaktrax and returned from walking my dog. Am in love with them! We are having a brutal winter in ND with so much snow, ice, etc. I now feel safe when I head out for a walk and don’t feel like I am taking a chance on falling. The Yaktrax stretch on easily and quickly, fitting all my different pairs of boots, and grip the ice and snow so nicely. I wear a size 9 1/2 shoe and ordered the medium. So happy with this purchase!Read more at Amazon.com
14. ALPS Ice/Snow Grips
The ALPS Ice/Snow Grips have 10 tiny steel studs that bite into icy surfaces. They are lightweight and specially made to assist in hiking on packed snow or ice. It offers traction while being on ice, walking, and hiking. It is made out of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) and has anti-slip steel studs. It’s solid design makes it simple to store in tiny places and can be folded with ease. Also, they are available in small, medium, large, and extra large sizes.
Sample Customer Review… Very good product because in the season that the snow came and used to walk on the ice and have very good grip and especially are very durable I have used them for three times and they are still new, they are also very easy to put on any type of shoe that one is wearing.Read more at Amazon.com
15. Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats
The Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats fasten over the top of your shoe and are simple to put on. The cleats were created with 1.4 mm stainless steel coils and have rubber straps. They can be worn safely over your shoes for walking, hiking, or jogging on snow or ice.
Traction is offered by a shaped-edged coil style that gives unmatched stability on ice and snow, allowing users to move freely with the same balanced grip as on dry land.
There are multiple coil angles that give 360 degrees of traction on icy surfaces for control in all directions. Yaktrax Pro Traction cleats were tested in low temperatures (-41 degrees Fahrenheit) and can be worn in different environments. It is recommended to purchase one size up than your normal shoe size.
Sample Customer Review… First, let me say I have no financial interest in these. I just went for my first run in the Yaktrax. It was slushy and there was about 1 inch of snow on the sidewalks with some icy patches. The Yaktrax are rubber and metal contraptions you put over the soles of the shoe and are fastened with velcro. They function the way chains would on tires. I found that my grip was immensely improved. There was no slippage either going up snowy hills or down. I found that one of the hardest things about running in the snow had been the feeling of running in the sand where not all your momentum propelled you forwards. Not a problem with these bad boys. I intentionally ran downhill and jumped to a stop to see if I would skid on the snow and it was like jumping into the velcro. I was so surprised that I almost lost my balance. I was expecting to skid forward at least a bit. I have not yet tried them on areas I would consider to be hard ice yet. I had worried that it would be uncomfortable running on Yaktrax because it would feel like I was running on a thick wire the whole time but this was not the case at all. Friends, it’s going to be a long cold snowy slushy winter followed by an equally cold snowy slushy spring. I would encourage you to consider these.Read more at Amazon.com
16. Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro
The Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro is a wonderful ice traction device for intense winter adventures. It has ten spikes made out of heat-treated carbon steel. It has ratchet design bindings. There are two spikes that are one inch long and front pointing. They are hidden under the toe so you don’t realize that they’re there until it’s necessary. It has attached rubber and plastic plates to stop snow packing underneath the feet.
Sample Customer Review… When I bought these I had never worn crampons as I ad never winter hiked. I went to a local hiking shop and this guy was trying to convince me to spend almost $200 on crampons. These have now made 4 of the high peaks in the ADK. No balling of snow and no traction issues in the higher ice areas. My companion had “microspikes” and he had some balling issues but also struggle in the higher elevations with steeper ice. His advantage was in lower elevations where rocks and trails were slippery from a light snow cover I had to go with slippery books because these were uncomfortable out of ice or packed snow areas. I may get a pair of microspikes to carry when I do this again.Read more at Amazon.com
17. Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra
The Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra is a lighter version of the Hillsound Trail Crampon, containing longer spikes, which were found to be better for downhill inclinations. This product has more traction and resilience and comes with a two-year warranty and a bag, where you can store them while not using them. It contains velcro straps, double link chains, and a large heel space. Compared to the Hillsound Trail Crampon, because of its longer spikes, it gathers more snow in trails that are slushy. Snowballing happens in both products, however, because the Ultra version contains longer spikes, this can happen more often. Nonetheless, it is still a good pick for ice, mud, slush, and snow.
Sample Customer Review… I’m not just a hiker but a trail runner too, so I was concerned about how much these would or would not interfere with my gait. So far, having tried them on snow, mud, and pavement, I can tell you that, predictably, dry pavement is not a good experience. Well, duh. But on even the steepest trails and steeper off-trail slopes in snow or ice, I’ve now got total grip confidence and, yes, I can still run in them without too much interference. Yes — you feel them, but it doesn’t hamper the run experience once you’ve done a few steps to get used to it. As for mud: they helped tremendously with traction, but super-thick sloppy mud was still a bit tricky. Not sure what, if anything, would work better though. Also, unlike their more famous competitor in trail crampons, these seem much sturdier. The other brand’s spikes bent on my 2nd hike!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
18. Snowline Chainsen City
The Snowline Chainsen City weighs about 2.5 oz and contains six short spikes, which are distributed in a way that half of them are underneath the heel and the other half underneath the toes. These spikes are then attached to a stainless steel chain that has the shape of an “X”, supplying a good grip. The Snowline Chainsen City is meant more for casual walks in urban scenarios and is adaptable to fit in all kinds of shoes.
Sample Customer Review… I run trails year-round. When they are icy, I prefer to run in my 14-spike, full-foot SnowLine cleats, but they are bulky so I don’t always take them with me. The Snowline Chainsen City cleats are so compact–about the size of a coin purse!–that I can keep them in my running vest “just in case.” That is especially helpful in Spring when trails look dry at the trailhead, but higher elevations can be covered in ice.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing Crampons and Microspikes
Cold winters and snowstorms aren’t enough to stop some hikers from hiking. However, for these adventurers, investing in a pair of Crampons or Microspikes can be a good idea.
What are Microspikes and Crampons?
Microspikes and Crampons are essentials for winter hikers. They are considered winter traction devices that help those who enjoy winter activities stay safe in the cold weather. The main features of these two products are the winter spikes. These spikes help provide traction for slippery surfaces. These devices are supposed to be lightweight and easily pull over your boots, with the spikes penetrating hard ice and snow to avoid slipping and sliding on hikes.
Factors to consider
The first thing that must be considered is whether you want to purchase a Crampon or Microspike. The difference between Microspikes and Crampons come in price, maintenance, environment, difficult level, running, frame, and durability. In general, Crampons are used by those who have more experience while Microspikes are great for novices. For that reason, Crampons tend to be more expensive, harder to maintain, used in harsher environments, more difficult to use, harder to run in, and more durable. Microspikes work better with snow, with a mix of ice and rock. Crampons are more suitable for ice. While it is unsafe to use microspikes for climbing ice and steeper slopes, Crampons are specifically designed for these surfaces.
It is first important to decide which type of traction device suits your wants. Are you using it to go for easy hikes with the family? Or are you a competitive hiker who wants to scale difficult mountains? Before purchasing a winter traction device, it is first important to know which one suits you.
But even after deciding whether you want to purchase a Microspike or Crampon, there are other factors that must be considered.
The prices for these devices can go for as cheap as $20 to as high as nearly $100. It is important to recognize your own skill level to understand whether or not a more expensive device is worth the investment. It is important to realize that higher prices don’t always translate to higher quality. For that reason, it is important to read the Amazon reviews.
Some of these devices might suit certain types of people. Some brands may fit better than others depending on the size of your feet. It is important to know that when investing in a pair of Microspikes or Crampons, that it fits right and remains comfortable on your feet.
Microspikes and crampons are necessary for hiking in the snow and icy conditions. They permit you to move with ease, offer traction, and provide safety on icy hiking grounds. There are various options available for finding the best crampons and microspikes that are suitable for you. By having a traction device, it makes your next hiking experience a great and safe one.
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Written by Carolina Thompson and David Chu