Which crampons are suitable for walking boots?
There are 4 grades of walking boot – B0, B1, B2 & B3 – and each of these ratings is compatible with a different type of crampon.
B0 (B-zero) boots should not be used with ‘traditional’ crampons except in emergencies.
The sole is too flexible and the upper will generally be too flimsy to work well with standard crampons. However, there are options. Kahtoola is a type of strap-on crampon which can be used with any walking boot or shoe. They also make ‘Microspikes’ which will aid grip in icy conditions.
B1 rated boots are only compatible with C1 crampons.
C1 crampons are flexible and move with the boot’s sole as you walk. It is the bit in between the front and rear prongs which provides the flex.
B2 rated boots are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.
C2 crampons are a little bit flexible in the mid-section and work with the slight movement of a B2 boot. A C1 crampon will also work with a B2 boot since the boot’s sole gives the whole system its rigidity.
B3 rated boots are compatible with C1, C2 and C3 crampons.
C3 crampons are solid between heel and toe and do not flex. So are B3 boots, so they work as a perfect team. Because a B3 boot has no flex it is also compatible with C1 and C2 crampons, giving the whole system its rigidity.