The 9 Best Ice Traction Cleats

Updated December 05, 2017 by Chase Brush

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Just as it makes sense to add chains to your car's tires in snow or icy conditions, it makes equal sense to add some extra tread to your feet to ensure you don't slip and fall in those same types of conditions when walking. These ice traction cleats slip onto most types of footwear and offer excellent stability on slippery surfaces. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ice traction cleat on Amazon.

9. Due North Everyday G3

These Due North Everyday G3 are lightweight and highly flexible, making them a good choice for the jogger looking to exercise after cold weather precipitation. A built-in traction pad prevents the build-up of snow or ice between the cleats and your shoes.
  • tungsten carbide spikes
  • one size fits most
  • occasionally fall off during use
Brand Due North
Model 017166 983368
Weight 7 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. OuterStar Ice & Snow Grips

The OuterStar Ice & Snow Grips are best for the person who needs just a bit of added traction for that short walk from the parking lot to the office or the shop. They won't help you climb a mountain, but can be fitted over various kinds of shoes, and are very well priced.
  • sturdy thermoplastic elastomer frame
  • allow for natural gait
  • won't last long with regular use
Brand OuterStar
Model pending
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Hillsound Trail Crampons

These Hillsound Trail Crampons bridge the gap between a piece of mountaineering equipment and the sort of basic cleats needed for more mundane snowbound activities, like walking the dog or clearing the sidewalk. The sharp spikes dig into solid ice, soft snow, and more.
  • great for backcountry skiing
  • velcro shoe straps for security
  • cannot be worn when driving
Brand Hillsound
Model TC
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Due North All Purpose Traction Aids

They're not the most heavy-duty option available, but these slip-on Due North All Purpose Traction Aids are fairly priced and are known to last a while. Six tungsten carbide spikes bite easily into even the hardest packed snow, though they could benefit from a couple more.
  • stow nicely in a backpack
  • knurled and textured inner lining
  • will damage delicate surfaces
Brand Due North All Purpose T
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Quik Solve Walking Grip Spikes

The Quik Solve Walking Grip Spikes are a good choice for evening strolls or for crews working in the dark in winter conditions. They feature a reflective heel strip for safety, and their unique clasp and cord design gives them one of the snuggest fits out there.
  • toe to heel gripping surfaces
  • slip on boots easily
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
Brand Quik Solve
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

4. Yaktrax Summit Cleats

Mainly for serious hikers and mountaineers, these Yaktrax Summit Cleats are only a minor step down from full-blown crampons, featuring carbon steel spikes and stainless steel chain links. They're perfect for more relaxed expeditions across glacial ice or up alpine slopes.
  • convenient closure system
  • weigh just 17 ounces
  • a little expensive
Brand YakTrax
Model 08441
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. StabiLicers Maxx Originals

With 34 replaceable, heat-treated steel cleats and adjustable polyester bindings, the StabiLicers Maxx Originals are a must-have for on-the-go workmen, outdoorsmen, and first responders. The tightening system allows for extremely secure attachment to most kinds of boots.
  • full sole coverage
  • extremely durable materials
  • great for ice fishing
Brand Stabilicers
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Yaktrax Walk Traction

The unique coiled design of these Yaktrax Walk Traction cleats increases the stability of your footing on snow or ice, but also won't damage most types of flooring if you briefly wear them inside. They also will not inhibit your ability to safely drive a car.
  • resist breakage well below freezing
  • corrosion resistant coating
  • lightweight and affordable
Brand Yaktrax Walk Traction
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. StabiLicers Lite Walkers

A pair of StabiLicers Lite Walkers can be worn for hours on end as you trek in harsh winter conditions, or they can be strapped onto your shoes for a quick snow shoveling session and then easily removed and tucked in a bag. They come in several different colors, too.
  • roll up for easy storage
  • multidirectional traction cleats
  • wide variety of sizes
Brand Stabilicers
Model L Lite Blk
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Sifting Through A Horde Of Options

Nobody likes to slip and fall. It’s embarrassing, it’s painful, and your clothes often end up stained or torn. The prospect of slipping and falling on the ice, however, takes that risk to another level. If you’re not prepared to walk on this slick surface, slipping is almost a guaranteed. And if the ice you fall on isn’t thick enough, there’s a good chance you’ll end up submerged in freezing water — not a situation you want to find yourself in, even if you’re an Olympic swimmer.

Ice cleats are similar to crampons, which are a more heavy-duty footwear attachment typically used for traction in ice climbing. With cleats, the first thing you should determine is which style best suits the activities in which you plan to participate. That search begins at the bottom: seek out soles with maximum grip.

Spiked cleats are probably the most aggressive option available. These penetrate into the ice to provide reliable traction. Cleats with carbon steel spikes will be the most affordable, but tungsten carbide spikes are more durable and will likely last much longer. Neither option is particularly versatile, as you’ll always have to remove spiked cleats when you encounter an ice-free surface.

Many brands feature screws (or studs) on the bottom for grip. Usually, these models are highly functional and easy to put on and take off. You can choose between replaceable and non-replaceable studs; while not as comfortable, the former will extend the life of your cleats, whereas you will need a completely new pair once a model with non-replaceable studs wears out. They tend to be more comfortable, though, so it really comes down to personal preference.

In certain situations, heel-only ice traction attachments are preferable. For example, if you frequently move from the outdoors to the cab of a vehicle, this versatile design leaves the front of your footwear free to connect with the pedal of your car or truck. You can also consider transitional cleats, which are recessed to the point where the sole’s rubber will connect with bare surfaces, but also feature low-profile studs with just enough length to grip snow and ice.

One Of Many Components To Ice Safety

Tens of thousands of workers in the northern U.S. and Canada suffer injuries each year due to trips and falls associated with ice. A lack of firm-gripping footwear is undoubtedly the cause of some of these incidents, but plenty of other factors play a role, as well. It boils down to preparation and sensible decision-making. For example, you can equip your vehicle with SUV snow chains to help prevent it from swerving in the snow, but if you drive recklessly and get stuck in a giant snow bank, what was the point?

One thing you can do is learn to recognize when the ice you’ve encountered is old, and therefore weaker, than newly-formed ice. If it looks like it may be partially thawed, there’s a good chance it won’t support your weight properly, even with cleats on. This means you’ll be at risk of losing your balance. Additionally, though it may seem counterintuitive, the insulating properties of snow slow down the freezing process of ice. So, given the choice, you probably want to walk or jog on naked ice instead of snow-covered ice.

In addition to the style, a debate exists over which material is superior for your cleats. Since it’s so dependent on the specific situation, it really is a tough call. Some believe polyurethane soles provide more grip than synthetic, nitrile and natural rubbers. Others, who aren’t sold on polyurethane, swear by the flexibility and durability of those other materials. At the end of the day, variables such as air temperature, surface texture, and the prevalence of external substances that may have spilled onto the ice all matter when it comes to safety.

A final note: please, before you partake in any activity on or near ice where you aren’t sure of its thickness or the depth of any water below, educate yourself on the dangers of thin ice and how to recognize them. And lastly, avoid alcohol when you’re on the ice (for obvious reasons).

A Brief History Of Ice Traction Cleats

Today, tons of workers, athletes, and outdoor adventurists regularly wear personal ice traction gear all over the world. Historically, however, military personnel from mountainous regions and the Arctic were the earliest adopters of ice cleats. As you can imagine, those classic traction devices looked far different than their modern counterparts.

An early inventor first filed a patent for ice cleats in 1873, at which point the device was essentially a grooved plate with built-in spikes that were attached with pins. A cobbler or shoemaker had to create it, which meant that only the wealthy could afford it. Designers filed dozens of patents well into the 20th century, but it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that the functionality of these items began to modernize.

The new models were less expensive, more comfortable, and easy to slide over your shoes. Winter sport athletes and emergency crews in cold-weather areas began using them. During the 1990s, designers used hardened stainless steel and stretchy plastics to make them more resilient. More companies selling ice cleats began to appear. Eventually, they became very popular in niche markets like winter jogging and ice fishing, and in places like Alaska and northern Canada.

Today, many ice cleats are built with thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which help the cleats maintain elasticity in absolutely frigid temperatures. Other options are supremely affordable, designed to be used a few times and then discarded.

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Last updated on December 05, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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