Best Ski Boot Crampons

The Best Ski Boot Crampons: Top 5 of 2024

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by James

If you’re heading for a backcountry expedition, it’s likely you will need a pair of crampons. Featuring large metal ‘points’ that provide traction on snow, they are a vital tool when ascending frozen steeps.

The best ski boot crampons are strong, lightweight and effective. With every option having its own attributed, finding a product that’s perfect for your needs can be a challenge.

In this guide, we detail the best crampons for ski boots. We have assessed the pros and cons of every option, helping you find the right option for your off-piste adventure.

Best Ski Boot Crampons At A Glance

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Summary

Price

  • 3D frame maximises strength and stability

  • One of the lightest 12-point crampons on the market

  • Automatic step-in for most ski touring boots

    

    

  • Steel front piece gives great traction on ice

  • Aluminium heel piece saves weight

  • Folding system makes them super compact

    

    

  • T-stop toe and snap on heel for easy attachment

  • Linking bar is easy to adjust for a precise fit

  • Lightweight yet sturdy aluminium construction

    

     

  • Super lightweight design well suited to ski touring

  • Leverlock step-in binding compatible with ski boots

  • Flexible linking cord makes them easily compactible

       

       

  • Super lightweight design is ideal for racing and training

  • Fast step-in design for 'speed nose' boots

  • Reliable aluminium build with steel levers

       

       

Why Do I Need The Best Ski Boot Crampons?

If you’re serious about ski mountaineering, then crampons are a necessity. By giving you superior climbing grip, they allow you to tackle steep ice and tricky terrain.

The best ski boot crampons are constructed from metal. Easily attaching to your ski boots, they consist of large points (‘spikes’) that give you grip on icy slopes.

If you choose poor quality crampons, you might run the risk of them breaking during a key moment. Tasked with keeping you safe, making sure you choose a reliable product is of vital importance.

Design and durability can change depending on the product you choose. That’s why we’ve created this guide, helping you decipher the key points and find the most suitable option.

Hint: If you’re still on the hunt for more ski touring equipment; we have also reviewed the best avalanche probes, best avalanche shovels, best avalanche beacons, best avalanche airbag backpacks and best ski backpacks.

Best Ski Boot Crampons
Durable crampons make for a great ski tour

How To Choose The Best Ski Boot Crampons

Material

Ski boot crampons are almost always constructed from metal. The type of metal used has a big impact on their performance, with each option having pros and cons.

  • Steel is probably the most popular ‘soft boot’ crampon material. Strong and durable, it’s well suited to steep descents and can deal with a variety of terrain types
  • Stainless steel is often used to improve anti-corrosion. Offering all the benefits of regular steel, it has supreme durability and long-term strength.
  • Aluminium is commonly used for ski boot crampons due to its reduced weight. It’s a great option for speed on snow, but can lack the durability of steel on rocky terrain.

It’s also common for crampons to use a combination of materials. Some will use lightweight aluminium for most of the frame, while switching to steel for added strength on the points.

Best Ski Boot Crampons
If you’re facing tough descents, make sure you prioritise strength

Bindings

If you’re facing harsh mountain conditions, you need crampons that are easy to take on and off. The bindings used will affect this process, with a few different types of binding available.

  • Step-in bindings are most common with ski mountaineering crampons. Using metal bars at the toe and heel, they are highly secure and easy to put on without taking off your ski gloves.
  • Strap-on bindings completely connected with nylon straps, making them suitable for any boot or shoe. Although versatile, they are less common amongst skiers due to their less secure fit.
  • Hybrid bindings use a metal bar at the heel with a strap around the toes. The design is easy to line up at the heel and simple to strap in at the front, making them suitable for use with ski boots.

Number of Points

Different ski boot crampons will use a varying number of points. The amount of points can affect their performance and make them best suited to different situations.

Crampons will usually offer between 8 and 14 points. It’s often the case that those with less points are best suited to simple walks, while those with more points are designed for technical climbing.

Most ski boot crampons will use between 10 and 12 points. This is enough to provide solid grip when ski mountaineering on snow covered steeps, making them a solid choice.

If you plan on doing some technical climbing or trekking up waterfall ice, look towards products with more points. Many of these will also feature longer ‘frontpoints’, which are beneficial during technical climbing scenarios.

Weight

When discussing backcountry ski gear, it’s almost impossible to avoid the topic of weight. Reducing weight will always make your life easier during ascent, but it can come at a cost.

The lightest crampons often use a minimalist aluminium design. Although they increase your energy levels, they also tend to lack the durability and grip of more substantial options.

Heavier crampons are usually made from steel. Often using a tougher design and more points, they are durable and reliable on tougher terrain.

Shedding weight is important, but it’s not as important as safety. If you’re heading to seriously tough terrain, you should always prioritise strength.

Best Ski Boot Crampons
Lightweight crampons will make your climb easier

Best Ski Boot Crampons Reviewed

Camp USA XLC 390 Crampon

Camp USA XLC 390 Crampon

Key Features

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Points: 12
  • Binding: Step-In
  • Weight (pair): 17.3oz (490g)

The Camp USA XLC 390 crampons are a great companion for most ski mountaineering adventures. Constructed using a 3D pressed aluminium frame, they provide strength and durability without added weight.

Using a 12 point design, these crampons provide a super safe grip on steep terrain. The automatic step-in binding is also simple, effective and well suited to most mountaineering and ski touring boots.

If you’re looking for safe, reliable and lightweight ski boot crampons; the Camp USA XLC 390’s are a great choice. Featuring a durable construction and easy step-in design, they will suit the needs of most backcountry skiers.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminium design
  • Strong 3D pressed frame
  • 12 points for added safety
  • Even weight distribution
  • Automatic step-in for most ski touring boots
  • Wear indicators on the sides
  • Work well with larger feet

Cons

  • Not strong enough for water ice
  • Rigid connection bar rules out using soft soled boots

Petzl Irvis Hybrid Crampon

Key Features

  • Material: Steel, Aluminium
  • Points: 10
  • Binding: Hybrid
  • Weight (pair): 17.8oz (505g)

The Pezl Irvis Hybrid Crampons are perfectly suited to a range of terrain types. Using a steel front piece and aluminium toe piece gives them a great combination of lightweight strength, allowing you to tackle almost any terrain.

Featuring a hybrid leverlock binding, they are well suited step-in or strap-on boots. In addition, they use a flexible linking system that allows you to easily fold this crampon in half during storage.

The Petzl Irvis Hybrid Crampons offer a range of features that will suit most ski mountaineers. Providing reliable strength without weight, they are a good all-round option for a variety of ascents.

Pros

  • Steel toe piece offers traction on ice
  • Aluminium heel piece reduces weight
  • Compact design with flexible linking
  • Hybrid binding suits step-in or strap-on boots
  • Tool-free length adjustment
  • Anti-snow system included

Cons

  • Aluminium heel points dull quickly on rocks and ice
  • Linkage cable prone to wear and tear

Camp USA Skimo Tour Crampons

Key Features

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Points: 10
  • Binding: Step-In
  • Weight (pair): 15.9oz (451g)

If you’re looking for lightweight and reliable ski boot crampons, the Camp USA Skimo Tour might be your best bet. Designed with fast ascents in mind, they use a 10 point aluminium alloy design that is well made for ski mountaineering.

The use of a ‘t-stop’ toe and snap-on heel bail offers secure and easy attachment. In addition, the linking bar is micro-adjustable for a precise fit without the need for tools.

The Camp USA Skimo Tour Crampons are designed to be lightweight and reliable. They feature a step-in system that is easy to use and feel secure enough on most ski touring boots.

Pros

  • Super lightweight aluminium design
  • T-stop toe makes attachment easy
  • Secure snap-on heel bail
  • 3 height settings for a customized fit
  • Micro-adjustable linking bar
  • Versatile and easy to use

Cons

  • Aluminium design not well suited to ice
  • Only good for use with ski boots

Petzl Leopard LLF Crampon

Petzl Leopard Crampon

Key Features

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Points: 10
  • Binding: Step-In
  • Weight (pair): 11.6oz (329g)

The Petzl Leopard LLF Crampons are designed to be super lightweight and compact. Constructed from aluminium with 10 points, they use a basic design that minimises weight for ski tours.

The nylon flexible linking system further reduces weight, while also making them extremely compact. In addition, their leverlock step-in design is compatible with most ski boots and is very easy to use.

If you’re looking to save weight and space during a backcountry tour, the Petzl Leopard LLF Crampons are a great choice. Super lightweight, reliable and compact; they are some of the best ski boot crampons on the market.

Pros

  • Superlight aluminium construction
  • Solid 10 point grip on snow
  • Highly compact when packing
  • Step-in binding works with most ski boots
  • Simple and easy to use design
  • Strong enough for most ski moutaineering scenarios

Cons

  • Can occasionally come loose

Dynafit Cramp-in Crampons

Key Features

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Points: 10
  • Binding: Step-In
  • Weight (pair): 9.2oz (260g)

If you’re looking for maximum performance during ascent, the Dynafit Cramp-in Crampons are sure to keep you climbing at speed. At just 9.4oz (260g) per pair, they are probably the lightest ski boot crampons you will find.

Using Dynafit compatible boots with a hook on the sole, it’s easy to step-in with a simple heel lever. Featuring a 10 point aluminium design, they have all the security required for on-snow mountaineering climbs.

The Dynafit Cramp-in Crampons are an excellent choice for uphill racers or speed training. Featuring an incredibly lightweight aluminium design and revolutionary step-in entry, they are a must have for Dynafit fans that are looking for speed.

Pros

  • Just 9.2oz per pair
  • Super easy step-in design
  • Secure feeling under foot
  • Super quick entry and exit
  • Size adjustable without tools
  • No right/left difference

Cons

  • Must have compatible Dynafit ski boots
  • Top price bracket

Summing Up

Getting the right crampons can make or break your mountaineering adventure. Making sure they’re strong, practical and effective is a vital part of mountain safety and performance.

The best ski boot crampons are all designed to be efficient and easy to use. They also prioritise durability and are well suited to a range of terrain types.

In order to find the right product, take the time to assess the key features of each option. Weigh up the pros and cons of each option to get an idea of how each crampon performs.

The crampons on this list are all capable of improving your ski touring experience. Once you’ve found your favourite product, you’re sure to have a great time on the mountain.