Hillsound FreeSteps6 Crampons

Hillsound Equipment Inc. – based in Vancouver, Canada – started out by designing and selling crampons. The FreeSteps6 is a simple anti-slip addition to their line and is meant to offer light traction (think icy city pavements and winter trails).

At first glance, the FreeSteps6s are a sturdy construction of elastomer and stainless steel. They are a step up from other light traction options (in comparison with my other light traction option, FreeSteps6 looks and feels sturdier, is easier to put on and offers more traction). The spikes are small, and cover only the areas of the foot where my weight is most likely to land in easy conditions. There are three sizes of spike plates with the largest plate situated under my heel. Hillsound FreeSteps6 CramponsThe thick black rubber is helpfully labeled with size and front/back designations and are meant to fit on either foot. They’re reinforced – the rubber is thicker around the edges where the material is most likely to be pulled on while being fitted. The chain feels sturdy, and many of the links are welded shut (the links attached to the rubber are not and, of course, the hooks are not). Since the chain is stainless steel, you need to rinse them after use to prevent corrosion.

The FreeSteps6s slip easily up and over the toes of my hiking boots – no other straps are needed. They settle in snugly even over my gaiters, feeling very secure and stable. I’ve not been able to find any way to make them slip off the boot as I move around. When stored, they rest against each other, sole to spikey sole, at the bottom of my pack. In a larger pack, they are simply rolled and stuffed into a small side pocket for easy access. It would take some effort for a spike to come tearing through my bag – they’re not that sharp.

I’ve been testing the spikes for the past couple of months on the local hills in the area in icy snow. On flat and low incline surfaces they work well, and my footing is secure while others slip and slide around me. As conditions become steeper, I seem to be prone to slipping a little bit, but as long as I place my weight carefully over a spike, I continue to get good traction.

Bottom Line:

The FreeSteps6s occupy the middle ground in the traction device market. They’re one step above coils, and one step below overkill in many situations. For ice and snow on lower incline winter trails and city streets, you’ll gain a lot more confidence in your step. For steep inclines and brutal situations, you’ll want to step up to something with a bit more grip.

Tech Specs:

Manufacturer: Hillsound Equipment Inc.

Date Available: Available now

MSRP: $40.00

Listed Weight: 290g (XS); 305g (S); 320g (M); 340g (L); 360g (XL)

Actual Weight: 296 (S)

Materials: Elastomer / stainless steel

Hillsound FreeSteps6 Crampons

$40.00
9.8

Comfort

10.0/10

Fit

10.0/10

Usability

10.0/10

Traction

9.0/10

Pros

  • Well made, good-quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Works well as a light traction device
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