There are several types of boots used for mountaineering including technical ice climbing boots, alpine boots and high altitude boots. No matter which specific boot is used for mountaineering, the best kind--besides being crampon compatible--have a stiff sole and ankle support, adequate insulation and will stand up to intense use.
Single Layer Mountaineering Boots
One of the best boots in this category which happens to be leather is the LaSportiva Nuptse boots. These are made in both men's (yellow) and women's (green) versions. This boot tops all others because of these features: A 3.2 mm one-piece silicone joined board lasted leather upper, extra tongue which is adjustable and removable, lock down laces, Gore-Tex lining, superb ankle support, insulated lining and SBR Aircushion Vibram sole. These boots are also very lightweight which makes them much easier to hike around in than many other lead-like mountaineering boots. The women's boot is only about 30 ounces. Really these are the best boot out there if you are going to be doing ice or mixed climbing along with some glacier travel and general mountaineering. These boots provide enough supports for vertical climbing unlike a lot of other synthetic boots but are still more flexible than plastic boots for walking. As of 2009, the La Sportiva Nepal's cost between $350 and $530.
Plastic mountaineering boots are different in that they are composed of an outer hard plastic waterproof shell and an insulating inner boot. These can also be used for vertical climbing as well as mountaineering but are especially good for very cold expeditions because of their dual layers. Koflach is a leading brand in plastic mountaineering boots. These last a long time and in wet conditions are hard to beat because they are truly waterproof. The fact that the inner boots are removable is a huge plus because you can take them out and warm them in your sleeping bag during the night so you aren't stepping into a cold, stiff boot in the morning. The Koflach Degree boots are a prime model because they use a lighter liner than other's in the brand line. They also offer extremely stiff Vibram soles great for step-in crampons. As of 2009 the Koflach Degre boots cost between $269 and $280.
High Altitude Boots
Mountaineers who go into the realm beyond recreational mountaineering usually need a boot with a little more to it for their high altitude endeavors. Raichle and La Sportiva are two top brands that provide a boot like this. The Olympus Mons Evo from La Sportiva for example is an extreme high altitude double boot typically used on 8000 meter peaks. It is built with a thermal inside boot, thermo-reflective outer boot and an incorporated gaiter. The sole and midsole provide a sturdy crampon compatible structure while the attached gaiter helps to trap even more heat and has a waterproof zipper. The insole is made of 5 mm of carbon fiber and 2.5 mm of closed cell foam to put even more insulating space between your foot and the snow or ice. When shopping for a high altitude double boot, don't even look for anything less. As of 2009, these cost between $727 and $958.
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.