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Mountaineering boots – now that’s a shoe! With mountaineering boots, you go up the highest summits, the toughest and roughest expeditions. With this shoe, you are ready for really everything you might encounter in the mountains. Mountaineering boots are quite different to hiking or trekking ones, even though they look quite similar – but it is the inner values. Also, they are great for snow and ice! 

How is the mountaineering boot different to the trekking one?

Generally, hiking boots and mountaineering boots are quite similar. You take both up on the mountain, on hikes and tours. Both have a good profile, both can be waterproof, can be breathable and can be crampon-compatible. And both support your feet when you are out and about.

But the mountaineering boot is simply a bit more robust than your hiking boot. And stiffer, both on the outer material and the sole. Because while you can bend your trekking shoe using two hands, this is nearly impossible with the mountaineering boot. This is due mostly to the insole, which is underneath the midsole and made of very stiff material. Back in the day, this used to be a heavy metal, today it is carbon or plastic material because it weighs less. As of this, these shoes are great for tough tours and expeditions. If you are on a hiking trail, your hiking boot will fit perfectly. But if you heading into untouched and difficult terrain, you need a mountaineering boot.

On a mountaineering boot, the stem is usually higher. This gives your ankle more support and your feet are more stable. On the other hand, these shoes weigh more as well.

Taking your mountaineering boot into snow and ice

Mountaineering boots are also made for the colder months of the year, or the highest summits and glaciers that carry snow all year round. Most of them are crampon-compatible. These can be bought separately. There are different systems that fit different shoes. Some crampons are put onto the front or back of the shoe like baskets, others are pushed onto the back using a rocker arm.

And mountaineering boots are what you need to go ice climbing. Because the shoe needs to be robust, stable and keep you warm!


On a mountaineering boot, the stem is usually higher

Material and Vibram-sole of the mountaineering boot

The top material is either leather or synthetic leather. Real leather has the clear advantage of keeping you nice and warm in winter and cool you off in summer. Synthetic material however dries faster when you sweat but does not cool as well.

Both are usually water-proof. When it comes to real leather, this depends on how you take care of the boots. Thanks to Gore-Tex material, these shoes are then both waterproof and breathable.

Almost all mountaineering boots have very specific soles – Vibram ones. You notice this by the small yellow logo on the back. These soles are abrasion-resistant, made with the so-called vulcanization technology.

Fit of the mountaineering boots

What is very important, is that the shoe fits well. Because if it is too tight, you will soon have lots of pain, especially when going downhill. If it is too lose you will have no grip in it and also get blisters real soon.

On the one hand, you need to get this shoe a bit larger than your usual size. One the one hand, this is due to the swelling of your feet that occurs when you walk farther distances. One the other hand, you will touch the front of your shoe when going downhill, and that will cause some blue toenails. That is why you need one size bigger than usual! Also, when you put on your shoe, make sure you sit down and put your feet vertically before you close tightly. With this, your feet and heel will be far enough back to give your toes loads of space. Other than that, when you head into the mountains, you will also need proper outdoor apparel, a backpack and possibly hiking poles.

Read more regarding mountaineering boots

Choosing the right mountain boot: all you need to know

Forget blisters with the right pair of hiking socks

Hike with the Right: Essentials you need for your next Hike and Trekking Tour

Packing list for your next hut tour

©Mountain view with mountaineering boots by Dachstein  ©Water proof mountaineering boots by Dachstein