Updated on October 12, 2020

The mountains are calling and you must go. But first, you must make sure you have all your layers with you, and one very important layer is your boots. Your boots are responsible for keeping you comfortable, warm, dry, and performing to your max, so having the right pair makes all the difference. No one wants to be sent home with frostbite! And because your boots are so important, we here at The Adventure Junkies have compiled a bomber list of the ten best mountaineering boots.

Whether you are looking to go out on a summer alpine or glacier adventure or want to play hard on ice climbs or some seriously cold, high altitude adventures, we have you and your feet covered. Prepare to play hard and reach the summits, because no matter what, there is a boot for you. Go ahead, answer the call of the mountains!

For more of our top mountaineering gear recommendations, check out the Best Mountaineering Backpacks.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Mountaineering Boots

  1. Scarpa Phantom Tech
  2. La Sportiva Spantik
  3. La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX
  4. Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX
  5. La Sportiva Baruntse
  6. Scarpa Inverno
  7. Asolo Alta Via GV
  8. Salewa Crow GTX
  9. Lowa Alpine Expert GTX

 

Comparison Table - Best Mountaineering Boots

PictureNameWeightBoot StyleClosurePriceRating
Scarpa Phantom TechScarpa Phantom Tech1 lb 15 ozSingleQuick Lace Inner and Zip-up Outer$$$4.8
La Sportiva SpantikLa Sportiva Spantik2 lb 7.8 ozDoubleOne Speed Lace$$$4.8
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTXLa Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX4 lbs 19 ozSingleLaces$$4.7
Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTXScarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX2 lbs 1.5 ozSingleLaces$4.1
La Sportiva BaruntseLa Sportiva Baruntse5 lbs 3 ozDoubleLaces$$$4.2
Scarpa InvernoScarpa Inverno5 lbs 10 ozDoubleLaces$$4.1
Asolo Alta Via GVAsolo Alta Via GV2.16 lbsSingleLaces$$4.6
Salewa Crow GTXSalewa Crow GTX2 lbs 11.ozSingleLaces$$4.5
Lowa Alpine Expert GTXLowa Alpine Expert GTX3 lbs 13.8 ozSingleLaces$$4.8
PictureNameWeightBoot StyleClosurePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Boots for Mountaineering

Scarpa Phantom Tech

Specs
  • Closure: Quick Lace Inner and Zip-up Outer
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz
  • Sole: Vibram Zero Gravity Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Outdry Membrane
  • Boot Style: Single
Features
  • Built-In Gaiter To Keep Ice And Snow Out Of Your Boots
  • Single Speed Lace On Inner Liner Makes Tightening Your Boots Super Easy
  • Easy Zip And Snap Closure Simplifies The On/Off Process
Scarpa Phantom Tech

BEST OVERALL MOUNTAINEERING BOOT

Becoming a dominating boot on the mountaineering scene, the Scarpa Phantom Tech performs well in any aspect of mountaineering under 6,000 meters. For higher mountains, the Phantom 6000 is a similar version of this boot. 

While this is a single boot, it has a built in gaiter that closes the outer portion of the boot with a zipper and snaps, allowing for no water to get in. This keeps the boot not only lighter weight than many other boots, but also keeps it warmer, so it may feel like you are wearing a double boot. 

The inner quick lace can keep this boot fitting tight to prevent calf burn when you are climbing. And with a rigid sole that is not rockered (or fitted to the shape of your foot), these boots perform well when hiking as well as climbing, so you can wear them on the approach before you put your crampons on.

La Sportiva Spantik

Specs
  • Closure: One Speed Lace
  • Weight: 2 lb 7.8 oz
  • Sole: Vibram Montagna Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Water Repellent External Coating
  • Boot Style: Double
Features
  • Generous Foot Rocker That Fits Natural Arch Of Foot For Maximum Comfort
  • Single Speed Lace On Inner And Outer Boot For Easy On/Off
  • Velcro Tab On External Speed Lace For Attachment To Boot
La Sportiva Spantik

BEST FRIGID ICE CLIMBING BOOT

A warm double boot without unnecessary bulk is what you get with the La Sportiva Spantik. These features allow this boot to perform exceptionally well at the 6000-7000 meter range, without making your feet heavy and without risking frostbite. While not the lightest boot compared to other options on this list, what you get for the added weight is the warmth, making this boot increasingly popular among women, who tend to run colder than men. 

The quick one-lace speed lace on both the inner liner and the outer boot will provide you with a snug fit, so there won’t be any skin-to-skin rubbing when hiking up steep terrain, which will help to prevent uncomfortable blisters from forming. The water repellent coating on the outside of this boot helps keep it dry. However, since this is not a fully waterproof boot, it’s best to stick to higher altitudes where there is not a lot of melting happening. But if you add a neoprene cover over this pair, then these boots can take you above 6,000 meters while remaining dry and warm even when wet.

La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX

Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 4 lbs 19 oz
  • Sole: Vibram Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex
  • Boot Style: Single
Features
  • Roller Lacing System, Locking D-rings And Lace Loops For Effortless On/Off Even While Wearing Gloves
  • EZ Out Pull Loops For Quick Release Of Lace Locks For Easier Exit From Boots
  • Stiffer Design For Better Edging
La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX

BEST DURABLE AND LONG-LASTING BOOT

With a long standing reputation among many climbers, the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX has been around the block – or mountains – quite a few times. This boot is very popular among guides, and has proven to be very durable with the burly leather and Gore-Tex waterproofing. With a double lace-up closure system, the Nepal EVO also includes rollers and locking D-rings in it, making lacing up easy even if you are wearing gloves. And at the end of a long day, the EZ out pull loops release the lace locks, so there is no struggle to get out of the boots. 

Although a bit on the heavier side for a single boot, these can be worth the investment in weight  in the long run if you are looking to get many seasons out of a boot, but you probably won’t want to go hiking in this boot all the time.  The stiffness of the boot comes to an advantage when you need to edge on rock in those mixed climbing conditions. While still plenty warm for a single boot, this boot probably isn’t ideal for higher elevations.

Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 2 lbs 1.5 oz
  • Sole: Total Traction Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex
  • Boot Style: Single
Features
  • Integrated Gaiter That Snaps At The Top To Keep Water/Snow Out
  • Extended Rubber Rand Wraps On Side Of Boot For Durability
  • Waterproof Gore-Tex Coating Keeps The Boots Super Dry Even In Wet Conditions
Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX

BEST BOOTS FOR SUMMER GLACIER HIKING

While this boot may be nothing fancy to look at, it gets the job done. A single leather boot with a simple lace-up design, the Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro has a waterproof Gore-Tex coating to keep your feet dry in those summer glacier conditions or on wet ice climbing. This added feature also cuts down on drying time at the end of the day. 

The design also integrates a protective gaiter into the boot which snaps at the top for a sock-like fit that keeps your feet and ankles dry and warm. The basic design of the boot makes them easy to hike in, so they perform even without crampons. And to keep these boots durable and able to withstand the inevitable bumps and bangs you’ll experience in the alpine, the rubber rand extends to the sides of the boots.

La Sportiva Baruntse

Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 5 lbs 3 oz
  • Sole: Vibram Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Cordura Nylon
  • Boot Style: Double
Features
  • Removable Liners For Faster Drying
  • Waterproof Tongue Keeps Water Out Of Your Boots
  • Lightweight Double Boot
La Sportiva Baruntse

BEST MULTI-DAY MOUNTAINEERING BOOT

Looks can be deceiving when it comes to the Baruntse mountaineering boot. This is a double boot that looks more like a single boot. While made for everything mountaineering, this boot looks like it can easily be used for hiking (although they’re a bit on the heavy side for non-technical hiking). 

The removable liner makes this boot very snug and warm. And the liners can easily be taken out of the boots to help dry things out at the end of the day, so you don’t have to stick your foot in a cold, wet boot the next day. The Cordura waterproof tongue also helps keep snow out of the boot and repels water for a drier, happier foot.  The La Sportiva Baruntse is a popular boot among women, as the insulation keeps those who tend to get cold feet nice and toasty.

Scarpa Inverno

Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 5 lbs 10 oz
  • Sole: Vibram Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Thermoplastic Shell
  • Boot Style: Double
Features
  • Removable Liners So You Can Warm Them Up In Your Sleeping Bag Or Wash Them Separately
  • Plastic Outer Shell Is Durable And Inexpensive
  • Waterproof Plastic Shell Keeps Your Feet Dry On The Ice
Scarpa Inverno

BEST STARTER BOOT

If you are just getting into the winter climbing scene, the Scarpa Inverno is a really good place to start. This is an affordable boot that still performs with the best of them. The Thermoplastic shell that was popular years ago still works well for this boot, especially in terms of warmth. The last thing you want is your feet getting cold when you are new to the sport and getting turned off it because of your discomfort. That won’t happen with this boot!

The insulated liners add to the warmth factor and can be removed for faster drying at the end of a long day. The plastic provides for a stiffer, more durable boot, but you will want to make sure it stays tightly laced to prevent shin bang. And a hard plastic is probably not your first choice for any adventures that require a long approach.

Asolo Alta Via GV


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 2.16 lbs
  • Sole: Vibram Vertical Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Gore-tex
  • Boot Style: Single
Features
  • Made With 30% Fiberglass For Lightweight Insulation
  • Heel Locking System That Wraps Around Foot To Keep The Heel In Place
  • Gore-Tex Insulated Membrane Keeps Boots Dry And Feet Warm
Asolo Alta Via GV

BEST COMFORTABLE BOOT

The Asolo Alta Via GV is right at home in high-altitude conditions. As a single boot, it is probably not what you want to take on super cold adventures, but it is still plenty warm in winter, and can excel on winter hikes. Designed using 30% fiberglass, this boot is extra insulated without added weight. 

The unique heel locking feature in this boot wraps around the back of your foot and helps hold it in place, so you won’t have to worry about your heel lifting up and rubbing against the back of your boot. This will help to prevent blisters if you are hiking up and down a lot of hills or front-pointing with your crampons on technical rock and ice. 

The stiffness of this boot is also an advantage on ice and mixed terrain where you don’t want your foot slipping off.  And if it’s comfort that you seek on your alpine adventures, you really cannot beat the Asolo in terms of both comfort and warmth.

Salewa Crow GTX


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 2 lbs 11.oz
  • Sole: Vibram Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex
  • Boot Style: Single
Features
  • Multi-fit Footbed Can Be Customized To Fit Your Foot Just Right
  • 2 Interchangeable Footbed Layers To Accommodate Different Sized Feet
  • Full Rubber Rands Along Boots Protect Your Feet From Rocks
Salewa Crow GTX

BEST SUMMER CLIMBING BOOTS

As a lesser known brand, Salewa brings you the Crow GTX mountaineering boot. Leather is treated with Gore-tex to keep the boot dry even in wet or snowy conditions. And, weighing in at only 2 lbs 11.4 oz, this boot is ultralight, allowing you to move fast over the alpine terrain. 

Because this is a single boot, it is best for summer mountaineering projects. The full wrap rubber rand around the boot helps protect your feet from sharp rocks that you may kick along the way. Designed with a unique footbed by Salewa, the instep area of the shoe connects with the sole and heel, making it flexible, supportive, and a great fit. The footbed of the boot is also designed with Multi-fit+ to mold better to the forefoot and the boot has 2 interchangeable footbed layers in order to accommodate differently shaped feet.

Lowa Alpine Expert GTX

Specs
  • Closure: Laces
  • Weight: 3 lbs 13.8 oz
  • Sole: Vibram Alp Trac Ice Rubber
  • Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex
  • Boot Style: Single
Features
  • A Proprietary Fit Wing Feature Gives Ankle Support And A Good Heel Fit For Demanding Mixed Climbing And Heavy Backpacking Trips
  • Anatomic Footbeds Provide A Comfortable And Precise Fit To Your Foot
  • Quick Speed Lace System Allows For Fast And Easy Boot Closure
Lowa Alpine Expert GTX

BEST ALPINE BACKPACKING BOOT

Another lesser-known brand to the sport of mountaineering is Lowa and here they bring you the Alpine Expert GTX. This boot is waterproof with reinforced with Gore-Tex that is light, comfortable, and high performing. The anatomic footbeds are designed to fit the shape of your foot to provide a comfortable fit for everyone. The Fit Wing feature of this boot lends to solid ankle support and a good fit on the heel to prevent it from coming up if you are climbing or backpacking in these boots, eliminating any uncomfortable rubs or blisters. 

A wide tongue opening allows you to slide these boots on and off without a struggle. Furthermore, they have a sole that fits the foot and makes for seriously comfortable hiking. While reasonably priced, they are a single boot and not the warmest on the market, so they are better suited for mild weather but can take you and your backpacking anywhere you desire in moderate temperatures!

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS

COST

If you are looking to be frugal, it’s probably best not to do that with mountaineering boots. Technical mountaineering boots in general are pretty pricey, although some are higher quality and thus even more expensive than others. However, having a boot that will protect your feet from the elements can make all the difference between a successful alpine adventure or losing some toes to frostbite.

 

DOUBLE VS SINGLE BOOT

As the American Alpine Institute will tell you when selecting a boot, one boot will not do it all, so know your needs. A single boot is just as it sounds – one boot your foot goes into (like sturdy hiking boots). A double boot, on the other hand, is not necessarily two individual boots, but a harder outer shell boot that is paired with a thicker, flexible inner boot that also has laces. There are single boots with liners or external, built-in gaiters that can perform like a double boot, but they’re not as bulky as double boots, and often they’re not as warm, either. 

 

WEIGHT

It’s obvious a double boot is going to weigh more than a single boot, but the use of synthetic materials over the old plastic boots has helped cut weight in these double boots. Trekking up to high elevation, you want to consider weight so you are not getting calf burn lugging several pounds on your feet, but you also need to make sure there is enough there to keep your feet warm and dry. 

 

FIT

Having a boot that fits your foot is important for obvious reasons, but in the mountaineering world, there are other factors that need to be considered with fit. For one, you will probably need to go up a size from your normal street shoe size because you will be wearing a bulkier sock (maybe even more than one). You don’t want to have your feet crammed into a boot because not only will it be very uncomfortable and give you sores, but a tight fit will also make your feet cold. You’ll want some room to wiggle your toes inside the boots to help with circulation and blood flow, especially if you are standing at a belay trying to stay warm. A good fit also depends on the type of boot you choose, which Rock and Ice has great information on to ensure a proper boot fit

 

CLOSURE

Laces and zippers are the standard in mountaineering boots, however some closure styles can be easier to use than others. Speed laces allow you to put on and remove your boots quickly, and more importantly, they make it super easy to adjust the fit while wearing gloves. 

However, many mountaineering boot manufacturers are choosing to design their boots with a single speed lace, which does not require tying at the end, but rather wraps around a fixed feature on the side to keep it in place. Zippers are also a fast and easy choice, and are commonly seen on the outer portion of a double boot with a built-in gaiter. 

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

SOLE

The bottom of the boot.

FOOT ROCKER

A foot rocker refers to the shape of the bottom of the boot. When the sole of a boot is “rockered”, it is more curved to fit the natural arc of your foot, providing more support as it holds the foot in a proper position.

GAITER

An external cover that goes over the boot and calf to help with waterproofing a boot or keeping the elements out. A built-in gaiter is incorporated into the external portion of a boot, eliminating the need for an extra piece of gear.

READ MORE

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About The Author

Born in Maryland, Lindsay Rohrbaugh is an avid rock-alpine climber and mountaineer. An urban wildlife biologist by trade, she is also a travel writer and student of Integrative Medicine. When not in school or conducting field work on bats and turtles in Washington, DC, she is out climbing rocks and peaks or scaling high points across the globe. She’s hiked the Lares Trek in Peru and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and climbed various routes in Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. She has even tried her skills at deep water soloing! Her weekends are often spent with her husband in their newly self-built cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

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