The Korkers Ultra Ice Cleat System offers secure performance that similar cleat models simply can’t.
By David Link
The use of crampons or ice cleats has become increasingly common with hikers and joggers who want to stay active even when the elements hit. Ice cleats are easily attached to and removed from any footwear you own, and in a matter of seconds you can ready your boots or shoes for ice and snow. The addition of crampons or ice cleats transforms footwear otherwise inadequate for the conditions into a rugged solution capable of tackling most terrain. From a short walk to the office in a blizzard to a demanding hike up an icy trail, ice cleats are a must for anyone who faces winter climates regularly.
Korkers has created a reliable, inexpensive system in their Ultra Ice Cleats, and they’re rugged enough for winter work and play. Given the crowded market of ice cleats and lighter use crampons, I believe the Korkers Ultra Ice Cleats are a great place to start for those that want to add a pair of crampons to their gear collection. Let’s take a closer look at these must have winter accessories.
The Korkers Ultra Ice Cleats are a simple yet rugged crampon option for light to medium use. They consist of a durable stretch rubber frame with eight steel studs strategically positioned on the bottom of each cleat (16 studs total in both cleats). True to most crampon designs, they offer adjustable sizing and can be attached and removed quickly once sized for your particular footwear. Simply fit the front of the ice cleat on your shoes or boots and then stretch the heel portion to fit tight on your footwear. You’re now ready to tackle icy conditions until you reach your destination, and then you can slip the ice cleats off in seconds.
I’ve tested the Korkers cleats in a variety of conditions including on mountain trails and a short run on a snowy day. First and foremost, these cleats are light, which is huge given their “around town or on the trail” purpose. I would estimate the cleats weigh around 3-4 ounces each, and once they are strapped on, you really can’t even tell they are there. With the durable steel lug design and rubber framework, I never worried about damaging the cleats on a run when I encountered bear stretches of payment. The same goes for when the trail changes from snow to exposed rock and gravel.
After using the Korkers Ultra Ice Cleats on a snowy downhill hike, I did experience a little trouble with the cleat in the field. The three rear studs of the cleat kept sliding back up and resting on the heel portion of my boot, thereby no longer offering as much traction as they should. Given that this was my first time using the cleats, I attributed it to a little break-in period for the cleats. My advice would be to size the cleats one size tighter than you think you need them at home, as they may stretch out a little during your first time using them. Full disclosure, I may have not sized them tight enough in the first place, but either way this is worth noting once you receive the product. Make sure you size them at home as it can be a little difficult to snap in the rubber securing knobs at the back of the cleat with cold hands.
Aside from this one little hiccup, the Korkers Ultra Ice Cleats worked perfectly on the trail and on icy sidewalks. I felt secure both uphill and downhill, and as I mentioned earlier, you’ll never notice they’re on your feet aside from the added traction you get. The design is easy to use and easy to pack, which means you won’t think twice about packing them whenever winter weather threatens.
For the price, it’s really hard to beat the Korkers Ultra Ice Cleats for casual snow day use, jogging on snowy days or light to medium hiking. I like the heavier stretch rubber design vs. some other crampons I’ve used, and the front portion of the rubber frame is substantial and fits firmly around the toe of my boots and shoes. As for the steel studs, they are durable and I’ve noticed very little wear after using them on several outings.
Now it’s worth noting these cleats are not designed for heavy mountaineering use. For pursuits such as that, you’ll want to use heavy duty ice crampons with larger metal spikes or studs. The price point of the Ultra Ice Cleats reflects this, and I would absolutely start with the Korkers Ultra Ice Cleats if you’ve never used crampons before. They are so affordable, you can equip the whole family without going over budget. Korkers has another winner on their hands with this superior ice cleat design.
One final note, if you’re interested in maximizing your winter traction and require something more substantial than the Ultra Ice Cleats, take a look at our Korkers Snowmageddon Boots Review.