Making Crampons Out of Scrap

If you’re living somewhere that gets icy in the wintertime, you know the sidewalk can be perilous. Slipping on ice hurts like hell if you’re lucky, and can cause serious injuries if you’re not. Naturally, if you’re trying to get down to the hackerspace when it’s cold out, you’ll look for solutions. [masterbuilder] wanted to be surefooted in the coming season, and decided to build a set of crampons.

Scrap inner tubes are the key here, providing a source of hardy rubber for the build. The tubes are cut into a series of bands which are woven together in a hexagonal pattern. Steel nuts are included at various points to help grip the ice in inclement conditions. A larger strip of rubber is then used to form a band which secures the entire assembly to the wearer’s shoes.

It’s a design that’s intended for ease of use over outright performance. The crampons can be quickly attached and removed, and using nuts instead of spikes reduces the chance of damaging the floor if you forget to take them off immediately when returning home. If you’ve got any handy winter hacks of your own, you know where to send ’em.

16 thoughts on “Making Crampons Out of Scrap

  1. I’d be interested to know how well these actually work – after all isn’t the point of the spikes on normal crampons to actually pierce the ice to get some grip? A nut with a smooth(ish) edge isn’t going to peirce anywhere near as much so I wonder if it’d just make it more slippy.

    That, and having a number of nuts under a soft soled shoe like this, is just going to mean they push into your foot/sole rather than into the ice? – Disclaimer, only time I’ve ever used crampons was shortly while walking around in Iceland.

    1. I’ve used a commercial version of these, with stainless steel wire wrapped around the rubber mesh.
      I think the nuts will be okay, because they will be the main point of contact and therefore have most of the weight applied to them.
      My problem with the commercial ones is this.
      When walking my dog on icy days, the icy patches are only a small portion of the entire walk, the exposed pavement portions are tough on the slip overs, wearing through the wire and rubber that contacts the pavement/sidewalks in just a few uses. At $25/pair, it doesn’t make sense to wear them on dog walks. And it is a hassle to put them on and take them off a dozen times during the walk (especially with a large dog straining at the leash the whole time).

      1. If your dog is constantly straining at the leash try one of the harnesses where the lead clips to the middle of the chest (easy walk by petsafe is what i use). It worked for me when i adopted my 90 lb lab/Bernese mix, when she would pull it would tighten in front of her chest and redirect her to one side. Every time that she would pull all that was required was a gentle tug to get her attention and allow me to correct the pulling. I can now walk her on her collar with out pulling but i keep it handy in case anyone else needs to walk her.

  2. You would want to use a different type of tread pattern for walking in the snow/ice. Treads have to be thick enough to reach the hardware surface under the snow and wide to minimize snow/ice build ups. Hiking boots would be a better start than a tennis shoe. :P

    That and locking your legs during a slip would be enough for walking in leveled surfaces.

    1. the wonderful thing about crampons is that you can change the shoe they are being used on.

      also, when on slippery surfaces the last thing you should do is lock your knees! keeping your knees bent allows your body to naturally adjust for the changing traction conditions.

        1. I didn’t think it was necessary, it was pretty easy to pick up on the pattern when they teach you to bend your knees in every single sport. From hitting a baseball, golf ball to throwing a foot ball or baseball and even to kicking a soccer ball and every other sport in between, one of the most common things in the learning of any of those sports is to bend ones knees for better stability and control as it allows the use of the entirety of your leg muscles which leads to better accuracy and power.

          Heck, even in the military they teach you to bend your knees ever so slightly when standing at attention. The people you see falling over when standing at attention are the ones who lock their knees.

        1. Do you mean science fiction, historical fiction or some other kind of fiction? I never thought that reading an Asimov book while walking on ice could once save my life…

        2. You will struggle more with locked knees as you have less range of motion as well as fewer of your larger muscles engaged in your stability. By bending your knees you are able to engage every muscle in your leg allowing for the most minute natural change in center of gravity that will see you struggle less. These are the muscles that you use every day and the ones that you do not need to think about using when remaining stable. When you lock your knees you remove a major portion of the muscles in your legs from helping you to remain stable.

          There is a reason that every activity where traction is required on slippery surfaces is better when you bend your knees. This includes skiing, skating, snowboarding and even most martial arts (sweaty floors are really slippery). The other benefit to bent knees is that in the case of a spill you are able to control your decent instead of toppling over or having your legs slip out from under you. Oh and your center of gravity is also lower when you keep your knees bent, which means much less of an impact if you do take a spill.

          Source: I live in Canada (northern Ontario) with a big dog that requires several walks a day, I spend a lot of time walking on slippery surfaces. Yes i know about personal anecdotes and all of that but i have also explained the reasons using physiology and physics.

  3. Maybe we need a new word the definition I found on google for “crampon” is a traction device for ice climbing. These would be as good for that as using a tack hammer to pound in stakes.
    These look more like “shoe chains” or “ice cleats” to me.

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