Mountaineering Boots Vs. Hiking Boots

Mountaineering Boots Vs. Hiking BootsIf you are a person who likes to backpack and also has an interest in mountaineering, then you may be deciding between hiking and mountaineering boots for a trip that includes a little of both. There are several differences to be considered between these two cousins of the boot world. It all depends on your anticipated needs.

Crampon Compatibility

Whether or not your boots are crampon compatible is a big deal. If you are going to be in glacier country and occasionally doing some light glacier trekking, then you may want a stiff hiking boot that is crampon compatible. These are distinguished by the crampon groove around the toe of the boot. However, there are a type of crampon (strap on) that don't require a groove to fit. If you anticipate more time on the ice, you may want a mountaineering boot. All mountaineering boots are crampon compatible; and because they are stiffer, you are able to do some low-angle ice climbing in them.

Sole Stiffness

Mountaineering boots have a much stiffer shank than hiking boots. Hiking boots are easily bent as you walk over terrain, but mountaineering boots are stiff enough that they can support ice climbing with crampons. Overall mountaineering boots will take a heavier beating.

Ankle Support

Both mountaineering and hiking boots can offer good ankle support, though, generally, mountaineering boots will provide a higher and stiffer support. All models are slightly different, and it depends on how hard you want to trek.


Most mountaineering boots are going to be heavier than your average hiking boot. They are stiffer, bigger and simply contain more materials (some are made of plastic). There are some pretty lightweight mountaineering boots on the market, however, like the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX, which weighs in at a mere 1 lb. 12 oz. to just over 2 lbs. depending on your shoe size.


If you are planning on spending any nights out in winter conditions, then your feet may get pretty cold. Hiking boots usually have just a thin layer of insulation, if any at all, whereas mountaineering boots are much warmer. Some mountaineering boots even have removable liners to keep you extra toasty.


Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.