Mountaineering Boots

Mountaineering Boots

Our mountain boots are designed for climbing and walking in the steepest and most rugged mountains and at high altitude, and offer the precision, protection and support you need for mountaineering. This guide will help you choose which type of boot is most suitable for you and how to get the best performance and life out of your boots. Like all outdoor equipment, mountaineering boots have benefited advances in materials and design concepts so that thare is a vast choice available.
We stock the most advanced models from the leading brands. To better explain the differences between these boots we can divide mountaineering boots into three categories, Classic, Light and High Altitude.

Classic Mountaineering Boots
These usually have an all-leather or mixed leather-synthetic uppers which are high enough to protect the ankle, and a stiff rigid or semi-rigid sole. Many models have an rubber rand that envelopes the lower part of the upper, protecting the leather from abraison and water.
Classic mountaineering boots often have some insulation so that they are warm in winter conditions (but not as warm as the high altitude models). The rigid or semi-rigid sole usually has a fairly classic Vibram sole and has a small amount of rocker to facilitate walking, but the boots are designed to be rigid enough to be used with automatic or semi-automatic crampons, with lugs at the toe and heel to accept crampons. Classic mountaineering boots are rugged and long lasting and are the best choice if you are looking for one mountaineering boot for use all year around. 
Due to their durability this style of boot is also very popular amongst the Pyreneean shepherds, who use these boots all day every day.
The La Sportiva Nepal and Karakorum models and the Scarpa Mont Blanc models are typical classic mountaineering boots. We called this category "classic" because, while these boots are closest to the first boots made for mountaineering, that does not mean that the designs are old fashioned, and the above models benefit from the manufacture's expertise in applying the latest design concepts to give these boots the best durability and performance.

Light Mountaineering Boots
These are designed for travelling and climbing as fast as possible in alpine terrain. Constructed with synthetic or mixed synthetic-leather uppers, these boots are, as the name suggests, considerably lighter thanks to the use of hi-tech textiles and innovative designs to shave weight. These boots often have a slightly lower upper compare to the classic models, and while the ankle is still protected, these boots allow more lateral movement of the lower leg for more agility. Many light mountaineering boots have a special sole designed specifically for that model, providing sufficient rigidity for use with semi-automatic crampons but more flex and a more rockered sole than the classic boots. While some light mountaineering boots are insulated for winter use, on the whole the pared down design and emphasis on low weight and agility means that these boots are less warm than classic boots. Light mountaineering boots are designed for technical ascents where speed and agility are the priorities, and many climbers appreciate the comfort of having lighter and more supple boots.

High Altitude Mountaineering Boots
Designed for ascending the highest coldest mountains, these boots are designed for offer the best possible thermal insulation in the most extreme environments. All these boots have an inner boot with a stiff sole with lugs for automatic crampons. These boots have thick soles with insulating mid-soles for maximum warmth, insulated uppers that are in turn protected by a zipped insulated gaiter that extends up the leg to provide maximum warmth. Scarpa and La Sportiva are the world leaders in high altitude boots, and they design these boots to be as easy to use at possible in the coldest and most hostile conditions. Efficient blood circulation is essential at altitude, and many climbers will choose a boot 1/2 or 1 size bigger than usual so that they can wear thicker socks and to avoid the boots compressing the feet and limiting circulation. Boasting the very latest designs and materials, high altitude boot designs are always advancing, and the latest top-of-the-range model fom Scarpa now supplies heating via small batteries in the boots.

Breaking In your Mountaineering Boots
Breaking in new mountaineering boots is crucial to ensure comfort and prevent blisters or other foot issues in the mountains. Here are some tips to help you break in your new mountaineering boots effectively:

1: Start Slowly.
Begin with short walks on flat terrain to allow your feet to adjust to the boots.
Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks as your boots start to feel more comfortable.

2: Wear them Indoors.
Start wearing your boots indoors to get your feet accustomed to the fit without the added stress of uneven terrain.
Do chores or walk around the house to simulate different movements.

3: Use good Socks.
Make sure that the socks are suitable for your boots, wick moisture away from your feet and provide insulation and cushioning.

4: Lacing Techniques.
Experiment with different lacing techniques to find the most comfortable fit. Mountain boots should be snug but not too tight that they impede blood circulation.

5: Footbeds/Insoles.
Most good quality boots come supplied with decent footbeds, but if you have particular needs or have "difficult" feet then using custom or aftermarket insoles can make all the difference. A custom insole can provide for better arch support and overall comfort.

6: Flexibility Exercises & Hot Spots.
Try doing ankle flexion exercises to enhance the flexibility of your boots.
Flex your ankles forward and backward, and side to side, to help the boots adapt to your movements.
If you notice any hot spots or discomfort, address the issue immediately. It could be a sign of friction points that could lead to blisters if not addressed promptly.

7. Check Waterproofing.
Make sure that your boots are already waterproofed, and if not then do so before using them in the mountains.
If you have leather boots and will be using a wax based waterproofing, this can help soften the leather making breaking in easier.

8: Vary Terrain.
Don't take your new boots for that extreme expedition before testing them on easier trips, so you know they are good for you. Gradually introduce your boots to more varied terrain, including uphill and downhill slopes, to ensure they adapt to different pressures and movements. Breaking in mountaineering boots takes time. Be patient and don't rush the process to ensure the best long-term comfort.

Remember that everyone's feet are different, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Take the time to listen to your feet and make adjustments as needed to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable mountaineering experience.

Mountaineering Boot Care & Waterproofing

To get the best performance and longest life out of your boots, be sure to clean them regularly and to let them dry inside and out after use, but do not expose them to high temperatures that could damage them. Removing the footbeds will allow them to dry quicker. See our section Waterproofing Treatments for how to look after your boots.

 

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