For newbie mountaineers, one of the tricky things to discern is how to fit mountaineering boots. Mountaineering boots are an important part of your gear as they keep your feet warm and comfortable. The fit is crucial because you are expected to walk up varying terrains for hours.
Simply put, if you really want to enjoy your hiking adventure, you would need the best mountaineering boots that fit your feet well. Otherwise, your adventure can easily turn into a very uncomfortable experience for you.
Mountaineering boots differ from hiking boots in that they are insulated and have very rigid soles. The insulation varies from one model to the next. Because they are insulated, it can be a bit tricky to find a pair that fits your feet perfectly. So, how can you make sure that you have the right pair?
What Makes a Good Fit?
Making sure that a pair of mountaineering boots fits you perfectly is a pretty easy task. All you need to do is make sure that your feet do not slide to the front or to the back. In addition, your heel should also not slide up when you are walking.
Basically, your feet should stay in place without the boots being too tight that it blocks blood circulation to your feet. Since they are heavily insulated, mountaineering boots can potentially reduce blood circulation if they are too snug.
How to Fit Mountaineering Boots
So, now that you know what makes a good fit, the next thing to do is get to know your feet. In this way, it would be easier for you to shop for a pair. Here is an easy-to-follow guide on how to fit mountaineering boots.
● Know Your Foot Size
The first thing for finding the best fit is to know your foot size. Most people are unaware of the actual size of their feet. When you know your size, the mountaineering boots should be half or a full size above that.
While most foot sizes only correspond to the foot’s length, you also have to take into account its width. Width varies from person to person; some may have very narrow feet while others have wide feet. To account for this, mountaineering boots come in various widths too, such as narrow, normal, and wide.
● Your Socks Matter
In addition, you also need to take into account your socks. When it comes to climbing mountains and mountaineering boots, there are many socks choices. There are hiking socks, low-weight socks, wool socks, and more. It is best to measure your foot size with your socks on.
There are some accessories that can help you get a better fit too. Among these include footbeds, volume reducers, heel lifters, and tongue depressors. Using these accessories depends on the size and structure of your feet. Yet another factor that affects comfort is how you lace your shoe up. However, this is something that you will master with time.
● Give It Room
Even though you are looking for the “perfect” fit, going for half a size up will give you some room, which is necessary for these types of boots. After all, you will be walking in them for long periods. So, in order to keep the blood circulation active, a slightly looser fit is better.
At higher altitudes, there is a possibility that your feet may swell. In such a scenario, a skin-hugging boot would make it unbearable to walk even for another minute. The extra room you get with a half or one size bigger boot will accommodate any such swelling.
More often than not, climbing mountains would involve being in extreme cold weathers for hours. Though your feet may not get frostbite, they certainly would get tired. An extra room would also allow you to wiggle your toes and get some blood to circulate to your feet.
On Mountaineering Boots and Ski Boots
Most people confuse the fit of mountaineering boots with ski boots as both of them are essentially used on ice. However, they differ on so many levels. Firstly, ski boots are pretty tight. They are also not made for walking whereas mountaineering boots allow for long-distance walking on varying terrains.
If you are considering your ski boot size for buying the mountaineering boot, just stop right there. Mountaineering boots have double liners that may make the boot width narrower. However, you may be able to remove them to get a better fit. Alternatively, you can also mold them using heat to get a better custom fit for your feet.
Tips for Buying Mountaineering Shoes Online
When you are buying in-store, it is much easier to find the perfect fit as you can try different boots on until you find the perfect fit. Plus, there are expert salesmen who know how to achieve the right fit and know which kind of boots you need.
However, when you are shopping online, most of the calculations and size determination falls on you. The thing is, these boots are so important and so expensive that you cannot allow any guesswork. That being said, it is not impossible to find the right pair of boots while sitting at home.
Here are some tips:
- Measure your feet with socks on, possibly using a foot measuring device
- Read the details, especially measurements for the boot you are considering for yourself
- Find out if they are available in different widths
- Read the reviews to find out if any customers had any issues with the fit
- Refer to the size guide from the manufacturer
- Always buy at least half a size bigger than your actual size
You should be able to find the best fit for mountaineering boots for yourself using these simple tips. It can be overwhelming if you are new to it, but you can always look for advice from fellow mountaineers or break the internet to find what you need to know.
Our Last Words
Once you receive your boots, try them on immediately. Remember that, like other boots and shoes, in general, mountaineering boots might need breaking in too. You can wear them and walk in them for a bit to feel if they fit right.
Use accessories if need be to get a more comfortable fit. If it feels too tight from the beginning and changing the lacing style does not help, it is time to send them back and get a bigger size.