Are you looking for the best ice cleats for shoes this winter? Then this article is for you. Ice cleats have prevented slips and falls for years. And considering how little they cost, they’re a worthwhile investment for your safety and confidence.
Running, walking, hiking, or jogging in the winter can be challenging, risky, and injury-prone. Obviously, slippery surfaces can cause damage. In fact, the lack of a firm grip will cause the shoes to slip easily. Fortunately enough, the best option is to use ice cleats because they have the shape of straps with small spikes made using plastic or metal that resemble a chain.
However, to improve traction, ice cleats are fixed around the sole. Finding an ideal product is usually not an easy task. Ice cleats may work well in light snow but are not suitable for heavy snow.
We have listed some pretty cool ice cleats’ reviews to give you a clear idea of what you might need during your next winter adventure.
Top 5 Best Ice Cleats for 2023 for Hiking During Winter
An ice cleat is a simple device that you attach to the bottom of your shoe or boot for extra traction, usually provided by some type of metal finish. Ice cleats for shoes or boots can be lifesavers in winter conditions, helping you avoid dangerous showers, whether you’re shovelling the driveway or walking home late at night.
Ice cleats are primarily designed for outdoor activities in the winter. These spikes are mostly made of weather-proof aluminium or stainless steel. There are many various styles, designs and types of ice cleats available in the market.
|Best ice cleats||Best for||Ratings (Out of 5)||Price|
|Yaktrax Hiking and Walking Traction Cleats for Snow and Ice||Best overall||4.5||Check price|
|Unigear Traction Cleats||Best for deep snow and winter hiking||4.6||Check price|
|Kahtoola NANOspikes Footwear Traction Boot Spikes||Best for road running or navigating icy parking lots||4.7||Check price|
|Hillsound Trail Crampon ultra traction device||Best for hiking and ice fishing||4.8||Check price|
|Cimkiz Ice Cleats Crampons||Best for muck boots||4.6||Check price|
The Yaktrax walk was one of the first snow grips on the market, and its design has changed a little over the years. It has zinc-plated steel coils wrapped around rubber underfoot, and the coils dig into the snow or ice, and even dirt and rocks. They work very well on hard surfaces such as pavement over shallow snow or thin ice. They are easy to fit, lightweight, and packed in a very small size.
However, the coil design doesn’t work as well in deep snow, where crampon-style spikes with larger points are more appropriate. Coils are not very comfortable when running because they protrude from the bottom of the shoe, creating an uneven landing surface. But aside from these niche uses, the walk is great for most winter use on slippery urban surfaces. And for the price, it’s the best option for users expecting mostly light-duty winter walking.
Above all, these are many-sided and ultra-lightweight ice cleats hiking that make a peaceful choice not only for the sporty youth but also for aged pedestrians and middle-aged professionals. By facilitating stability on glassy ice, they prevent slips, falls, injuries and bruises.
- Brand Name: Yaktrax
- Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inch
- Weight: 0.1 Kilograms
- Model: Walk Traction Cleats
- Material: Synthetic
- Style: 1 Pair
- Size: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, Small & Medium, Small & Large, Medium & Large
- Sport Type: Snow Skiing; Snowboarding
- Warranty: 1-year
- 100% Synthetic.
- Lightweight and affordable slip-on traction cleats reduce the risk of falls when walking on snow or ice to the office, school or even the mailbox.
- 1.2 mm abrasion-resistant steel skid lock coil.
- Rust-resistant zinc coating on the coil.
- Durable poly elastomer outer band webbing.
- Offers 360 degrees of traction on winter surfaces for all-directional durability.
- High elastic outer band with heel tab slip easily slips on and off shoes; Suitable for pedestrians, professionals and seniors.
- Available in four sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, and Large.
- Spike-less, lightweight build.
- Excellent grip on snow and ice.
- Abrasion and rust-resistant.
- Perfect for adults too.
- Easy on and off Secure fit in any footwear.
- Low profile.
- Poor grip in deep snow.
- Not super versatile.
Unigear traction cleats provide excellent grip in deep snow or ice, and they do it at a low price. These snow grips feature 18 large crampon-style points that easily dig into soft material, making them a great choice for users who work in deep snow, on dirt trails, or outdoors. The points are durable to last multiple winter seasons, and the stretchy rubber offers a snug and safe fit that won’t suddenly come off.
Like other crampon-style snow cleats, these grips are not comfortable to wear on hard surfaces, such as icy dust or pavement with a thin veneer of ice. They also have a point pattern that places three spikes just below the toes, which sometimes get caught when climbing up stairs or climbing over roots. The ½-inch long spikes are made of high-quality stainless steel. Stretchy thermoplastic elastomer firmly secures your boot’s ice cleats while providing anti-abrasion qualities. Adding an over-foot strap keeps these cleats extra secure.
The points add weight and size to your natural foot profile, making these spikes unsuitable for winter running. Still, for the cost, they offer fantastic traction on mild surfaces and are a good option for users who need an excellent grip without breaking the bank.
- Brand Name: Unigear
- Package Dimensions: 11.14 x 8.31 x 1.61 inches
- Weight (per pair): 16.6 ounces
- Material: Steel
- Size: X-Large, Medium, Large
- Color: Black
- Sport Type: Climbing, Mountaineering, Hiking, Jogging
- Light and tough, it helps provide unmatched traction on icy winter trails.
- The main component of the elastomer band is expanded thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) which can improve flexibility, anti-abrasion, as well as tear resistance and longevity for a quick and secure fit in a variety of footwear.
- Heavy-duty crampons with best-in-class, long-lasting soles equipped with heat-treated stainless steel cleats that bite into the slickest ice and snow.
- There are 18 spikes per foot, 12 spikes on the forefoot and 6 spikes on the heel. Each wide heel plate with 3 spikes for secure downhill traction and each spike is 1/2″ long.
- Spikes are built from heat-acted stainless steel for fantastic durability and corrosion resistance.
- Full-sole coverage with cleats on the heel and forefoot is the key to maintaining traction through your natural ride and following your passion for the outdoors.
- Easy to put on and take off with secure and adjustable straps.
- If you are not 100% satisfied with this product for any reason, please contact customer service within 60 days and we will help you resolve the issue immediately.
- Lighter and tougher.
- Great traction.
- Secure straps.
- Heavy-duty crampons.
- Fit securely on most footwear.
- Excellent chain links make the cleats durable and strong.
- Bulky and heavy.
- Only for use on softer surfaces.
If your winter activities are strictly limited to city streets, you may just need a lightweight spike to keep you steady when the asphalt is treacherous. Our favorite spikes are the Kahtoola NANOspikes, which offer much more snow grip than a typical metal coil and are more refined and tear-resistant.
Kahtoola NANOspikes are low-profile cleats that feature ten tiny metal points extending less than ¼, providing enough traction to prevent slipping on packed snow and thin icy surfaces. They are lightweight, making them almost unnoticeable. Points are deliberately placed on each foot to maximize traction and stability when landing. They are easy to put on and keep securely, adding a great option for those who can’t run even in the winter months.
This style of snow grip works decently in deep snow but not nearly as well as in crampon-style points. And because the points don’t extend deep into the ground, they’re not ideal for use on soft ground surfaces like steep, bumpy dirt trails; If the ground moves slightly, the points will have no further purchase. They are relatively expensive, especially considering their limited versatility. These are niche products that winter runners will cherish, but other users should check out the different options.
Although lacking in hilly terrain, these boot ice cleats will be the right choice for your long hikes with a crunchy texture that distributes ice evenly.
- Brand: Kahtoola
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 3 inches
- Weight: 0.56 Pounds
- Size: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X Large
- Color: Red
- Sport Type: Running
- Road driving and walking on sidewalks and city streets in hard packed snow or ice conditions.
- NANOspikes footwear traction is designed to safely transition between dry and slippery pavement and provide high-performance road runners with year-round outdoor training needs.
- 10 spikes per foot with embedded tungsten carbide tips grip icy surfaces and are held in place with a lightweight aluminium anchor surrounded by a TPU cleat for maximum traction and shock absorption.
- Dual compound TPU offers wear resistance and flexibility with a soft outer compound that helps release snow, while a stiffer inner compound disperses energy to the outer part of the shoe.
- Upward traction ensures traction plates stay in place.
- Using a patented oxeye design, sturdy TPU inserts reinforce key stress points, offering the elastomer harness to be powerful yet lightweight.
- Constructed from a durable TPE for a secure fit that extends to cold temperatures down to -22°F (-30°C).
- Nice secure fit.
- Better grip on packed snow and sleazy ice.
- High-quality rubber is used.
- One of the best ice cleats for pack boots.
- Snug and responsive fit.
- Harness with compact elastomer over mold eyelets.
- Not good for deep snow or blue ice.
- Limited versatility.
When you need outdoor severe traction, the larger and more hearty the spikes, the better. The Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra Set tops this category because it has the most numerous and aggressive spikes underfoot (18) arranged in a versatile pattern that provides traction against slipping in any direction on ice, hard-pack snow, and even some types of mud. The shoe strap on the Trail Crampon Ultra is also the toughest we tested, and it comes with a hook-and-loop instep strap to keep the spikes snugly fitting your foot.
The half-inch steel spikes are the biggest part of this pair’s appeal, especially when a slip or fall could potentially send you sliding down a hill or steep. The design features 12 spikes under the forefoot and six spikes under the heel, arranged in versatile clusters and secured by steel chains that run under the midfoot for added traction and stability.
The harness is another severe point, for three reasons. First, it’s stretchy enough to easily pull on most boots or shoes. Second, it felt stiffer than the closest competitor in our extended tests. And third, the Trail Crampon Ultra was the most versatile model in our test to provide a perfect, stable fit in a wide range of boots and shoes. The hook-and-loop instep strap is a big help for further anchoring.
Boasting a sturdy design that creates high traction, these are comfortable and functional snowshoes for hiking in freezing temperatures, on snow or ice.
- Brand Name: H Hillsound
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 3 inches
- Weight: 14.9 Ounces
- Material: Polyurethane
- Size: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Sport Type: Running, Fishing, Hiking
- Color: Blue
- Warranty: Two-year
- Trail Crampons are compatible with ultra running shoes, hiking shoes with rigid or soft soles, and winter boots. Compatible for trail running on packed snow, black ice, and incompletely covered trails.
- 18 carbon steel 13mm and 15mm spikes combined with a hinged front plate system allow for unmatched flexibility and safe tread on snow and ice-covered steep ascents and descents.
- The front has 12 spikes at 13mm while the rear plate has 3 long 15mm spikes for reliable traction.
- Equipped with double-link side chains, steel toe bars and durable elastomer harnesses that provide an excellent grip as well as protection against rocks, roots and other debris.
- A convenient puncture-proof, heavy-duty, water-resistant drawstring carry bag for quick and easy storage before and after your adventure.
- High traction on packed snow and ice.
- Ensure a secure fit of the harness and strap.
- Sustainable construction.
- Easy on/off.
- 2-year warranty.
- Elastomer harness.
- Snow can spike up the cake.
- More effective in ice.
- Not 100% stainless steel.
Whether you’re traveling across a muddy road, a snowy mountain or a block of ice at your favorite fishing hole, this winter traction device is a must-buy. It’s easy to pull on and off and has a regular strap for close-fitting. The leash system with made-in spikes offers the traction you need to stay on your feet. Additionally, cleats work great during an ice fishing trip, as the spikes dig into the ice to keep you from slipping.
When buying for the best winter traction cleats, you’ll want attention to the construction material. A TPE elastic rubber top membrane is ideal, as it is stretchable, lightweight and will not tear.
Check the number of spikes on the winter traction device, as well as the direction of the spikes. You’ll find some models have only 10 spikes, while others boast as many as 24. A lower number of spikes is fine for walking in snow and mud, but a higher number is ideal for hikes and icy surfaces. Most devices have downward-projecting spikes, but you’ll find a few models with multi-directional spikes.
Be sure to look for any additional features a winter traction device can offer. Some models have their spikes coated with zinc to prevent rust. You can even find cleats in different colors like orange, blue, black and brown.
- Brand: Cimkiz
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Model Name: CIM-TCL-M
- Size: Medium, Large, X-Large
- Sport Type: Hiking, running, walking, fishing, jogging, climbing and mountaineering
- Style: All-season
- Warranty: 1-year
- Color: Black
- 19 high-quality stainless steel spikes per foot and a solid chain system, providing excellent traction on various terrains or other adverse conditions, keeping you safe and injury-free.
- Made from Thermoplastic Elastomer(TPE), 5mm thicker than normal rubber, with robust performance below -45°C.
- Easy to put on and off with a regular strap. Won’t slit or snap, assuring long-lasting comfort and stability.
- Fit for men and women of any age including adolescent, adults and seniors. Used on angular terrain, icy roads, icy driveways, mud and wet grass, dangerous sections of trail, etc.
- Great for trail running, hiking and ice fishing.
- Suitable for a variety of sports, hiking shoes, boots and mountaineering boots.
- The strap ensures more comfort and safety. Portable and lightweight, can be stored in an included carry bag and won’t take up much space.
- The stretchable material that connects the cleat to the shoe is 5mm thicker than rubber.
- Extremely durable material.
- Anti-slip construction.
- Excellent choice for various sports activities.
- Easy on and off.
- Adjustable strap.
- The cleats have microspikes, which are smaller than what you typically find on heavy-duty crampons.
- Chain links may break.
- The spike material is too soft for extended use on hard surfaces.
5 Things to keep in mind when buying the best ice cleats
Before choosing the best and most suitable ice cleats for running, you should check the following points:
Ice cleats come in various materials, and you can buy them based on your needs. Stainless steel cleats are generally more affordable and come in a variety of sizes/shapes that can provide more contact points for traction. Tungsten carbide spikes are slightly more expensive than steel; However, tungsten ice cleats are more durable because this type of metal is harder than steel and is generally considered to be able to dig through harder ice.
It is very important that you evaluate the level of traction based on the activity you plan to use it for. The spikes should be strong enough and evenly distributed on the bottom of the shoe for better balance. Ice cleats should provide complete protection when walking on angled terrain.
Cleats should be made of high-quality materials and supported by superior types of rubber and elastic that last longer. The ice cleats should remain intact without cracking or breaking when used on rough and difficult terrain.
Ice cleats should be flexible enough to be worn straight or worn over existing shoes or boots. Cleats should fit snugly on the foot and feel comfortable during outdoor activities.
Ice cleats for daily, casual use usually cost under $30. However, if you’re looking for something more heavy-duty and durable, you can expect to spend up to $50 per pair.
Our Top Pick
Unigear Traction Cleats are our top pick because these snow grips feature 18 large crampon-style points that easily dig into soft material, making them a great choice for users working in deep snow, dirt trails, or outdoors. Using a high-quality ergonomic plate system with stainless steel chains and spikes, these traction cleats are a solid choice to support your active lifestyle and reduce muscular fatigue for your winter wilderness pursuits.
- Are running spikes good on ice?
Yes. Hiking spikes offer great grip on an icy surface. They offer enough non-slip traction to your feet on the ice.
- How do I size ice cleats?
Ice cleat sizing depends on the company. Most ice cleats are at least somewhat adjustable. Apart from that, shoe size is the main factor to consider. Make sure the ice cleats you buy fit the size of the boots or shoes you will be attaching the ice cleats.
- How often will you be using your cleats?
You don’t need a pair in your rack that’s fragile. For those of you who love winter adventure sports, you need a flexible and durable boot with ice cleats so you can take it out without worrying about damage.
- Where will you be using them?
Consider the terrain before buying as this will help you choose the best ice cleats that provide maximum safety and comfort. Choosing the right type of material (steel, lightweight aluminium, stainless steel) will also make a huge difference.
- Should I get ice cleats or crampons?
The answer to whether you should buy ice cleats or crampons depends on what winter activity you will be using them for. Crampons are only required for high-alpine ice climbing and mountaineering expeditions. Ice cleats will work for everything else.
- When shouldn’t I wear ice cleats?
You should not wear nice clothes when you are indoors. They can damage floors and the concrete is slippery. Try not to wear them when you’re outside and it’s not freezing. You’ll dull the cleats, making them less effective when you really need them.
The best ice cleats can be a literal lifesaver in snowy and icy conditions. But not all snowflakes are created equal. Get cheap ice cleats for everyday wear, crampons for extreme activities like hiking, and ice rotations if you’re moving between icy and non-icy surfaces.
After countless hours of testing and vetting the competition, we’ve compiled a truly comprehensive review of snow grips. From high-end perennial choices to budget-friendly options, to deep snow specialists, and pavement running cleats, this review has something for everyone. For walking on icy sidewalks, we recommend a pair of Kahtoola NANOspikes. This design features 10 metal spikes made of tungsten carbide, which is much harder than stainless steel to bite into thin sheets of ice and patches of curled snow that won’t melt. They offer much more snow grip than a coil.
Consider your needs based on where you live and your winter activities, then scroll through our results until you find something in your budget. We hope that after reading this article, you will find the best ice cleat that you are looking for.
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