Easy to put on and adjust, thanks to the secure metal mechanism that locks in place. Lightweight yet rugged – works well on almost any terrain. Has 14 long spikes built for climbs. Fits large boots. Fast customer service.
A bit pricier than hiking crampons. Some competitors are more practical for users who don't intend to climb in them.
Affordable, lightweight, and easy to use. Fits most men's and women's shoes. Has 18 spikes made of sturdy stainless steel. Holds up to wear in mud, ice, snow, and more.
Not for high-altitude climbing, but otherwise these crampons are a solid deal and fit most users' needs.
Strap and metal attachment system provides security while fitting most types of hiking boots. Stainless steel construction resists rust. Long, grippy spikes make them ideal for climbing and rugged terrain.
Expensive, yet don't offer better quality or features than less pricey options made for climbs. Not practical for simply hiking. May not fit men's boots in large sizes, especially 13 and larger.
Stand out for their stretchy rubber strap system that makes them easy to put on most types of hiking boots. Lightweight and comfortable to wear on fairly rough terrain and ice. Inexpensive.
Tends to fit tight on large-sized men's boots. Not built for climbing. A few durability concerns have been noted.
Budget-friendly crampons built for light trail hikes with enough traction to handle icy conditions. Lightweight and easy to put on; fits most types and sizes of hiking boots and shoes.
A few owners gripe about durability issues, including broken spikes or straps.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Hikers and climbers understand the importance of wearing shoes and boots with good traction. A good grip on the ground can make the difference between an enjoyable excursion and an adventure that ends with an unfortunate fall. Reliable traction lets outdoor enthusiasts explore challenging areas, from rugged, muddy, or rocky trails to ice-covered mountains. In these conditions, regular hiking boots alone just won’t cut it – you need a good pair of crampons, too.
If you’re new to hiking difficult terrain or climbing mountains, you will appreciate the security offered by the combination of metal chains or plates and sturdy spikes. If you’re a seasoned outdoor explorer, you probably already know that a good pair of crampons is a vital addition to your adventure gear.
So, with your next outdoor adventure in mind, check out our picks for the best crampons. We’ve also compiled a detailed shopping guide to help you find the crampon features and price that fit your exploration style.
Not all crampons are suitable for all activities. If you spend your time hiking on trails, you don’t need crampons with spikes designed for vertical climbing, and they would be awkward to wear in that situation. On the other hand, climbing on ice requires crampons with fasteners and spikes with added security. Choosing the best design for the activities you plan to do will help you find not only the best grip but also the most comfortable fit.
These rigid, easy-to-adjust crampons are made of durable metal, such as stainless steel. The spike system typically includes at least 10 spikes with front points, making them suitable for gripping ice and snow during vertical climbs or walking over frozen surfaces.
This type of crampon requires boots designed for outdoor activities, including hiking and ski boots, with welts on both the front and heel to help secure the fit. The attachment system is similar to that of old-fashioned, over-the-shoe roller skates. It secures to the boot with a metal toe bail and heel clip mechanism. An adjustable center linking bar allows the wearer to modify the crampon for a precise, snug fit. Ankle straps provide extra security.
Made for rock climbing and mountaineering
Secure fit when properly adjusted
Capable of vertical climbing in ice and snow
Superb traction in ice and snow
Awkward for walking
Require certain types of boots
Impractical for some hiking conditions
Like their step-in cousins, hybrid models are typically made of sturdy metal and have similar spike systems that also include front points that are ideal for rock, ice, and mountain climbing. The difference is the toe binding. Instead of metal bar or bail, hybrid models have a more flexible toe strap or loop that many people find more comfortable. Since it fits over the toe box of the boot, the fit is just as secure. Also, hybrid crampons don’t require boots with front welts – only heel welts – for a stable fit. Ankle straps provide added security.
Fit more types of boots
Suitable for vertical climbing
More flexible and comfortable
Not suited for flat, rocky terrain
Can be expensive
For outdoor lovers who prefer hiking to climbing, strap-on crampons are a good option. While ideal for hiking in rough conditions, including snow-covered ground, strap-on crampons typically have shorter spikes and lack the front points necessary for vertical climbing. They also tend to have some “give” on boots, making them impractical for mountaineering. The nylon or rubber straps fit over most types of winter boots, including mountaineering, skiing, and hiking boots. While some models have heel guards and toe straps, others rely on a chain system to which the spikes are attached.
No required type of boot
Comfortable for trail walking and hiking
Less secure fit
Not suitable for climbing
Not as durable
These crampons are lightweight and less bulky than over-the-boot types, and they can be fixed to hiking shoes with dense soles. They are usually made of steel or stainless steel. Though not suited for climbing, they are useful for anyone who doesn’t like to put on and remove crampons from boots.
Less restrictive than other crampons
No required type of boot
Can be worn with some shoes
Not suitable for climbing
Require holes in soles of footwear
Spikes, also referred to as teeth or points, are what provide traction, grip snow and ice, and make climbing possible. There are some features to think about when choosing the best spike system for your needs.
Number: Not all crampons have the same number of spikes. While some have fewer than ten, mountaineering requires at least 12, including two in the front. The number of spikes doesn’t directly correlate to vertical climbing crampons, as some strap-on models best suited for hiking have as many as 18 points.
Front Points: These spikes, a vital feature for climbing, come in two styles. While horizontal points are ideal for most climbing conditions, vertical points are designed to give instead of bend when navigating terrain covered in rock or hard ice.
Crampons are necessary gear for many types of outdoor adventures, and fortunately, they aren’t extremely expensive. Depending on your activity, expect to pay between $10 and $150 for crampons.
Inexpensive: Screw-on crampons start at around $10 each, and they could get a bit pricey depending on the number you choose to fasten to your footwear.
Mid-Range: Hike-worthy strap-on crampons are available for between $13 and $30.
Choose good boots. Regardless of the type of crampon you choose, having a well-made boot is important for your outdoor adventures. Sturdy, rigid soles are necessary for the best crampon fit and performance.
Q. I’m a man with size 13 feet. Will crampons work for me?
A. Larger boots do pose a challenge when selecting crampons because even adjustable mechanisms may not fit very large boots. However, step-in and hybrid crampons adjust to fit a wide range of boot sizes, and some offer the option of adding pieces to increase the length of the linking bar. When it comes to strap-on models, it’s best to look at brands that come in various sizes to give you more options.
Q. I like the idea of strap-on crampons for hiking, but I’m concerned about the fit not being secure enough. Will they work for me?
A. Though strap-on crampons don’t fit quite as snugly as step-in and hybrid options, this shouldn’t be a concern for trail hiking. Vertical climbing is what tests the fit of these flexible styles.
Q. I’m planning to climb my first mountain and have heard that a common problem is snow building up under crampons. How can I keep this from happening?
A. Called “balling,” snow collecting under your crampons can be frustrating, especially when you need to focus on your footing. Crampons with anti-balling plates (common on well-made step-in and hybrid options) help minimize this problem.