Best Ice Grippers for Shoes and Boots Reviewed
Ice grippers, otherwise known as crampons or cleats, offer many benefits. They come in different shapes, designs, and sizes to suit various intents and purposes. Unlike winter hiking boots, ice grippers for shoes offer better and reliable traction. Additionally, you can use them on your many boots with you already, without having to buy new hiking boots because of damage.
Crampons offer many benefits, and some versions are what people use to navigate the toughest of terrains. Sadly, some manufacturers have taken advantage of these products' popularity, making sub-standard cleats. Therefore, in this review of the best ice grippers for shoes, we separate the wheat from the chaff, so that you can get a worthwhile purchase. Some options are very affordable, designed to be used a few times, and then discarded.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
Quick on/off design
Top 10 Ice Grippers
1. STABILicers MAXX 2
Quick on/off design
These sturdy ice gripping sole cleats provide unsurpassed traction on snow, ice, or even mud. Some terrains can be tough to go through, but with the STABILicers MAXX 2, it’s literally a walk in the park. The 34 casehardened cleats bite into the slickest snow or ice, giving serious traction.
You can find these ice grippers for shoes used by military, police, rescue professionals, and many others. Understandably, they are applicable in many types of terrains to find them applied so diversely. When braving harsh winter conditions is part of the job, the MAXX 2 makes it a little easier to navigate.
Thanks to the Velcro fasteners, you can attach them to your favorite boots or shoes fast and easy. When one of the cleats deteriorates, rather than throwing the ice grippers as a whole, you can replace them by ordering new ones from the manufacturer. They also offer an option of brass cleats, which are softer and non-sparking.
The sole is made of rubber, which is flexible. This property makes it easy to apply these crampons to many sorts of shoes without sliding. The rubber is also foldable, and you can fold it to fit a small bag. Instead of chains supporting most grippers, the straps are made of rubber, making the MAXX 2 supper light.
2. Unigear Traction Cleats
Ergonomic plate system
Carry bag included
For snow only
These snow spikes are worth every penny, managing to overcome most shortcomings by their competitors. Some options aren’t large enough, making them useless in the snow, while others are just too expensive for nothing. Unigear manages to suit most people by having an excellent design and premium materials.
The chances of slipping and falling over in the snow are significantly reduced because of the 18 or 13 spikes on either cleat, measuring ½ inch long. These hardened stainless steel spikes dig deep into icy terrain, offering maximum traction. The double reinforced eyelets also add on to the overall durability.
The elastomer harnesses, made of TPE, stay supple and flexible in frigid temperatures. Additionally, the elastomer bands are anti-abrasive, and the edges are thickened so that they don’t tear easily. The hook and loop mechanism makes it easy to get them on or off your shoes.
You can choose a pair from either orange or black. These crampons are also conspicuous because of how they are held in place with chains. The only issue is that the spikes are so long and sharp, so you have to remove them in most pathways. Nevertheless, hiking a steep snowy mountain or weaving through an icy driveway couldn’t be easier with the Unigear traction cleats.
3. Limm Crampons
Multiple size options
Rolls to size
This unique pair of cleats will prevent you from slipping and hurting yourself in the snow. Another stand out feature is how they have many fixed-size options, rather than having adjustability in general. You first outfit the front part of the shoe and adjust the back end. Tightening straps are also included for and even more secure fit.
You have the option of big spikes, excellent for the thickest snow and standard: suitable for most terrains. The design ensures full foot coverage, as you slip the Limm cleats over your footwear in seconds. Either option rolls up into a super small size, to put in the convenient carry bag included or in your pockets.
The ten heavy-duty steel studs offer excellent traction on very slippery surfaces. The multiple size options make it perfect for professionals, pedestrians, the young and elderly as well. These high-quality cleats keep you out of harm’s way in winter terrain.
4. EnergeticSky Ice Cleat
Patented silicone design
These gorgeous pair of ice cleats from EnergeticSky are suitable for ice fishing, winter trail hiking, and even fishing. The 19-multi directional spikes provide excellent traction on icy surfaces. The strategic placements of the spikes ensure uniform distribution, providing durability, comfort, and balance.
The robust spikes are abrasion resistant and held together by a sturdy stainless steel welding chain. You can confidently walk on wet, icy paths because the materials used are also rust-resistant. The treads in conjunction with cleats prevent slipping on smooth terrains.
Rather than the usual TPR rubber found in most ice grippers for shoes, EnergeticSky uses silicone, which won’t tear easily when compared. Additionally, the silicone fabric is lighter and still maintains its plasticity in up to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s not all; you can mold the crampon better thanks to the silicone, making it fit most shoes and easy to store by folding it more.
With these crampons on, you can go about your day-to-day activities confidently with the snow or ice under your feet. You can get a pair in three different sizes and in black or orange.
5. Uelfbaby Crampons
Varying spikes options
There’s more to these crampons than just giving you the ability to walk on snowy or slippery terrain comfortably. With as many as 19 spikes on each gripper, you can dig deep into the ground and feel firmly engraved into it. There’s also an option with 13 spikes, for when the conditions are more forgiving.
The wide spike and strong chain connection ensure that these crampons won't wobble, let alone slip off your shoe when positioned. The seamless welding and double chain design lead to enhanced traction. The compact, ergonomic plate system design also adds on to their dependability, in terms of stability.
The TPE rubber is superbly elastic and doesn’t snap easily under high tensile strengths. The aggressive traction and heavy-duty materials make these crampons superior. You don’t have to take our word for it: instead, use and abuse them for a whole year without fault. If they miss the mark, simply return them to Uelfbaby, and they will give you a full refund.
6. Kahtoola MICROspikes
Suits varying footwear
Multiple size options
These award-winning (backpackers editor’s choice 2012 award) crampons have a grippy, durable, easy to slip-on traction system. Ever since the brand won the prize, little has changed from the strategically laced stainless steel spikes to the tough elastomer shoe harness connecting the dynamic flex chain. With all that’s going for it, you can get a pair and walk comfortably over any slippery, snowy, or icy terrain.
The Kahtoola also stand out by how easy and seamlessly they fit over shoes or boots designed for their size. They don’t require straps or buckles seen in most of their competitors. Their reputation precedes them, as seen from the multiple positive reviews. You can take advantage of the two-year warranty if in doubt.
These grippers are durable and lightweight, featuring ten tungsten carbide spikes on either side. The 3/8 inches long spikes, bite into icy surfaces, giving you optimum levels of balance. With such minuscule lengths, you won’t lose your balance, as seen in those with longer spikes variations. The chains don’t jangle, and you can maintain a natural stride over multiple terrains.
Easy to lace
Not for mountaineering
These grippers are widely used by runners, hikers, walkers, and winter athletes to reduce the chances of falling. The ten gripping points ensure you have a natural stride. The abrasion-resistant stainless steel spikes, fill the bottom of your shoe to bite the ice.
Multiple coil angles on the carbide-steel spikes combine to offer all-around traction on snow and ice surfaces. Natural rubber, which is stronger and more durable than alternative materials, holds the device together. The square-shaped welded links bite into the ice while being resilient in abusive conditions.
It also has impact nubs, strategically located in high-wear areas, to add on to its durability. These grippers are so easy to place, by directly hooking the straps over your shoe toe area, and stretching it over the sole, locking them in place. The ladder pattern design on the chains ensures heel to toe traction, maintaining a low profile to ensure user comfort and balance.
Easy on & off
Patented chain design
Few size options
These tire chains have individually welded case hardened square steel links. The TIG-welded chains are arranged in unique ladder patterns under the ball of the foot and triangular on the heel to ensure a stable footing, comfortable for extended wear. You get this and much more at an affordable price too.
The ladder pattern design also gives you more stability because of the low profile, as the square-shaped links aggressively bite into the ice. The black rubber sling is flexible, even in subzero temperatures, to clamp the gripper onto your shoe and for easy storage.
The designers of these grippers for shoes borrow from high-end tire chains found in cars. With their expertise, every detail of the chain, cables, and studs are carefully scrutinized, to ensure you are primed to take on slippery terrains, just like a monster truck. By using said principles, you can comfortably tackle different conditions adequately.
Fits most footwear
Carry bag included
Easy to store
Climbing, walking, running on icy terrain couldn’t be easier, thanks to the 18 high-quality stainless steel spikes on the Leanking ice grippers for shoes. The thick TPE band holding everything together can withstand extreme weather, up to -49 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thickened TPE is anti-tearing and anti-abrasion while remaining super flexible throughout. The Velcro straps are of the best quality, guaranteed to deliver, through many cycles of opening and closing. In addition, it grips tight onto the shoe, without it being undone easily over all manner of terrain. When not in use, you can fold it to pocket sizes for easier storage and portability.
The heat-treated heavy-duty stainless steel teeth (12 at the forefoot and 6 at the heel) offer excellent traction. Each wide heel plate has three spikes on the sides for better traction on slopes. They are corrosion resistant and long-lasting. You can take advantage of the 1-year warranty to confirm the claims.
10. Hillsound Trail
Easy to use
Multiple terrain usability
Sizing issues reported
These Crampons are lightweight and durable, making them suitable for use in multiple terrains. Not only are they ideal for winter shoes, but they also work just as well for hiking and trail running shoes. The small (18 in number) stainless steel spikes significantly reduce the chances of slipping on most fathomable surfaces.
The elastomer harness guarantees a secure fit for all types of footwear. Additionally, the harness manages to maintain its flexibility in extreme temperatures. The hook-and-loop straps also make it easy to place on most shoes.
They are much lighter than conventional crampons, and you can easily carry them when not in use. There’s also a convenient heavy-duty nylon carry bag included. All 18 spikes are evenly distributed for aggressive traction while reducing wear on either side. The hill plate is wider than usual and has three spikes on the side for enhanced downhill traction.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Find a pair of snow cleats appropriate to your situation.
Even though ice grippers for shoes serve more or less the same purpose, there are different models, one better suited to a particular environment than another is. Cleats with long spikes are better suited to surfaces that are drenched in thick snow. Models with chains are better suited for people who would love to take a stroll on the snow or ice.
When winter comes, you should seek out something that will improve your footing, rather than adding to your troubles. It is advisable to know the different types, so you don’t waste your hard-earned money, buying cleats you cannot use. By choosing one of the different variations of cleats (chain or spikes) in this review, you will have a better platform to continue having a near-natural stride in wintertime.
Your selection of cleats primarily depends on your particular needs. Consider the frequency and location of usage. If you were to use the crampons more frequently, then durability should be your primary concern. Considering such factors will enable you to make a worthwhile investment. There is no need to buy equipment that will soak up dust on the shelves at a high price.
Some manufacturers in this list offer two options, a lighter version, and a tougher one that’s sturdier. How you integrate your chosen gadget to your regimen and environment are the most important factors to consider.
Spiked cleats aggressively penetrate the ice, to provide reliable traction. Cleats with carbide spikes are more durable compared to those made of steel but cost much more. When it comes to versatility, some options featured here have removable spikes. You can tread on an ice-free surface much better without the spines.
Some models featured here also have studs or screws in the bottom for grip. Even though the initial cost is higher, in the end, it is much cheaper. The reason for this is that you can replace the studs, rather than discard the cleats in their totality after the usual degradation over time.
Evaluate the best grip for you, based on the activities you are engaging in.
When looking for the best ice grippers for shoes, it is imperative that you know what you are looking for. Numerous metal spikes provide enhanced grip on slippery surfaces, improving on your stride. Chains let you move around the neighborhood or workplace with ease, without necessarily having to remove them in a communal scene. For that reason, it is not advisable to invest in heavy-duty brands, best suited for hiking or mountain climbing if you in such situations.
Most athletes who probably look forward to taking their regular runs, regardless of the climate, or say individuals who are passive hikers, are probably don’t need some heavy-duty artillery. Comfort and versatility of where the chains are used should come first to such people since they won’t be undertaking a painstaking trip to the peak of a mountain.
For the average Joe, sought out a pair that will fit most of your winter boots. The upper structure of the cleats should be easy to install on the protrusions of your shoes while securing them rigidly. A suitable pair should have good composition, enabling you to walk on inclined, flat, and slippery surfaces effortlessly. Ice cleats feature either micro-spikes or Nano-spikes. The larger and more numerous the spikes, the more traction you get.
Models designed for walking or running in the snow are different for those meant for hiking or climbing. The latter usually has traction on not only the bottom, but on the front, back, and sides. With such ample gripping points, you can navigate variable terrain much better. You could use those meant for hiking to walk, but they are usually heavier than road types.
Seasons come and go, but you need cleats that are dependable when you need them.
Worthy ice grippers for shoes should be able to take the wear and tear for many years. This characteristic should be obvious, but lately, there is a surge of low-quality manufacturers flooding the market. In this review, we separated the wheat from the chaff, so you don’t have such complains, more so when considering your safety on slippery surfaces.
Replacing your cleats should come after repeated use of them, rather than after a few cycles. The products in this list are literally able to carry you through several winters, without yielding to the stresses.
If purchasing cleats for hiking or mountaineering, ensure to check the durability of the spikes. Stainless steel is usually good enough, but some of the brands in this list go further than that. By the simple fact that suitable spikes will pierce into hard ice, sometimes similar in hardness to rock, and the points should be able to endure such forces.
Other long-lasting materials are carbide steel and aluminum. These materials are usually durable and sturdy enough to take on tough terrains. Additionally, they are lighter than the norm, so your pace won’t be limited as much.
Ease of Use
Winter is hard; try to make it easier on yourself.
In the past, lacing your shoes with chains use to take eons. This norm would make the user dread the moment they fell off, in the middle of a cold, unforgiving trek. Luckily, with new designs and technology, this time is significantly short nowadays. Nevertheless, the levels of ease in wearing grippers still vary from one model, material, and brand.
Look at the webbing holding the traction elements. The parts could be cables, spikes, coils, etc. Consider what they are made of and how workable they are. Rubber, found in most of the crampons reviewed here, is flexible to make it easy to lace over your shoe, yet solid enough to prevent the ice grippers from slipping. When it comes to the design, you will find some with straps going over the top of your shoes, to keep the grippers in place.
With straps on top, you will definitely have a secure clamp: however, it takes longer to lace them up. On the other hand, those not featuring straps are easy to remove and put on. However, such options are less secure. Nevertheless, all options in this list are easy to put on, and it all boils down to how secure you need the crampons to be and your personal preferences.
Ensure you can move the ice grippers with ease.
Many often overlook this criterion. However, the same people end up ruing their obliviousness to the aspect. Good quality designs are usually easy to take on and off when required. Your chosen pair should fold easily to allow you to store them in your backpack.
Looking a little deeper, you will see that most of the brands featured here, provide an additional storage bag. This accessory makes it a little easier for you to store the products, which might also be hazardous if not stored correctly. The extra carry bag also prevents the spikes sticking out piercing your backpack. On a trail, it’s probably a good idea to move light, without unwarranted weights.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Nowadays, you will find outdoor adventurists, athletes, and workers frequently wearing ice traction gear. Military personnel in the arctic and mountainous regions were the first to adopt ice cleats. They looked so different in the past, compared to their modern counterparts. In the early nineties, you typically found them made of stretch plastics and hardened stainless steel.
In 1873, the first patent design had very little, having pins attaching built-in spikes to a grooved plate. On the wealthy could afford them, since you needed a shoemaker and clobber to create them. The modern models featured here are way less expensive, easy to slide over the shoes, and, most importantly, comfortable.
More manufacturers stepped up in numbers to make them with stretchy plastics and stainless steel in the early nineties. Rising demand came from emergency crews and winter sports athletes. Nowadays, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are used instead of stretch plastics. The most significant advantage of TPE is that it can maintain its elasticity in subzero temperatures.
All over the world, many people suffer injuries because of falls and trips, courtesy of ice. A lack of proper grip on your footwear is the primary reason, but some factors also do contribute but not as much. When encountering icy terrains, be prepared. With sensible decision making, you won’t be another person to add to the statistics.
There is a reason why you see SUVs with snow chains. If the vehicle has the right traction, it will hardly swerve on the slippery surface, hitting giant snowbanks that mechanics have to deal with. Conversely, with the right boots and grippers, you won’t fall and possibly injure yourself, keeping the doctor away.
Other Factors to Consider
Nobody would like to slip and fall. It is somewhat embarrassing, painful, and your clothing will stain, or even tear. Ice increases the prospect of such a risk a notch higher. It’s almost a guarantee that you will slip on a slick surface if you don’t have the right gear. Additionally, if the ice is not thick enough, you might end up submerged in freezing water.
Crampons are more heavy-duty compared to ice cleats. Ice climbing is mostly done with crampons. Here, you will find a combination of such ice grippers for shoes. What you should primarily focus on to know the difference is to look at the terrain you want to use them for, as discussed in the terrain criteria.
All factors considered, you are now in a better place, to make a measured judgment in the ice cleats suitable for your distinctive needs. With the options laid out, you won’t risk falling and hurting yourself as you tread through slippery surfaces. You may consider other factors, but first, get the basics like terrain and durability. It would be pointless to get a product that will serve you for a short time or one that’s uncomfortable.
With ideal traction cleats, trekking on snow or ice will be less challenging. The ice grippers for shoes featured here are of high quality, long-lasting, user-friendly, easy-to-install, and offer a firm grip. The chains and spikes will grip surfaces and prevent you from sliding, slipping, or falling.
When it comes to selecting the correct size, ensure to get the exact measurements of your boots. Some winter boots are quite bulky, and you may need to go a size up when it comes to outfitting them with grippers. Therefore, be mindful of that fact, lest you get something that won’t serve your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I know which ice grippers are suitable for my needs?
First, check the kind of boots that you have. If they are rigid, then a rigid crampon will suit it the most. If the boot is flexible, then a strapped or hybrid option is advised. You cannot switch one for the other and expect to be moving as best as you could.
Second, look at the terrain you will be using your accessories. Consider the types of climbs you will encounter. For more technical and hardcore climbs, then more flexible options are the best to tackle such terrain. Even though strap-on crampons are not the best for technical climbs, they offer versatility for those who are not sure of what to experience on a trail.
If you are not so sure of which size is the best for your shoes, then strap-on crampons will come to your rescue, since they fit almost everything. Besides being suitable for most shoes in their selected size range, they also offer the option to use on different types of boots.
q: Do I need rigid or flexible crampons?
Most people are probably sorted with semi-rigid alternatives. Unless you’re an avid mountaineer, you likely don’t require rigid crampons, best suited for technical climbing. Semi-rigid types work well across many sorts of terrains and varying conditions. Because of the popularity of such mixed grounds, including but not limited to snow and ice, semi-rigid varieties are the most popular.
Some grippers have a built-in bar, which goes between the toe and the heel area. This contraption acts as an adjustable linking bear, which you can use to make the crampons flexible or rigid. If you like to switch up from hiking to climbing, then this option will have the added benefit of not having to add on extra pairs to your backpack.
q: Can I use my ice grippers on other terrains?
You can use the cleats on off-road hikes to get a better footing on the ground. They will come in handy too when you need to hike a steep hill or cliff. Most outdoor terrains can be navigated with the proper crampons. Remember to use cleats on surfaces that they are suitable for.
Most of the listed products we have listed are multi-functional. They can be used on different terrains and still be useful. Consider the type of challenges you are going to face on the trail before deciding on the crampons.
q: Are spiked cleats better than the coil ones?
Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Some work better on terrains that most cleats would either break on or struggle to perform on. Spiked ones offer versatility than coiled ones. You can hike on a host of different trails, and they will come out in perfect condition.
The coil cleats will be useful on pavements or walkways that might be icy. It all depends on where and how you want to use them. Before purchasing a pair, reflect on how you want to use them. For regular walking purposes, the one's that coils around rubber straps are the best.
q: How do I clean my ice grippers?
There is no special way to clean them. You need to be careful while handling the long spiked ones while cleaning. You might end up having a nasty hand injury If you are not careful. Some crampons like the one with coils clean themselves because they don’t have dirt or snow sticking to them.
q: Is the size of crampon spikes important?
Size is important if you want to hike on loose ground. The spikes will penetrate the surface and give you stability. On muddy surfaces, it might be tricky to navigate if you have short spikes that only grab the surface of the ground. Short spikes will enable you to walk safely on the firm ground without having an unnecessary height to deal with.
q: Do ice grippers come with manuals?
It all depends on the store you made your purchase from and the manufacturing company you bought. However, there is no special way of using cleats. As long as you match them to the right terrain you are good to go. If you are trying something new like rock climbing or outdoor hikes, it is advisable to ask a specialist on the type to use.
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