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If you want to hike up steep hills and mountains with standard hiking boots, there are a number of different options available. Strap-on crampons attach to your boots using nylon or plastic straps that loop around your toes and ankle. They can be used interchangeably with many different kinds of boots, making them an economical choice if you switch to heavier boots as the weather gets colder. Many models are made of steel, or the lighter, but less durable, aluminum.

If you plan to do general mountaineering or ice climbing with mountaineering boots, you want a step-in crampon. Step-in crampons lock onto heel and toe welts on the rigid soles of mountaineering boots, providing a more secure connection than a strap-on binding. Usually made out of steel for durability, these crampons are very heavy and often weigh more than one pound each. Crampons can be dangerous, so seek training on how to use them safely.

If you need simpler traction option for less-demanding conditions, consider a lightweight traction device.

Top Picks

How we choose: The best crampons highlighted here were selected based on 96 reviews of 27 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a crampon that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Petzl Leopard FL

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Petzl Leopard FL is an aluminum crampon featuring a Dyneema cord adjustment system. The crampon is so light you won't hate yourself for carrying them when you didn't need them. They are so easy to use and so effective you'll be glad you have them when you do need them.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Ease of use

Reasons to Avoid

  • Limited size range
  • Possible wear on dyneema cord
  • Aluminum subject to wear/breakage

Specifications: All aluminum construction optimized for snow travel Ten points (with dual front points) assure traction on icy terrain Very lightweight 360 gm/12 ounces for pair CORD-TECH optimizes volume when packed in their included bag  Tool free adjustment assures secure fit  Binding system suitable for use with hiking and approach shoes, without heel or toe welts Boot sizes 36-46 EU/6-12 US MSRP $169.95   Adjustment: The holes on the front piece allow for length adjustment of front points.

Read more: Petzl Leopard FL review (1)

Petzl Vasak

user rating: 5 of 5 (4 reviews)

Other crampons I have used: Grivel G14 Grivel Rambocomp Stubai Ultralight Black Diamond Sabretooth Grivel G10 The Bad: The anti-snowballing plates on the bottom become damaged fairly easy when mixed climbing. The Good: Great performers on mixed terrain. A good variety of options for the binding systems. Light for a well built steel crampon. Broad and forward directed front points. Good for snow climbing. Easily adjusts to many sizes. Price Paid: $139.95 Review 11-23-2006 (by Ray Borbon): I picked these Petzl - Charlet Vasak crampons up in 2004 from Pro Mountain Sports in Seattle.

Read more: Petzl Vasak reviews (4)

Black Diamond Sabretooth

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Great versatile steel crampon for hard snow and icy conditions, in flat terrain, mountain uphill, and vertical faces.

Reasons to Buy

  • low weight
  • secure binding
  • manufacturing quality
  • resistance
  • anti-balling plates

I had initially chosen the Black Diamond Serac Clip for my first pair of crampons, but they had been unavailable for quite some time up until a few days before my outing, and amongst available options I chose the Sabretooth Clip (Hybrid). I am glad I did, as I got a lot more versatility for the same price and weight. Bindings, compatible boot types and suitability for flat, uphill and vertical ice These crampons (C2) are more technical without sacrificing suitability on easier terrain, due to the shape and orientation of the secondary points which allow to climb on icy vertical faces.

Read more: Black Diamond Sabretooth reviews (3)

Grivel G12

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

The benchmark mountaineering crampon that most people need. This will get you up any mountain in the world.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable
  • Fit most boots,
  • Forward pointing secondary points allow this to climb quite technical terrain
  • Easy to put on and adjust

Reasons to Avoid

  • Frontpoints could be longer
  • Older design (not as curved) is lagging behind modern boots, though it still fits fine.

This is the crampon 90% of people need. I have climbed vertical ice, steep snow, and even dry tooling. Sure, there are better crampons for really steep stuff, but if you only want one crampon, this is a good one. Steve House climbed Nanga Parbat Royal Face in this. Stevie Haston climbed Scotch on the rocks in this. I find it fits my boots well (La Sportiva and Hanwags models) and the Newmatic (toe strap, wire heel) gives a totally secure fit. If your boots are extremely asymmetrical you would want a different linking bar.

Read more: Grivel G12 reviews (3)

CAMP Stalker Universal

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

I bought these during a promotional sale at EMS. EMS by the way has the cheapest price on these even though it isn't listed here. They go for $99 I think on The only reason these get 4.5 stars instead of 5 is that if you pack them incorrectly, they are literally almost impossible to adjust for size when putting them back on your boots. It has the typical peg adjusting system. In order to fit them into the pack they come in, they must be adjusted to a smaller size. When doing this, make sure the metal piece that slides and the peg goes into, goes UNDER the antibot plate, not over it.

Read more: CAMP Stalker Universal reviews (3)

Black Diamond Serac

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

12-point stainless steel crampon that does the job.

Reasons to Buy

  • Stainless steel
  • 12-point
  • Anti-balling plates

Reasons to Avoid

  • The points feel dull
  • Not for ice climbing

I bought these a couple of years ago and I've used them only in snow ranging from powder to crust with my flexible hunting boots, but never on solid ice.After some mixed rocky trail hike, a fellow hiker advised me to buy a knife sharpening stone to sharpen the edges from time to time. I came to no result since stainless steel is VERY HARD to sharpen. Not that I needed any sharpening because till this day they are as sharp as they were when I first unboxed them. The fit is excellent and once the adjustment is done there is no need to re-tighten since they stay in place for the rest of the hike.The anti balling plates work like a charm and never had any issues whatsoever.

Read more: Black Diamond Serac review (1)

Petzl Lynx

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Great crampon for ice and mixed climbing.

Reasons to Buy

  • Interchangeable front points
  • Fit any boot well

Reasons to Avoid

  • No horizontal front points available
  • Heavy
  • Poor purenow performance

The Lynx is a pretty classic technical crampon. It fits most boots very well, and cinches in well. I have not had any problems yet with getting it to fit my Scarpa Mont Blancs. I have also lent it out to people to use on Sportiva Trango Extremes, Trango Evos, and even ski boots. They fit all well. I have climbed on these up on WI 4 and on M6. They proved able on both. Switching to mono points was a little annoying and my hands got cold, but that is expected. Once properly set up they performed admirably.

Read more: Petzl Lynx review (1)

Black Diamond Contact Strap

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

These are great crampons for what they are designed to do, which is carry in your pack on a winter hike, and put them on your non-crampon compatible boots when needed. I use these when I go on early or late winter hikes where I am likely to encounter some ice and snow, but nothing that would warrant a full mountaineering boot. I strap these to my pack, and when I hit ice I stop and put them on.These strap-on crampons are designed to work with boots that are not step-on crampon compatible. This is good, since for this type of hike I just want to use my regular backpacking boots and not a mountaineering monster boot.

Read more: Black Diamond Contact Strap reviews (3)

Black Diamond Neve Strap

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

I used these climbing up Mt. Whitney. I went with aluminum over the steel to just to save weight. I was careful not to step on exposed rocks. They held up fine. I used a non-mountaineering boot which they are made for and they fit pretty well, never came loose. I used a Sorel Conquest boots and they actually fit. The boot is wide in the heel so they fit snug on the sole but got they job done. The boot is flexible and the crampon flexed with the boot and never slipped off the soel. I kept them tight.

Read more: Black Diamond Neve Strap reviews (3)

Grivel G10

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

High quality, good fitting steel crampon. Excess strap is annoying.

Reasons to Buy

  • Steel spikes
  • Easy to put on
  • Stays in place
  • Fairly light for steel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Excess strap

I use these for hiking and scrambling when there is enough slope that I need the grip. They hold well on ice and hard pack, and give some assurance in deep snow. The antibott works as advertised...I never get snow packing on them. They are a 10-point crampon and designed for regular hiking boots, NOT mountaineering boots. The toe and heel fittings fold down and the length collapses to make them easier to pack. The straps stay tight and the crampons stay put on the boot. My only complaint is that the strap is long and there is no place to secure it, aside from trying to tuck it in around the boot. Doesn't affect performance though.

Read more: Grivel G10 reviews (2)

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