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Best Ice Cleats

Updated July 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Cimkiz Crampons Ice Cleats
Cimkiz
Crampons Ice Cleats
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

Our fitness expert approves this durable pair of lightweight ice cleats that offers reliable performance in harsh environments down to -45ºF.

Pros

This rugged chain system has 19 stainless steel spikes on each foot to provide confident traction when crossing snow or ice. The thermoplastic elastomer frame features an adjustable strap for a secure fit.

Cons

A few individuals felt that the size ran a little smaller than they were expecting.

Best Bang for the Buck
Limm Pro Traction Cleats
Limm
Pro Traction Cleats
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

Unlike some other cleats, once you strap these on, they stay put. The price is great as well, but our fitness expert recommends not using them for serious outdoor activities.

Pros

These cleats feature 10 metal studs that offer optimal stability and traction. Easy to get on and off. When they're on, they stay on. Lightweight design that grips well. Small and portable. Great price.

Cons

Order up a size to get a good fit. Some buyers say that the metal studs and straps are not high-quality.

YakTrax Traction Cleats
YakTrax
Traction Cleats
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Light-duty Use
Bottom Line

You wouldn't want to take these on a hike, but our fitness expert uses these for running, and they work great on snowy or icy sidewalks and roads.

Pros

Offers all-direction stability. Great traction on ice, black ice, and snow. Rolls into a small, lightweight ball for storage (and won't cut bags or pockets). Good for city and town walking.

Cons

Don't wear them inside or on dry pavement, as the coils can turn slippery and break easily.

ICETRAX V3 Tungsten Winter Ice Grips
ICETRAX
V3 Tungsten Winter Ice Grips
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Most Comfortable
Bottom Line

Lightweight, comfortable ice cleats that are suitable for walking and running in slippery winter conditions.

Pros

Cleats easily slip on and over footwear. Stay-on toe caps keep them securely in place. Reflective heels improve visibility after dark. Made of durable rubber that won’t snap or crack in cold temperatures. Portable and easy to store.

Cons

Some users report that the spikes fall off fairly easily.

Extremus 23-Spike Ice Cleats
Extremus
23-Spike Ice Cleats
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Durable & Rugged
Bottom Line

A durable pair of ice cleats for traversing thick snowbanks and icy surfaces.

Pros

Each foot has 23 individual spikes for maximum grip and the chains are made from abrasion-resistant stainless steel. They have a flexible silicone frame that makes them easy to put on, and they work for boots of various styles.

Cons

The Velcro strap is not long enough for sizes L and up.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best ice cleats

Staying active in winter can be challenging. It’s not just the cold that makes you want to stay indoors — all the slick snow and ice make slipping and falling a real possibility, so venturing outdoors can be a hazard. If you want to avoid injuries in the cold weather, investing in a pair of ice cleats is definitely a smart move.

Ice cleats are devices with small spikes along the bottom that attach to your shoes or boots to provide better traction. Ice cleats typically attach to your footwear with straps that span the heel and toe or a single strap that covers the center of the foot. Some models are designed specifically for winter jogging or hiking, while others are designed for everyday use.

Finding the right ice cleats for your shoes can be tricky, however, because there are so many options available. You have to figure out what activities you’ll be wearing them for, what type of terrain you’ll be navigating, and what other features will make your ice cleats as safe and functional as possible. 

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Ice cleats can keep anyone from slipping in winter weather, but they’re especially helpful for senior citizens or people with balance issues.

Key considerations

Activity/terrain

When you’re choosing ice cleats, the first thing to consider is what activities you’ll be wearing them for and where you’ll be wearing them. If you need ice cleats for walking to and from your car in the winter, nearly any pair will do. But if you plan to use the cleats for more rigorous activities, you need to be sure they can keep you on your feet in even the most rugged terrain.

Some ice cleats are designed specifically for winter running or hiking. They typically offer the best grip because you’ll either be moving more quickly or traveling over more uneven, rugged terrain. Some ice cleats are marketed as all-terrain, which means you should be able to go from icy sidewalks to snow-covered hills seamlessly.

Expert tip
Walk with a normal gait and stride length when wearing ice cleats.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Metal vs. rubber

Metal: Cleats designed for rugged terrain are typically made from metal chains with longer spikes for a superior grip. You can find cleats manufactured from stainless steel, aluminum, or carbide-steel. These are extremely durable, sturdy materials that hold up well to regular use. While they can handle heavier activities, they’re usually lightweight enough for everyday wear.

There may be issues with getting metal chain ice cleats to fit on your shoes or boots, though, since there’s no “give” in metal. They could also rust with regular exposure to snow and ice, so it’s important to choose cleats made of non-corrosive metal.

Rubber: Ice cleats are made of rubber are extremely lightweight, which makes them comfortable to wear and easy to take on the go. In many cases, they can fit around your footwear more securely than chain cleats. While they can be used for running, rubber ice cleats aren’t usually the best option for extremely rugged terrain.

Features

Spike length and number

Ice cleats all feature spikes to help grip slippery terrain. But the number of spikes can vary greatly from shoe to shoe. In most cases, the more spikes a pair of cleats has, the better traction they’ll provide in winter weather. The length of the spikes is important, too. Ice cleats with longer spikes typically offer a better grip for hiking. For daily wear, however, shorter spikes are usually more comfortable and practical.

Size and fit

Ice cleats should fit over your shoes or boots securely. Most manufacturers offer multiple sizes, such as small, medium, large, and extra-large. Consult a brand’s sizing chart to see which size corresponds to your usual shoe size. Most brands provide both men’s and women’s shoe sizes for each ice-cleat size.

Keep in mind that rubber ice cleats are typically more forgiving because they can stretch a bit if the fit is slightly off. Metal chain cleats don’t offer any give, so getting the size right is vital.

Indoor wear

While ice cleats are meant for walking outdoors in winter weather, it’s important to know whether you can safely wear them indoors, too. You don’t necessarily want to have to stop to take off your cleats when you stop in your favorite coffee shop on your way to work, so look for a pair that won’t make you more likely to trip, slip, or fall on indoor surfaces.

Durability

If you want to be able to wear your ice cleats from year to year, durability is a key feature. In general, metal chain cleats are more durable than rubber options, which can get worn down by heavy use. Metal cleats also tend to perform better in extremely cold temperatures.

Ease of use

You want ice cleats that are easy to put on and take off. You don’t want to spend too much time fussing with them, so look for models that are easy to slip over your shoes and fit comfortably.

Accessories

Neck warmer

Forget about having to deal with a scarf that’s always getting in the way. A neck warmer can keep the chill away without any fuss.

Rechargeable hand warmer

If you’re wearing your ice cleats for hiking or other activities that will keep you outdoors for a while, you’ll appreciate having a rechargeable hand warmer when your fingers start to feel frozen.

Expert tip
Use extra caution when walking on outdoor stairs and ramps, particularly if carrying packages or pushing a heavy load.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Ice cleats prices

Ice cleats vary in price based on the material, the number of spikes, and the length of the spikes. Most pairs cost between $5 and $70.

Inexpensive

The most affordable ice cleats are typically made of rubber, which gives them a lightweight feel. They tend to have only a few short spikes and work best for everyday wear. They typically cost from $5 to $25.

Mid-range

Ice cleats in this price bracket are often made from a combination of rubber and metal. They have quite a few spikes, which are generally medium in length. They can work well for running, but may not be the best option for hiking or more uneven terrain. You can expect to pay between $25 and $50 for these ice cleats.

Expensive

The priciest ice cleats are made entirely of metal. They have many spikes, which are often long. They are generally suitable for hiking and running on uneven terrain, but they’re usually too heavy for everyday wear. These cleats cost between $50 and $70.

Tips

  • Walk naturally. When you’re wearing ice cleats, don’t alter your gait. Walk with your normal stride to avoid tripping or slipping.
  • Beware of inclines. Be careful when walking up stairs or ramps. If you’re new to wearing ice cleats, you may feel a little unstable on inclines.
  • Stay safe indoors. If your ice cleats aren’t meant for indoor wear, remove them before you enter a store, office, or other building. Otherwise, you may slip and slide on indoor flooring surfaces like tile and carpeting.
  • Inspect, detect, and correct. Examine your ice cleats periodically to make sure the spikes are still intact and stable. Don’t wear the cleats if any of the spikes are loose.
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Some ice cleats include a carrying bag to make them easier to tote around when not in use.

FAQ

Q. How difficult is it to put on ice cleats?

A. Most ice cleats are fairly easy to put on. You can usually wear them over any shoes or boots by sliding them over the front of the footwear and then pulling them back to stretch across the bottom of the shoe to hook over the heel. Some cleats even have a tab at the back to make securing them on the back of your shoe or boot even easier. If you’re new to wearing ice cleats, you may have an easier time putting them on if you opt for a rubber pair.

Expert tip
Periodically inspect ice cleats to ensure that the studs are still intact. Replace any damaged or broken studs immediately.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Q. Can rubber ice cleats crack in subzero temperatures?

A. Some rubber cleats can become stiff in subzero temperatures and crack when you put them on or wear them. If you’re interested in rubber cleats, look for a pair that’s made with vulcanized rubber, which can stay flexible even in subzero temperatures.

Q. Can you replace the spikes on ice cleats if they come loose or wear down?

A. Some ice cleats do have replaceable spikes. This means that if you a spike breaks off or wears down, you can replace it rather than the entire pair of ice cleats. Not all cleats have replaceable spikes, though, so check product descriptions carefully before buying any cleats if this feature is important to you.

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