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Mountaineering Boots

Top Picks

How we choose: The best mountaineering boots highlighted here were selected based on 1,168 reviews of 167 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Scarpa Inverno

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17 reviews)

A good general purpose mountaineering boot. After a few years, I purchased insulated high-altitude liners that substantially increase their warmth. Because they are stiff, it is very important to lace them while leaning forward to avoid shin bang. heavier and more clunky to walk in than the more recent leather mountaineering boots, but more likely to keep your toes intact in persistent sub-zero temperatures.

Reasons to Buy

  • very warm with high-altitude liners
  • very durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • heavy/clunky
  • stiff outer shell

UPDATE: a year or two after I wrote the original review below, i purchased the insulated liners.  they make a huge difference in keeping your feet warm.  they also occupy more volume, meaning I tend not to wear them with expedition-weight socks for the most part.  i think the Inverno is only sold with insulated boot liners now. what i learned over time is that the key to avoiding 'shin bang,' a known bugaboo with these boots, is that it's best to lace the upper section of the outer boot while leaning forward, bending your knee.  that gives you enough leeway to keep your shins happy and helps them feel a little less like walking in ski boots, especially in the snow.  I also find it helps to lace them up and go for a couple of walks at home...

Read more: Scarpa Inverno reviews (17)

La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Much more than your average boot, the Trango Cube GTX Highlander boots are great on more technical trails and rock scrambles, and perform ideally when the weather turns less than ideal.

Reasons to Buy

  • Unquestionably waterproof
  • Highly resistant to abrasion/wear
  • Lock-out laces
  • Lightweight for class
  • Good traction
  • Seamless upper

Reasons to Avoid

  • Although adjustable, uncomfortable tongue
  • Overkill in some instances (not necessarily a con)

Highlander Model Note: The Trango Cube GTX Highlanders I tested are the same as the Trango Cube GTX mountaineering boots, but in a camo pattern aimed at hunters. I tested them primarily with that use in mind. Conditions: Trekking along the ridges and valleys of the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains, these boots have seen their fair share of the woods. For approximately four months, these boots have been put to the test while hiking and hunting. Conditions have ranged from 60°F to -10°F (15.5C to -23C) and the boots have trudged through snow, ice, mud, creeks, leaf litter, up and over limestone rocks, shale, and much more.

Read more: La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX review (1)

Top Approach Shoe / Mountaineering Boot

Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The Scarpa Zodiac Tech is a near perfect light mountain boot. Great sticky Vibram sole and a perfect fit makes for all day comfort. I’d love to see a toe welt added and the colour possibly tweaked a little. This boot would be best for glacial travel, light scrambling, non-technical peaks as well as winter hiking (both with traction devices or snowshoes).

Reasons to Buy

  • Fit
  • Weight
  • Waterproof
  • Vibram outsole
  • Rubber rand

Reasons to Avoid

  • I'd love to see a toe welt added
  • Colour

Opening Rant I’m not sure what category these boots fit in. And I don’t say that as a negative, as you can see from the star rating and (if reading further) an otherwise glowing review. I just don’t know what they do best, probably because they do at lot of things really, really well. They are clearly taking aim at the La Sportiva Trango’s strangle hold of the “somewhere in between the approach and the mountaineering boot” market, but that is a very small niche.  You could easily get away with using them exclusively for three-season mountaineering, and even some mild winter peaks, but anything around -15°C or colder you are going to want more insulation, as well as the ability to dry out a double boot.

Read more: Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX review (1)

La Sportiva Makalu

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (61 reviews)

My playground resides 120KM west -- the Canadian Rockies. I spent the 3 months leading up to spring break searching for a boot. I visited every store that sold outdoor gear in Calgary and came up empty handed. My last resource was Banff National Park. This is not a place to buy gear if you are on a budget. Typically, costs in this resort town are 15-20% higher than the city. I paid $380.00 for the Makalu, $45.00 for gas on the first trip, then $45.00 again for the second trip because they put a size 10 in the box instead of an 11.

Read more: La Sportiva Makalu reviews (61)

Salewa Rapace GTX

user rating: 4 of 5 (6 reviews)

A good all-rounder.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Semi-stiff midsole (good for rock terrain)
  • Better breathability than full grain leather
  • Semi-automatic crampon compatible
  • Rubber rand

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not insulated for winter use
  • Sole wore quicker than expected

I've used this pair for 2,5 years extensively in the Cretan mountains on mixed rocky terrain and also in snow ascents. Salewa describes this boot for mountaineering use and for via ferrata and is crampon compatible which is kinda odd because even though it has a heel welt for use with semi-automatic crampons the boot is not insulated so my feet freeze even with a good pair of winter Primaloft socks! And I'm not a guy who gets cold easily... The color is "Night Black Kamille" and the weight is at around 660gr per boot (size 43EU) so pretty lightweight for a leather boot.

Read more: Salewa Rapace GTX reviews (6)

La Sportiva Karakorum

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

Replaced a pair of long lived Asolo TPS 520s with these in preparation for a mountaineering climb that required crampons. I loved the Asolos but needed something with a more rigid sole.

Reasons to Buy

  • Solid construction
  • Sticky soles for bolder scrambles
  • Lace clamps at ankle eyelets

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy, but that is the point of a mountaineering boot.

In 1989 I bought my first "real" hiking boots. The $80 Vasque boots bragged of full-grain leather, double-stitched soles, steel shank, leather liner, and Vibram soles. They made me feel like I could go through anything. They lasted me about 10 years until one of the soles separated from the upper 7 miles up a snowy trail. When I pulled off my gaiters off for the night and saw the front sole of my boot hanging, I realized why my foot seemed to be getting so wet. The La Sportiva Krakorums have the same old-school feel without the weight.

Read more: La Sportiva Karakorum reviews (5)

La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

I have to give these boots mad props (yes I said mad props). Here's the story: I was stupid and had the brilliant idea of traversing Mt. Adams north to south but the catch was I parked my car on the south side forcing me to backpack around the mountain... Great idea right? Any way I wore these boots for the entire 11 mile trip around the west side of the mountain and although they weren't exactly comfortable, they didn't destroy my feet either. Ok, so I thought I'd be clever and not lace them up all the way so I could flex my ankle a bit more which resulted in some blisters, an easy fix.

Read more: La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX reviews (7)

Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Solid classic gets several small but innovative upgrades.

Reasons to Buy

  • Solid
  • Very few seams
  • Comfortable
  • Pretty light
  • Integrated gaiter

I found myself on a different continent with sudden opportunities to go up to the Mont Blanc and do some ice and mixed climbing. I had some gear with me but not my mountaineering boots. After visiting all the rental shops that were open and not finding a boot that fit me, I had to bite down and buy a new pair. It hurt, but relatively little in the feet.  Fit: The Mont Blanc Pro GTX (upgrade from the Scarpa's classic Mont Blanc GTX) is built on the NAG last. I have very narrow feet, and these were slightly wide for me.

Read more: Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX review (1)

La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

My definite winter boot. Couldn't be happier!

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • No break-in period
  • Rock solid when edging
  • Great crampon fit
  • Usable for walking
  • Warm?
  • Two-zone lacing system

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive

I needed some stiff boot for winter mountaineering and as per multiple friends' recommendations I was going to buy the trusted Nepal Evo. That was until I started digging a little more into the Nepal series... Enter the Cube! I admit, it was a gamble because there where very few reviews and no references from any fellow hiker. Cube's main selling point compared to the Evo is the carbon honeycomb insole that ups the price +160€ but adds extra warmth and reduces the weight -150gr. per boot.

Read more: La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX reviews (2)

Asolo AFS 8000

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

2 veces por el Aconcagua, quien los conoce Utiliza la diferencia .... comodos, seguros te hacen caminar pensando en el paisaje y no en los pies ...

Read more: Asolo AFS 8000 reviews (3)

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