Sturdy and reliable crampons attached to your climbing shoes are your best friend if you’re passionate about climbing, especially on icy slopes. Though crampons are known to have been used by the Vikings between 800-1100 AD, they were first designed for professional use in 1908 by Oscar Eckenstein, a British rock climbing enthusiast and mountaineer who revolutionized the field of mountain-climbing gear, making the sport easier and safer.
To help you find the right pair, here is our list of the 12 best crampons you can buy.
The Best Crampons
This pair of crampons comes bundled with an HDO Sport cooling towel, and it is specially designed to be versatile for moderate terrain and technical climbs that you would find in the Alps and Cascade Mountains.
These crampons are constructed from rust-proof stainless steel, making them sturdy, reliable, and durable. These 12-point crampons have three different configurations (Pro, Clip, and Strap) that allow them to be paired with any mountain boots. The design is lightweight yet tough, and they feature a front-rail rocker that’s ideal for modern mountain boots.
When you’re tackling icy steps, the horizontally placed front points can give directional security during ascent. The mid and rear points, on the other hand, provide strength and stability during descent and on low-angled terrain. Also, you’ll find them very easy to put on, though they do require boots with rear welt. The sizes available are 36 to 46.
These crampons are great for use on packed snow, black ice, partially covered trails, and icy pavement. They’re a lot lighter than others in their class and weigh a mere 16 ounces each. The 18 half-inch rust-proof stainless steel spikes are fastened to an elastomer harness that syncs easily with hiking boots, trail running shoes, and even soft-soled footwear. The harness is highly tear-resistant, and it stays pliable even in sub-zero temperatures.
These crampons are ideally designed for use on flat or low angled terrain, and they are almost like wearing snow-tire chains on your feet. You’ll find them very easy to wear, even without prior experience or practice.
The larger sized heel plate of these crampons provides excellent traction and stability during descent and trail running. The spikes are extremely durable and can take a lot of rough use, requiring minimal maintenance. An added advantage is the Velcro strap that keeps them securely fastened, making them a great asset for every hiker. The company also offers a two-year warranty.
Ideal for winter hiking and backpacking, these ultra-light crampons are fitted with 10 spikes that are designed to work on moderately angled snowy terrain and general mountaineering.
The asymmetrical 3D stamping all over them provides extra strength and grip, while the patented Grivel AntiBott anti-balling plates prevent snow from balling up underfoot. The binding is excellent for almost any kind of boot shape, and it is effortless to use, especially when your fingers are chilled. You can replace the plates quite easily without using complicated tools or equipment, and that’s a handy feature when you’re up on a mountainside all alone.
The binding system of this product is made up of thermoplastic cradles fastened with a strap, and the quick-release heel clip and sprung adjustment bar make for easy fitting and removal. However, you’ll need to use a B2 or B3 boot; otherwise, the heel clamp may press through the leather.
These crampons are designed for general use and walking. Don’t try them on angled terrain because the second points are almost vertically aligned. Also, the size and weight make them ideal if you have slightly smaller feet.
If you’re looking for flexible, ultra-light hiking crampons, these are an excellent choice. Though they’re expensive, you get superior performance, reliability, and durability.
These no-fuss crampons are designed for adventure seekers and hikers alike. They are also designed for use with soft-soled shoes, making them a great choice for the spring thaw season as trails suddenly turn slushy, and you could encounter lingering ice on higher altitudes.
The Kahtoola KTS’s are very flexible and can bend in any direction, without taking on structural stress that can break other crampons. This dynamic adaptive traction system syncs well with the natural movement of your feet in soft-soled shoes.
The binding system is one of the best for trail runners. It has an adjustable leaf spring, front webbing straps, and an ankle/heel strap that keeps them flexible, secure, and stable.
Although a great product, these crampons need some looking after. You have to wipe them dry after use, or you may find rust spots.
Great to wear with your Gore-tex hiking boots.
If you’re looking for excellent quality at an affordable price, these crampons will fit the bill. These outdoor footwear traction cleats are versatile enough to use while walking, hiking, or running.
These crampons are manufactured from premium-grade, high-quality rubber that is long-lasting, non-aging, and recyclable. Aside from protecting you, the 19 stainless steel spikes and chain also provide stability for all kinds of winter outdoor activities. The firm anti-skid cleats help maintain balance, enabling you to stay grounded on slippery ice and uneven terrain. Best of all, they’re compatible with all kinds of footwear, including hiking boots, sports shoes, snowshoes, and many more. They are also very easy to put on and take off.
The MoKo crampons are available in a variety of standard men’s and women’s sizes.
Here’s a high-tech 12-point solution for use on steep ice and mixed technical routes, and they are a great fit for both hard and soft boots.
Designed for the serious climber, the BLACK DIAMOND Cyborg Pro Crampons come with two vertical front-points that can be replaced easily. It is a great performer on all kinds of ice.
They’re made of lightweight stainless steel that provides strength, durability, and rust protection, while also preventing snowballing. The front points are hooded and adjustable, which is excellent for vertical ice and dry tooling. They can be set up for both single and double points and are compatible with most boots and climbing shoes.
While they’re on the heavy side, weighing 1,120 grams, they also have useful anti-balling plates and a micro-adjustment clip on the heel clip for super grip and fit, helping you to negotiate on both ice and frozen grass. Also, the company offers a one-year warranty against defects.
You’ll love the walking-on-air-feel of these lightweight crampons. Weighing just 360 grams, the Petzl Leopard LLF Crampon is probably the lightest available aluminum crampons. So, if you need to drop some weight from your hiking kit, these are your best friends.
These crampons are extremely versatile, and you can take them along for most of your winter outdoor activities, such as hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering. The best part is that you won’t feel the exhaustion of carrying those extra kilos.
These 10-point crampons have strap bindings that provide excellent grip and traction when they’re attached to your regular boots. The self-adjusting strap around the ankle feels sturdy and supportive. Instead of the regular metal bar that connects the front and back of a crampon, these have patented Cord-Tec nylon, making them lighter and easier to pack in their protective carry-bag.
You could wear them with your hunting boots if you like hunting in winter.
These 11-point crampons are from Black Diamond, the company that has been in the business of climbing and skiing equipment since 1957. What’s unique about this company is that the owners are passionate about climbing and skiing themselves.
The Stinger range of lightweight stainless steel crampons are designed for use on steep ice and mixed routes but don’t perform too well on moderate slopes. They align well with the design of modern boots between sizes 36 and 46, and they weigh 960 grams.
You’ll find these crampons comfortable and secure on mountain terrain or high-angle rock or ice. The durable ASB/Anti-Bot plates prevent balling and provide great shock-absorption and traction for low-angled rock-climbing, where precision and accuracy are essential.
Perfect to wear with your waterproof hiking boots.
These crampons are the right choice for hiking, walking, ice-fishing, and moderate climbing. Don’t let the fact that they’re manufactured in China put you off. The quality is excellent for the price. They are made of durable, sturdy manganese steel, and they sync with almost all standard shoe sizes. The strap and binding system are very flexible, and they come in a handy carry-bag that’s easy to handle.
You’ll find them perfect for steep terrain as they have excellent grip and offer stability and security while not dragging you down with excess weight. Another advantage is that if you’re venturing into mountaineering, they’re a great starter/trainer accessory to give you the confidence you need before you scale higher peaks.
These 12-point crampons are designed for general mountaineering and glacier travel, and they are manufactured from tough, durable Chromoly steel. They also come with a convenient storage carry case that ensures the spikes don’t tangle with your other gear.
The nylon binding system and straps of these crampons are easy to fasten on a variety of boots, ranging from heavy-duty hiking shoes and boots to your winter mountain boots, and lighter snow boots. The dual-point configuration has 10 additional points for traction on angled climbs.
These crampons are a great asset when you’re climbing across snow and ice or steep terrain with 45-degree inclines. They also have a dynamic anti-bot feature that prevents snow from balling up under your feet or sticking. They’re on the heavy side, weighing in at 948 grams, but they are very tough and durable. They are equipped with a long-lasting thermoplastic heel that makes them an excellent choice for recreational hikers and mountaineers.
Designed for the serious climber, the Cassin Alpinist is an advanced technical crampon for vertical ice-climbing. They give you superb grip and stability, almost like having ice picks embedded in your boot.
The two-piece construction of this product is different from the regular three-piece configuration that you find on other crampons. You get extra precise fit with most of the available modern boots, and the extra rigidity between heel-toe platforms makes you feel secure. The heel-toe platform has a unique patented heel slide that meshes well with the micro-adjustable linking-bar, giving you perfect torsional rigidity.
These crampons are manufactured from high-quality Chromoly steel that provides extra shock-absorption at the stress points. Also, you have a choice between auto or semi-auto toe-bails that can help them to sync well with a variety of boots and sporting conditions.
These multi-use, 12-point, tempered steel crampons are intended for the experienced climber. They are designed especially for traversing long patches of ice, ridges, snow couloirs, and moderate inclines.
When you’re crossing hard, packed snow, the horizontal front points can give you excellent grip and purchase. They have a relatively thinner frame that reduces their weight down to between 810 and 875 grams based on the style you choose. You also get a choice of binding systems that allow you to attach them to shoes or boots.
These crampons feature a patented Antisnow system that prevents annoying and dangerous snow build-up underfoot, even in knee-deep snow. Plus, they have low-profile plates that obstruct sticky snow and don’t allow balling without getting in the way of the points.
Manufactured by the reputed Petzl company that has a vast range of climbing products, these crampons can help you maintain a connection with the ground you’re on. You’ll find them easy to put on and take off, even with frozen fingers, without the need for tools.
The point lengths of these crampons are intelligently set to reduce the stilt effect while climbing and walking, making you feel more stable and secure. The non-bulky binding system consists of nylon webbing straps that keep the heel and toe pieces firmly in place without pinching in the sides. They are an excellent fit for shoe sizes 36 to 46.
Crampons Buying Guide
Crampons are useful when you’re ascending iced-over waterfalls or icy rocks or even just walking in the snow and ice where the risk of slipping is extremely high.
Crampons are available in various styles, configurations, grades, and the number of points, and you can choose a model based on the kind of terrain you propose to conquer. They are rated on their flexibility and how much support they can give. Lower ratings are for sports like backpacking, while the higher ones are for technical mountaineering and Alpine ice climbing. Special ski mountaineering crampons are also available for use on hard ice and snow. Some crampons are attached to regular snowshoes to avoid slipping and sliding while walking or running on ice-covered surfaces.
Modern crampons are a far cry from the bulky, heavy attachments that they were in earlier times. Today, thanks to advances in materials, manufacturing techniques, and design technology, they’re lighter in weight, and you can get a perfect fit. They’re also becoming highly specialized according to the activity. Some are manufactured from steel, stainless steel, or aluminum, with rigid or semi-rigid construction and strap-on or step-in binding.