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Best Mountaineering Boots

last updated Sep 09, 2019

If you’re looking to conquer any terrain with ease, no matter the weather, you're going to need a great pair of mountaineering boots. Mountaineering boots will help you tackle difficult terrains throughout a diverse set of weather conditions. The right pair of mountaineering boots will keep you warm and comfortable, while also adding a huge boost in safety to your outdoors experience. One of the most important aspects of a mountaineering boot is traction. If you can't stay standing upright, you're not going to be exploring any mountains. With so many options available, even narrowing it down to one brand can be difficult. To get you going in the right direction, we have compiled a list of the top 10 boots available from multiple brands.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research

icon
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
97.3/100 our score
Comfort
97
Features
98
Insulation
96
Traction
98
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
Why is it better?

Stiff

Great support

Durable

Good for ice climbing

Easy break-in

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
Test Winner: La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,344
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
9
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

Having the right footwear when mountaineering is crucial. Our updated list brings you more information about each boot, as well as a new addition. Our newest addition is the Garmont Tower boot. This boot has great grip, flexibility, and is waterproof. Don't forget to check out the FAQ and expert tips to learn more!

Sorting Options
Comfort Features Insulation Traction By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Comfort
97 %
Features
98 %
Insulation
96 %
Traction
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$510.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Comfort
95 %
Features
98 %
Insulation
97 %
Traction
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$335.40
Backcountry Link
$339.95
See Deal
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Comfort
94 %
Features
96 %
Insulation
92 %
Traction
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$949.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Comfort
95 %
Features
88 %
Insulation
94 %
Traction
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$692.97
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Comfort
91 %
Features
93 %
Insulation
90 %
Traction
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$298.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Comfort
86 %
Features
93 %
Insulation
94 %
Traction
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$750.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Comfort
92 %
Features
91 %
Insulation
90 %
Traction
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Comfort
95 %
Features
93 %
Insulation
82 %
Traction
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$295.00
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Comfort
89 %
Features
85 %
Insulation
88 %
Traction
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$700.00
Backcountry Link
$750.00
See Deal
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Comfort
86 %
Features
88 %
Insulation
87 %
Traction
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$750.00
Backcountry Link
$750.00
See Deal

Top 10 Picks

1. La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
La Sportiva Men's Nepal EVO GTX Boot
Amazon Link
Comfort
97
Features
98
Insulation
96
Traction
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$510.00
Pros:

Stiff

Great support

Durable

Good for ice climbing

Easy break-in

Cons:

Laces don’t always stay tied

Tongue on boots can feel uncomfortable

La Sportiva’s Nepal Evo Boots are made to be reliable and sturdy when mountaineering, designed of burly leather that is lined with waterproof Gore-Tex material. Made to be durable and helpful when you’re on the move, these boots are rigid and can handle step-in crampons.

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Comfort
La Sportiva’s Nepal Evo Mountaineering Boots are made to be supportive and can handle larger climbers, or climbers that like to use a pack on their backs as they move. They also provide climbers with amble long-term durability and excellent performance, making them a versatile mountaineering boot.

Features
La Sportiva’s Nepal Evo Mountaineering Boots come with a removable, adjustable, variable fit tongue and an easy to use boot lacing system that will give you the precise tension you need when you are in the mountains. These boots are also made to be waterproof and breathable, helping you to stay dry and comfortable every time you climb. These boots also are designed with a 3D flex ankle, meaning you get a lot of movement out of the boots and they’ll move with you as you move. Still, they have a longitudinal lockout for extra support and safety as you climb.

Insulation
These boots have a 9mm thermal insole that will help to keep your feet warm in the coldest of temperatures. As an added warmth bonus, they also feature a Gore-Tex lining that insulates the shoes even further and keeps your feet dry.

Traction
The Nepal EVO GTX has been praised for great traction that is provided by the Vibram sole and rand. It provides you with sure footing on many different terrains, including ice climbing, winter mountaineering, and mixed climbing. Additionally, there is a built-in impact brake system on the outsole for safe descents.

2. Salewa MS Raven 2 Combi

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Salewa Women's Raven 2 GTX Mountaineering Boots
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Features
98
Insulation
97
Traction
97
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$335.40
Backcountry Link
$339.95
See Deal
Pros:

Boot adjusts well to fit

Great support

Easy-to-wear

Cons:

Boots can run small

Boots could be more breathable

Salewa’s MS Raven 2 Combi GTX M Mountaineering Boot is made to be a very durable, waterproof, comfortable mountaineering boot that can help you tackle a wide variety of mountain terrains. Made with a polyurethane coat over the leather and a Vibram outsole, these boots can endure harsh weather conditions no matter where you find yourself.

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Comfort
Featuring a 3D lacing system, these boots have three locking points on the laces so you can more easily adjust them to fit you well and stay comfortable no matter where you go.

Insulation
Designed with a full rubber rand and Gore-Tex inner lining, you get some very warm boots that will keep water out and make you feel comfortable on all of your climbing adventures, even if you are in wet, icy weather.

Features
Salewa’s MS Raven 2 Combi Boots can handle just about any terrain or weather conditions you want to tackle because of their high water and wear-resistant fabric. Plus, you also get all the flexibility and support you need when wearing these boots, providing you with a great fit for all of your outdoor adventures. Salewa’s customizable fit options on these Raven boots work well with the boots heel containment features.

Traction
The sole of these boots combines two strong components- Vibram and dual-density BiLight technology. This combination provides sure footing and comfort in technical and mixed terrain. Plus, these boots can also be used with semi-automatic crampons if you need additional support or stability when mountaineering in icier conditions.

3. Scarpa Phantom 6000

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
SCARPA Men's Phantom 6000 Mountaineering Boot-M
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Features
96
Insulation
92
Traction
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$949.95
Pros:

Warm

Flexible

Durable

Cons:

Laces can break

Might not fit as well as some other boots

The Scarpa Phantom 6000 is designed to be a super-gaiter style mountaineering boot, meaning it’s a single boot that comes with a permanently attached gaiter. The gaiter on this boot is made to be durable while sealing out of the elements and is comprised of Elastin and Cordura blend material, a design feature Scarpa named S-tech fabric.

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Comfort
These boots come with an easy-to-use, quick lacing system and a fantastic midsole system that helps absorb shock as you move. There’s also plenty of interior insulation to keep your feet warm no matter where you find yourself mountaineering. The Scarpa Phantom 6000 also comes with a waterproof T-Zip feature, which helps to seal the boot and keep water and snow out as you hit the mountains. Plus, this boot can fit wide, meaning if you’ve got wider feet, these might be good boots for you.

Features
Scarpa's Phantom 6000 Boots are made for all-weather usage and come with a semi-automatic crampon-compatible ErgoFit system that brings all-around directional flexibility, meaning the boots are made to move with you.

Insulation
These boots feature 200 grams of Primaloft insulation that will keep your feet warm for many hours. Primaloft is a warm and water-resistant material that is great for boots but is less durable than other insulates. Over time, the fibers may cluster and be slightly less comfortable.

Traction
As with many of these mountaineering boots, the Scarpa Phantom also gets its great traction from a Vibram sole. Also designed with rear randing locks at the heel, you’ll get excellent climbing performance whenever you wear these boots.

4. La Sportiva Olympus Mons

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
La Sportiva Men's Olympus Mons EVO Boots
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Features
88
Insulation
94
Traction
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$692.97
Pros:

A great choice for high altitude climbs

Extreme warmth

Great fit

Cons:

Vibram PE sole is less durable than normal rubber

Check out the reviews on Amazon and other sites, and you will see that the La Sportiva Olympus Mons is a highly popular release, and this is for good reason. These boots offer an exceptionally high standard of stability, terrain grip, and functionality while keeping your feet protected from the elements.

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Comfort
Depending on the person, or how you plan to wear them, you may love or hate the plush feeling of these shoes. The underfoot warmth comes from the Vibram PE sole. This obviously keeps your feet extremely warm, but it is also very soft and cushioned. This can make it difficult when walking on sharp rocks without wearing crampons. These boots are also heavier than other boots, like the Scarpa 8000s. While this isn't a huge difference, it might make the difference between your decision. However, with the incredible warmth the Olympus Mons offer, they might be just the thing for you.

Features
These boots are both water-repellent and breathable. Their strong materials and superior warmth make them ideal for high altitudes of 8,000 meters or higher. Reviewers love the comfort and insulation of these shoes. Even better, you can show off your personal style because the shoes are available in various colors.

Insulation
The La Sportiva Olympus Mons is seriously for the extreme cold. This is a must-have pair for those looking to venture into extreme places like Antarctica. The insulated inner boot allows for a wide assortment of foot sizes. The lacing system, paired with Velcro closure won't require any tying. A great option for tightening while wearing gloves and mittens.

Traction
Again, we have a strong and grippy sole made from Vibram PE rubber. Paired with a rubber rand, these shoes can take a beating and continue to keep you on your feet even in treacherous environments.

5. Salewa Rapace

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Salewa Men's Rapace GTX Mountaineering Boots
Amazon Link
Comfort
91
Features
93
Insulation
90
Traction
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$298.95
Pros:

Waterproof

Warm

Adjustable boot sole

Cons:

Boots can feel heavy

Boots can run large

If you like climbing in colder, wetter conditions, then the Salewa Pro Gaiter Boot, which is made for ice and mixed climbing adventures, might be a great buy for you. Salewa Rapace Boots come with a lightweight single boot design, made to protect your feet from moisture with its permanently attached waterproof gaiter.

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Comfort
The gaiters on these Salewa boots can be closed with a bomber made with a waterproof T-zip which goes up the boot. Plus, these boots are made to fit the Salewa Rapace super-gaiter snugly inside the inner area of the boot, meaning it’s made to fit well and provide warmth and comfort.

Features
One very innovative benefit designed into this boot can be found on the boot’s sole, which is made to be flexible while providing you with adjustable sole stiffness. You can adjust the boot to be rigid when you climb or less rigid when you walk with a simple half turn on a bolt that you’ll find on the outer heel of the boot.

Insulation
Salewa Rapace Boots are designed to fit in two different ways: either Insulated or with a Performance fit, although both fits have the same materials and design. If you opt for the Insulated fit, you’ll get a wider fit in the forefoot area which is great for those who want to wear thick socks; the performance fit offers a tighter fit.

Traction
Rapace's traction system is made from Vibram Wrapthread Combi Sole, combining a Vibram sole and BiLight technology. The aggressive tread design on the outsole grips the surface and keeps you safe and comfortable. The midsole is also crampon compatible if you wish to add them.

6. La Sportiva Spantik

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
La Sportiva Men's Spantik Boot
Amazon Link
Comfort
86
Features
93
Insulation
94
Traction
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$750.00
Pros:

Warm

Supportive

Climbs well

Cons:

Heavy boots

Cuffs can rub

La Sportiva’s Spantik Mountaineering Boot is an excellent product for those adventurers planning to explore some serious mountain ranges and experience cold weather conditions, like in Denali. These boots are designed with an insulated double boot, meaning they’re made for mountaineers that plan to climb above 600 meters and bring you excellent warmth and weather protection.

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Comfort
The outer area of this boot is made with water-repellent Lorica materials combined with an Antiacqua external coating. The sole of the boot includes a molded TPU backstay reinforcement and is designed to help absorb shock as well.

Features
Inside of these boots, you’ll find a PE micro-cellular thermal insulated closed cell foam which is also lined with a thermos-reflective aluminum coating to help make the boots abrasion-resistant. With so many helpful benefits, these boots are made to help keep you performing well when you climb even the highest peaks.

Insulation
As far as insulated double boots are concerned, the Spantik boot is the most popular form of this product available on the market today. These boots keep your feet dry and warm and are designed with a step-in crampon compatibility and great climbing capability features.

Traction
The Spantik delivers great traction with its Vibram Montagna outsole. This dependable material mixed with multidirectional lugs provides you with a stable step and security.

7. Garmont Tower LX GTX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Garmont Men's Tower Plus LX GTX Boots & Knit Cap Bundle
Amazon Link
Comfort
92
Features
91
Insulation
90
Traction
89
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

High-quality boot

Handles all elements well

Excellent support and stability

Gore-Tex lined

Cons:

Run about a half size small

The Garmont Tower adjusts and works with the anatomical structure of your foot. They absorb shock well, help you to stabilize, and allow natural movement of the foot and shin. One of the best features of these boots is the fact they are lightweight, especially considering their durability.

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Comfort
Many outdoor adventurists agree that this is one of the most comfortable mountaineering boots that they have worn. They are lightweight, at only 3.2-pounds for the pair. The dual-density PU injected midsole aids in comfort and overall stability. For added comfort, there is also a 2.5mm microporous layer. To ensure overall fit and comfort, it should be noted that the boots run about a half size small.

Features
Garmont has outfitted this boot with many features that aid in overall comfort, fit, traction, and flexibility. The A.D.D (anatomically directed design) technology absorbs shock, stabilizes, and propels you as you navigate the mountains and unknown terrains. The Intelligent Flex System also allows natural movement of the forefoot and flexibility in the shin area.

No one likes wet socks. The Tower boots also feature a waterproof Gore-Tex lining. This makes these boots ideal for many different seasons and terrains. Additionally, if needed, they are compatible with semi-automatic crampons.

Insulation
These tough shoes won’t leave you cold. The thick and durable fabrics of suede, Gore-Tex, and rubber don’t allow the chill of the air to sneak in. Additionally, the insole is made from nylon and fiberglass and has air chambers to encourage insulation and breathability.

Traction
Like many of these mountaineering boots, the Garmont Tower features a Vibram Mulaz outsole. It has deep lugs all around and multidirectional lugs in the forefoot area. The Helix rubber rand helps add extra traction and resists abrasions. While descending, you’ll be thankful for the concave heel to help you brake more easily.

8. Scarpa Charmoz

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Scarpa Men's Charmoz Mountaineering Boot
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Features
93
Insulation
82
Traction
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$295.00
Pros:

Lightweight

Good price point

Can be used with semi-automatic crampons

Cons:

Uses an OutDry waterproof liner, while some prefer the Gortex insert

Might not be as long-lasting as other boots

This lightweight boot comes in both Women's and Men's, so both males and females can head up that mountain with confidence in their footwear. The Scarpa Charmoz is perfect for lightweight mountaineering and can be purchased at a very decent price point.

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Comfort
The Scarpa Charmoz boots weigh in at 3 pounds 6.4 ounces. They are considered a three-season boot, and therefore, are quite versatile, allowing you to get more of your money's worth because they can be used often.

Features
Due to it's higher rocker, it may not be suitable for icy conditions; however, for a weekend endeavor into the mountainside, you won't be at a loss for comfort. Some benefits of these boots are the lighter insulation, which is great for spring, fall, or summer weather. It also has a decently flexible soul.

Insulation
These are far from the warmest shoes on our list. These boots are made to be comfortable in three seasons and for that reason, they are not ideal for the dead of winter. If you wanted to wear these boots in colder environments, we recommend a great pair of wool or gore-tex socks.

Traction
The outsole of this shoe is a rubber sole made by Vibram, called Mulaz. This three-season boot is not the most grippy on our list, but for light snow, it will do just fine. The shoe also features a rubber rand while helps with technical footing.

9. La Sportiva G5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
La Sportiva G5 Hiking Shoes
Amazon Link
Comfort
89
Features
85
Insulation
88
Traction
86
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$700.00
Backcountry Link
$750.00
See Deal
Pros:

Warm

Lightweight

Comfortable

Cons:

Costly

Not as waterproof as advertised

The La Sportiva G5 Mountaineering Boot is one of the most popular and widely discussed boots available on the market today. The new and improved version of these boots is made to be a high-quality, well-performing super-gaiter boot designed with excellent materials.

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Comfort
The La Sportiva G5 Mountaineering Boot is made to be highly versatile and can climb rock, ice, and any mix of those two while your feet still stay warm and dry. These boots are also made to be very lightweight and weigh less than most other super-gaiter boots on the market today, making them comfortable and easy to wear.

Features
La Sportiva G5 Boot also has a carbon midsole for rigidity. These boots also bring you plenty of comfort and power so you can conquer all of your mountaineering adventures. These booths also offer an asymmetrical waterproof zipper to help with the outer gaiter fit.

Insulation
With the La Sportiva G5 Boot, you get two layers of technology to protect you from the cold, waterproof and breathable materials, and a PU midsole and SBR Aircushion to help absorb impact as you move. The upper inside of the shoe is lined with felt to keep your feet warm and cozy.

Traction
This sole is made from Vibram Matterhorn and is designed with an Impact Brake System, meaning it helps you break even if you’re slanted. There haven't been many compliments nor complaints on the traction of these boots, so it's safe to assume that it's just decent.

10. Arc'teryx Acrux AR

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot - Men's
Amazon Link
Comfort
86
Features
88
Insulation
87
Traction
90
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$750.00
Backcountry Link
$750.00
See Deal
Pros:

Waterproof

Breathable 

Sharp heel break offers stability

Cons:

A narrow foot design may not fit all wearers

The Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot offers a rugged hiker a lot of pros. The design is Batman-style sleek in all black with red highlights. And the waterproofing is topped off with an essentially seamless design that not many other boots out there offer. The cherry on the top is the warmth and traction that they offer.

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Comfort
The Arc'teryx Acrux AR Boots are a great go-to for mountaineers alike. Firstly, the customized Ortholite footbed delivers both comfort and stability. The toe portion of these boots is semi-protected with grooves atop to offer more traction. The mid-sole of these boots are made from high-quality EVA foam so that you are kept stable on any trek.

Features
This boot is considered a low-volume double boot that has a removable liner. The Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boots are also fully water-proof, but still offer breathability, which isn't always the easiest to come by.

Insulation
Overall, the Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot offers a medial climbing support zone, double boot warmth, and fantastic traction; they are a great option for most terrain seekers. The multiple gore-tex laminates work to keep your feet warm and dry. The hook and loop strap closes over the ankle and keeps snow and water out and heat in.

Traction
The rubber sole of this boot is specially designed and features anti-slip grooves. You'll find tractional grooves in the toe area, middle and heel of this boot.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

For many mountaineering enthusiasts, comfort is one of the most important features to consider. You want your boots to fit well and feel great while you’re active. Compromising comfort could create potential safety problems, as well as other health issues for your feet, and nobody wants that; least of all you, while you are scaling a mountainside.

Boots that fit poorly (or don’t feel comfortable) while you are mountaineering can create a lot of foot pain while you’re doing what you love. You might wind up with a bad blister or injuries from pressure points on your feet, like the arches of your feet. And worst of all, if you’re far away from the trailhead or camp spot and pain starts to kick in, you’ll be cursing up that mountainside instead of enjoying it.

When your stop point is miles away, the last thing you need to experience is consistent and increasing pain. Obviously, having to walk far in your boots while suffering pinching, chafing, and tightness is only going to make the experience worse, and it can totally destroy a trip that was meant to be a fun challenge.

To avoid this type of catastrophe from happening, you’ll want to purchase boots that feel great on both feet. While this sounds obvious, or easy to find, it can take some time trying on boots; it can also take some trial and error. To get you started on finding the most optimal and comfortable fit, we have created some guidelines to consider.

Features

We researched each product as well to see which features it possesses. We took a look at the crampon compatibility, gaiter system, and whether the boot was a single or a double boot.

Mountaineering boots are designed to be single boots or double boots. So, what’s the difference? With a double boot, you get an additional inner liner and outer shell, meaning the boot comes in two pieces. On the other hand, single boots don’t come with two pieces and are only made to be one-piece boots.

Double boots are usually made for winter weather and are warmer and heavier than your single boot design. Double plastic mountaineering boots are still very popular with many outdoor enthusiasts because they come in two parts, with an insulated inner boot and a plastic outer shell, making them totally waterproof. They are very warm on the interior, very comfortable, and typically fit well. Most double plastic boots are also pretty affordable, which makes many people on a budget veer towards them.

Single boots tend to be lighter in weight, and many also come with an integrated gaiter. They tend to be easier to use and also offer a lot of comforts. Some single boots are made for warmer weather, while others are made for colder weather.

Whether you purchase a single or double boot, know that some boots do come in plastic, but there are other options for outer materials as well. Both single and double boots come in leather materials as well. Leather boots offer much better comfort than plastic boots, but leather boots also tend to cost more. If you plan on spending days in the mountains and can afford them, then going for leather boots for comfort will give you a real advantage.

Leather boots come in many styles and shapes. Some are made to be warm, some are lightweight, and some have integrated gaiters. If you are thinking about going for leather boots for comfort, make sure you try them on before you spend the money to ensure you’ve got the right mountaineering boots for you.

Purchasing a single boot over a double boot, or a leather boot over a plastic one is going to be a matter of personal preference. The decision should depend on what you plan to do while you are in the mountains, how long you’ll be out, how often you go, and the weather you’ll encounter. Besides that, it’s really all about comfort and feels when making this decision.

Insulation

Warmth is another feature you’ll need to think about depending on what you plan to be doing when you are mountaineering. If you know you’ll be out when the weather is colder, then you don’t want to deal with cold feet and toes.

Cold toes are very annoying when mountaineering and your toes, fingers, nose, and ears are the first areas of your body to feel cold because of their lower blood flow. So, you want boots that will be warm enough to keep your toes warm in the coldest environments you plan to encounter.
If you know you’ll be mountaineering when it’s cold, worrying about too much warmth on your feet really isn’t an issue unless you fear you’ll sweat too much insider your boots. It’s almost always to get boots you know will keep you warmer, especially since you’ll want that blood circulation in your toes when you’re mountaineering.

So, read up on some reviews about how effective the boots you are considering are for keeping your feet, and especially your toes, warm. Make sure you try them on as well and test out how warm you feel you’ll stay in them. When you’ve got a pair that feels warm and efficient, you know you’ll perform well with them while you are out mountaineering.

Traction

Traction is an important part of any moving thing. And in this case, you are the moving thing and the boots are your traction. You’ll notice that almost every single mountain boot comes with some type of Vibram sole. There is a Vibram sole for almost every occasion, be it kitchen work, logging, hunting, or construction. The founder of Vibram soles is known for creating the first rubber lug. The design of the rubber lugs on the bottom of a shoe is what truly give the shoes its traction.

Another option that many of these mountaineering boots come with also, is the option to attach crampons. If you aren’t familiar with crampons, they are a device that you can screw in, slip over, or attach to your shoes. They have spikes or lugs that jut out from the bottom and help you grip the ground beneath you. Crampons are typically used on snow and ice.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
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#2
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#3
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#4
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expert tips icon
Exact Fit

You will be working hard in your mountaineering boots and it is important to make sure they fit correctly. When you try on the boots, try them on with the exact socks and pant that you plan on wearing on your excursion. Walk around as long as possible to ensure a comfortable fit.

Swelling

It is also important to keep in mind that some altitudes, your feet may swell. It is recommended to go up about 1/2 a size than normal with a mountaineering boot. The last thing you need on the mountain is heel pain and blisters.

Other Factors to Consider

Weight

Another important feature that will affect your comfort level and fit with any boot you try on is the weight of your mountaineering boot. Typically, the less weight you have on you, the better you’ll feel while out on the mountains. That being said, many mountaineers do prefer boots that are more lightweight—but that doesn’t mean everybody that mountaineers prefer and purchase lightweight boots. This is another feature you’ll have to try out to figure out what you feel comfortable with.

While figuring out the weight you can handle is important, remember that a lot of mountaineering boots are made to be heavy compared to other types of boots because they are made to be strong and keep feet warm. They’re not daily use boots, so they won’t resemble them in weight or features.

The more lightweight versions of mountaineering boots usually weigh about 3-4 pounds total or add about 1.5 to 2 pounds per foot. Lightweight boots do tend to be less warm and might not be as durable if you plan on mountaineering during cold weather.

Since there is a trade-off with weight and warmth, figure out what weight level you can handle with your mountaineering boots, and decide how often you will be out mountaineering when the weather gets colder. You want to make sure you get a boot that’s warm enough for your plans, but doesn’t make you feel weighed down.

Overall Fit

Together with comfort, we also considered the fit of the boots. To get the right level of comfort, getting a pair of mountaineering boots that fit you well will be important. Mountaineering boots vary in shape, size, and the way they fit your feet overall—some fit narrow feet better, while some are wider, some have integrated heal likes, others have high arches, some come with laces while others don’t.

When you are selecting the size of your mountaineering boots, you’ll need to take a look at warmth and performance as well. Some mountaineers like their boots to fit very tight since they feel they get better performance out of their feet that way. However, that’s all a matter of personal opinion, and it’s not always comfortable for everybody to have a super-tight fitting pair of mountaineering boots.

If your boots are too tight, you’ll wind up with a couple of consequences you won’t like. First, the blood flow and movement in your feet will be restricted, and your feet will get colder much more easily. Second, boots that are too tight will cause your toes to hit the end of the boot whenever you kick in your front points or have to walk downhill. So, you want to make sure your boots are big enough so that you can wiggle all of your toes about one-third as much as you could with the boots off. Some wiggle room is important for comfort and overall foot health.

Your feet are going to be unique and certain styles and brands of mountaineering boots will feel better on your feet than others. It’s almost always wise to be ready to go out to a store and try a few different types of boots on so you can walk around in them, test them out, and judge if it’s the right fit for you.

While how well a boot fits you will vary simply because everybody’s feet are different, there’s also the matter of personal preference to consider. You want to take some time to try out various brands and styles to see what feels right to you since you need a pair that fits snugly but doesn’t rub.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What do I need to know about mountaineering boots performance?

a:

All outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy mountaineering have different skill levels and everybody approaches mountaineering with unique advantages, disadvantages, and performance levels. Some mountaineers like to also go winter hiking or snowshoes and stay away from difficult terrains. However, others like a challenge and want to tackle the most difficult things they feel they can handle. Others waiver between these two options.

Once you know how you plan to use your mountaineering boots while you’re outside, you’ll be able to do a better job of selecting the right pair to go along with your activity performance. You might engage in a variety of activities including mixed climbing, hiking, ice climbing, mountaineering, and rock climbing—and the weather can also vary when you’re outside.

If you’re the kind of person that likes to do a wide variety of activities in a wide variety of weather conditions, then you probably won’t be able to settle on just one boot. The two things you really need to consider when making your boot selection is your activities and the climate you’ll be active in—once you know those two things it will be easier to focus on finding boots that meet these performance needs.

If you’re a versatile outdoor enthusiast that is more casual about your outings—say you go out once or twice a week—then you’ll probably want to prioritize different features on boots, figuring out what you’ll do most often and thus what boots will work best for you.

If you know you’ll only be outside on warmer days, then you won’t need to worry about things like the warmth or weight of your boots, and you might want to prioritize other factors about your boots. So, figure out your intended use, and then prioritize the features you need to select your boots. Sometimes, you will need more than one pair of boots to meet all of your needs if you tend to be more versatile while outside.

q: What are integrated gaiters and why are they needed?

a:

A traditional gaiter is commonly used to keep snow from getting into your boots and pants. A lot of mountaineering boot manufacturers nowadays have begun integrating gaiters into their boot designs to help make things easier when you’re in the outdoors.

An integrated gaiter on a boot does give you a few benefits. First, it will help cut back on the weight of the items you bring and need to carry. Also, having integrated gaiters on mountaineering boots usually makes these boots very warm.

What’s even better about the new technology of an integrated gaiter in mountaineering boots is how integrated gaiters can help make even lightweight boots (traditionally these boots had more difficulty retaining warmth) keep your feet warm.

Having an integrated gaiter in your mountaineering boots is obviously a nice addition to have, but it isn’t a necessity. Again, this will depend on your budget, and whether you plan on mountaineering during very cold conditions.

q: Why is crampon compatibility needed?

a:

When shopping for your mountaineering boots, don’t forget to consider crampon compatibility before purchasing your pair of boots. Crampons come in a variety of binding options which can help fit a wide variety of boot designs. However, if you wind up with a boot that has a rigid sole, it can be hard to add a crampon, and even if you get it on there, it might come off later while you are in the middle of doing something. So, make sure your boots will work effectively with the crampons you decide to use.

q: Should I consider super-gaiter boots?

a:

Super-gaiter boots offer mountaineers a bit of a hybrid option when purchasing boots, and are a cross between single and double boots. Super-gaiter boots come with a non-removable inner boot area that is covered by a permanently attached outer gaiter. Having a gaiter on the boot is great since it makes your feet warm, increases the weatherproofing on the boot, and keeps laces away from abrasions.

Another nice option super-gaiter boots bring is their ability to climb well in cold and wet conditions, basically performing better in this category than single boots. If you know you’ll be climbing often when it’s wet or cold, then super-gaiter boots might be a good option for you. Many winter mountain guides in Colorado, as well as climbers in Patagonia, love super-gaiter boots since they have better protection and more features than most single boots.

If you are considering super-gaiter boots, know that they can be difficult to dry out. You can’t remove the gaiter on these boots, so you’ll get less airflow, and therefore less able to dry out the inner area of the boot. If you don’t use your boots often, this probably won’t be an issue, but if you climb several days in a row, this could annoy you. So, if you know you’ll be camping and climbing many days in a row in the snow, a double boot might work better for you than a super-gaiter boot since you can more easily dry out a double boot overnight.

Really, super-gaiter boots are another great option for mountaineers but whether you want a pair or not will depend on your mountaineering activity level and plans. So, for those of you who like to camp and hit the mountains for many days in a row, these might not be the best boots for you. On the other hand, they would work well for people that hit the mountains once or twice a week for a few hours at a time.

Sources

  1. Dennis Broadwell, Mountaineering Boots, Mountaineering Advice Column
  2. Ian McEleney & Luke Lydiard, The 8 Best Mountaineering Boots for Men, Buying Guide
  3. Will Renwick, Best Mountaineering Boots 2019 | Top 9, Outdoors Site