Take at peak (get it?) at the best crampons for hiking in walking boots or shoes this winter.
Top 5 microspikes and crampons for hiking
As the colder months start to make their way in, there are two things that are for certain – Brits will complain about the darker nights and outdoor adventurers will find themselves in slippery situations when hiking.
Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about the former, but the latter is something that can be easily addressed with a sensible set of crampons. These funky boot accessories aren’t just for fashion purposes, a good pair of crampons offer heaps of value for hiking in wintery conditions around both the UK and all of those other (even colder) countries.
So what pair of hiking crampons should you be adding to your Amazon basket when compiling your list of winter essentials this year? Below we’ll take a look at some of the very best options available on the market – offering our advice and recommendations on what to look for in your next pair of walking crampons.
What to look for in a pair of hiking crampons
The most important thing to consider when buying a pair of crampons for hiking is what exactly the equipment will be used for.
The term crampons have become quite the umbrella term for the sharp boot accessories that makes winter adventures a breeze, but crampons are a specific type of stabby-sole. We’re going to get things started with a couple of definitions, making sure that everyone’s on the same page before getting into the good stuff.
What are crampons?
Crampons are the kings and queens of winter footwear accessories and offer the maximum amount of grip when tackling tricky terrain and climbing icy mountain faces.
Crampons can be thought of as exoskeletons for your boots – slipping over the bottom and securing in place. The majority of crampons will require a winter mountaineering boot to fit and function correctly, but some are designed to fit with a standard ankle-length walking boot.
What are microspikes?
Microspikes are the most popular alternative to crampons and, if you’re only planning on hiking this winter, should offer plenty of traction in the snow.
Microspikes work much in the same way as a crampon with the accessory designed to fit over the walking shoes or boots. Unsurprisingly, the size of the actual spikes are shorter than that of crampons and there are more of them per shoe to offer multiple points of contact. Microspikes may also utilise chains, similar to winter snow chains used on vehicle tyres, to improve traction.
How to choose between microspikes and crampons
The majority of crampons cannot be used for trekking or hiking and are instead reserved for the most treacherous of conditions.
Crampons were originally designed as a tool for ice-climbing and although these are still the main focus today, a wider range of different boot accessories exist for a variety of purposes. Microspikes, on the other hand, offer plenty of grip/traction when hiking, but adventurers looking to tackle serious climbs should opt for the crampons.
Microspikes are the most effective solution for winter hiking traction with crampons often reaching eye-watering figures, although the two cannot be interchanged for the majority of activities. Adventurers that do opt for crampons should note that safety training is required to use the equipment and although.
For all winter hiking in the majority of conditions, we would always recommend microspikes over crampons.
Best crampons for hiking by category
Reading in a hurry? Check out our top recommendations for different types of crampons in the bulleted list below:
- Top budget microspikes – UniGear Microspikes (Amazon.co.uk)
- Best microspikes for hiking – Kahtoola Microspikes (Amazon.co.uk)
- Best spikeless crampons – Yaktrak Pro (Amazon.co.uk)
- Top mountaineering crampons – Petzl Lynx (Amazon.co.uk)
- Best budget crampons – Climbing Technology Nevis Flex (Amazon.co.uk)
1. Best budget microspikes – UniGear Microspikes
A pair of microspikes don’t have to break the bank and hikers may find that they’ll get just as much value from a budget pair of spikes.
Budget microspikes are unlikely to last quite as long as their trusted competition, but for a single season of use, these might be the best route forward. Our top recommendation for a pair of budget spikes is the UniGear Microspikes.
Available in both black and orange for a range of different sizes, these Microspikes offer both stainless steel chains and 18 spikes per shoe for maximum grip in white weather.
*At the time of publishing, the price was £23.99
2. Best microspikes for hiking – Kahtoola Microspikes
We would always recommend throwing a pair of microspikes into your backpack when hiking in winter and the Kahtoola Microspikes make the top of our list.
Kahtoola offers some of the most popular microspikes for good reason. The durable construction features a combination of traction methods with 12 stainless steel spikes and heavy-duty chains on each foot.
The award-winning microspikes are the perfect addition when winter trail running, hiking or light mountaineering.
*At the time of publishing, the price was £23.99
3. Best spikeless crampon – YakTrak Pro
A spikeless crampon is a bit of a confusing concept, but that’s exactly what the YakTrak Pro offers.
A unique stainless steel coil is used to provide additional traction when walking in those cold conditions. This budget-friendly solution is not only light on the wallet, but light on your feet, too.
The spike free design promotes a natural walking motion with a durable construction created to fit the majority of winter walking shoes and hiking boots.
4. Best mountaineering crampons – Petzl Lynx
If it’s the best of the best that you’re looking for, crampons don’t get much better than the Petzl Lynx.
The crampons offer 14 points of contact in each foot for an extremely strong hold when climbing. The highly adjustable crampons are perfect for any serious climber with the spikes staying razor-sharp after usage.
The climbing crampons are perfectly adjustable and compatible with all hiking and mountaineering boots with rear welts, offering one of the most versatile options to advanced ice climbers.
5. Best budget crampons – Climbing Technology Nevis Flex
If you’re looking for a proper pair of crampons that are suitable for the really big stuff on a budget, the Nevis Flex from Climbing Technology is your best bet.
The crampons, designed for use on glaciers, are a great way to get your feet into something robust with breaking the bank. There’s a total of 10 spikes per foot in the one-size adjustable crampons with hardened steel as the material of choice.
A flexible adjustment bar allows climbers to use the crampons with non-rigid trekking boots, great for beginners that aren’t yet willing to splash the cash on the top brands.
FAQ: The best microspikes and crampons for hiking
Have a burning question about the best hiking crampons that you’re still searching for the answer to? Have a quick flick through our FAQ below and we’ll try our best to address some of the most common questions.
Although the name crampons are often used as an umbrella term to describe all stabby footwear, it’s the microspikes that hikers really need when walking a trail.
Microspikes, as the name suggests, offer smaller spikes and use chains (just like on a car tyre) to increase traction when walking on the slippery stuff. Crampons are the top level of icy footwear and are often reserved for ice climbing and navigating glaciers, ice fields and snow slopes.
For the majority of UK adventures, microspikes will cater to the majority of hikers.
If you still haven’t managed to find the answers to the questions that you’re searching for, don’t hesitate to head over to our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and reach out there. We’re always happy to chat about all things outdoors and we’ll even be able to offer personalised advice.