Best Shoes for Mountain Climbing


You look with envy at the way mountain goats scramble effortlessly up the sides of the mountains and you wish for that kind of ability. Well, when you go for the next mountaineering expedition you can…all thanks to the boots you have. When it comes to mountain climbing boots you need to know what makes a great boot that will give you the support you need.  In this article we will focus on shoes for mountain climbing that are to be considered.

The best boots for mountain climbing will give you the traction you need as you tackle the varied terrains. Also you need to support and protect your feet. You also need shoes that allow you to flex and move as you make your way along the mountain. While allowing you the ability to comfortably wear crampons when needed, it has extra grip on your feed.

The boots your decide to get is the result of a culmination of factors such as; Whether you are happy to journey with wet feet. Allowing them to dry out as you walk .Hiking with one pair of shoes or two pairs that you will swap out as the terrain changes. Whether you will be travelling horizontally along a path or vertically up the face of a mountain. 

Let’s dissect these factors a little deeper, then we will discuss the different types available.  Look at the rating systems of mountain hiking boots so that you know which boot will better suit your needs. We will begin our trek with a list of the best mountain climbing boots you can plant your feet in. 

It’s time to leave base camp…

What to look for in a mountain climbing boot

As always the best boot is the one that will meet your specific needs and those determined by the journey you are planning to embark on. The terrain you will face; whether there is a mix of hiking and climbing and the heaviness of the load on your back all play a part in making sure you have boots that will withstand the challenges. Also, provide you with the comfort, safety and protection you need. 

What to consider when buying mountaineering boots

Waterproofing 

You may cross streams or creeks as your hike along the snowy trail and that means, wet feet. Whether you consider that a hazard or not is dependent on you and if you feel that your feet will dry out or not. Hiking and climbing with wet feet can make your trip a real downer and can lead to health issues. If you feel that the weather and conditions will allow your feet to dry as you continue on your journey; then waterproof may not be that much of an issue. It s all up to you. 

Terrain 

A walk along the snow line offers a different lay of the land than a climb to the summit of a mountain does. The terrain that you will face dictates whether you need hardcore boots that will give you the grip, protection and insulation your need as you climb or if you can get away with a medium to lower level of the boot. Plan ahead and familiarise yourself with what you will be facing on your trip and match your boots accordingly.

Crampons

When you are facing extra challenging surfaces, crampons will give you the grip that you need. Most boots will easily fit crampons, but if you have a pair of boots that don’t have a solid build you can find that wearing crampons can become a pain in the…foot. 

Durability 

This goes hand in hand with ensuring you have shoes that are appropriate to the terrain and environment you are going to enter into. If you are into extreme mountain climbing then you obviously need boots. They are going to withstand the harsh environment around the mountain such as rocks and ice. You want confidence that the boots you have are going to last the distance. 

Lightness

As you climb you don’t want boots that will weigh you down, which can lead to disaster. Lightweight boots will definitely make your journey easier and less challenging.

The main factor,  as we have mentioned,  in choosing the right boot is what expedition you are going to undertake.  A simple climb or hike or an activity that is more full-on.  

Which boots to get

When you look at mountain climbing boots you will find that they come in three different types: insulated boots, three-season boots and plastic boots. Which pair will suit you? 

Insulated boots

These boots offer warmth through multi-layered insulation. They are best suited for conditions where you will find yourself in cold temperatures for extended periods of time.  Extra padding inside the boots keeps your feet warm and snug. When shopping for mountain climbing shoes,  insulated boots are the more expensive choice.  

Three-season boots

Lighter than insulated boots, three-season boots are better suited for day hikes or simple climbing when it is warmer; these boots don’t have lining like insulated boots do. You are getting a rugged boot, so you can safely say that your feet will be well protected while you still are provided with flexibility so that you can hike and climb unhindered by your boots. Three-season boots fall in the mid-price range when buying new footwear for mountain climbing 

Plastic boots

These boots are similarly priced as three seasons boots and made specifically for mountaineering. The plastics outer can handle rugged environs but the downside is that they are weighty the high you need to take into consideration if you are an epic journey. 

How do I know which boots are up to the task? 

In the world of mountain climbing boots, you may find that they vary based on how intense your mountain climbing will be. The rating system runs from B0 through to B3.

B0 boots are ideal for a basic hike along the foot of the mountain and offer great flexibility for your feet. They aren’t ideal for winter hikes and if you are wanting to attach crampons, be ready for a world of discomfort as the crampons dig into the soft fabric of the shoe.

B1 boots are best suited for less technical, general walks. The midsole offers some degree of firmness underfoot and has uppers that are stronger than B0 boots allowing for crampons (C1 type) to go along with it. 

B2 rated mountain boots have harder midsoles and uppers yet still provide flexibility These boots are great for longer journeys in the snow and can support C2 crampons. They also offer insulation. 

B3 boots are at the extreme end of mountain climbing shoes. They are rigid and provide ultimate support for those who are wanting to take in a technical climb. The outsole design allows for C3 or C2 crampons to go along with it. 

Now we have made it to the summit in our look at the what to look for in mountain climbing boots, it’s time to make our way down this alp and look at the best boots you can get. 

Let’s go, you can rest once we reach the bottom…

The best mountain climbing boots for men

La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Mountaineering Boots

Whether you’re winter mountaineering or ice climbing you can be sure that La Sportiva’s Nepal Cube boots will look after you. The Gore-Tex lining offers you warmth while ensuring your details stay dry. Your ankles are supported by the 3D-FLEX system which allows for freedom in lateral movement as well as forward-pointing manoeuvres. Inside the boot, the stiff Carbon Tech insole gives you the stability you need as you climb while the 4mm EVA padding provides comfort. The leather uppers are injected with silicone for added durability and endurance. With this you can tackle icy, rocky and mixed terrain without concern that your boots won’t stand up to the demands of the challenging environment. Weighing in at 2.5lbs you don’t need to be concerned about boots that are going to become too heavy to wear as you traverse the side of the mountain. Overall, these are solid boots that are made for those who love the extremes of mountain climbing. 

Scarpa Zodiac Tech Gtx Mountaineering Boot

Made for those of you who need something more than and approach shoe yet have no need for a complete mountain shoe. The Zodiac GTX offers performance and protection whether you are making an approach or starting for the top of the mountain. The 6″ shaft suppression your ankle while the rubber sole keeps your feet firmly fixed on the trying ground under you with the option to attach semi-automatic crampons. Breathability is offered through the gore-tex lining while the suede leather is durable and flexible. Scarpa has been making shoes for mountaineering since 1938, so you can be sure that you are wearing some of the best boots around.

La Sportiva Olympus Mons Cube Shoe

These boots are made for the hardcore adventurer. Whether making an arctic crossing or climbing the highest peak, the Olympus Mons is designed to withstand the most rugged and trying environments. The upper is made of Cordura and nylon providing you with an abrasion-resistant and hardy outer shell. Your feet are kept safe from the cold outside via Carbon Tech honeycomb and Primaloft insulation. Feel that the boots just aren’t fitting quite right? You can take out the liners so that you get the comfort you need and the dual BOA closure system ensures that the boots hug to your legs. Skis can easily attach to the boots thanks to the newly introduce tech inserts at the front of the boots.

Asolo Elbrus GV Mountaineering Boot

The Elbrus is a lightweight boot that is rugged thanks to the leather upper and shell encasing, which keeps your feet well protected as you hike and climb. Gore-tex allows your feet to breath while the outsole offers exceptional grip and shock-absorption thanks while a front toe cap keeps your pinkies safe against the unforgiving terrain.

Salewa Rapace GTX Mountaineering Boot

Durable leather and a rand that fully surrounds your foot the comfort it needs while the flexible collar allows for the natural flexion you need to climb and clamber unimpeded, yet the overall design is still firm enough to allow for the attaching of semi-automatic crampons. Your midsole is offered the orthopaedic support it needs thanks to Salewa’s Bilight technology and the lacing system which runs the full length of the boot means that you will have a secure fit yet still have freedom of movement. The Vibram VTC outsole is specifically designed to give you superior grip while still being lightweight.   

Arc’teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot

These boots were made with Alpine climbing in mind. The Gore-tex fabric, as well as the specially designed zipper, provides waterproofing. Within the shoe, while the EVA midsole absorbs impacts and the footbed provides you with the arch support you need as you make your way up the mountain. Traction is assured through the heel brake and anti-slip grooves at the front of the boot. 

The best mountain climbing boots for women

La Sportiva Sytron Alpine Touring Boot

With an outer shell that created from Grilamid, which is highly resistant to stress fracturing and can handle the hardest of impacts, you can climb your heart out knowing that your feet are going to get safety. Though the boots are solid, they allow for the range of motion that you need to keep motoring up the mountain. 

Mammut Nordwand Knit High GTX Mountaineering Boot

Made from knitted material allows these boots to flex and expand while allowing your feet to breath; yet not at the expense of warmth or comfort. The twin heel straps give the back of your foot the support it needs while the insulated footbed keeps you feeling toasty. The carbon within the insole allows for the stiffness you need; to ensure you have the stability required to make your trek up the slope and the rubber sole allows crampons when needed.

La Sportiva Spantik Boot

Going high up the mountain? Like 7,000 metres up the mountain? Then you need a pair of Spantiks on your feet. Within the boot is a 5mm thermal insole with a dual-density EVA midsole giving you the comfort you need. Outside is a PU coated leatherette for durability while the Lorica material keeps your feet bone-dry as you trudge through the snow. At the back of the Spantik, you will find reinforcement for your ankle so that you can climb with confidence.

SCARPA F1 Alpine Touring Boot

The Grilamid outer shell makes these a solid boot yet still allows for natural flexion as you head towards the summit. Traction present via the Vibram outsole and the inner lining created to hug the contour of your calf for comfort. The BOA buckle lock-down system keeps the boot tight against your feet yet offers the freedom to move and flex and, thanks to the last Alpine was designed from therein, and given the stability you need. The top may be far, but you can handle the trek courtesy of Scarpa.

Salewa Vultur Evo GTX Mountaineering Boot

The fluorescent upper makes you easy to spot, but that’s not the only plus. The microfiber and rand that fully encircles your foot offer a defence against the terrain. Heel control enhanced through the lacing system that distributes the force across your foot and the 8” shaft in conjunction with the flexible collar supports your ankles. Hygiene within the shoe proved though Gore-tex keeping your feet dry and silver removes any built-up smells. If you find that it’s uncomfortable underfoot, you can adjust the footbed to suit your individual needs so that you can hike and climb in leisure. The Vulture Evo GTX will serve you well in a mid-range climb, but if you want something more then consider more serious footwear such as La Sportiva’s Spantik boot.

La Sportiva G2 SM Mountain Climbing Mountaineering Boot

Having input from Simone Moro when creating these boots, you know you’re onto a winner. The Codura out shell keeps the water on the outside and the felt serves a dual function of insulating your feet while allowing moisture to escape from within the boot. The dual boa system locks the boot firmly in place. Within the shoe PE and EVA offer comfort and the 3mm honeycombed insole keeps the bottom of your foot warm. These boots are made to take care of you for the long haul as you trek for hours on end across the icy, snowy, jagged mountainscape

We’ve reached the end of the journey

Mountain climbing is a challenging activity that varies in level of difficulty. From a simple hike to a full-on expedition. To the top of the mountain you want to make sure that you have the right boots. These will give you the protection, comfort and support you need in your adventure. The type of journey you undertake will dictate which boots you buy. Common sense suggests that you don’t want a full-on alpine boot if you are merely going on a basic walk along the mountain. 

Match the boots to the activity and you will find that your feet will be happy. Also, your bank account will be happy since you won’t have to keep forking out cash for additional footwear.

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