Unless you are a figure skater, you really don’t want to be sliding around on the ice.
At best it can be slightly embarrassing to slip, at worst it can be painful and dangerous.
If only there were some way to make your snow boots more grippy?
Well, the good news is that there is, and in this article, I’m going to talk you through the best ice fishing cleats for 2023 so you can stay upright at all times.
Table of Contents
- Ice Fishing Cleats – At-a-Glance
- TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Cleats for 2023
- Buying Guide to the Best Ice Fishing Cleats
- In Summary
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Ice Fishing Cleats – At-a-Glance
What do you look for when you’re in the market for the best ice fishing cleats?
Here are a few pointers to get you started when you’re exploring the reviews, below.
- Size and type of cleat – are they adjustable, and if so, how?
- Grip – what sort of traction are they going to offer? What are they made from?
- Your weight – this can affect the effectiveness of the cleat – depending on the product.
- Stay flexible – choose cleats that aren’t going to restrict movement or constrict your shoes.
- Cost – don’t put a price on your safety or health.
With those points in mind, here are my top seven choices for the best ice fishing cleats on the market.
See if you agree with me.
TOP 7 Best Ice Fishing Cleats for 2023
Buying Guide to the Best Ice Fishing Cleats
If you are looking to invest in your first pair it can be a little difficult to know what to go for.
Well you can relax, I’m here to give you all the information so you can well and truly get a grip of the situation
Jokes about arctic beasts aside, it really shouldn’t matter if you choose the right cleats. The best ice cleats for fishing should be able to be adapted to accommodate your boot or foot with ease.
Look for features such as adjustable straps. They will guarantee that the cleat stays firmly fixed.
If straps aren’t an option then you will generally want the mount of the cleats to be made of a flexible material such as rubber or silicon. Likewise, if you have smaller feet, straps ensure that the cleats don’t come loose which can be nearly as frustrating as slipping on ice.
Putting on cleats can be a little bit of a fine art.
Want to know how to do it? Here’s a video of someone showing you how to put on ice cleats.
Ensure a Firm Grip
Ice is almost entirely frictionless. It doesn’t matter what material your boots are made from; no amount of grip is going to stop you sliding if you are on sheet ice. You will definitely need something that digs into the ice.
My preference is actually chaining and spikes, instead of spikes alone.
Why do I say this?
Chains allow you to walk on practically all surfaces in comfort. And by ‘all surfaces’ I mean things that you may encounter on your way to the ice. If you have ever worn track running shoes or football boots, you will know what spikes are like when you aren’t on a surface that gives way easily.
They can be really uncomfortable and push on the soles of your feet through the boot.
Chains on the other hand spread the pressure of your weight across the entirety of your sole. By spreading the weight, you get less pressure points and are able to walk further.
Consider Your Weight
No, I’m not being rude, listen.
Chain style ice fishing cleats are most effective when you are slightly heavier. The reason for this is that they drive the grips into the ice with much more force with each step.
If you have a lighter frame then spikes may be the way to go to ensure that you aren’t slipping and sliding at just the wrong moment.
Just like a good shoe you will want a cleat that bends and adapts to your feet. It is no good being able to stand upright for the day without fear of slipping, only to get home in the evening unable to stand because your feet are throbbing so badly.
By choosing a pair of cleats that still allow your foot to move in a natural way you can be sure that you won’t have any aches or pains, regardless of how far you have walked or how long you have fished for.
Any More Points?
I’m of course talking about spikes. If you are going to go down the route of spikes…
I have one simple rule…
The more spikes the better. More spikes will spread your weight much more effectively.
Aside from being more comfortable, more spikes mean that you are less likely to slip.
What are the best ice cleats?
The best ice fishing cleats for boots will fit your footwear and stop you from slipping, I couldn’t say it any simpler than that.
Which would I pick?
If you are looking for a recommendation and the cleats I would personally choose, I’m a really big fan of the Yatta Life Heavy Duty Trail Spikes. They offer a super solid grip on the ice. They are comfortable and are absolutely stable. There is next to no chance of them being pulled off your boots either.
Do cleats work on ice?
Of course, they do.
Why else would I be writing this guide? You may find that different cleats offer different levels of grip. You may have to alter your method of walking slightly especially if you have gone down the route of chains.
You can’t rely on friction at all when you are stood on the ice. You need to dig in. With chains the best way to do this is to ‘stub a cigarette’ with every step. This wears grooves in the ice and gives your feet something to push against. This advice is especially true if you have a lighter frame (lucky you).
Sounds little tedious?
Try walking with no cleats at all! No seriously, spikes may very well be the answer. The weight of each step will push the spikes into the ice, ensuring that you can walk relatively normally.
How can I make my boots grip better without cleats?
Well, there are a few solutions. But for not a lot of money you could invest in a budget version. That said there are a few hacks to increase the grip of your boot. I have seen people ‘rough up’ the soles of their boots with a cheese grater, I’m not sure how well this would work.
Another semi-effective method is to apply resin or glue to the soles of your boots and give them a sprinkle with grit or sand. This does increase friction marginally, but if it worked so well, there would be no cleat manufacturers?
There is the possibility of making your own, you can see someone attempting it here. But personally, I shudder at the thought of drilling holes in my best ice fishing boots.
If you have ended up slipping then chances are you have ended up with a wet behind. But there is a way to stop this
Here’s the secret…
A great pair of ice fishing bibs. If you don’t know what these are you are missing out… they even have padding on the rear, so less bruises!
What’s the difference between ice cleats and ice grippers?
There is actually very little difference between the two. Traditionally cleats were only ever fitted with spikes. However, due to relatively recent innovations a great many manufacturers are now using chain style cleats that are much more of a hybrid.
Is it possible to find boots with built-in ice cleats?
You may find boots with studded soles, but generally, manufacturers like to give people the option of walking on a variety of surfaces.
Let’s be honest.
When you are ice fishing you don’t just walk on ice, you may be making your way down trails or even roads to get to where you need to be. Your best bet to ensure that you are covered for all options is to use ice fishing boots and buy a pair of cleats separately then you have ultimate flexibility.
Ice fishing boots can be pretty grippy in their own right. If you haven’t seen them yet I’ve got some awesome suggestions in my guide to the best ice fishing boots, just here.
I’d say that ice fishing cleats are absolutely necessary. You certainly wouldn’t want to slip and fall in.
You will have two aims. Grip and comfort.
Provided they are satisfied you will have made a great choice.
Hopefully, you have seen something you like in my list of the best ice fishing cleats for 2023.
If you have any suggestions or other ideas as to the best ice fishing boot cleats, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll give them a try… Whilst you are here, feel free to browse my other guides. I offer advice about everything, from ice fishing flashers to the best ice fishing suits!