Crampons on black hiking boots
Last updated: 08/13/2020

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When was the last time you went hiking in the ice and snow? If you have done this before, you probably know that it is not an easy task. The cold, the unstable ground, and other conditions can often cause serious accidents if you do not take the correct precautions. One of the most important items you should have with you when hiking in these conditions is a good pair of crampons.

Do you know about these useful items and how to use them? It seems that every day more and more people are using crampons when the winter comes. If you are not sure how to use these useful products, don’t worry; you are in the right place. We have created this article to delve deeper into what crampons are and to help you make the best purchase possible. Stay tuned.

Key Facts

  • Crampons are accessories that you can put on the bottom of your boots to give you more traction. These items are made to make it easier to walk in the ice and snow. For anyone that practices hiking or trekking, crampons are a must. They are very effective thanks to their sharp points that dig into the ice and keep the user balanced.
  • There are different types of crampons. These types are based on the material that they are made of and what you can use them for. They vary based on their structure, spikes, and other factors. After purchasing your new pair of crampons, you have to keep up with them and clean them correctly to make sure they are safe to use and that they last you a long time.
  • Choosing a good pair of crampons will help you when you are on a long hike. To help you choose the perfect pair, we have included shopping criteria that you should keep in mind.

Our Selection: The Best Crampons on the U.S. Market

If you are a hiker, skier, or just work in the cold, these items are a must. Crampons will keep you safe in the ice and snow and will make your life much easier. We know that you may feel lost and unsure of where to start shopping. Don’t worry; we have created a list of our favorite crampons on the U.S. market. to help you with your purchase.

Best Selling Crampons

The first item on our list is the number one bestseller of its kind on Amazon; you can’t go wrong with this model. These slip-on crampons will attach to your shoe and help you with small activities in the snow.

Best Stainless Steel Crampons

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The second item on our list comes with stainless steel spikes. These crampons are great for hiking in the snow and ice, as the spikes will dig into the terrain and support you during your trek.

Best Crampons with 19 Spikes

The third item on our list comes with 19 spikes. These crampons are stronger, lighter, and tougher. They are great for extreme winter sports like mountain hiking or skiing. This model is unisex as well.

Best Simple Crampons

The last item on our list is also a great option if you are looking for a simple pair of crampons. This model is extremely easy to slip on over any boot or shoe and will keep you balanced in the cold weather.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Crampons

To stay safe, comfortable and stable in the ice and snow, you need to use crampons. If you don’t have a pair yet, keep on reading. We know you may have some doubts or questions. In the following shopping guide, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions from buyers like you.

mans walking with crampons

The material your crampons are made out of is vital in keeping you safe during activities in the ice and snow.
(Source: Ian Iankovskii: 86667565/ 123rf.com)

What are crampons exactly?

Crampons are metal devices that you can attach to the bottom of your shoes that, thanks to its sharp points and spikes, create traction in the ice and snow. Using these on your boots or running shoes will allow you to walk comfortably in very cold weather without slipping. This can prevent many serious accidents.

When do I need to use crampons?

You need to use crampons for any activity in the snow or ice. The sharp points of the crampons will penetrate these types of terrains and keep you safe and balanced. In certain activities, you need to use crampons, as they can prevent serious accidents. In the following section, we have made a list of activities where you should always use these useful items:

  • Trecking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Ice climbing
  • Dry-tooling
  • Trail running
  • Alpine skiing

What parts make up a crampon?

There are only a few parts that make a crampon and they are quite simple to understand. These four parts are the frame, the spikes, the antibott, and the fixation system. The frame is the part that attaches to your boot. The sharp points or spikes dig into the snow or ice. The antibott is the part that helps keep snow from accumulating when you are walking or hiking, and, finally, the fixation system keeps the crampons fastened to the boots.

Tim BlakemoreAMI Member

“By getting them on too early you lose a little time, leave it too late and you will quickly realize the limitations of rubber on ice. Look ahead, anticipate changes in slope angle and conditions and ask yourself “what if”?”.

What materials are crampons made out of?

The material your crampons are made out of is vital in keeping you safe during activities in the ice and snow. The material will also determine how sturdy these items are and how you will need to take care of them. In the following table, we have made a table of the most common used materials:

Material Type Sturdiness
Steel Usually carbon steel, nichrome, and 41 xx steel. They all are all similarly sturdy, but 41 xx steel is extremely lightweight and does not wear away as much as other types.
Stainless steel This is a mixture of steel that can contain other metals like molybdenum, nickel, and tungsten. Does not wear away easily and looks great. Not recommended for hiking steep mountains.
Hot forged steel This type of steel is heated up and, through this process, becomes stronger. Extremely sturdy. The spikes are usually made out of this type of steel.
Aluminium This type of crampon is the lightest and is best for walking in the snow or very quick trips. Not very strong. They wear down very quickly.

How important are the crampon’s spikes?

The spikes are the most important part of the crampon, as they allow you to penetrate the snow or ice and help you keep your balance. This will allow you to avoid many serious, potential accidents. Crampons come with many different types of spikes. In the following section, we will dive deeper into these different types:

  • Horizontal or flat spikes: The length and width can vary. Longer horizontal spikes are the most versatile, as they can penetrate soft and hard snow or ice. The shorter spikes have a harder time digging into very hard ice. This makes them much more limited than the longer types.
  • Vertical saw spikes: This type is designed for steeper or mixed terrains. The spikes are extremely sharp and can penetrate snow or ice that is extremely hard.
  • “T” spikes: These spikes are a mixture of the two types of spikes we mentioned above: horizontal and vertical.
  • Interchangeable and single point spikes: These types of crampons have one or two points that stick out in the front can be taken out and changed. These models are very versatile.

How do I attach crampons onto my boots?

There are many different ways to attach a pair of crampons to your boots or shoes. This aspect is very important, because if you apply them the wrong way, they may not work correctly, which could cause possible accidents. The product’s instructions should tell you how, but, in case you are wondering, the following are the four main ways to put your crampons on:

  • Automatic: These crampons have two elements that will help you attach them to your boots: a metal bar in the form of an arch in front where you can put the tip of the boot, and a heel cup in the back where you can place the heel of the boot.
  • Strap-on or Universal: This type of crampon has a strap that wraps around the point of the boot around to the heel. Then, it wraps around the ankle. This way, the crampon will not budge.
  • Semiautomatic: This type is a hybrid between universal and automatic crampons. They come with a harness and a heel cup on the back where you can put the heel of the boot.
  • Integrated: The point of the crampon is embedded into the boot. This model is not very common and only used by professionals.
Crampones

Crampons are used for hiking.
(Source: Patrick Schneider: YplGypVvbcs/ Unsplash.com)

How do I know when to use crampons?

It is not always easy to know when you should put your crampons on. You should not put them on too soon because, if there is not enough snow, they can be damaged. However, you also shouldn’t put them on too late, or you could get hurt by slipping on the hard snow or ice.

If you have to choose, you should always put your crampons on before it is too late. Don’t wait until you are not comfortable with the amount of snow. When putting on these items, make sure that you are in a safe place where you will not fall and hurt yourself. When you put them on, try not to get them caught in your pants, and do not poke yourself.

What is an antibott and why is it important?

Antibotts, also known as anti-ball or anti-snow, are a very important part of crampons when it comes to keeping you safe in the ice or snow. They provide traction which helps keep you balanced. They are attached to the back end of the crampons and prevent snow build-up.

Antibotts help keep you safe on the snow. These days, they are included in almost all crampons on the market. They may be made of plastic, rubber, or latex, and they will last you many years. When they wear off and you will need to replace them, but you can usually buy them from the same brand from which you buy your crampons.

Teamwork in alpinism.  Mountaineering. Traverse of mountain.

Crampons are metal devices that you can attach to the bottom of your boots or shoes.
(Source: Aleksandrs Kendenkovs: 105057347/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

As winter comes and the mountains begin to be covered with snow, you are going to need a good pair of crampons to help you move through this slippery terrain. We have provided you with a lot of information about these items, and it is okay if you still feel a bit lost. To help you with your purchase, we have provided a list of shopping criteria that will help you choose the best pair for you.

Material and Weight

The crampons that you purchase should be of high quality if you want them to work properly. The quality of these items is directly related to the material that they are made out of. Don’t buy any that are made out of plastic. The best crampons are made of steel, as they are extremely sturdy and strong. You may also want to think about purchasing a pair of aluminum crampons, although we only recommend this type for lighter tasks.

Crampones

These four parts are the frame, the spikes, the antibott, and the fixation system.
(Source: Pavel Bernshtam: 121004931/ 123rf.com)

Fixation System and Boots

If you want to purchase crampons that will keep you safe in the ice and snow, they need to be fastened correctly to your boots. You need to buy a pair that has a good fixation system, as we mentioned above. Make sure that they will fit on your boots or shoes as well.

Spikes

The spikes of the crampons are the most important part as they dig into the ice and snow and keep you balanced. You should purchase crampons that have at least 8 spikes per crampon. You should also go over the different types of spikes that we mentioned above and choose the type that best meets your needs.

Antibott

The antibotts that come with your crampons are extremely important as they prevent snow build-up. This will keep you from losing your balance and falling. We recommend that you buy a pair that comes with the antibott included, as some come without this element.

Tim BlakemoreAMI Member

“Modern materials and manufacturing methods have revolutionized the quality of axes and crampons but I can testify that they still break (to date two sets of crampons and three axes). I check them informally every time I get off the hill, in particular, pay attention to high-stress areas, e.g. where the front points meet the crampon body and the last inch or so of the pick. Always try and store them dry to prevent corrosion.”.

Summary

Crampons are accessories that you can attach to your boots to help you keep balance in the ice and snow. You need to use these items as they can prevent serious accidents. They come with spikes that dig into the ground and keep you stable and are a must for any fan of winter sports.

There are many different types of crampons on the market. They will vary in the types of points they have, what material they are made out of, and what activity you can use them for. It is important to read the product description and choose the best crampons for you. We are confident that we have provided you with the correct information to make the best purchase.

We hope that you have enjoyed our article about crampons. If you liked this shopping guide and review, don’t forget to share it with your friends on social media. Have you tried using this item? Tell us about your experience; we want to hear from you. Thank you so much.

(Source of attached image: Jaroslav Moravcik: 72952354/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Carl Gissendam Outdoor Lover
Carl was born in the Rocky Mountains and loves anything related to mountain sports and hiking. His parents bought him his first pair of skis when he was only 4 years old! No wonder he is so passionate about winter sports. He is now a ski instructor and works as a tour guide in his beloved Rocky Mountains