Almost every outdoor activity that involves using your feet requires the right kind of footwear—be it running, hiking, or mountain climbing. While the prior two can still be, somewhat, managed to be done wearing plain running shoes, mountaineering requires its own kind of footwear. If you need help on how to choose mountaineering boots, we have got you covered.
Before we share with you the factors to take into consideration when buying mountaineering boots, you must first be aware of the many types it comes in. In this way, you would know what kind you need to buy in the first place.
Types of Mountaineering Boots
Mountaineering is an activity that requires discipline, commitment, and a whole set of proper gear. Right at the top of the list of the essentials of mountaineering is a pair of good-quality boots. Here are the different types of mountaineering boots you can choose from:
● Single Boots
As the name suggests, the single mountaineering boots come in single pieces. This means that none of their parts can be separated from each other. A wide majority of people prefer this type of mountaineering boots because they are adequately warm and stiff enough to be used all year long.
● Double Boots
As opposed to the single ones, the double mountaineering boots come with separate internal and outer linings. The interior lining is made of synthetic materials while the exterior one is made of hard plastic. They are hefty and usually meant for very cold environments.
Due to the hard plastic exterior layer, double mountaineering boots are also quite waterproof. Then again, even if the moisture manages to seep into the inner lining, you can simply take it out for quick drying.
● SuperGaiter Boots
These boots combine the features of the single and double mountaineering boots. With this, you cannot detach the interior lining. Plus, it is enclosed in a non-detachable exterior boot that normally includes a gaiter up to the knee.
The purpose of the gaiter is to keep you safe from the weather and excessive cold. They are lighter in weight in comparison to double boots and provide more warmth than single ones.
How to Choose Mountaineering Boots
Here are some of the most important features that you MUST keep in your mind if you want to buy excellent quality boots for mountain climbing. In taking every one of these features into careful consideration, you can rest assured that you will buy a pair of boots that suit your needs and preferences.
The first and most essential thing to consider when buying any type of footwear is the level of comfort it offers. Imagine the agony you have to go through when you purchase a pair of new shoes, and they end up giving you sores on your feet. Not to forget the level of pain they cause you while you walk.
Now, multiply that level of discomfort up to 10 times. That’s what happens when you choose wrong mountaineering boots. So, when it comes to comfort, it’s pretty basic. If you can’t even walk properly in uncomfortable shoes, how can you expect to climb a mountain while wearing one?
Therefore, you have to make sure that your boots accommodate your feet cozily, and none of their sharp edges touch your skin while you walk.
The right fit is just as critical as the comfort. In fact, the fitting of the shoes dictates whether it is comfortable or uncomfortable, for the most part. Like all shoes, these boots also come in various styles, sizes, and forms. Some of them have a slender design, while some have a greater width.
Similarly, some have low arcs while some have high. All of these distinctions significantly affect their fitting. This means it isn’t necessary that two separate designs of the same size will fit you equally well. You will have to check out various designs and brands before you could find the right one. But, in the end, it will be worth all the effort.
Load or heaviness of the boots is yet another important consideration. For obvious reasons, the lighter the shoes, the easier the walk. This becomes especially true when you have to climb or walk on a mountain where the gravity is already adding to your load.
Generally, the mountain climbing boots are heavy because they are specially constructed to endure this type of use. However, you can still find some lighter ones as well. The lightest ones weigh around four pounds, which means a weight of two pounds per foot. So, you can choose these or a bit heftier ones if you can easily handle.
However, one other thing to take note of is that lighter boots are usually not that warm. But then again, the newer versions of mountaineering boots are not only light in weight but also pretty warm; you just have to look for the right one in the right place.
Besides comfort, warmth is another critical factor that needs your undivided attention. Your feet can easily go numb if they aren’t well protected from the chilly atmosphere of the mountains. Needless to say, if that happens, it can easily turn your climbing adventure into a complete nightmare.
Therefore, make sure to get the boots that have enough warmth to keep your feet safe from the harshest weather conditions. Be careful not to end up buying extra warm boots either. The reason is that they will retain excessive warmth, which will end up making your feet sweaty.
Although warm boots and sweaty feet are kind of manageable, they are still nothing short of irritating. So, it’s better to aim for those that are neither too warm nor too cold.
● Value for Money
Being a climber, you would know pretty well how insanely expensive mountaineering boots can be. Even the cheapest ones can cost you around $300 for a new pair. Whereas, the expensive makes can go as far up as $1000 and beyond per pair.
Usually, people select the price according to their own budgets. But, we’d strongly advise you not to compromise any of the basic factors for the sake of saving a few pennies.
They are going to be expensive either way, and a few dollars won’t really make a difference. But, at least, with the right fit and comfort level, you will be able to use them for years.
Choosing the right pair of mountaineering boots is no less than rocket science. A single wrong move and all your precious investment will go down the drain. Luckily, this guide has provided you with all the necessary information on how to choose mountaineering boots. What’s more, you also learned about the different types it comes in!
Now, all you need to do is gather up your gear and plan your next hike with your close friends! Maybe, you can also share with them everything that you have learned about mountaineering boots.