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 of safety to experience the outdoors with.
With such a massive landscape of of mountaineering boots available on the market nowadays, we’ve compiled this guide to help save you time, so that you can shut down the laptop and go do what you do best, trek through the great outdoors . We’ll also give you some pointers and key features that you’ll want to look out for when selecting your optimal mountaineering boots .
- Scarpa Phantom
- La Sportiva Batura
- Salewa Pro Gaiter
- Adjustable sole
10 Best Mountaineering Boots
Scarpa Phantom 6000
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 also 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.
- Laces can break
- Might not fit as well as some other boots
La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX
The La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX 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.
With the La Sportiva Men’s Batura 2.0 GTX 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. These booths also offer an asymmetrical waterproof zipper to help with the outer gaiter fit.
La Sportiva Men’s Batura 2.0 GTX 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.
- Can be hard to find
Salewa Pro Gaiter
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 Pro Gaiter’s super-gaiter snugly inside the inner area of the boot, meaning it’s made to fit well and provide warmth and comfort.
Salewa’s Pro Gaiter 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.
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.
- Adjustable boot sole
- Boots can feel heavy
- Boots can run large.
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX
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.
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.
La Sportiva’s Nepal Evo Mountaineering Boots come with a removable, adjustable, variable fit tonge 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.
- Great support
- Good for ice climbing
- Laces don’t always stay tied
- Tongue on boots can feel uncomfortable
La Sportiva Spantik
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.
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.
- Climbs well
- Heavy boots
- Cuffs can rub
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.
- 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
Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot
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.
The mid-sole of these boots are made from high quality EVA foam, so that you are kept stable on any trek.
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.
- Sharp heel break offers stability
- A narrow foot design may not fit all wearers
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.
Plus, 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.
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.
- High-quality boot
- Handles all elements well
- Excellent support
- Boots feel stiff
- Can be hard to walk in these boots
Salewa MS Raven 2 Combi
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. 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.
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.
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.
- Boot adjusts well to fit.
- Great support
- Boots can run small.
- Boots could be more breathable.
La Sportiva Olympus Mons
The only downside to these amazing boots is that the reason the way they get so much underfoot warmth is from the Vibram PE sole. This obviously keeps your feet extremely warm, but it is also very soft and cushioning. 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.
They also come in various colors for your selection.
- Great choice for altitude climbs
- Extreme warmth
- Great fit
- Vibram PE sole is less durable than normal rubber
The Criteria Used For Our Evaluation
When you’re planning to spend a lot of time outside mountaineering, your footwear is going to be one of the most incredibly impactful purchases you make for a good time. A quality pair of mountaineering boots is a necessity for adequate safety and performance.
So what are some of the things you need to take into account when making your decision?
The items you’ll want to take a look at include comfort, fit, weight, warmth, single or double, integrated gaiter capability and crampon compatibility, and of course, we’ll cover these concepts below.
Mountaineering Boot 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 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.
Mountaineering Boot Fit
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 to 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 varies 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.
Mountaineering Boot 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 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 tradeoff 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.
Mountaineering Boot Warmth
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.
Single or Double Mountaineering Boots
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.
Integrated Gaiter Mountaineering Boots
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.
Q: What Do I Need To Know About Mountaineering Boot Performance?
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.
Q: Should I Consider Super-Gaiter Boots?
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.
When considering what the best mountaineering boots are for your needs, you’ll need to consider your budget, what you’ll be doing, when you’ll be doing it, and how comfortable you’ll want your boots to feel when you are performing your activities. Depending on your versatility needs, the weather conditions you’ll encounter, the frequency of your mountaineering activities, and your own personal preferences, you’ll want to take a look around and try on a few booth options before settling on a pair.
Having great footwear for your mountaineering adventures is certainly a necessity, and the major feature you’ll need to consider when selecting your boots is the comfort. While a boot’s comfort is really a matter of personal opinion, if you’re able to find the boots that fit you just right, you’ll always be happy whenever you hit the mountains.