A good pair of mountaineering boots are perhaps the most important thing you could ever invest in as an alpinist or mountaineer. These insulated, crampon-compatible boots are designed precisely for high mountain pursuits, providing the protection and support your feet need to perform at their best in extreme environments.
However, there are a lot of different mountaineering boots on the market today, so it can be difficult to find just one pair that’s best for your needs. To get you started on your search, we’ve put together a guide to the best mountaineering boots around, complete with advice on how to choose the pair that’s right for your needs.
If you don't have time for the details, here are our picks for the best rated mountaineering boots:
Table of Contents
- Mountaineering Boots Buyer’s Guide
- Best Mountaineering Boots on the Market Reviews
- The Verdict
Mountaineering Boots Buyer’s Guide
Buying a pair of mountaineering boots can be tricky since these technology-packed boots come in many different shapes and sizes. So, here are the main factors you should focus on when shopping around:
Single v. Double
Modern mountaineering boots can come in one of two styles: single or double. Single mountaineering boots are very similar in construction to a hiking boot. They have just one layer of insulation that also acts as the shell that protects your feet from the elements.
Double boots, on the other hand, have one hard, outer layer that’s designed primarily to keep your feet dry. Additionally, they have an insulated inner boot whose main purpose is to keep your feet warm. Double boots are almost always heavier than single boots but are preferred for very cold or particularly warm trips where keeping your feet warm and dry is critical.
A super-gaiter is basically an integrated gaiter system on a boot. Many high-end mountaineering boots feature super-gaiters, which prevent snow and ice from getting inside the boot and also add some insulation to the overall boot structure. This design is particularly popular among high-altitude climbers but is rarely found on summer-weight mountaineering boots for low-elevation objectives.
Since you carry your boots on your feet with every step you take, it’s incredibly important that your boots are as light as possible. If you’re just doing some roadside ice climbing, lightweight boots might not make too much of a difference. But, if you’re in the middle of climbing a 7,000m peak or you’re heading out to climb a remote route, you’ll certainly want a lightweight pair of boots.
Generally speaking, summerweight mountaineering boots will be lighter than well-insulated double boots. However, there are some surprisingly light double boots out there, but you should expect to pay a premium for those models.
Fit and Size
Perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to choosing a pair of mountaineering boots, there is no special technology that can magically make a pair of boots fit you well. Since a poorly fitting pair of boots can cause blisters and foot pain, it’s of the utmost importance that you get a pair of mountaineering boots that fit well.
When sizing mountaineering boots, be sure to try them on with the socks you’re likely to wear while climbing. Test them out at home, wearing them around the house for a few days before you commit to the boots. Your mountaineering boots should feel comfortable around the ankle and foot, but there shouldn’t be any movement in your heel or blisters will soon follow.
Unfortunately, while some people say that adding two sizes to your street shoe size is the way to find the right size for your mountaineering boots, there is no foolproof way to ensure that you get the perfect fit without trying the boots on first. What’s most important is that you choose a pair of boots that, above all else, fits perfectly. We can assure you that if a pair of boots don’t feel comfortable when you’re lounging around at home, they will definitely not feel any better after 12 hours in the mountains.
Best Mountaineering Boots on the Market Reviews
Here are our reviews of the ten best mountaineering boots on the market today:
1. Salewa Condor EVO GTX
The Salewa Condor EVO GTX are some of the best lightweight mountaineering boots for summer use and warm winter days. The Condor EVO GTX feature a Perwanger suede leather in the upper as well as a Gore-tex liner for maximum waterproofing.
The boot also uses Salewa’s 3F system, which makes it surprisingly comfortable while also providing the support and comfort you need for a day in the mountains. The Condor EVO also features a fully adjustable lacing system as well as a stiff fiberglass shank that provides the rigidity you need to use the boots with semi-automatic crampons.
2. Scarpa Phantom Tech
The Phantom Tech are one of Scarpa’s top of the line mountaineering boots for ice climbing and technical alpinism. The boots are designed specifically for sensitive performance, particularly on challenging ice and mixed climbs during the winter months.
The Phantom Tech feature a Vibram Precision Tech Roll outsole that provides traction, as well as a carbon fiber shank for automatic crampon compatibility. They are warm enough for winter use, thanks to their Primaloft Silver insulation and even feature a super-gaiter for maximum weather-resistance. Plus, thanks to their shape, the Phantom Tech are also one of the best mountaineering boots for wide feet.
3. La Sportiva G5
Designed specifically with big mountain objectives in mind, the La Sportiva G5 is one of the best winter mountaineering boots. Highly technical to the core, the G5 are a fully synthetic boot crafted for high performing alpinists.
They feature a cutting-edge Boa lacing system that is easy to use with gloves on, as well as a flexible ankle for more comfort in difficult terrain. Oh, and they have high-top external Cordura gaiters that help keep your feet as dry as possible in the world’s worst weather.
4. Arc'teryx Acrux AR
Bridging the gap between high performance and light weight, the Arc’teryx Acrux AR is a top of the line mountaineering boot for the most technical of climbs. Built with the weight savings of a single boot, but with the warmth of a double boot model, the Acrux AR is a do-anything boot for light and fast missions in the mountains.
The Acrux AR features Arc’teryx’s Adaptive Fit technology, which provides ample comfort and support while also being sensitive enough for difficult climbs. It also has a separate shell and insulated liner for warmth and waterproofing, as well as a super-gaiter with a T-ZIP watertight zipper for maximum weather protection.
5. La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX
Crafted with single day alpine pursuits in mind, the La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX is the most technically advanced mountaineering boot in the Trango line-up. This highly durable mountaineering boot has an abrasion-resistant upper with Honeycomb Guards in the most high-wear areas.
It also has a Vibram One sole that’s great for alpine climbing and rocky trails as well as PU inserts for compatibility with automatic crampons. The Trango Tower Extreme GTX even help provide the perfect fit with their 3D flex ankle for extra comfort during long days in the mountains.
6. Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX
One of the most versatile mountaineering boots around, the Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX are a new take on a classic design. The Mont Blanc Pro GTX are one of the best leather mountaineering boots, thanks to their super-durable 3mm Suede Perwanger upper.
They also have an integrated cuff gaiter that’s perfect for keeping out snow and rocks during climbing days. While they’re not quite warm enough for most winter outings, the Mont Blanc Pro are perfect for summer climbing and mountaineering thanks to their lightweight and do-anything design.
7. La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX
A classic time-tested mountaineering boot, the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX is the traditional choice for a comfortable, yet technical ice climbing shoe. The Nepal EVO GTX is made with 3.2mm silicone impregnated Idro-Perwanger leather and a high traction Vibram Matterhorn outsole.
It also features a 3D Flex ankle that allows for natural foot movement while still providing ample support and stability for use with crampons. The Nepal EVO GTX even has a variable fit tongue with inserts, which is very useful for getting just the right fit for your boots so you can excel in difficult terrain
8. Mammut Magic High GTX
Perfect for summer adventures in the alpine, the Mammut Magic High GTX is a comfortable, crampon-compatible mountaineering boot for rock climbing and all-around mountain activities. The Magic High GTX use Base Fit 2.0 technology for ample heel support and more precise foot placements in tricky terrain.
Thanks to its Gore-Tex liner, the Magic High GTX keep your feet dry, regardless of the conditions. Meanwhile, memory foam inserts around the instep, shin, and ankles improve comfort and reduce fatigue after hours on the trail. Plus, a Vibram Maton outsole gives the Magic High GTX fantastic traction, even on slick rock.
9. La Sportiva Olympus Mons EVO
Perhaps the best high altitude mountaineering boots on the market today, the La Sportiva Olympus Mons EVO are an incredibly well-insulated pair of performance footwear for the world’s most remote terrain. These double boots are made with a PE thermal insulating liner, in addition to a heat-reflective outer boot.
The most striking feature of the Olympus Mons EVO is the high-top integrated super-gaiter, which rises up to the knee to keep out snow, rain, and moisture at high elevations where it matters most. If that wasn’t enough, the Olympus Mons EVO feature insulated insoles for more heat retention at altitude while their stiff midsoles are fully crampon compatible for use on any climb.
10. Scarpa Phantom 6000
Sleek and streamlined, the Scarpa Phantom 6000 are a pair of cold-weather mountaineering boots for climbing during the winter months. Built with Primaloft Micropile, the Phantom 6000 are perfect for ice climbing at lower elevations for people who don’t want the weight of a pair of more traditional, bulky double boots.
The construction and design of the Phantom 6000 allow for more precision while climbing, which makes them great for winter mixed climbing objectives. They also have a high-ankle super-gaiter that keeps snow and ice out of your boot, so they’re incredibly functional for all winter mountain activities.
A good pair of mountaineering boots is an investment, to say the least. However, a poorly fitting pair of mountaineering boots is sure to turn any weekend outing into an uncomfortable epic. So, be sure you prioritize comfort and quality above all else when choosing the best mountaineering boots.