Hiking during winter tends to be more challenging as compared to other seasons since most of the trails are fully covered in snow and ice. Attempting to trek with your normal hiking boots can lead to slips and falls, among other risks. And this is where ice cleats come in. Also known as ice grippers, these devices are attached to your hiking boots, thus improving traction and grip. They are great winter hiking companions, especially when most trails are slippery.
Apart from winter hiking, you can also use ice cleats to tackle rocky terrains as well as other tricky hiking trails. Ice grippers serve two main roles. First, they protect the hiker against serious injuries that might arise from slips and falls. Second, they protect the outsoles from serious weather conditions such as extreme cold. Cleats come with spikes, which dig through ice or snow to provide the much needed traction and stability during a hike. Here are the top 10 best ice grippers for winter hiking boots.
Best Ice Grippers For Winter Hiking Boots
1. STABILicers Walk Traction Ice Cleat and Tread for Snow, Ice, Attaches Over Shoes/Boots for Everyday Safety in Winter, Outdoor, Slippery Terrain
- Pair of robust traction cleats fit securely on any shoe or boot to reduce the risk of falls and increase safety when walking on snow and ice
- Multi-directional heat-treated steel traction plates are molded into the heel and forefoot of the stretch-to-fit thermoplastic elastomer binding for maximum surface contact
- Full-sole coverage provides 360 degrees of traction for everyday activities like walking the dog and shoveling the driveway
- High-performance traction aids are built to stand up to hard use and are tested to remain flexible in frigid temperatures, down to -45 degrees Fahrenheit
- Size large fits men’s shoe sizes 10.5-13 can be folded up and carried in a pack or purse; made in the USA; 90 day manufacturer’s warranty
If you love spending time outdoors during winter, then you can enjoy your day without worrying about the weather condition, thanks to these cleats. Whether you are shoveling snow or walking your dog, these cleats are just what you need to keep your feet stable. They are engineered with a stretch-to-fit tension system, which will provide a secure fit on your shoes. With these cleats, you can walk comfortably on snow or ice, regardless of its extent or depth.
Some cleats tend to be too heavy. Therefore, you end up feeling as if you are dragging the entire world on your feet. However, that is not the case with the STABILicers ice cleats. They are lightweight and easy to wear, thanks to the use of a Thermoplastic Elastomer, which supplies a flexible traction solution the entire day. Furthermore, these fit securely and easily over your winter boots. They are also easy to fold once you have finished using them. If you are looking for a great pair of cleats for hiking or walking, then you should consider these.
Once you fasten these cleats on your boots, you can walk confidently without worrying about injuries, since they have already been tested and approved as safe. They can endure freezing temperatures of up to -45 degrees. In addition, their aggressive treads prevent falling and slipping on pavements, snow or ice. When it comes to long-term reliability, durability, and exceptional performance, these will keep your feet stable on the ground, when you need them most.
2. Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats for Walking, Jogging, or Hiking on Snow and Ice
- Traction cleats that fit over shoes for safely walking, hiking, or jogging on packed snow or ice
- Made of high-strength, abrasion-resistant 1.4 mm stainless-steel coils and heavy-duty rubber; secured to shoes with durable rubber straps
- Provides 360 degrees of traction on cold surfaces for all-direction stability
- Durable rubber foot frame with removable over-foot strap ensures an excellent fit
- Tested safe from breakage in temperatures as low as -41 degrees F; available in S, M, L, and XL sizes to fit most shoes
If you are a hiker, walker or you are generally active during winter, then staying indoors is not an option. However, your ordinary pair of hiking or running boots cannot supply all the traction you need on ice or snow, and this is where these cleats come in. They are designed for heavy-duty use. Even when the snow and ice rises to the ankles, these cleats will always provide a firm footing on the ground, thanks to their multi-directional traction pattern.
With these cleats, chances of slipping and falling are non-existent. They come with removable performance straps, which run across the instep for a secure fit. Apart from that, they are easy to use, and highly flexible and highly durable. They are a great addition to mountaineering boots, hiking boots, or even sports shoes. Whenever you want to engage in active sports during winter, just strap these on your boots and do your thing.
These ice grippers for your shoes are abrasion-resistant. Therefore, even if you encounter challenging conditions outside, they will always maintain their shape and structure. They come equipped with stainless-steel coils, which cover the sole of your foot and dig into ice and snow to ensure you don’t slip or fall. Unlike other cleats, these have ample spacing between the coils, which prevents ice or snow from sticking or binding. And don’t expect these ice grippers to fall apart any time soon. They are created using natural rubber, which binds the devices together for enhanced strength and durability.
3. Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice
- Lightweight and affordable slip-on traction cleats to reduce the risk of falls when walking on snow or ice to work, school, or even to the mailbox
- Made of abrasion-resistant 1.2 mm steel coils with zinc coating to prevent rust; secured to shoes with durable Polyelastomer outer band
- Provides 360 degrees of traction on cold surfaces for all-direction stability
- Highly elastic outer band with heel tab slips easily slips on and off of shoes; perfect for pedestrians, professionals and the elderly
- Available in four sizes: X-Small (W2.5-6/M1-4.5); Small (W6.5-10, M5-8.5); Medium (W10.5-12.5, M9-11); Large (W13-15, M11.5-13.5)
Yaktrax is one of the most renowned brands when it comes to ice grippers. And with these cleats, you can now enjoy your favorite outdoor activity. These are among the best ice cleats for work boots, especially when you consider their excellent stability and traction. Unlike other cleats, these are rust-resistant. Even if you expose them to snow and ice for the entire winter season, you will not encounter any form of rusting on the steel used to make them. Apart from that, they cushion your movement whenever you are walking on hard floors.
Just like other ice cleats from this company, these come equipped with a flexible and lightweight textured polyelastomer, which stretches easily, to accommodate any footwear you are wearing. From running boots to muck boots, hiking boots to hunting boots, these cleats ensure stability when walking, regardless of the shoes, you are wearing. And as much as the rubber used has great flexibility, it’s highly durable. It will maintain its structure for several winters without losing its elasticity.
What makes these ice grippers stand out from the competition is their low profile, which makes them easy to walk with, even in deep ice or snow. Furthermore, the heel tabs, toe bridges, and outer bands, all work together to give you a secure and comfortable fit. Also, these cleats will keep you safe up to -410 F.
4. Limm Ice Traction Cleats Pro - Grips Quickly and Easily Over Footwear for Snow and Ice
- NO MORE WINTER INJURIES: These abrasion-resistant snow cleats can help you walk safely and confidently on snow or ice. Use these crampons on your casual walk and when you're hiking, mountaineering, or ice fishing.
- FULL PROTECTION: Has 10 non-rusting and ground-gripping metal studs that are made from stainless steel. The rubber membrane base is made from high quality thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) that can withstand extreme winter temperatures.
- DURABLE AND LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION: These ice cleats for shoes and boots can be stretched, folded, and stored. Roll and carry these crampons in your bag or purse.
- EASY ON AND OFF: Just slip them on over any footwear like shoes or hiking boots. Slide the front part of the shoe in, stretch to the heel. Remove them like any other type of shoes after use.
- MADE FOR EVERYONE: These crampons are for men, women, and even for kids. Prevent tripping or falling on snow and ice and have fun with all your planned winter activities.
Available in different fits and sizes, the Limm ice grippers are engineered to give you sure-footed balance even on slippery and unstable surfaces. Whether you are rushing to your office for a meeting, or you just want to grab some groceries from the store, these cleats will supply traction all through, giving you the stability you need to run your errands. Furthermore, their simplistic design makes them one of the best ice cleats for dress shoes, driving, and high heels. These cleats are equipped with 10 steel spikes, which will tear through ice thus preventing slips and falls.
Whether you are rushing to fetch the newspaper, shoveling ice outside your house or ice fishing, these cleats will significantly reduce risks of slipping or falling. You will also love how it is to take them on and off. Unlike other ice grippers that involve complex procedures, you just need to grab their strap and run it over the toe of your boots and then stretch it over the heel of your shoe. And you are done! The thermoplastic elastomer rubber used to connect the parts is highly flexible. But once you remove it, it will go back to its original size. Furthermore, these ice grippers are among the lightest you can buy today. In fact you will barely notice you are wearing them. Also, they can accommodate a wide range of shoes, thanks to their stretch-fit design. Whether you are wearing dress shoes, hiking boots, or winter boots, you just need to slide them over and proceed with your journey.
5. Ice Cleats Crampons Traction Snow Grips for Boots Shoes Women Men Kids Anti Slip 19 Stainless Steel Spikes Safe Protect for Hiking Fishing Walking Climbing Jogging Mountaineering
- Stronger and safer spikes: Featured 19 high quality stainless steel spikes per foot and firm chain system, providing excellent traction on a variety of terrain or other worst conditions, keep you safe and injury-free
- Durable and stretchy material: Made from thermoplastic elastomer(TPE),5mm thicker than ordinary rubber,till strong performance under -45°C.Easy to put on&off with adjustable strap.Won't tear or snap,ensure long lasting comfort and durability
- Widely used and unisex: Suitable for male and female of any age including teenagers,adult,elders. Used on angled terrain,ice roads,icy driveway,mud and wet grass,dangerous sections of trail,etc.Great for trail running,hiking,and ice fishing
- Flexible and pocket size: Suitable for various kinds of sports,hiking shoes,boots,mountaineering boots. The strap ensures more comfort and safety.Portable and lightweight,can be put into the carry bag included and will not take up much space
- Note:The "L" mark on crampons means size "Large", not meaning "Left". There is no Left or Right difference for crampons products. If you do not know how to wear it, please check the last picture for your reference.
If you are planning to go hiking, fishing, or backpacking in snowy, muddy or icy conditions, then you should get yourself a pair of these cleats. Also, you can use them to clear the driveway when it’s filled with snow. Featuring 19, sturdy, stainless steel spikes, these cleats are designed to provide excellent traction on slippery conditions or tricky terrain. They will keep your feet firm on the ground while preventing injuries that result from slipping or sliding. They are made of durable stretchy material, which performs exceptionally well in cold conditions. Regardless of frequent, you use them, you will not experience any premature tearing or snapping, due to their sturdy material.
These ice cleats for winter boots, come with adjustable straps, making them easy to slip on and off. Also, they are unisex. They can be used by both men and women, including elders, teenagers, the youth and adults. Also, these ice cleats are exceptionally versatile. You can use them on icy roads, muddy terrain, snowy driveways, dangerous sections of a trail or wet grass. And regardless of where you use them, they will always ensure you have adequate traction. Suitable for a wide range of mountaineering boots, sports shoes or hiking shoes, these ice cleats are equipped with Velcro straps, which supply additional safety and comfort. Furthermore, they are lightweight and portable. You can fold them and insert them in your hiking bag, and they will not consume a lot of space. Besides that, they will not interfere with your movement in any way.
Ice Cleats for Winter Hiking Boots Buying Guide
If you are an outdoor enthusiast who loves to hike during winter, then you will agree that ice grippers are an essential part of your trekking gear. Ice cleats provide safety, stability and comfort when you are hiking or walking on tricky surfaces such as those filled with ice or snow. Therefore, purchasing the best ice grippers for your unique needs should be your main priority. Here are some factors to consider when buying ice grippers for winter hiking.
Before purchasing ice cleats, you first need to consider the environment you intend to use them as well as the conditions you are likely to encounter. You also need to factor in the terrain. Having that knowledge will help you to choose the right pair of ice grippers for maximum safety and comfort. Ice cleats are usually designed for snow walking, general mountaineering, technical mountaineering, as well as mixed climbing. Mixed climbing or waterfall ice cleats usually have a semi-rigid construction, featuring steel modular vertical front points. Most of the cleats in this category come with 14 points or more. Their design is usually a hybrid or step-in.
Ice grippers designed for general mountaineering come with a semi-rigid framework. Some are equipped with a strap-on feature, which is similar to snow walking cleats. Most ice grippers for general mountaineering feature 12 points. On the other hand, ice grippers designed for technical mountaineering are meant for hiking on icy surfaces, glacial areas or terrains with heavy snow. They can also be used for hiking on frozen falls or in areas with icy water bodies. These are equipped with stainless steel materials to ensure high levels of reliability, sturdiness, as well as longevity. Technical mountaineering ice cleats feature a semi-rigid structure as well as fixed horizontal front points. Most of them have a strap-on, step-in or hybrid design, with approximately 12 points.
Snow walking ice cleats are among the most common. You can use them in a wide range of applications. They are the ideal ice grippers for walking in snowy terrain. They feature a center base, and they are designed to strap on your hiking boot. Similar to technical mountaineering cleats, these also come with stainless steel components. However, others are made of aluminum, for lightweight movement. Snow walking crampons come with 8 to 10 points, since they are not designed for thick snow.
As noted above, ice cleats come with frames made of steel, stainless steel or aluminum. Steel cleats are ideal for general mountaineering. They are highly durable, which makes them great for the steep, technical and icy terrain that you will encounter in mountainous surfaces. On the other hand, stainless steel crampons are corrosion-resistant. Aluminum ice grippers are meant for alpine climbing, ski mountaineering or other applications that require you to be light on your feet. However, aluminum cleats tend to wear faster than those made of steel. Therefore, when you are buying ice cleats, you should first consider the hiking terrain and then choose the frame accordingly.
You also need to consider frame alignment when buying the best ice cleats for your shoes. Some years back, you could come across ice cleats with vertically aligned frames. Such ice grippers were meant for double plastic hiking boots. However, winter hikers have moved from double plastic boots to insulated flexible boots. Therefore, modern ice cleats come with horizontal frames. Horizontally aligned frames are flexible. They allow you to move with ease, even when you encounter areas with deep snow. And since horizontal frames flex during movement, they bring your feet closer to the ground, thus enhancing your stability. Horizontal bars are also efficient when it comes to snow repulsion as compared to vertical bars.
You should also note that the material used for the frames will also affect the overall weight of the cleats. Aluminum frames tend to be the lightest. However, they are not as durable as those made of steel. They will wear out faster. Therefore, if you purchase aluminum cleats for winter hiking, then you should stay away from terrains with rocky surfaces. On the other hand, if the cleats are made of long-lasting steel, they can comfortably handle a wide range of terrains, without premature wear and tear.
As much as you might still come across rigid and hinged ice cleats, the majority of the modern ones are semi-rigid. After all, with the advancements in technology, there is no point of wearing rigid cleats, since they will significantly slow you down and curtail your maneuvers. On the other hand, semi-rigid ice cleats come with the advantage of a superior performance, even when using them in different environments and terrains. Apart from that, semi-rigid ice grippers are highly versatile. They are flexible enough to be used for winter hiking, yet sturdy enough to handle the rigors that come with moderate ice climbing.
Some models allow the user to adjust the linking bar, which means you can easily convert them from a semi-rigid design to a flexible one, thus making them more comfortable for winter hiking. Also, with that adjustment, there are minimal chances of them filling up with snow. Another advantage of semi-rigid models is that it’s easier to adjust them as compared to old rigid configurations. Furthermore, semi-rigid designs are compatible with a wide range of winter hiking boots shapes. For instance, if your winter hiking boot is highly curved, then you can purchase an asymmetrical center bar, which will provide a better fit. You also have the option of using a flex or longer center bar based on the type and size of your hiking boots. However, you also need to note that when you are purchasing semi-rigid ice grippers, you get both the left and the right versions.
Ice cleats attach to hiking boots through three types of binding – hybrid, step-in, and strap-on. Therefore, ensure you choose your attachment style carefully since the fabric and extra rubber can interfere with the fit. A strap-on design is ideal for boots such as mountaineering boots, insulated winter boots, overboots, approach shoes, as well as regular hiking boots. Strap-on crampons come with nylon webbing straps, combined with flexible plastic cages, which run from the heel to the toe. Strap-on ice cleats are designed for supplying traction when hiking in non-technical terrains or when you are hiking using non-conventional winter hiking footwear such as snowboarding shoes or approach boots. Despite providing a secure fit, you should not wear ice cleats with a strap-on design on technical terrain, since there might be some movement or slipping, leading to loss of traction. In such situations, a hybrid or a step-in design would be more appropriate.
Hybrid ice grippers are also known as semi-automatic. They are a blend of step-in crampons and strap-on crampons. They come with a strap-style toe, which combines with a cable heel piece and a lever, to give you a secure fit. These ice cleats are designed for boots with heel groove or a stiff sole, to secure the heel lever in position. They can handle technical hiking and alpine climbing since they don’t require a welt. These ice cleats are also great for winter hiking and general mountaineering.
If you are looking for ice cleats that can handle technical mountaineering, ski mountaineering, mixed climbing and vertical ice climbing, then you should consider those that come with a step-in design. These are equipped with a cable heel piece and a lever, which you can adjust to obtain a tight fit. Once you have secured these cleats on your hiking boots, the movement will be negligible, which means you can rely on them to provide all the traction you need. You might also come across some step-in ice grippers that have an ankle strap. However, the ankle strap is just an aesthetic addition, since it doesn’t add anything to these cleats.
Most ice cleats come with 10 or 12 points. However, ensure you check the position of the points before buying ice grippers. For maximum traction, they should be positioned beneath the instep. Also, they should follow the contours of the boot. Some boots come with as high as 18 points, depending on their application. Ice cleats feature various frontal point configurations. Some of the configurations include dual point, mono-point, modular points and horizontal points.
Horizontal points are designed for glacier travel, standard mountaineering, and alpine hiking. The two horizontal points are located at the front. They facilitate trekking through snow as well as well as areas with moderate to steep slopes. The two frontal horizontal points are usually built into the cleats. You will also come across cleats with vertical points. These are meant for mixed climbs and steep waterfalls. They slip effortlessly into cracks. Furthermore, vertical points are removable and replaceable.
Points can be either modular or non-modular. Modular points are adjustable while non-modular points are fixed. When it comes to modular front points, it’s easy to reconfigure them or replace them, depending on where you intend to go hiking. If you will be doing plenty of climbing, then you should replace the points. As much as you cannot replace the non-modular points, you can sharpen them to provide a deeper dig on the surface. However, due to regular sharpening, the points eventually get shorter at some point, which means you will replace the entire set of cleats. Ice cleats with non-modular points are screw-less. Therefore, they only require minimal maintenance. Cleats with more points offer more traction and grip.
Hiking boots and ice cleats compatibility is vital for safety and performance. Your winter hiking boots will determine the options available when it comes to the binding styles. For instance, if you want to use ultralight strap-on ice cleats, then you will have to use them with ultralight hiking boots. Some of the factors to consider are the type of your boot, the activities you have planned during your hike, the flexibility, as well as the weight you will be carrying. If your boots are highly flexible but they lack toe welts, then you might consider purchasing a new pair of boots, if you intend to hike in technical terrains. On the other hand, if you will spend the entire time of your hike walking, then you should opt for non-technical options such as strap-on ice grippers. It’s also advisable to match the flexibility of your hiking boots with the flexibility of the ice cleats. If you are not sure which option will work best with your footwear, then you should go for ice grippers with a strap-on system. A strap-on system is compatible with most types of winter hiking boots.
Ice Grippers Care and Maintenance
By the end of the hike, your ice grippers will have experienced plenty of abuse. Therefore, if you want to use them for a long period, then it’s advisable to keep them in great condition. First, you should inspect the bindings. Check if there are any loose rivets or screws and tighten them accordingly. You should also replace any worn out buckles and straps. Second, you should sharpen your crampons after every use. You just need a hand file to sharpen them. Avoid using a grinding wheel, since it will generate heat as it sharpens them – eventually weakening the metal. Also, ensure you straighten all the bent points. Always ensure your cleats are clean and dry before storing them. And most importantly, ensure you store them in a padded case, to protect yourself from their sharp points.
Ice cleats or ice grippers are highly reliable traction devices, which are designed to keep you safe and stable when you are walking on tricky or slippery surfaces such as those filled with ice or snow. They come with sharp spikes, which dig into the surface, thus improving the traction of your boots. Apart from that, they are made of sturdy materials. Therefore, you can storm through snow, ice or rocky terrain, without worrying about slipping hazards. If you love hiking during the off-season, then it’s highly advisable to arm yourself with a quality pair of ice cleats. And if you want to be standing extra firmly, then you may even want to include a trekking pole in your inventory as well.