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Best Inexpensive Hiking Crampons & Microspikes – A Simple Guide


Article Categories: Gear | Hiking Tips
Article Tags: Hiking

Choosing crampons tends to be way more difficult than it should be. With endless options on Amazon and other outdoor sites it becomes difficult. We aim to make the choice easy for you. We’ve tried many microspikes/crampons…and broken many cheaper pairs. Through this, we have learned which to buy, and which to avoid.

You may wonder, What kind of crampon should I get? Microspikes, or climbing crampons with huge spikes? The average hiker will get more use and versatility out of microspikes, which are frequently mis identified as “crampons”. Here, we list the top microspikes, and then get into crampons below.

Best Microspikes/Crampons | Key Features To Look For


Best Microspikes / Crampons


Kahtoola Microspikes

As far as Amazon microspikes go, these are some of the more expensive ones, but are likely the best (closely followed by Hillsound). They are durable, don’t rust quickly, and fit on boots without any issue. These are perfect for just walking on ice or hiking any mountains short of ice climbing. The alternatives are 1/3 the price, but if you hike fast, hard, or often you may break a cheaper pair within the first few trips. You can read our full Kahtoola review here.


Hillsound Microspikes

These spikes are close second to Kahtoola. They offer about the same durability, similar traction and a bit of a different feel. They are a great option for most hikes, or any flat ground. You’ll find hikers that swear by Hillsound, or Kahtoola. The truth is, you can’t go wrong with either brand.



These are not nearly as popular as Kathoola or Hillsound, but they are great quality. The way the chains connect to the rubber piece is different than all of the other kinds, which I believe is helping these microspikes be more durable than the rest.



These are not ideal for steep hiking conditions as they are not as durable and are susceptible to breaking on steep climbs. These are much cheaper than the other microspikes and function great on flat ground. So they are great for flat hiking and saving a few dollars.


Steeper Climbs

If you want some crampons for vertical ice, and lots of it, you will have to spend a little more. Keep in mind these crampons have a lot of traction, however they are not ideal for flatter ground.


The less expensive option:



These are surprisingly good for the price. Super light, easy to put on, and great traction. The downside is that they will not last as long as the more expensive options, as the aluminum alloy spikes will wear down quickly.


The slightly more expensive option:

Camp USA

The stainless steel spikes will last a while. The design of these are great for pretty much all situations. The quality of these parallel the $150 options of this type of crampon.


What To Look For In Microspikes / Crampons

Reinforced Eyelets

With every pair of microspikes, you’ll find a metal piece or chain going through rubber eyelets to hold the microspikes together and provide elasticity for fitting over boots. Having reinforced eyelets, like Kahtoola does, will help reduce the likelihood of tearing and improve the durability of your microspikes.


Stainless Steel

You’ll want your spikes and chain to be stainless steel or another metal that will not rust, but will also not bend under pressure, and will hold up to some abuse. Look for stainless steel.


Rubber Tested at Low Temperatures

Each of these options contain rubber, which can often tear easy at low temperatures. Microspikes are meant to be used in low temperatures, but not all brands use a rubber that is well tested or even well suited for temperatures below freezing. A rubber suited for these temps will remain elastic, and will prevent tearing.



Microspikes break, they just do. The less expensive brands don’t come with a warranty. Kahtoola offers a 2 year warranty. Look for a brand that does something similar.




These reviews are based solely on our opinions. Though we do get a small affiliate income when a purchase is made from this site on Amazon, all products were chosen as we felt they were the best crampons/microspikes for the price. Please contact us if you have any additional input or thoughts on this! Thanks for reading.

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about