Hiking boots can take you a long way, but when it comes to travelling through snow- and ice-covered alpine terrain there’s no substitute for a high-quality pair of mountaineering boots. Mountaineering boots are made to keep your feet warm and dry under the most extreme conditions. Compared to hiking boots, they offer far more insulation and the sole is much more rigid. Plus, they’re designed to work with traction devices like crampons that are commonly used on icy terrain and for mixed climbing.
Types of Mountaineering Boots
Single-layer mountaineering boots are the preferred choice of mountaineers exploring most of the world’s glaciated mountain ranges, including most places in Europe and the US. This style of mountaineering boot is made from an upper that is all one piece – typically leather, although synthetic materials are becoming increasingly common. Importantly, single-layer mountaineering boots differ in the amount of insulation they offer and the height of the upper. Steep ice climbing and early-season travel when there is snow on the ground will demand uppers that extend partway up your shin. The degree of insulation you need depends on the typical weather in the mountains where you expect to use the boots.
Double-layer mountaineering boots have an outer shell, usually made of plastic, covering the insulated boot inside. The idea behind double layer boots is not only that they provide even more warmth than single-layer boots, but that the insulated inner boot can be dried out in your sleeping bag at night. Double-layer boots are required for mountaineering in the Himalayas, in some parts of Alaska, and in the world’s other extremely cold mountain ranges. However, mountaineers exploring less extreme areas will want to stick with single-layer boots. Double layer boots are quite heavy and bulky, and the plastic shell can make climbing more difficult.
Super-gaiter mountaineering boots are essentially a hybrid between single- and double-layer boots. They feature a permanently-attached gaiter around the same style of inner boot found in double-layer mountaineering boots. That provides a degree of extra warmth and water protection with only minor weight added compared to single-layer boots. However, the permanently attached gaiter means that super-gaiter boots are hard to dry out. That makes them a less than ideal choice for multi-day trips, as the boots are likely to freeze overnight.
Finding The Right Size
Finding the right size for a pair of mountaineering boots can be tricky but essential for comfort and proper blood circulation. Mountaineering boots should not be overly tight like climbing shoes, as they need to leave some room for your foot to expand over the course of your trip. In addition, your toes should not be banging against the front of the boot when you are kicking steps or walking downhill. In general, you should be able to wiggle your toes about one-third as much as in your normal street shoes or hiking boots. For most people and most manufacturers, that means sizing up about one-half size from your hiking boots.
Mountaineering Boots at addnature.co.uk
The best way to get the right pair of mountaineering boots for your alpine adventures is to shop our wide selection at addnature.co.uk. Our 100-day return policy ensures that you can find a mountaineering boot that fits perfectly with no risk. You’ll also enjoy our speedy, headache-free shipping.