A good pair of modern ice tools can bring routes that used to be reserved for the hardest climbers within reach of the rest of us. They're lighter than ever before, stronger than ever before, and a whole lot smarter too. For those of us who got our first taste of ice back in the old days of chunky tools on awkward fixed leashes, the ice aces that companies like Petzl and Black Diamond produce today are just gorgeous.
The change in the design of crampons has been less radical. The main development is weight- you can now get a stable, aggressive crampon that won't weight your feet down like the heavier old models. If you're looking for lightweight shoe and boot traction for easy winter wanders, you might not need a big pair of ice boots and full crampons. Take a look at the options on the Shoe Traction page.