July 17, 2021

7 Best Mountaineering Boots

July 17, 2021

7 Best Mountaineering Boots

Over the years, the preference for the best mountaineering boots didn't change. Alpine hikers and high-altitude gurus would really prefer footwear that provides impressive stability and safety features to withstand the icy and harsh routes. Whether you want to head to the treacherous paths of Denali or overcome Mount Fuji of Japan, you can do these things if you have the right pair of boots with you. 

The following are some of the tested and tried boots for mountaineering and backcountry purposes. They are rugged, well-built, and overall comfortable. 

7 Best Mountaineering Boots

 Sizes Available Fit
SCARPA Fuego 38 to 47Unisex
La Sportiva Makalu 38 to 47Men
Scarpa Wrangell GTX38 to 47 Men
Salewa Women's Mountain Trainer Mid GTX 35 to 42Women
Danner 30800 Mountain Light II 35 to 47Men
Manfen Women's Hiking Boots 36 to 42Women
La Sportiva Men's Spantik 38 to 47Men

1. SCARPA Fuego

PRODUCT LINK

The SCARPA Fuego is an all-leather mountaineering boot designed to tackle harsh terrains and weather conditions. It is a favorite choice by those who are into alpine hikes and wildland expeditions. It is downright durable and offers a high cuff construction for optimal ankle support while you are lifting heavy loads, regardless of the terrain. It has a classic style, but its overall capability has never disappointed anyone. 

The boot features a double tongue design that ensures a snug fit. It is not too tight and not too loose. It gives a sufficient degree of comfort wherever your feet take you. With its Vibram M4 Tech sole, the boot showcases an aggressive lug design. Hence, it has solid ground traction, which is useful when trekking on slippery paths or going on steep descents.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Crosta Pro HS12
  • Midsole - EVA MP
  • Outsole - Vibram M4 Tech
  • Insole - Pro-Flex XT 
  • Lining - Taibrelle
  • Weight - 2 pounds
  • Size available - 38 - 47 

2. La Sportiva Makalu

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The traditional rugged design of the La Sportiva Makalu made it one of the preferred choices of mountaineers and hikers. The boot has already witnessed many summits, and it is your turn to bring it to new heights. Its rugged rubber outsole has deep lugs to ensure traction above all else. Hence, it is a reliable partner for slippery descents. It is also ideal for technical mountaineering routes. 

The Makalu flaunts a 3.0-mm Idro Perwanger leather construction on its upper. When it comes to durability and water resistance, this footwear will not fail you. Moreover, this full steel shank mountaineering boot is compatible with kick steps and crampons. Meanwhile, its Vibram rubber rand optimizes toe protection, and the EZ rollerball hardware provides a hassle-free way of lacing up the boot to your feet. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Idro-Perwanger Roughout Leather
  • Midsole - EVA MP
  • Outsole - MPE Sole
  • Insole - MtnFlex / Dacromet-coated shank
  • Lining - Dry-Best
  • Weight - 2 pounds per pair
  • Size available - 38 - 47 

3. Scarpa Wrangell GTX 

PRODUCT LINK

If you want a workhorse that doesn't only excel in mountaineering but other high-altitude and alpine applications, the Scarpa Wrangell GTX is the perfect choice for you. This one is almost peerless when it comes to durability and protection. It has a solid, water-resistant design, which is suitable for any all-weather adventure. You can take it on extended off-grid trips in the wilderness and ensure that your feet get sore inside it. 

In fact, its Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining will keep your feet dry throughout your expeditions. It also has the iconic Vibram M4 Tech Sole that ensures you won't trip over while descending on steep or slimy paths. The lugs and crevices are deep and spacious enough to prevent mud from sticking. With its tall ankle cuff, your feet get the support that they need while you are hiking on extensive distances. Rubber randing is also integrated into this footwear for added protection. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Crosta Pro HS12
  • Midsole - EVA MP
  • Outsole - Vibram M4 Tech / Mont
  • Insole - Pro-Flex XT 
  • Lining - Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
  • Weight - 2 pounds per pair
  • Size available - 38 - 47 

4. Salewa Women's Mountain Trainer Mid GTX

PRODUCT LINK

For those who are looking for mountaineering boots tailored for women, the Salewa Women's Mountain Trainer Mid GTX is an excellent option to try. This one is a highly-rated boot; it is a popular choice in the mountaineering community because of its entry-level price and high-quality construction. It has a semi-lightweight design that makes it an excellent partner for multi-day hikes in nice, sunny weather. It is breathable, too, thanks to the inclusion of a breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex fabric on its upper. 

This unit is also designed to be highly flexible, which is essential for women in the move. It provides utmost comfort whether you are ascending or descending on alpine trails. It is quite surprising that this pair of mountaineering boots can conquer both technical and mixed terrains. Moreover, it features brand-new dual-density Bilight midsoles. The latter is an ergonomic technology that allows the midsole to cradle to your feet as naturally as possible. On its ankle is the Flex Collar, which promotes the natural movement of the foot. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Suede leather/rubber rand 
  • Midsole - TPU
  • Outsole - Vibram WTC
  • Insole - Bilight
  • Lining - Gore-Tex Extended Comfort
  • Weight - 1.2 pounds per pair
  • Size available - 35 - 47 

5. Danner 30800 Mountain Light II

When it comes to traditional hiking boots, the Danner 30800 Mountain Light II is a personal favorite of various mountaineers and hikers around the world. This US-made mountaineering boot has a lightweight construction and has a legendary stature for its matchless performance, durability, and support. Its upper has been embedded with a Gore-Tex layer for guaranteed waterproofing. Meanwhile, its Vibram Kletterlift outsole ensures your comfort without adding extra weight to the boot.

Furthermore, the said midsole guarantees sufficient shock absorption. You can move around freely without worries that you'll get injured. The boot's traction is superb, too. It doesn't let you topple off balance. It is one of the reasons why this boot excels in off-grid trails, regardless of whether the surface is dry or wet. With its iconic stitch-down construction, the boot has optimized the stability it gives to its users. Meanwhile, its lace-to-toe closing system enables a secure and snug fit, as long as you pick the correct size. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Full-grain leather / Retro one-piece leather
  • Midsole - Airthotic
  • Outsole - Vibram Kletterlift
  • Insole - Danner insole
  • Lining - Gore-Tex 
  • Weight - 3.9 pounds per pair
  • Size available - 35 - 47 

6. Manfen Women's Hiking Boots

PRODUCT LINK

If you want an affordable option for a pair of women's hiking boots, this footwear from Manfen is something that you should consider. For a price of less than a hundred bucks, this boot can offer a plethora of features and performance. It has no problems dealing with the coldness of Iceland or Alaska. After all, it has a waterproof upper mesh and Hydroshield membrane that ensure that your feet won't get wet at all. It also has a layer of insulation that can provide long-lasting comfort at -30 degree temperatures. 

Of course, similar to our other mountaineering boots here, the Manfen Women's Hiking Boots has anti-skid capabilities, thanks to its ultra-rugged rubber outsole. Its sophisticated lug patterns ensure that it can provide superior trail grip. It also uses rubber toe protection to mitigate impacts when you hit a rock while hiking. The EVA midsole used on this footwear further optimizes its support and cushioning. Stability is also the name of the game for Manfen as this boot has molded TPU ankle support, which is suitable for slippery terrains. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Synthetic/waterproof fabric 
  • Midsole - EVA
  • Outsole - Rubber 
  • Insole - Unspecified
  • Lining - Hydroshield membrane
  • Weight - 1.8 pounds per pair
  • Size available - 36 - 42 

7. La Sportiva Men's Spantik

PRODUCT LINK

For icy, high-altitude environments, the La Sportiva Men's Spantik Boot is up for the job. This footwear is tailored to help mountaineers navigate challenging trails. It is compatible with a step-in crampon and offers excellent performance on steep ascents without compromising its stability. Unlike other mountaineering boots, this doesn't make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy when walking. Furthermore, it has thermo-molding on its interior for insulation. Its one-handed closure system lets you get a secure fit as quickly as possible. 

The quality of exterior construction simply dwarfs most of its competitors. Specifically, its upper features a PU-coated Benecke CeraCom PUR leatherette with the addition of the Lorica with Antiacqua coating. These materials tell us that the elements can't pass through the boot. The Vibram rand and molded TPU on its ankle offer protection and support while you are on the move. Furthermore, its thermo-reflective aluminum coating resists abrasion, amplifies insulation, and prevents excess heat all at the same time. In short, the La Sportiva Men's Spantik Boot is high-end mountaineering footwear that is worth every penny.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Upper - Benecke CeraCom® PUR leatherette
  • Midsole - TPU / dual-density Micropore EVA
  • Outsole - Vibram Montagna
  • Insole - Aluminum insulation with thermal structure carbon fiber
  • Lining - Lorica with Antiacqua external coating
  • Weight - 2.78 pounds per pair
  • Size available - 38 - 47

How To Choose The Best Mountaineering Boots

Always keep in mind that the term mountaineering applies to different high-altitude applications. Therefore, there's a need for you to ensure that your mountaineering boots fit your destination and desired specifications. 

In general, mountaineering boots should feature sufficient insulation and waterproofing. In fact, these two alone define the entire gamut of mountaineering footwear. Furthermore, the soles should be as rigid as possible to ensure stability, protection, and support. 

Of course, insulation does differ from one model to another. Other boots have light insulation, while others prioritize this feature the most. For instance, single boots equipped with synthetic insulation are ideal for low- to mid-altitude hikes. Meanwhile, if you are planning to scale alpines and peaks, then you need more than that. Plastic boots and fully-insulated leather boots are your prime options here. 

Types Of Mountaineering Boots

  • Insulated boots - These boots provide superior comfort once you have broken them in. They are also waterproof but require continuous renewal of their durable water repellent. They are either made from leather or synthetic materials that can defy abrasion. Moreover, their insulation is fairly decent--except for those ultra-warm units that have built-in insulation on their interior. When it comes to weight, these insulated boots are lighter than their plastic counterparts, making them suitable for long hikes. 
  • Three-season boots - A three-season boot is a mountaineering boot that is exclusive for the three seasons (summer, spring, and fall). After all, it doesn't have any insulating layer. Of course, this one is lightweight and downright flexible for backcountry trips and hiking expeditions. They are also waterproofs but require renewal on their waterproof treatment. They aren't susceptible to heating your feet, either. When it comes to price, they are fairly affordable--with the most expensive ones sitting at $400 or less. 
  • Plastic boots - Plastic boots are the heaviest mountaineering boots out there. They usually come with a dynamic construction--one that features a rugged plastic exterior shell and soft inner layers. They aren't widely sold because of their limited application. Typically, you can find them in rental shops since they are suitable for occasional use only. They can protect your feet from the ice as well as other forms of external hazards. You also don't need to break them in before you can feel comfortable while wearing them. Because they are heavy, they aren't the best choice for long approach hikes. 

Fit

Mountaineering boots follow the same guidelines as hiking boots do when it comes to fitting. Specifically, all parts should be snug; your foot should remain in place without sliding front or back whenever you are moving uphill or downhill. Of course, a snug fit doesn't mean that the boot should be extremely tight. That would cause a lot of discomfort. At the same time, it makes your feet prone to injuries.

You either have the choice to use crampons or not. It depends on your preferences, skills, and overall experience in using them. Crampons are essential for terrains that have slopes that are difficult and dangerous to traverse. 

In Summary 

The best mountaineering boots may vary depending on your intended destination and trip. You just have to select which one suits your needs and expectations. Of course, choose an option that is comfortable for you. Be wary of the price and always stay on your budget to ensure that you won't regret anything. As a reminder, you should try on a boot first to find out its actual fit. Don't settle on something that is too loose or too tight. 

That's it for now. If you have other related inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below. 

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