TOP GEAR PICKS

Best Mountaineering Boots: Hiking Footwear for All Seasons and Terrains

Mountaineering boots
Russell McCarty
Written by Russell McCarty

The world of mountaineering is vast and exciting. There is nothing quite like coming face to face with one of Mother Nature’s wonders and experiencing what it has to offer first hand. The key to conquering climbs and trouncing treks is equipping yourself with the perfect gear.

The single most important piece of equipment when mountaineering is footwear. Whether you are a newbie on the glaciers or a veteran of the vertical climb, having the best mountaineering boots for your specific needs will shape your entire experience.

In this list, we will outline some of the very best boots for all kinds of mountaineering. Mountaineering may sound like an intimidating sport, and it very well can be, but it doesn’t have to be impossibly difficult. This list will include boots designed for all different levels of technical mountaineering in all different weather and terrain.

Mountaineering boots are a big investment, but keep in mind that they are absolutely necessary if you plan on mountaineering in any kind of terrain. The miles and memories you will get out of your boots will more than make up for the initial expense.

Our Top Picks

NameMaterialsInsulationFitPrice
La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTXElastic Cordura, laminated GORE-TEX membraneWaterproof GORE-TEX liningSnug and narrowCheck price on Amazon
Scarpa Wrangell GTXLeather exterior, rubber toe randWaterproof GORE-TEX liningDouble tongue, ankle flex zone, narrow toe box, extra-tall support cuffCheck price on Amazon
Salewa Pro GaiterCut-resistant SuperFabric waterproof zipped gaiterThinsulate B400 liningTrue fit with narrow toe box, flexible ankle and heel supportCheck price on Amazon
Scarpa Phantom 8000K-Tech, S-Tech, and Superfabric Outdry gaiterCordura and EVA Aluminum Primaloft 600 liningTrue fit with room for ankle movementCheck price on Amazon
The North Face Verto S4K GTXNorthotic Pro+ premium EVA footbed, OrthoLite cushionWaterproof GORE-TEX liningTrue fit, flexible upper cuff, TPU cradle supportCheck price on Amazon
Scarpa Mont Blanc GTXSuede leather uppers, rubber randWaterproof GORE-TEX liningTrue fit, Scarpa Ergo fit increases forward ankle mobility and control lateral rangeCheck price on Amazon
La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTXSilicone impregnated Idro-Perwanger Roughout leather upperWaterproof GORE-TEX liningSmall fit, adjustable variable fit tongueCheck price on Amazon
La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTXCordura nylon uppersWaterproof GORE-TEX liningSnug fit, 3D flex ankleCheck price on Amazon
Lowa Mountain Expert EVOLeather and microfiber upper, Insulate Pro Alu-Coated footbedWaterproof GORE-TEX liningWide fit, rocker shaped soleCheck price on Amazon

What to Consider

So which features and qualities that you should look for in a good pair of mountaineering boots? Below are the factors that will help with your shopping needs.

Fit

The fit of your mountaineering boots encompasses much more than just their size. Different boots offer different widths in the toe boxes and heels, as well as different amounts of arch support. It is often recommended that you buy your mountaineering and hiking boots in a smaller size than your everyday shoes, but you don’t want your boots to be too small because boots that are too tight will restrict blood flow as well as cause painful blisters and sore feet.

Mountaineering boots - Scarpa

Another way to determine fit is by deciding exactly what use you hope to get out of your boots. If you plan on alpining in extremely frigid temperatures, will you be wearing extra thick socks to combat the cold? This will play a role in which boot size will fit you best.

Type

Did you know that there are, like, a LOT of types of mountaineering boots? You might not have thought about the boot type you need yet. A boot is a boot, right? Not quite.

There are single- and double- boots as well as a third type of boot called super-gaiter. When deciding which one is right for you, you need to know the general features you’ll want your boots to have.

Single-boots feature a simple upper section that is not composed of disconnected layers. These boots are great for general hiking and climbing because they are the lightest type. They are suited well for warm or relatively cold temperatures, but not frigid temperatures like double-boots are designed for.

Sportiva mountaineering boots

Double-boots are called this because they are made up of an inner boot and an outer boot. They are good for colder temperatures since they offer more insulation and protection from the elements. Because of their extra layer, they are heavier than single-boots.

Now then, super-gaiter boots may have a crazy name but their concept is a no-brainer. They are a hybrid between single- and double- boots. They are comprised of an inner and outer layer but, unlike the double-boot, the inner layer cannot be removed so they tend to take longer to dry out.

Flexibility

Depending on your desired trek, the flexibility of your boots will play a big role. Boot stiffness can make or break your adventure.

Boots with 100 percent stiffness are perfect for technical ascents as they offer the most control and support for your calves. They aren’t ideal for hiking or horizontal treks, though, because they do not bend to the natural shape of a walking foot.

Asolo mountaineering boots

The more flexible boots are better suited for exploring and trekking horizontally. It is a lot easier to travel in flexible boots so you can make better time on hikes. However, they will not work as well on technical climbs.

Insulation

Choosing the extent of your boots’ insulation comes down to deciding which conditions you’ll likely be using your boots in the most. Mountaineering boots usually feature GORE-TEX lining as insulation since mountaineering often involves climbs and hikes through wet or snowy terrain.

Obviously, the thicker the insulation, the more warmth and protection the boots will offer. However, adding extra layers and thickness will increase the weight of the boots.

If you are looking for versatile, three-season boots, basic insulation will work well for you. But, if you are planning arctic treks in frigid temperatures, be on the lookout for boots with additional insulation for added warmth.

Crampon Compatibility

If you’re new to the world of mountaineering, the word crampon might be a new one. However, if you’re reading this list, you are probably familiar with this piece of equipment. Crampons are metal plates that affix to the bottom of your boots, offering more traction in hard, icy terrain. Boots designed for extra technical ascents and front-pointing are typically made for use with crampons.

Scarpa mountaineering boots with crampons

Not all mountaineering boots are compatible with all crampons. It is absolutely paramount to test your crampons with your boots before you venture up the mountain. If your boot is not rigid enough, crampons can pop right off.

Crampons can either be step-in, strap-on, or a hybrid of the two. As the names suggest, step-in crampons are easy to attach just by stepping into them with your boots. Strap-on crampons require a bit of effort to attach.

Below we have compiled a list of our favorite boots for mountaineering in all conditions.

In-Depth Reviews

La Sportiva Batura 2.0 Gtx Boot

Weight: 4.4 poundsLa Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX Boot - Men's

Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 5 inches

Specific features: Two-layer GORE-TEX technology, light honeycomb carbon air-cushion midsole, asymmetrical waterproof zipper, Vibram Impact Brake System, rigid insole

Best use: Winter mountaineering and ice climbing in high elevations

The La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX Boot is a fabulous choice for any mountaineer who treks in high elevations and cold weather conditions. The two-layer GORE-TEX technology of this super-gaiter style boot doubles wearers’ protection against harsh cold temperatures and moisture, keeping feet warm and comfortable.

The outer GORE-TEX layer is stretchy with an asymmetrical zipper for optimum comfort while the inner GORE-TEX layer transports sweat and moisture out. These very durable boots will keep your feet extremely warm in every condition.

Thanks to the one and a half boot design allows these boots to protect more of your lower leg and ankle without restricting your movement. The boots’ minimized midsoles give them the ability to climb better and the stiff insole and strong grip keep the wearer safely planted during high-altitude technical ascents.

Since these boots are extremely rigid, it is important to know your exact size before you purchase them to ensure they will fit comfortably and remain functional. These boots tend to be snug and narrow. Consider the socks you will be wearing underneath them before choosing your size.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Warm
  • Durable
  • Extremely waterproof
  • Fully crampon compatible

CONS:

  • Narrow toe box
  • Less supportive upper

Check the price on Amazon

Scarpa Wrangell Gtx Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 5.6 poundsScarpa Wrangell GTX Mountaineering Boot

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches

Specific features: Protective double-tongue fit, full shank support, tapered width, supportive tall cuff, flexible ankle zone, Vibram M4 Tech sole, rigid insole

Best use: High-altitude, cold weather mountaineering and hiking

The Scarpa Wrangell GTX Mountaineering Boot is a great choice for intense high-altitude trekking. These boots are extremely durable so they are perfect for going off track on rough and technical terrain. These rugged boots can take some serious impact without giving out on you.

The rich Italian leather offers style and functionality. Not only will they stand up to intense, laborious adventures, but they will look good while doing it. After hundreds of miles of use, these boots will still look brand new.

The GORE-TEX lining keeps your feet protected from water and cold weather. They are very rigid with a strong grip that is perfect for mountain and ice climbing. They are most appropriate for use in cold weather as they will keep your feet warm and protected from the elements.

These boots aren’t the most comfortable on solid ground because the rigidity prevents bending. Luckily, that’s exactly what they were designed to do. On extreme climbs, this rigidity comes in handy and will keep a wearer firmly and safely planted on the ice or rock. The toe box on these boots is more narrow than on other models so take that into account when purchasing.

PROS:

  • Nearly indestructible durability
  • Warm and waterproof
  • Great ankle support
  • Affordable
  • Fully crampon compatible

CONS:

  • Narrow toe box
  • Long break-in time
  • Little arch support

Related: Scarpa also has their Fuego Mountaineering Boot available. They are highly durable and well suited for desert and forest hikes.

Check the price on Amazon

Salewa Pro Gaiter Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 6.2 poundsSalewa Men's Pro Gaiter Performance

Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 6 inches

Specific features: Integrated gaiter, Salewa Flex System with adjustable sole, Vibram Pro outsole, one and a half super gaiter boot style, breathable damage resistant Superfabric

Best use: Glacial mountaineering, expedition, ice climbing

The Salewa Pro Gaiter Mountaineering Boot offers adjustability that is uncommon in most mountaineering boots. This makes it a great choice for long-distance climbers who encounter varying degrees of technical terrain. The sole can be adjusted from flexible to 100 percent rigid depending on your needs.

It is best suited for ice, snow, and technical rock climbing. The adjustable sole is very unique and you can definitely tell a difference between the boot’s feel when it is in climb mode versus when it is in walk mode.

A waterproof T-zip closes the gaiter, providing your feet with excellent protection against wet, cold elements. It fits snugly around the foot without being uncomfortably restrictive. Extra airspace within the boots’ gaiters means that your feet are kept even warmer.

Due to the adjustable sole, this boot is heavier than others on the list. While the fit and shape is thin and compact, the sole adds a lot of weight which wouldn’t otherwise be there. It is also not the most durable boot because it is made with materials that are designed to offer light weight and breathability rather than toughness.

PROS:

  • Adjustable sole
  • Warm
  • Great on ice and snow
  • Comes in wide sizes
  • Waterproof
  • Strong grip
  • Fully crampon compatible

CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Experiences early wear and tear
  • Difficult to adjust

Related: Salewa also makes their Salewa MS Raven Combi GTX M Mountaineering Boot. It is similar to the Pro Gaiter but it is more geared toward hiking and mountaineering on rock face rather than on icy terrain.

Check the price on Amazon

Scarpa Phantom 8000 Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 2.9 poundsScarpa Phantom 8000 Mountaineering Boot

Dimensions:

Specific features: Custom moldable thermo-liner, double-boot, built in gaiter with T-zip, upper with insulating foam and heat-reflective aluminum, Vibram Zero-Gravity sole for maximum shock absorption

Best use: High-altitude ice and snow climbing

The Scarpa Phantom 8000 Mountaineering Boot is one of the highest quality mountaineering boots you can buy. It is designed to offer awesome protection during long expeditions in harsh terrain. They are made to perfectly stand up to the challenge of extreme weather and high-altitude climbing since the Outdry technology keeps water out and ensures your feet stay warm and dry even in slushy, icy weather.

These boots offer high performance with uncomplicated features like speed-lacing and adjustable thermo-liners. This is Scarpa’s lightest, warmest, and most sensitive boot. There’s no contest when it comes to lightweight, warm boots designed for high-altitudes and rugged terrain.

Because of this, it definitely sits at the high end of the price spectrum. The Vibram sole offers great shock absorption and sensitivity so your feet will feel natural gliding and climbing across ice and snow. The toe box is also roomy so you won’t feel restricted in these boots.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Warm
  • Comfortable
  • Flexible protection
  • Fully crampon compatible

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Zipper can jam

Related: There is also the Scrapa Phantom 8000 High-Altitude Boot available for approximately $610-980. It’s a double-boot with built in gaiter that is perfect for higher altitude mountaineering in frigid, wet conditions.

Check the price on Amazon

The North Face Verto S4K Gtx Boot

Weight: 3 poundsNorth Face Verto S4K Goretex Walking Boots

Dimensions: 13.9 x 12.4 x 4.4 inches

Specific features: Breathable GORE-TEX lining, Smartlite PU mudguard, premium EVA footbed with gel heel for added comfort, Ortholite forefoot cushioning pads, stainless steel eyelets, Vibram Mulaz outsole

Best use: Mixed-terrain mountaineering

The North Face Verto S4K GTX Boot is a great choice for those planning to go mountaineering in cold weather on mixed terrain. It is also one of the most affordable and stylish items on this list. At this price, you can’t go wrong.

This award-winning boot offers awesome protection from the elements thanks to its warm, waterproof Thinsulate insulation and the fantastic tread and traction ensure that your grip will remain steady on slippery ice face.

With features like gel heels and cushioned footbeds, this boot encompasses luxury where you may not have originally expected to find any. If you’re going to be braving the rugged terrain in the freezing cold anyway, why not pack in as much comfort as you can?

The stainless steel eyelets make adjusting a breeze. You can tie the laces as tight or as loose as you prefer. Keep in mind, though, that these shoes run small. Be sure to purchase a size that will fit you comfortably.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Warm
  • Stylish
  • Simple luxury
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • Runs small
  • Not compatible with all crampons

Related: The North Face Verto S4K Walking Boots are an excellent choice for those who aren’t planning on mountaineering on super icy or rough terrains. Their durability and comfort make them perfectly suited for long hikes and walks.

Check the price on Amazon

Scarpa Mont Blanc Gtx Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 5.6 poundsScarpa Men's Mont Blanc Goretex Mountaineering Boot

Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 6 inches

Specific features: Scarpa Ergo Fit, tapered midsole, moderate rigidity, upper cuffs for added protection, waterproof GORE-TEX insulation

Best use: Cold weather mountaineering and ice climbing

The Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX Mountaineering Boot is an ideal choice for mountaineering fans. They offer serious protection from the cold and rain, making them perfect for ice climbing in cold or wet conditions. These boots were not designed for extremely frigid temperatures, however. They are great for ice climbing thanks to their strong grip and sensitive soles, but they are best suited for use in milder climates during warmer months.

If comfort is your main goal, look no further. The boot is one of the few mountaineering boots that doesn’t require a lengthy break-in process. It is always recommended to get a feel for boots and to try and break them in before going on any long treks, however. But, if you want happy toes and feet free of blisters, this boot is a great pick.

We all know that none of our feet are exactly alike, so take into consideration your specific needs before deciding on a size. These boots are slightly narrow but fit pretty true to size unless you are hoping to stuff extra socks into them for warmth.

PROS:

  • Stiff sole with a little flex room
  • Strong grip
  • Little to no break-in time
  • Sensitive soles
  • Fully crampon compatible
  • Sturdy and durable

CONS:

  • May allow some moisture in
  • Not as warm as other choices

Check the price on Amazon

La Sportiva Nepal Evo Gtx Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 2.2 poundsLa Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX Mountaineering Boot

Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 5 inches

Specific features: Silicone impregnated Idro-Perwanger Roughout leather upper, abrasion-resistant fabric, Vibram rubber sole with Impact Brake System, SBR Air-cushion in midsole

Best use: Winter mountaineering and ice climbing

The La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Mountaineering Boot is a great choice in the mid-price range. It is an incredibly lightweight boot that won’t weigh you down during intense climbs over snow and ice. The leather upper is impregnated with silicone and is resistant to damage, so these boots will keep you comfortable without you needing to worry about their durability.

The tapered outsole is designed to give you added sensitivity on rough terrain, helping you keep your bearings. The ultra-stiff sole features the Vibram Impact Brake System which minimizes the impact of shock and adds cushion so your feet won’t get jarred during strenuous treks. The insulated GORE-TEX lining ensures your feet stay warm in cool conditions, but these boots are not suited for extreme cold over a long period of time.

These boots offer a tongue that can be removed or adjusted and EZ roller hardware keeps your laces intact. However, it is recommended to order a larger size than you might normally wear, as these boots run small.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Good traction
  • Adjustable
  • Waterproof
  • Fully crampon compatible

CONS:

  • Light insulation
  • Runs narrow
  • Little arch support

Check the price on Amazon

La Sportiva Trango S Evo Gtx Mountaineering Boot

Weight: 3 poundsLa Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX Boot - Women's

Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 5 inches

Specific Features: Waterproof GORE-TEX insulation, 3D ankle flex, 7mm trailflex insole, rubber Vibram Mulaz insole

Best Use: Three-terrain mountaineering

The La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX Mountaineering Boot is an amazing choice for three-season alpine climbing. The waterproof GORE-TEX lining will keep your feet dry and protected from moisture in all kinds of terrain. They are compatible with hybrid crampons which increase their efficiency in snow and the rubber rand adds stiffness and traction which will keep your feet firmly planted.

Thanks to the multiple flexible components, these boots are extremely comfortable and require very little, if any, break-in time. While they’d be the perfect go-to boot in a pinch thanks to their comfort and affordable size, you’d soon realize that these versatile boots are much greater than that.

The Trango boot is one of the lightest on our list. Its light weight makes it a very popular choice for alpine climbers and trekkers. These boots won’t last as long as some of the other more durable boots on the market, but for alpine climbing or glacier traveling in warm or cold temperatures, these are a great choice for the price.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable
  • Durable

CONS:

  • Experiences early wear and tear
  • Runs narrow
  • Lesser grip
  • Not compatible with all crampons

Related: The Scarpa Women’s Charmoz Pro GTX Boot is a similar mountaineering boot that is a big heavier and more rugged. Depending on which factor is most important to you, either one of these boots would make a good pick.

Check the price on Amazon

LOWA Mountain Expert EVO Hiking Boot

Weight: 3.8 poundsLowa Women's Mountain Expert GORE-TEX EVO Hiking Boot

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches

Specific Features: Leather and microfiber upper, waterproof GORE-TEX lining, Alu-coated insulated footbed, ankle flexibility, rubber Vibram sole

Best Use: Backpacking and mixed climbing

The LOWA Mountain Expert EVO Hiking Boot is a wonderful, versatile choice for alpine climbs and hikes in all kinds of weather. The insulated footbeds and waterproof GORE-TEX insulation will definitely do the trick, keeping you warm during alpine trips in multiple seasons, though the exterior of the boot can take a while to dry.

These boots are not designed for the most extreme frigid temperatures, but when paired with insulated socks you can stay warm even when it is very cold.

Despite being rigid and completely crampon compatible, these shoes offer a flexibility for added ankle comfort and ease of walking. They aren’t stiff enough for vertical front-pointing climbs, but the crampon compatibility can aid in snowy and icy terrains. Not only are they appropriate for wintery terrain, though, they offer comfort and performance in dry, rocky terrain as well.

These boots are incredible in their well-roundedness. When used without crampons, they offer enough flexibility to be comfortable during basics hikes. Not to mention they look great too.

These boots are pretty true to size, so consider your intended use (e.g. with insoles, thick socks, etc.) when purchasing.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Stylish
  • Just enough flexibility
  • Fit wide feet
  • Fully crampon compatible

CONS:

  • Longer dry times
  • Not for frigid temperatures
  • Less durable
  • Heavy

Check the price on Amazon

There You Have It

Who knew there was so much to consider when choosing a mountaineering boot? Well, now you do. While style and price are important, there are many more specific factors that will really determine how your mountaineering adventures play out.

We hope that you have found this knowledge useful and are able to make an informed decision regarding exactly which mountaineering boot is perfect for you and your needs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell McCarty
Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.

  • Alicia Djuric

    I bought my boyfriend a pair of the North Face Verto S4K GTX for Christmas last year (it was on his wish list) and he has used them a lot so far this year. They fit him really well and, we hike a lot, and the boots have proven to be very durable. Another big plus is that they fit his crampons well; they haven’t slipped off at all, which I know can happen with some other boots.

  • Russell McCarty

    Thanks for your comments Alicia and I do appreciate you sharing your experience with the North Face Verto S4K GTX. North Face is a solid and trusted brand and their quality gets better each year. Enjoy the boots and I’m looking forward to your next review.

  • Allen Federico

    I’ve been using the Salewa Pro Gaiter Mountaineering Boot for a while now and so thought I’d leave a review. I have found it to be a very sturdy boot. Comfortable for a mountaineering boot and provides you with plenty of protection. I also found the boot to be warm as well, with just one pair of socks on.

    • Russell McCarty

      It’s good to know you are pleased with the Salewa Pro Gaiter Mountaineering Boot. I think it’s a great pair of boots and I’ve heard many satisfied users say it’s worth every penny. It does keep you snug and warm, and that’s important in chilly or dipping temperatures.

0
0
Total
0
Shares