SHOES & BOOTS

The Best Mountaineering Boots: What you Need for a Successful Hike

best mountaineering boots
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Though a durable jacket and backpack are essential for hiking and mountaineering, what will really take you up the hill are your feet. Your boots can make or break your adventure. Without proper shoes, you expose yourself to a foot pain and preventable foot conditions to occur.

So, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced in mountaineering, you’ll need to invest in a solid pair of boots. Now, with hundreds of boots on the market, it can become overwhelming figuring out which one is the best and suits your needs.

Well, no need to stress because we have you covered. We’re going to talk about everything you need to know to get you wearing the best mountaineering boots for your journey.

Types of Mountaineering Boots

You may have thought that a mountaineering boot is just a boot, but actually, mountaineering boots have a couple styles to choose from. Once you know the different styles of mountaineering boots, you’ll be able to narrow down your options.

four different mountaineering boots

While you’re reading about the different styles, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will I be climbing vertical ice? Snow? Neve? Rock?
  2. Will I have to hike long distances in order to get to the climb?
  3. How cold will it be?
  4. Will I be going on day trips or multi-day adventures?

Now that you know what you should be asking yourself, let’s look at the different types of mountaineering boots.

Single Boots

Single boots have essentially a single upper boot. Though the upper boot may have many layers, they’re not able to separate. They’re the lightest boots and are ideal for climbing hard ice and rock. You’ll be able to wear them in warm to cold conditions, so they’re very versatile.

one orange single boot

These boots can actually be broken down into two groups: rigid sole with a full-length shank and toe welt vs semi-rigid sole with length shank and no toe welt. Single boots are ideal if you’ll be climbing in Canada and Europe or in the lower 48.

Rigid Sole

The rigid sole with a full-length shank and toe welt is the lightweight boot which you’ll be able to ice climb and it’s a year-round boot.

boot with rigid sole

Semi-Rigid Sole

The semi-rigid sole with length shank and no toe welt is a three season boot and is ideal if you’ll be climbing on less advanced terrain.

Double Boots

Double boots have an inner and outer boot which you can separate. They’re usually worn in extremely cold conditions where you’ll be needing a warmer boot with the option of drying out your liner. Though you have these options of drying out the liner, etc, these boots are typically heavier than single boots because of the layer.

mountaineering double boots

Super-Gaiter Boots

Super-Gaiter boots are a hybrid between single and double boots. They have a non-removable liner that’s covered by an outer gaiter that’s permanently attached. The gaiter adds warmth, protects from abrasion and is weatherproofing. These boots are typically worn when climbing in cold and/or wet conditions, and are recommended over single boots in those cases.

super gaiter boot on snow

Though super-gaiter boots do have a downfall, they can be difficult to dry, especially since you cannot remove any part of the boot. This means you have less airflow to dry to the inner boot with. If you’re a regular climber, this may be a problem for you.

How to find the Perfectly Fitted Mountaineering Boot

How do you size a mountaineering boot? Well, that’s the thing. Many people assume that they need a boot that tight so that they can feel their feet. This is not what you need. When trying on mountaineering boots, you need to make sure that they’re not fitted too tightly.

  • What will happen if they’re too tight? Well, if they’re too tight, it’ll cut off the circulation to your feet, causing your feet to become cold and movement reduced. In addition, if your boots are too tight, your toes will be pushed against the end of your boot causing pain. You want to make sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes in them.
  • Wear the proper socks. When you’re trying on your boots, make sure you’re wearing the socks you would when you’re mountaineering. Single mid-weight wool socks are the most ideal to wear when trying on boots.
  • Try them on at the end of the day. Your feet swell throughout the day, so, if you try your boots on in the morning, they’re not going to feel the same compared to trying them on at the end of the day. Your feet will be slightly larger and that’ll give you the best vision of what it’ll feel like.
  • Stand on a slant. You’re going to be walking downhill at some point, so you want to try to walk on a slant, seeing if your toes push up against the front of your boot. You don’t want your toes to suffer while you’re walking downhill.

mountaineering boots in a store

Don’t Sacrifice for Price

If you have a budget, you can still find a quality pair of boots that’ll support you throughout your journey. However, you should know that if you’re trying to save a couple dollars by getting a cheap pair of boots, you’ll pay the price later.

Do not sacrifice comfort or performance in order to save money. These will be the shoes that’ll make your trip a dream or a living nightmare.

Тop rated Mountaineering Boots

Now that you know the types of mountaineering boots available and what to look for, it’s time we showed you the top rated mountaineering boots that are on the market.

Salewa Vertical Pro Boot

Salewa Men's Vertical Pro Wide Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 2 lbs

Specific features: Vibram sole, 3F power, leather

Salewa is a great brand that offers users with exceptional mountaineering equipment. The Salewa Vertical Pro Boots are made out of high-quality leather and comes with a Vibram sole for ultimate support and comfort. The multiple lasts ensure that your feet have the space necessary and eliminate the possibility of foot rubbing, resulting in blisters.

The 3F power provides users with flexibility and support with precision fit due to the improved steel wire ensuring proper anatomical support. The Thinsulate 400 aluminium layer lining makes sure your feet stay warm while you’re climbing.

Related: Another great climbing shoe is the Scarpa Inverno Boot. It comes with super-durable and warm altitude lining and is highly flexible with its Pebax shell. The Rocker sole also makes it easy to walk in. The Asolo Eiger GV is a highly-resistant polyamide microfiber gaiter that is another option for a mountaineering boot. Its design is sleek and modern, yet will support you through any climb.

Check the price on Amazon

La Sportiva Nepal Cube

La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Boot

Size: 37.5 – 48M

Specific features: Gore-Tex, lightweight

The La Sportiva Nepal Cube is extremely vibrant and advanced in design. It’s exceptionally lightweight due to its innovative design and light midsole and sole which incorporate insulating Carbon Tech honeycomb footbed. The Gore-Tex insulated comfort membrane gives your feet breathability and support.

The 3D Flex ankle gives your foot mobility and the tongue is adjustable and removable. Plus, if you’re looking for a boot that’s a little more creative and artistic in design, then this boot is it. Overall, this boot will successfully keep your feet warm, comfortable and will be able to technically support you.

Related: The Nepal EVO GTX boot is another exceptional boot from La Sportiva. It comes with an innovative 3D flex that allows your ankle lateral flexibility, while still providing longitudinal lockout for support. It comes with a removable and adjustable tongue that gives you a perfect fit. The EZ roller boot lacing system will give you an effortless lace up. The Gore-Tex gives waterproof and breathable lining so you’ll be able to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Check the price on Amazon

Scarpa Phantom Boots

Scarpa Men's Phantom 6000 Mountaineering Boot

Size: 42 – 48M

Specific features: ErgoFit system, Waterproof T-Zip, advanced midsole

Scarpa is an exceptional brand that makes high-quality mountaineering equipment. The Scarpa Phantom Boots is an outstanding boot that is fully loaded with all the features. It comes with an ErgoFit System that offers users with omni-directional progressive flex, giving you natural mobility and support.

It comes with rear randing locks reel that give you climbing support. The waterproof T-Zip and integrated gaiter gives users ultimate support. In addition, the easy-to-use quick-lace system makes lacing up quick and efficient.

Related: If you’re just starting out in mountaineering, you’re going to need a guide book. The Freedom Of The Hills is a bestseller and will tell you everything there is to know about mountaineering. If you’re female, Scarpa has a great boot called the Women’s Mont Blanc. We will review the men’s version, however, it’s important to know that there is a women’s boot available. It’s an exceptional boot that comes with ErgoFit and an advanced mid-sole system.

Check the price on Amazon

Salewa Pro Gaiter

Salewa Men's MS Pro Gaiter W Mountaineering Boot, Black Yellow, 11 W US

Specific features: Vibram sole, 100% stiff

The Salewa Pro Gaiter is a great boot for advanced mountaineers. It comes with an adjustable sole system and an anatomical last with a climbing toe profile. The Flex system allows the boot to become 100% stiff whenever you need. With multiple last, these shoes provide you with no friction and no blisters, meaning your climb will be smooth sailing.

The Vibram sole makes this shoe ideal for mountaineering and ice climbing. In addition, this shoe is highly durable and abrasion resistant. The ankle support and precision fit will help improve your climb and ensure that you won’t get injured.

Check the price on Amazon

La Sportiva G2 SM

La Sportiva G2 SM Men's Mountain Climbing Mountaineering Boot

Size: 38.5 – 49M

Weight: 2.25 lbs

Specific features: Water repellent, thermo-reflective aluminium

La Sportiva G2 SM was designed in collaboration with Italian alpinist Simone Moro which means this boot mixes technical need and comfort perfectly. The boot is an extremely lightweight double boot with an integrated gaiter which provides users ultimate water resistance and durability.

The outer boot is made with low density expanded PE foam and thermo-reflective aluminium. In addition, it’s made with water-repellent Lorica and finished with an external coating of Antiacqua. The gaiter is made with laminated and taped water-resistant membrane including an air-injected rubber rand. The inner boot has a dual velcro closure, so you can be sure that nothing will get into your boot.

Related: This boot is really an all-in-one, but if you’re unable to get this boot, then we suggest La Sportiva Spantik Men’s boot. It’s made with the same technology, however, just has a different design.  If you’re looking for something more modest in price, the Salewa Men’s MS Raven is another great boot. It comes with the 3S Combi density micro-porous rubber midsole and multiple lasts to prevent blistering. The 3D lacing system has a three automatic locking point to ensure a customized fit.

Check the price on Amazon

Scarpa Fuego

Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot

Size: 38.5 – 48M

Specific features: leather, double tongue, Vibram sole

The Fuego Boot is another great additional to the Scarpa family. Made with high-quality leather, this boot is highly durable and well worth the investment. This is their classically designed mountaineering boot, however, is loaded with modern features.

It comes with a Vibram sole, so your feet are properly supported during your climb. It comes with a double tongue that ensures a perfect fit and a gusseted tongue for ultimate protection. This boot is even ideal for those who are foresters or wildlife firefighters.

Related: The Scarpa Wrangell GTX mountaineering boot is another exceptional boot. It comes with a Vibram sole, Gore-Tex lining and a protective double-tongue. It’s also modest in price which if you’re on a budget, you’ll appreciate.

Check the price on Amazon

Scarpa Mont Blanc

Scarpa Men's Mont Blanc Goretex Mountaineering Boot

Size: 39 – 47M

Weight: 5 lbs

Specific Features: Vibram sole, ErgoFit Flex system

Scarpa knows boots. They have a variety of mountain-friendly boots that are designed to support you on your climb. They blended the essential of traditional climbing boots with modern innovation to design a boot that will be able to support you during your climb and hike.

The Scarpa Mont Blanc is a suede mountaineering boot that comes with a Vibram sole for mobility and support. The Gore-Tex provides wearers with insulated comfort, ensuring that your feet won’t be cold. The ErgoFit flex system makes sure that the boot is fitted to your foot, preventing any discomfort from occurring.

It’s also designed with advanced shock absorbing midsoles, so your boots will be able to take some pressure without your feet feeling it. Currently, the Mont Blanc is the lightest boot in its class.

Related: If you’re a female mountaineer, you should try to get a boot which is specifically made for women. Women are built anatomically different than men, so these boot will be specially designed to suit your body. you can try the Scarpa Women’s Mont Blanc Pro GTX boot. It fits specifically to the female anatomy and comes with rib technology for easy lacing.

Check the price on Amazon

La Sportiva Batura

La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX Boot - Men's

Size: 41 – 46M

Weight: 4.4 lbs

Specific Features: New 2-layer gore technology

La Sportiva is a well-known brand which design exceptional mountaineering boots. The La Sportiva Batura Boot is extremely lightweight, yet, provides you with everything you in a boot. The super lightweight insulating honeycomb carbon midsole provides you with warm and rigidity for your climb.

It has an asymmetrical waterproof zipper for a snug gaiter fit and waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining. The midsole is made of PU with SBR Aircushion to provide you will some comfort when you’re walking. These boots are truly an ultimate super-gaiter boot that will support you on anything adventure you take.

However, just remember, that gaiters can be slightly troubling to dry internally. Though the breathable lining helps, it’s also good to be reminded.

Related: You may be a fan of this boot, however, you don’t have the budget for them. Understandably so, however, you can find a boot that’s similar just without the price tag. La Sportiva Men’s Trango S Evo GTX boot is much more modest in price, however, has the quality as all their other boots. These boots come with an innovative 3D flex ankle for more mobility and also Gore-Tex lining for waterproof protection.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Verdict

Now that you know the types of boots available, what to look for in fit and the most reputable mountaineering boots on the market, it’s time you tried them on. Make sure that you try the boots on at night when your feet are slightly swollen.

mountaineering boots on the snow

Also, don’t be shy to wear them around the house for a couple of days to make sure they’re the boots for you. If you choose the right ones for your needs, you won’t regret it.

Remember, don’t go for the cheapest pair of boots, but rather the boots that fit your needs and your feet. Let us know in the comments section below which boots you love!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Harry Tomlinson

    Those are awesome mountaineering boots! Thank you so much for this because I will now have an easier time choosing what to get next. I am thinking of getting La Sportiva Nepal Cub because of your review. I am really looking for a durable and lightweight pair. Although, Scarpa Phantom looks good as well.

  • Mark Foster

    You can’t go wrong!

  • Mark Garrett

    Personally, I would recommend Scarpa Mont Blanc. I bought a pair about a year ago and I really love it. When I first used it, I did not have a problem with blisters because the size and fit is perfect. I can use it all day without any hassle. The price is great too.

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