Crampons 101

Choosing the best crampon depends primarily upon your intended usage and secondarily on boot construction. Like all other gear, certain types are suitable for certain situations, others are not, and there is always overlap. Seek professional advice when shopping for crampons, take your boots to the store and make sure the crampons fit — sometimes adjustments or minor modifications are required.

For general mountaineering, where lower angle snow and moderate ice climbing are the main course, flexible or semi-rigid crampons are the tools of choice. These will be adequate for less severe terrain and much more manageable for walking than their more technical brethren. This type of crampon can be affixed to your boots in three basic fashions: Strap-On, Newmatic (aka Rapidfix), and Step-In (aka Automatic).

Strap On Crampons
A Strap-On will work on just about any type of boot, using webbing or neoprene straps to keep the crampon in place. These are great for versatility, but can be slow to put on.

Newmatic Crampons
Newmatic Crampons are rapidly gaining popularity for their ease of use, and multiboot compatibility. These have straps over the toe, and a heel lever and bail in the back. This allows you to use them on boots, such as our Trango Alp, which are designed to have crampon grooves in the heel only. This will allow you to use only one boot and still keep the rock climbing performance you need, long after stepping off the glacier. You can use these on any of our other mountaineering boots as well. Strap a pair onto your Nepals and you're ready for the Black Ice Couloir. Don't worry about using Newmatics with overboots — they fit securely over the extra layer, and are difficult to put on wrong.

Step-In Crampons
A Step-In Crampon has bails in the front and back and a heel lever to tension it onto the boot. For these to securely fit, it is necessary that the boots have crampon grooves on the heel and toe, or a full welt for the toe bail and heel throw to rest on. These are the fastest to put on and take off and there won¹t be any loss of circulation from straps over the top of your foot. Semi-rigid or rigid; dual and mono point versions are available and will it any of our Mountain Boots. Choose these according to your climbing needs.