Best Mountaineering Boots
If you’re planning to be mountaineering over difficult terrain and throughout a diverse set of weather conditions, you know you’ll need a good pair of mountaineering boots. The right pair of mountaineering boots will keep you warm and comfortable, while also adding a huge boost in safety to youroutdoors experience.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
Good for ice climbing
- La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
- Salewa MS Raven 2 Combi
- Scarpa Phantom 6000
- La Sportiva Olympus Mons
- Salewa Rapace
- La Sportiva Spantik
- Scarpa Charmoz
- Scarpa Fuego
- La Sportiva G5
- Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
Good for ice climbing
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 a 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.Read more
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.
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 on 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.
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.
2. Salewa MS Raven 2 Combi
Boot adjusts well to fit
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 Vibran outsole, these boots can endure harsh weather conditions no matter where you find yourself.Read more
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.
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.
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. 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
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.Read more
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.
Scrapa’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. Also designed with Rear randing locks at the heel, you’ll get excellent climbing performance whenever you wear these boots.
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.
4. La Sportiva Olympus Mons
Great choice for high altitude climbs
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.Read more
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.
These boots are both water-repellant 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.
The La Sportiva Olympus Mons are a seriously popular double boot for the extreme cold. This is a must-have pair for those looking to venture into extreme places like Mount Everest and Antarctica. The polyurethane thermal-insulated inner boot accommodates a wide range of foot sizes. The one-handed lacing system, along with Velcro closure doesn't require any tying. A great option for tightening while wearing gloves and mittens.
5. Salewa Rapace
Adjustable boot sole
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
6. La Sportiva Spantik
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
7. Scarpa Charmoz
Good price point
Can be used with semi-automatic crampons
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 male and female 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.Read more
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.
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.
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 or wool or gore-tex socks.
8. Scarpa Fuego
Handles all elements well
Boots feel stiff
Can be hard for some to walk in these boots
Scarpa’s Fuego Mountaineering Boots are so comfortable and offer such great traction even on harsh terrain that these boots have become very popular amongst firefighters who work in wilderness areas. With its classical style and leather features, this boot’s vibram M4 tech outsole will help you tackle any wilderness element.Read more
Scarpa made these boots to fit well, providing plenty of support, protection, and comfort no matter where you plan to climb or what mountains you intend to visit. Designed with a double tongue feature, you’ll find ample adjustability for a great feeling whenever you hit the mountains.
Scarpa designed these mountaineering boots to adapt well to heavy work and difficult weather conditions, meaning they are versatile for a wide variety of mountaineering styles. Sturdy in design, these boots also come with a gusseted tongue that totally protects the front of your foot and eyelets that help give you great ankle support as you climb.
These boots are made to keep water out and warmth in while also providing excellent ventilation capabilities. The protection, support, and sturdiness they offer explain why they are such a popular product, and why so many people keep coming back to them.
9. La Sportiva G5
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.Read more
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.
La Sportiva G5 Boot also has a carbon midsole for rigidity and an outsole that’s designed with an Impact Brake System, meaning it helps you brake even if you’re slanted. 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.
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.
10. Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot
Sharp heel break offers stability
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.Read more
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.
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 a 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.
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 boot, 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.
We reseached each product as well to see which features it possesses. We took a look at the crampon compatability, 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 on 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 feel when making this decision.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
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.
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
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 purchases 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 snowshoe 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 in 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.
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.
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.
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.