If you have ever attempted to hike an icy trail, you will know just how demanding this can be. Sometimes a regular pair of hiking boots just simply isn’t enough to get you safely from A to B, regardless of how good the quality is.
In some cases, you must have additional traction and one of the most common and effective ways to provide this is to add a pair of crampons or microspikes to your hiking boots. But in order to do this, the boots must be compatible, you can’t just put them on any old pair.
In this guide, we are going to be looking at the purpose of crampons and microspikes as well as demonstrating some of the most excellent choices of hiking boots that allow you to fit these devices.
What Are Crampons And Microspikes?
If you are planning to hike in colder weather, there is a very good chance that you may encounter snow, ice, and other difficult terrains. For this reason, it is vital that you have some sort of additional traction on your shoes.
If you are going to be walking on uncompacted snow then a pair of snowshoes will likely do the job. However, if you are hitting mountainous trails where there may be compacted snow and ice, then you will need to use crampons or microspikes.
These may sound a little bit like medieval torture devices but in reality, they are an essential part of a hiker’s kit, particularly if the hiker will be tackling this kind of winter terrain. These accessories attach to your hiking boots and give you a much greater level of traction as you navigate the terrain.
However, a lot of people are unaware of the fact that crampons and microspikes are not always necessary. You should only wear these when you really need them. Putting them on too soon can cause you to experience fatigue a lot more quickly. Of course, there will be times when you need them and when the moment calls for it, you will need to have footwear that can accommodate this additional equipment.
That’s where the best hiking boots for crampons and microspikes come in extremely useful.
Best Hiking Boots For Crampons And Microspikes
You have probably already looked at several products, so you can appreciate just how many options are on the market. However, this can make it difficult to choose the right pair. But we have got you covered.
Take a look at our top picks for the best hiking boots for crampons and microspikes, all of which are durable, hardwearing, and provide excellent support and comfort for your feet.
1. La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme – Editors Pick
One of the first things that you will look for in a pair of hiking boots for crampons or microspikes is that they are compatible, this is also one of the first things that you will notice about these boots.
But of course, it is also essential that the boots offer comfort, support, and durability as well and once you start looking at the features, you will not be disappointed.
The Trango boots are an exceptionally well-made pair of shoes and this shows just by looking at them. They are made from high-tenacity nylon upper with a Honeycomb guard which offers a variety of benefits.
Furthermore, there is a microfiber lining that is breathable and fully insulated so that the boots can be worn no matter what the conditions. Your feet will always be kept dry, warm, and comfortable.
Speaking of comfort, the boots are fitted with a TPU midsole which provides your feet with a cushioned yet durable base to walk on.
The soles are made from Vibram rubber which is known to be one of the strongest types of soles on the market. Furthermore, this gives you excellent traction on icy and snowy terrain. Until it is time to don your crampons, these boots will keep you stable and supported.
If all of that wasn’t enough, you might be swayed by the striking design of the boots. They are fully black with flashes of red and yellow. If you are looking for something that will stand out on the trail and keep you looking your best, you won’t go far wrong with these.
2. Scarpa Women’s Mont Blanc Pro
Scarpa is a well-known and trusted brand that has brought us some marvelous pairs of hiking boots over the years. These are no exception to this rule and aside from being auto and semi-auto-crampon compatible, they have a wealth of other features that will get you excited.
Primarily, you will see that these are extremely stylish pairs of boots. In a black and turquoise design, they give a flash of color without being garish. Because who said that you couldn’t make an aesthetic impact when hiking?
But more than just looking the part; these boots have a supportive 8.5-inch shaft which is ideal for anyone who has had problems with their ankles. This extra support will keep you from twisting or rolling the ankle, especially when you are walking over sloped or uneven ground.
They also have excellent traction from the solid rubber sole. There is no point in installing your microspikes or crampons until the moment calls for it. But when they are not needed, these boots will ensure that you stay stable at all times.
With all the durability and robustness of these boots, you could be forgiven for thinking that they would be heavy but this could not be further from the truth. They are surprisingly lightweight.
They also feature a lacing system that spreads the tension evenly over the front of the foot giving you a much more comfortable and supportive experience. But perhaps what is most interesting about these boots is that they require no break-in period so you can take them right out of the box and get on with exploring what the world has to offer.
3. Mammut Ken Kento Guide High
These hiking boots come in a traditional design with red laces and a neutral material. The red lace is something that became popular in the sixties and since then, has been something of a uniform for hikers around the world.
But aesthetics aside, these are some of the most fantastic pairs of hiking boots for crampons that money can buy.
They feature a robust Vibram sole and rand which gives you excellent support from the ground up. This rubber rand ensures that the toes are always protected from rocks and other debris that you may find yourself walking into. The thick sole is designed to provide you with brilliant traction even on slippery ground; at least until the crampons go on.
The boots are compatible with strap-on crampons and there is an insert for this at the heel. They’re super-easy to use and this applies to the laces as well.
The laces boast a 2 zone system which allows for easy adjusting depending on the wearer and the situation in which they find themselves.
In terms of comfort, you won’t find many other boots that offer this degree of comfort for such a reasonable price. They feature a 3d memory foam cushioning that molds to the shape of your feet keeping them happy for the entire journey.
On top of this, the boots are fitted with a GoreTex lining which is essential where waterproofing is concerned. Walking through snow and ice is sure to get the boots wet but this moisture will not penetrate inside the boot. What’s more, the GoreTex lining also makes these boots wonderfully breathable.
With all of this, it wouldn’t be surprising if these were very cumbersome shoes, but on the contrary, they are lightweight and easy to wear.
4. La Sportiva Men’s Makalu Mountaineering Boot
For anyone who wants to invest in a hiking boot for crampons that looks sleek, sophisticated, and classic, these are a great choice. They come in a neutral color with black rubber accents that make them look a cut above the rest.
The upper is constructed from leather which gives these boots a fantastic amount of durability, something that is crucial in any pair of hiking boots but particularly those that will be used on demanding terrain.
They boast a Vibram sole and rand which delivers exceptional protection for the feet as well as an excellent base for walking on. These soles are designed to give you maximum traction but as an MPE (mountaineering performance evolution) sole, they have so much more to offer.
The self-cleaning lugs, auto crampon compatibility, and durability of these soles are just some of the things that set them apart from the competition.
You will also notice just how comfortable these boots are and this is largely thanks to the air-cushion midsole which makes you feel as though you are walking on a cloud. What’s more, the boots are fitted with a 1.5mm steel shank for additional support underfoot and a water-resistant Dry-Best lining to keep your feet dry and warm.
5. Salewa Men’s Vultur EVO
Are you looking to stand out from the crowd? These bright green boots will certainly achieve that but the color is also to draw attention in the case of an emergency and a feature that you will see in many winter boots like this. This demonstrates that style and practicality go hand in hand where this type of attire is concerned.
They feature a GoreTex lining which will prevent any water from getting in, regardless of how snowy or wet it gets. But this will also allow the boots to breathe, preventing the feet from sweating and moisture from building up inside. However, some sweating is unavoidable but thanks to the Cleansport NXT odor control, these boots won’t leave a nasty whiff in your boot room.
The upper is constructed from a blend of microfiber and SuperFabric which offers a world of benefits. Couple this with the 360º rubber rand and high traction Vibram sole and you will quickly see why this boot made the list.
When climbing, it is important to have the right support and the special lacing system designed just for this type of hiking will deliver this effortlessly. This makes the boots much more comfortable and this is further enhanced by the flexible collar.
When Should I Use Crampons And Microspikes?
As we have already discovered, there is no need to wear crampons or microspikes if the ground doesn’t call for it. All you will achieve is tiring yourself out much more quickly. You wouldn’t put snow chains on your car wheels in the summer.
But knowing when to attach these vital pieces of equipment is important if you are going to be heading up the mountain on an arduous trek. Wearing them will certainly make parts of your journey a lot less dangerous and difficult.
When you are walking on ice-covered rock, mixed ice, or high-angled ice, crampons are a great choice. They have longer spikes that you are able to kick into the ground and offer an incredible amount of traction.
Conversely, as their name may suggest, the spikes on microspikes are much smaller and should not be used for the type of ground we have just discussed, they would not be able to penetrate far enough.
However, they do have their purpose, and using them on trails that have packed snow or low-level ice is a great idea.
Hiking boots come in all shapes and sizes, and the type that you choose will depend on how you plan to use the boots. If you are going to be walking through snowy or icy areas, it is vital that you have the option to add extra traction to your boots.
The most common way of doing this is to wear crampons or microspikes but your hiking boots must be compatible with this.
Our top picks of the best hiking boots for crampons and microspikes not only give you boots that are crampon compatible but also those that are comfortable, durable, and supportive; everything you need from an excellent hiking boot.