Boots are the most important pieces of equipment, especially when it comes to mountaineering. Inappropriate boots can put your life and your health in danger while discomfort on your feet can affect your performance or even make the descent more dangerous. Therefore, if you are planning a mountaineering expedition, you need to make sure that you have the right boots for the job. You need to remember that any pair of hiking or trekking boots will not do the job. You need to choose the best mountaineering boots for the conditions you are anticipating.
But with so many options on the market, choosing the right pair of boots can be confusing and even overwhelming. Different types of boots are suited for different weather conditions, different elevations as well as different climbs. For instance, mountaineering boots for summer are quite different from mountaineering boots for winter. It’s therefore important to do your homework carefully to make sure you purchase the right pair of boots. The good news is that we have done the heavy lifting for you and here are the best mountaineering boots for men and women.
Best Mountaineering Boots For Men
1. Scarpa Fuego
- Rugged and Reliable | Made for a wide variety of alpine applications, the Fuego is durable enough to handle everyday use in any discipline, from hiking to wildland firefighting.
- Leather Upper | Designed with a heavy-duty 2.8mm Crosta Pro Upper, this trail boot will be in your arsenal for years to come.
- Ankle Support | The 8-inch high cuff with a soft leather lining provides additional support for your ankles when traveling in variable terrain.
- Vibram M4 Sole | Aggressive tread provides traction on everything from muddy trails to scree fields.
- Specs | [Weight] 2 lbs 4 oz (1/2 pair, size 9 US Men’s)
The Scarpa Fuego is a no-nonsense, aggressive mountaineering boot, designed to protect and keep your feet safe when you are up there in the mountains. Whether you are fighting wildland fires, or you are just making your approach, these will keep your feet safe and comfortable. Apart from that, their construction is extraordinary. Their stitching is flawless, their uppers feel luxurious and durable, while their lining gives your feet a comfortable feel. Besides that, they also come with sturdy laces. Therefore, when you purchase these boots, you are investing in something that will protect your feet for many years to come. With the Scarpa Fuego, you are not just buying a pair of mountaineering boots. Instead, you are purchasing durability, comfort as well as long-term protection for your feet.
They come with uppers made of durable rough-out leather, which can handle almost anything that comes your way on the trail. On the other hand, the gusseted tongue keeps stones and small sticks out while the double tongue design delivers an excellent fit. And as noted above, they are also equipped with a talibrelle lining, which prevents friction, hot spots, and blisters. When it comes to comfort, you can never go wrong with these men’s Scarpa Fuegos. They are outfitted with a cushioned footbed, which provides long-lasting comfort. Also, the tongue and collar have thick cushioning for additional comfort and ankle support. As much as their flexible outsole makes them incompatible with crampons, it’s durable enough and provides reliable traction regardless of the surface.
2. La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Hiking Shoe
Merging modern materials and traditional construction, the La Sportiva Nepal is a durable and rugged pair of boots, which sets the standards when it comes to climbing boots. They are regarded as among the best mountaineering boots for winter, thanks to their exceptional breathability as well as GTX waterproofing capabilities. From technical ice climbing to an easy alpine route, these boots are designed to handle a wide range of demanding conditions on the trail. A blend of sturdy leather, a rigid midsole, a rugged Vibram outsole, and the insulated GTX membrane work together to protect your feet and supply all the comfort you need.
Equipped with a Gore-Tex membrane, these boots are fully breathable and waterproof. The leather upper is also silicone impregnated to minimize wear while providing great protection against the elements. To boost protection as well as durability, a sturdy rubber rand surrounds the high impact areas of the boot. On the other hand, a traditional lacing system makes it easy for you to tighten or loosen your boots depending on your preferred fit. They also come with a set of locking eyelets around the ankle area. Thanks to this design, you can maintain different levels of tightness around your foot.
Their cuff is ergonomic and padded for supporting your ankles while preventing chafing. For the outsole, these boots are equipped with the proprietary Vibram Impact Braking System, which supplies incredible support even on tricky terrains. And as much as the La Sportiva Nepal might be more expensive than other options on the market, you are assured of longevity. In fact, it’s one most durable mountaineering boots you can find on the market today.
3. La Sportiva Men's Glacier WLF Hiker - Men's
The La Sportiva Glacier WLF is a versatile mountaineering boot, which is loved by forest service employees, geologists and wildland firefighters, due to its exceptional reliability. It features a leather upper, durable rubber outsoles, and cushioned insoles to protect your feet and keep them comfortable. Regardless of the trail conditions, these boots will work hard as you do, to ensure you reach your destination safe and sound. And you don’t have to be a mountaineer or a wildland firefighter to wear these boots. If you are looking for multi-use boots that will stand the test of time, then you should consider buying the La Sportiva Glacier WLF.
They come with a heat resistance of up to 300c for the rubber as well as 70c for the glue. Apart from that, their shaft that rises 8 inches from the arch provides additional protection to your feet. Their uppers are made of roughout leather, thus making them highly durable. These boots can comfortably handle tough trail conditions and you will not notice any signs of wear and tear. Whether you are backpacking in winter or snow, the durability of these boots will never be called into question.
Despite their durable construction, these men's La Sportivas are also lightweight. They are made of lightweight materials, which enhance breathability. On the other hand, the half-steel shank supplies protection against sharp objects while the PU Aircushion midsole absorbs negative ground impacts. The La Sportiva Glacier WLF provides exceptional grip on a wide range of surfaces, thanks to their crampon-ready Vibram outsoles.
4. Scarpa Men's Mont Blanc Goretex
- ErgoFit system offers omni-directional progressiveflex allowing for natural motion with perfect support
- Rear randing locks heel securely for climbing performance
- Advanced Mid-sole System provides maximum shock absorption improved sensitivity
- Lightest in its class
If you are looking for an all-around mountaineering boot, which delivers a solid performance on diverse hiking terrains, then you can never go wrong with the Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX. You will love its exemplary comfort, minimal break-in time, as well as enhanced mountain climbing capabilities. Apart from that, they are lightweight, stable and highly breathable. Just as their name suggests, these mountaineering boots for winter come with a Gore-tex membrane, which ensures they are breathable, waterproof and properly insulated.
These boots are equipped with a suede HS12 upper, which keeps them water resistant. Apart from that, this material is also highly durable. Also, the base of the upper is surrounded by a 360-degree rubber rand which enhances their durability while supplying additional protection. On the other hand, the rubber rand at the rear locks your heel securely to deliver an optimum climbing experience. Therefore, once you purchase these boots, you can rest assured that you won’t need to visit the shop anytime soon. Also, the tongue is sufficiently padded to prevent the laces from exerting pressure on your instep.
The midsole is equipped with polyurethane cushioning, which provides shock absorption while keeping them lightweight. On the other hand, the Vibram traction outsole ensures that you have sufficient traction, even if you encounter wet or slippery conditions during your expedition. The outsole also provides further shock absorption, thus preventing ankle, knee and back pain, while supplying additional comfort.
5. La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX - Men's
The La Sportiva Trango Cube is a versatile pair of mountaineering boots for backpacking, designed for men who spend a considerable amount of their time in the wilderness. These no-nonsense boots are not only aggressive but highly functional. With their tough-as-nails attitude, they can handle a diverse range of mountaineering terrains; including snowy conditions, alpine environments, muddy trails and anything else your regular pair of backpacking boots cannot tackle. They are light and super comfortable. They also come with ample underfoot support, cushioning as well as grip.
These mountaineering boots for hiking are outfitted with the Vibram Mulaz outsole, which features aggressive lugs. With these boots on your feet, you can confidently tackle varied mountaineering terrains, from the slippery Pacific Northwest to the rocky Peruvian Andes. And wherever you take them, they will never let you down, even when you are carrying a heavy backpack. Despite their low weight, these boots will always defend and protect your feet against a root or jagged rocks. Their upper is made of thermoplastic urethane, which is lighter than most of the other materials, but incredibly strong.
Even after wearing these boots for an entire day, your feet will remain comfortable throughout. They come with ample padding while their lightweight, flexible design makes them exceptionally comfortable. Their ankle cuffs are quite loose also, thus giving your ankles sufficient mobility as well as support. And since they are lined with a Gore-Tex membrane, your feet will remain dry and warm, even when the conditions become extremely weight. Also, they don’t lose their breathability, despite the full-length Gore-Tex lining. When it comes to durability, you cannot expect anything less, but top-quality craftsmanship from this company and these boots don’t disappoint here.
Best Mountaineering Boots For Women
1. Scarpa Women's Triolet
- Semi-automatic crampon-compatible
- Tri-Flex ankle for natural articulation with molded heel insert
- Performance Comfort Gore-Tex to keep your feet dry
- Reduced weight from Triolet
Scarpa strikes again with the Triolet mountaineering boots. They are similar in style to Scarpa's Mont Blancs. They are pretty much the same color and are also 100% suede. These also come with a vibram sole, which will give you comfortable support all throughout your mountain trekking journey. The Triolets are also semi-automatic crampon compatible, which is great for when you are dead serious about climbing and intend to go pretty vertical. With such a climbing effort comes the need to really be able to move those ankles in every which way you possibly can. For that, Scarpa has included the Tri-Flex ankle system that will allow your ankles to articulate in the most natural manner.
The molded heel inserts further help you move your feet while never truly losing support. This makes Scarpa's Triolet's a really suitable pair of mountaineering boots for arch support. The Pro Fiber insoles have been designed with long lasting wearing comfort in mind. The Vibram outsole and the EVA midsole have been combined to bring you great durability in addition to great support. But naturally, support isn't the only thing that matters when it comes to a reliable pair of mountain climbers. The Triolets are also equipped with high performance, comfortable Gore Tex, in order to keep the Triolets breathable, which goes a long way in keeping your feet dry while you scale your favorite mountain vertically.
Being all suede, the Scarpa Triolet is one of the most stylish boots you're going to come across. Next to looking really fashionable, they also give you great support and comfort. With these babies on your feet, your climbing party's other members are sure to envy you. Not just because you look smashing, but also because you're going to reach the top first.
2. Salewa Women's Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Alpine Trekking
- GORE-TEX PERFORMANCE COMFORT LINING: Breathable Gore-Tex liner allows your feet to stay comfortable in changing weather conditions.
- VIBRAM WRAPTHREAD COMBI SOLE: A lightweight Vibram sole and the new dual-density Bilight Technology midsole offer increased comfort during travel in mixed and technical terrain.
- LEATHER UPPER & FULL RUBBER RAND: 1.6mm suede leather with abrasion resistant fabric upper. 360° full rubber rand.
- ADJUSTABLE FOOTBEDS: MFF+ interchangeable footbeds adjust to the shape of your foot.
- IDEAL USES: Mountaineering, Alpine Climbing, Alpine Trekking, Glacier Travel. WEIGHT: 19.4oz./550g.
If you are looking for a pair of boots that combine the protective and supportive features of a mountaineering boot, with the lightweight nature of a running shoe, then the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX is ideal for your needs. Featuring a 1.6 mm suede leather upper, these boots were built for durability and flexibility. Suede leathers are renowned for their remarkable durability. The suede upper is further reinforced with a 360-degree rubber rand, which protects the boots against all forms of abrasion while the Vibram Wrapping ThreadCombi outsole ensures your feet remain stable and firm on the ground.
During your mountaineering expeditions, there is a high chance that you will encounter wet conditions such as ice, snow or rainfall. But thanks to the Gore-Tex liner on these boots, no moisture can reach your feet. Apart from its waterproofing capabilities, the Gore-Tex liner also offers heat insulation as well as breathability. With the Bilight midsole and stiff nylon insole, these boots will provide comfort and support as you make your approach. The midsole unit also features the exclusive MultiFit Footbed plus, which means that these boots can accommodate feet of different shapes and sizes. These mid-cut mountaineering boots are further enhanced with the Cleansport NXT, which prevents the build-up of odor-causing bacteria.
3. Jack Wolfskin Women's Wilderness Xt Texapore B1 Rated Mountaineering
- robust leather upper
- middle and top lace hooks for precise lacing adjustment
- high-cut, stiff upper for optimal protection
- low set tensioning hooks for precise lacing adjustment
- all-round, abrasion resistant rubber rand for impact protection
Whether you are planning to attempt the snow-covered peaks in the Himalayas or you intend to go for a light mountaineering excursion in the Alps, the Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Xt Texapore is a reliable option. These mountaineering boots for winter and summer can handle almost everything that you throw at them – from wet, slippery ice-filled mountains to arid deserts full of dust and sand.
These mountaineering boots come with an upper made of durable, sturdy leather. The upper has further been reinforced with a rubber rand, designed to provide impact and abrasion-resistant. Both the tongue and the collar are well padded to provide extra cushioning and comfort, while their traditional lace-up closure provides a secure, custom fit. Also, they are equipped with a rear pull-on tab, designed to provide an easier on and off.
They are comfortable, waterproof and breathable, making them perfect for multi-day hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering adventures. These mountaineering boots for wide feet feature a Die-cut cushioning midsole, a TPU lasting board, as well as an EVA control pad in the heel area, to ensure that your feet have adequate support, and stability. And with a Vibram trekking outsole, you are assured of optimal grip and traction wherever your mountaineering excursions lead you
4. Salewa Women's Crow GTX
- Vibram New Mulaz
- Stiff: Nylon + 27% Fiberglass
- GORE-TEX Performance Comfort
Aggressive in the alpine and comfortable below the treeline, the Salewa Crow GTX is the ideal boot for multi-day mountaineering expeditions. These crampon-compatible mountaineering boots come with a wide range of protective and supportive features, to give you the power and the freedom you need to handle aggressive trails and terrains. They come with uppers made of synthetic materials, which are sturdy, comfortable and lightweight. Also, their upper features the proprietary Gore-Tex performance comfort lining, which optimizes the conditions for your feet.
When trekking through mountainous trails, your boots take a lot of abuse, as they protect your feet. And if they are flimsy, they might fall apart, thus exposing your feet. The good news is that you will not encounter such issues with these boots. Their upper is reinforced with a 360-degree rubber rand, which protects them against all forms of abrasion. Furthermore, the Flex Collar gives your ankles a wide range of motion especially during descents while the 3F System ensures flexibility and support. Traction is taken care of by the Vibram Mulaz outsoles.
5. La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Women's Hiking Shoe
If you are looking for a versatile, high-caliber boot, which performs remarkably well over diverse terrains, then you don’t need to look any further. The La Sportiva Nepal Cube comes with a wide range of features, including a full shank, front and rear toe-welts, as well as waterproof insulation to protect your foot from the base to the peak. And its lacing system is one of the most sophisticated. It allows you to tighten the upper and the lower boots separately, depending on the hiking terrain or the direction of movement.
Unlike its predecessor the Nepal EVO GTX, the Cube is four ounces lighter. However, despite losing some weight, it doesn’t compromise on its renowned capabilities or warmth. On the other hand, the Gore-Tex lining and the Rugged Idro-Perwanger leather combine to create a water-resistant outer. Whether you are trekking in the middle of winter or you are ascending the Grand Teton, these mountaineering boots will give you a flexible and dry ride.
Mountaineering Boots Buying Guide
Mountaineering boots come with different features. And it’s hardly to find two models which are similar in all aspects. Some can handle extremely rocky areas while others are designed for non-technical terrains. Therefore, when you are buying mountaineering boots, it’s important to consider various factors, to ensure you end up with the best model for the conditions. Here are some of the key considerations to make when purchasing boots for climbing mountains.
Climbing Boot Categories
Mountains present various climbing difficulties. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your boots are properly suited for the terrain and the weather conditions. For instance, if you intend to climb the highest mountain in the world, the Himalayas or even Mt McKinley, then warmth should be your main priority. High altitude or extreme cold boots tend to be warm and heavy. Some even have a double or triple construction as well as some form of insulation to prevent cold from biting your feet while ensuring the highest levels of warmth retention.On the other hand, if you are tackling a 4-season alpine route such as the Canadian Rockies or a mid-season Denali climb, then you should opt for a technical alpine boot. Technical alpine boots are available in double or single models. Such boots tend to focus more on technical performance and less on warmth. Therefore, as much as they can handle cold conditions, they are not built for frost or extreme cold.
If you are likely to encounter moderate temperatures or you are planning a lower elevation climb, then you should purchase lightweight mountaineering boots. As much as these boots are built like hiking boots, they come with more technical capabilities. Lightweight mountaineering boots are commonly used for moderate mountaineering, below the treeline adventures, or a day of moderate ice climbing. Most boots in this category can be used across three seasons of mountaineering. They feature a high-rocker, a flexible outsole, and lightweight upper construction, meaning they are not suitable for frigid conditions or technical ice climbing. You can also use these mountaineering boots for hiking. It’s also important to consider whether your trek will need crampons. If you are planning a technical ice climbing expedition, then you need to make sure that your boots are crampon compatible. Mountain climate changes fast, and you need to be properly equipped to adjust accordingly.
Comfort, Fit and Sizing
Comfort remains one of the most important considerations when choosing outdoor footwear, and mountaineering boots are not an exception. You need to make sure that your feet are as comfortable as possible so that you can concentrate on your ascents and descents. Apart from that, comfortable boots help to prevent potential health issues and potential safety problems. Boots that don’t fit properly will leave you with blisters, hot spots and other forms of discomfort. Therefore, you need to get your sizing and fit right.
Some mountaineers feel that they must fit their boots as tight as possible to ensure they derive maximum performance. However, if your mountaineering boots fit too tight, blood flow will be restricted. Furthermore, your toes will not have enough movement and flexibility. Eventually, your feet will be cold. Also, if the boots fit too tight, you are exposing your toes to injuries, especially when your foot strikes a rock or a tree stump. Therefore, ensure the boots are big enough to allow the toes to wiggle. Furthermore, they should enough space to accommodate your hiking socks. But most importantly, try to find a pair of boots that offer the right balance between heel lift and toe wiggle.
Single Vs. Double
Cold feet during a mountaineering expedition can both be dangerous and frustrating. And as you probably know, without the right protection, your toes can get frostbitten. Therefore, you must ensure that you have chosen the right footwear for the conditions you are likely to expect. Never take chances when it comes to your boots. You would rather carry a pair of boots that are over-protective and heavy, than a lightweight model that provides insufficient protection. Single mountaineering boots tend to be light and highly breathable since they lack a removable liner. They are highly suited for day trips. For summer and spring ascents in moderate altitude ranges such as the Canadian Rockies or the Cascades, a pair of single mountaineering boots should provide enough protection and warmth. It will provide ample support to ensure your feet remain comfortable even with a heavy pack on your back. On the other hand, this pair should be light enough to minimize fatigue on a long approach. Most of the single boots you will find on the market today tend to have a lower profile as compared to their double construction counterparts.
Double boots are specifically designed multi-day expeditions, cold weather and ascending some of the highest mountain peaks in the world. You will also notice that double mountaineering boots are heavier than the single models. They also tend to lose their sensitivity. However, you might find a model that offers a combination of both. For the coldest mountain climates and the tallest peaks such as the Antarctica, the Himalayas and the Denali, you need to use double boots when climbing. But you should also remember that boot selection is not always a black and white issue. Some terrains tend to fall between single and double. Therefore, do proper research, ask around and consult people who have previously tackled the mountains you are planning to climb. With that information, it will be easier to make an informed decision.
Apart from providing warmth and protection, mountaineering boots should also strike a balance between a hiking boot, a rock shoe as well as a partial ski boot. Being able to loosen the boot when hiking and tying it tightly during mountain climbing is vital. Some high-end mountaineering boots come with a separate upper and lower lacing system, which allows you to adjust the tightness accordingly. Underfoot stiffness is also an important factor to pay attention to. For non-technical ice climbing, it’s advisable to choose a model that comes with a three-quarter shank sole. Such boots come with the stiffness of a hiking boot. Furthermore, they are perfect for technical scrambling and long approaches. For advanced mountaineering and technical ice climbing, make sure you purchase boots with a full-length shank.
When buying your mountaineering boots, you also need to consider the shell carefully. It’s usually the first line of defence against the elements. Whether your climbing boots are made of leather or plastic, it needs to withstand abrasion from skis, crampons, rocks and other elements. Apart from that, the shell should also be durable enough to keep out mountain grit, scree, snow, ice and water, among others. Also, the shell determines the boot’s stiffness significantly. Stiffness comes in handy during ice climbing or when you have to do some skiing during the ascent. Most of the mountaineering boots on the market come with a shell made of synthetics or leather. Some are made of a combination of the two materials. If you opt for leather mountaineering boots, then you should apply aftermarket water or snow seal to prevent moisture penetration.
A few years ago, most mountain climber boots were made of plastic. Compared to synthetic or leather, plastic tends to be clunky. Apart from that, it’s not as precise as synthetic or leather when it comes to technical climbing. On the other hand, plastic is cheaper and more durable. If you are on a budget or you are an occasional mountaineer, then you should consider plastic. Furthermore, enhancing them with a liner will make them lighter and warmer, although you will incur custom molding fees. Leather tends to be more durable than synthetic. However, synthetic offers more breathability. Also, mountaineering boots made of synthetic materials tend to be lighter than leather boots. Again, your choice of materials will depend on the specific conditions that you expect during your expedition.
Cost and Durability
Mountain boots are not like your ordinary pair of running sneakers. They are designed to provide extended levels of support, comfort and protection. And without those attributes, your feet are exposed to all sorts or risks and injuries. Therefore, if you set out to buy mountaineering boots, you need to be ready to spend a great deal of money. Based on the terrain, the weather conditions and the purpose, a reliable pair of mountaineering boots starts at $100, for trekking below the tree line. The costs can go up to $1000 if you are looking for boots with gaiters that can comfortably tackle the Peruvian Andes or the Kilimanjaro. You should, therefore, note that the cost of your boots will increase with technicality. Every element of a great pair of mountaineering boots is designed to take a serious beating and withstand the elements while protecting you.
Mountaineering comes with more risks as compared to an ordinary hike. Therefore, it’s not a place of trying to cut costs. Don’t be tempted to use winter boots for mountaineering, just because they have great traction or insulation. You should always remember that the wrong choice of footwear for the purpose could lead to severe injuries or even cost your life. Don’t go out looking for boots with a certain budget. Instead, you first need to choose the features, consider the weather conditions, and the technicality of the area. Once you have those figured out, you can then wait until you have enough money to purchase the boots. The good news is that most mountain climber manufacturers keep the costs within affordable levels. Therefore, if you are serious about mountaineering, you can rest assured that you will find a pair that suits your needs and preferences.
The boots we have reviewed differ in various ways and applications. Therefore, you need to choose a pair depending on your preferences as well as the versatility of needs. It’s highly advisable to explore a few other options before settling on a certain model. Having a comfortable and reliable pair of boots for your mountaineering expeditions is not an option but a necessity. As much as comfort is a matter of personal opinion, you will enjoy your expedition more if you come across a pair of boots that fit just right. It’s our hope that you will find your ideal pair of boots from the list above. Otherwise, enjoy your mountaineering and stay safe.