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 in 2021 so you can stay upright at all times.
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Chains are used on car tires for driving in icy conditions, right?
Well, what works for cars will also work for your feet. Add some spikes into the mix and it’s going to be about as grippy as it gets. This is what you get with this set of cleats.
Sliding forwards can be just as probable as sliding backwards especially when making your way down an incline. You’ll be covered with these cleats as they also have heel spikes.
One feature I really like about these cleats is the flexible rubber eyes used to ensure that you have a tight fit. Rubber bindings can sometimes be susceptible to very cold conditions and split without warning. These cleats are rated to withstand temperatures down to -56 Fahrenheit with no adverse effects.
Do you know what this gives you?
Ultimate flexibility. Regardless of the size of your boots these cleats should fit perfectly.
Ultra grippy chain and spike combo offering the best of both worlds.
Flexible universal mounting system.
The strap is fixed with Velcro, which with repeated use can sometimes ‘give’ a little.
This is a really cost-effective solution if you want to increase your grip on the ice. As to how long they would last, time will tell but they should work well.
If you are going to expose something to ice and cold constantly then it is going to have to be pretty durable and corrosion-resistant.
Well here’s the answer.
The chains and grip sections of these cleats are made from welded and strong stainless steel. They are unlikely to rust or corrode regardless of how much you use them.
The chains are mounted on a stretchy silicone frame that goes over your boot and secured with Velcro, meaning that they should be adaptable to most types of boot and shoe.
When it comes to grip you won’t be going anywhere unless you walk there yourself. The grip pattern on the spikes point in 19 different directions meaning that you will have traction in all axes.
They are really lightweight, and EnergeticSky have even been kind enough to supply a carry bag, keeping the spikes safely away from things that might be scratched.
Lightweight and adaptable.
The 19 point system ensures ultimate stability regardless of slope or which way you are facing.
Whilst the silicone is good for donning the cleats, I feel that over time it could slacken off leading to a less than optimal fit.
These are by no means a budget option, for a first pair of cleats they offer great value and will give you the surefootedness that you need in all conditions.
Limm Crampons Traction Ice Cleats
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When you are out on the lake you want to be spending the majority of your time fishing, not messing around with footwear. So, you’ll want cleats that are really easy to put on.
Let me show you these.
These are super lightweight and portable. They fold up super small. In fact, so much so that they can be easily carried around in a pocket or bag as they take up next to no space. If you haven’t got pockets on your jacket then I’ve got some great suggestions for when you are ready to upgrade. See my guide on fishing jackets here.
Where was I?
To don the cleats all your do is stretch them over your toe and heel and you are away.
The ‘soles’ of the cleats are studded with 10 metal micro spikes, ensuring that the bottom of your foot is always ‘dug in’ to the ice.
If you are on a budget or don’t want to invest too heavily then these could be ideal.
Easy to put on and will fit any shoe, saving a great deal of time and effort.
Available to fit any size of shoe, from very small to really large.
For local spots with easy-going terrain these will work well, but I wouldn’t want to do too much heavy-duty work in them.
These are good if you are on a budget. Because they are so lightweight and compact, I would definitely recommend them as a backup pair for sure.
Shaddock have thrown 24 metal studs onto each cleat in this set. Meaning that in total you will have 48 multi directional metal spikes in contact with the ice at all times.
Of course. The Cleats come with their very own carry bag and also Velcro straps to ensure that they stay firmly attached to where they belong… The soles of your feet. They are attached over the top of your foot using these straps.
The spikes are mounted in a stretchy TPE sheath, to don them you simply stretch them over your feet.
24 metal spikes per foot mean that you should be really stable on the ice.
The toe straps may squeeze your feet, which may lead to discomfort or feeling cold.
These are a slightly more beefed up version of the Limm cleats above. With more spikes and a slightly more secure system they represent a decent compromise between affordability and performance.
Now these are the business. Just looking at the diamond pattern in key pressure points on the sole should tell you that they are really grippy. Although these cleats are in a ‘chain’ configuration, the chain itself has been shaped to offer maximum grip.
You may be worried about the chains becoming covered in snow or ice…
Each link is specially shaped to ensure that ice and other frozen deposits are shed with each step, giving you a clean foot every time.
A really cool feature is that the chain links are strung using aviation grade steel. If you need something that is meant to last in sub-zero and harsh conditions then I feel this was probably a great choice of material to construct cleats from.
The unique diamond-patterned chain grip gives superb traction in all axes.
Built from high-quality materials normally used in sub-zero temperatures.
There is no over the top strap so they could be pulled off if you walk onto a snag, however, provided you choose the right size this is quite unlikely.
For the money, these cleats offer a pretty good performance. Provided you don’t ask too much of them they are really grippy. I really like the chain ‘beads’.
Sometimes you just want an affordable and easy solution.
Well, keep an eye out for these.
You won’t find bundles of hi-tech gimmicks here. Just a strap with spikes on attached that wraps around your foot.
Whilst these cleats are really simple you can often view that as a good thing. As it means that less can go wrong. There is no stretch or ‘give’ in these cleats and once they are on, they should stay on for the day.
These are ideally suited for light work and if you are going to be on fairly flat terrain.
A really affordable and simple solution.
Very easy to put on and adjust for a perfect fit.
They provide no heel grip at all, if you are going downhill this is something you might want to consider.
Ultimately as with most things, you get what you pay for. If you only need cleats very occasionally or want a backup pair for one of your buddies then these could potentially fit the bill.
These are big boys cleats. You are getting premium quality and maybe also a premium price tag. But as I said above. You get what you pay for.
There’s a good chance that if you were to treat yourself to a pair of these cleats, you wouldn’t ever need another pair. You might as well be wearing tank tracks on your feet.
These cleats have a square metal chain and spikes in important areas to ensure maximum grip.
And there’s more.
There’s no chance on earth these will ever leave your feet as they are secured over the top at four different points with a thick and durable shoe harness.
You might thing that lots of metal and spikes would be heavy on the feet, however, Yatta Life have made sure that weight is reduced by using stainless steel. The flexible rubber elastomer allows the cleat to flex and bend with the movement of your foot giving comfort as well as stability.
Did I mention they look super cool?
Hard wearing, durable and exceptionally good quality, your foot and the cleat won’t be going anywhere that you don’t want it to.
I love the included carry pouch.
Not much, the worst I can say is that they may take a little longer to put on and get settled.
For stability and quality look no further. These might not be a budget option, but that’s for a reason. For the ultimate in outdoor cleats you won’t find a better choice. In my opinion some of the best ice cleats for ice fishing.
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
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.
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 in 2021.
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!