mountain climbing boots

How to Choose the Right Mountain Climbing Boots

VWB Blog 2 years ago 10

Are you gearing up for your next exciting adventure? Choosing mountain climbing boots for your trip can be a rocky path! In the US, there are over 1,000 National Recreation Trails to test your mountain climbing boots.

So how do you choose the best mountain climbing boots? The footwear you choose for your expedition is critical for your comfort and stability. Your boots will keep your feet warm and protected from the elements while you carry heavy loads.

Do you want to learn how to buy mountain climbing boots? Here is everything you need to know about choosing the right boots in this mountain climbing boots buying guide.

Types of Mountain Climbing Boots

What is the difference between a normal boot and a mountain climbing boot? Mountain climbing boots are built to withstand harsh elements and technical climbs. They are designed to move with your foot as you walk to give you flexibility and freedom as you climb.

So, how do you know which type of mountain climbing boot is right for you? Your climbing style and the routes you want to climb will dictate the type of boot you wear. The best mountain climbing boots are broken down into single, double, and triple boots.

Before you start looking to buy, you should ask yourself what your requirements are. Can your mountain climbing instructor advise which boots are best for you? What kind of climate will you be climbing in?

Make a list of your requirements along with a budget, and begin your search!

Single Mountain Climbing Boots

If you are thinking of taking on a mountain like Kilimanjaro, then single boots are the best mountain climbing boots for you. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the warmest times of the year (December-March and June to October).

Single boots are lightweight and excellent for warmer climbs. They have one layer of insulation that is attached to the inside of the shoe.

Double Mountain Climbing Boots

Double boots have an inner and outer boot layer that protects your feet from the elements. The inside layer can be removed for cleaning and drying after your hike. Double boots are suitable for most climbs and more versatile than a single boot.

Triple Mountain Climbing Boots

Triple boots have an insulating inside layer, gaiter, and boot shell. These boots are perfect for climbs in extreme weather conditions. The insulation is great for keeping frostbite at bay and protecting your feet during cold and icy climbs.

Getting the Right Fit

The general rule when sizing your mountain climbing boots is to leave 1-2cm of room between your toe and the front of the boot. Slide your foot all the way forward into your boot and measure the gap between your heel and the back of the boot. Your feet should not feel pinched or too tight, as this could cut off the circulation in your feet.

Try your boots on and walk in them before you decide to buy them. You should wear mid-weight socks when buying mountain climbing boots. Feet sweat and swell as you walk, so it is best to try on boots later in the day for the best fit.

Best Materials for Mountain Climbing Boots

Mountain climbing boots are made of various materials, including leather and plastic. Consider how flexible you need your boots to be when researching materials. Rigid boots are better for technical routes, while flexible boots are suitable for basic hiking.


Plastic mountain climbing boots are suitable for cold mountain climbing. The material is stiff, which makes it excellent for fitting crampons. Plastic is not very flexible and not suited to warmer weather.

You may find that your feet feel wet as the plastic does not allow your feet to breathe very well. Plastic boots are better for your budget and require very little breaking in.


Leather boots are a firm favorite with climbers everywhere. Leather is flexible and moves with your feet to provide comfort and protection from the elements. Lightweight boots may feature split-grain leather, which is paired with nylon mesh for extra breathability.


Synthetic boots can be flexible and lightweight with a shorter break-in time. They offer less support than plastic or leather and can be less durable. Synthetic boots are great for warmer climbs and not suitable for use on ice.

Wearing and Maintaining Mountain Climbing Boots

Your mountain climbing boots must be comfortable so you can avoid nasty injuries or discomfort. Do you need integrated gaiters? Do you use crampons?

Check that your crampons fit your mountain climbing boots before you buy them. Crampon fittings are not universal and need to fit your specific boot.

You can also add insoles for extra foot support to increase comfort and performance. Supportive insoles can help with structural misalignment and plantar fasciitis. People with low or collapsed arches can benefit from using insoles in their mountain climbing boots.

Wear your new mountain climbing boots as much as possible before you take them on a climb. This will allow the shoe to mold to the shape of your foot and prevent discomfort. You can wear your boots around the house and then up the distance until you feel they are ready for a hike.

Make sure you clean your boots between climbs to increase their longevity. Small pieces of dirt and grit can cause damage to your boots over time. Use a soft brush to reach between the gaps and remove any debris.

Choose the Best Mountain Climbing Boots

The quality of your mountain climbing boots could make or break your next adventure. You should aim to choose the best quality mountain climbing boots that are in your price range. Take care of your mountain climbing boots, and they will take care of you.

Did you find this article helpful? Read more articles on our blog to help with your adventures!

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