Best Mountaineering Boots 2024 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Mountaineering Boots 2024

The latest and greatest options for winter mountain walking and light mountaineering, including boots from Mammut, AKU, Scarpa and more

If you’re heading out into the hills in winter – or more specifically when there is snow and ice on the ground – then you’ll need some proper winter boots. Most shoes that you’d wear in summer simply won’t cut it. And that’s everything from summer hiking boots to trainers to flip flops – please do not wear flip flops on a glacier.

Related: Winter Hiking Advice | How To Be Well Prepared And Safe In Cold Conditions

The range of winter boots gets quite technical quite quickly. You don’t need to go straight into a super-stiff mountaineering boot when you’re first getting started with winter walking. Or even if you do like hanging off a waterfall with two ice axes but also go for hikes: it’s all about finding the right tools for the job. Winter boots provide varying levels of support, stiffness and grip to help keep your feel warm, dry and firmly secure on the ground.

What To Look For When Buying Winter Boots

Searching for the perfect winter boot is a bit more complex than with summer hiking boots. Mostly because ‘winter’ encompasses everything from a casual snowy stroll across the Cheviots to climbing Lhotse. To try to help you out, let’s quickly explain winter boot ratings. There are three: B1, B2 and B3. These tend to refer to how flexible the sole is, but can sometimes also mean which type of crampons they’ll take. Putting crampons aside, B1 boots are far stiffer than a summer boot but the most flexible of the three. These are ideal for winter walking without much steepness, or for comfort over long distances. 

Photo: iStock/ rcaucino

B2 boots are the mid-ground, perfect for the bridge between winter walking and winter mountaineering. This is also the classic rating for a summer alpine boot. Then B3 boots are completely rigid. That means your feet can’t really flex at all and even with a rocker can still be uncomfortable over long distances or hard surfaces. B3 boots are the best choice for winter mountaineering and anything involving high altitude peaks. 

Alongside the rating, it’s worth thinking about the insulation and whether there is a built in gaiter. This is a matter of taste and the B2/B3 boots tend to be more insulated than B1. A gaiter can help keep snow and spindrift out of your socks without having to wear other gaiters over the top of a boot. You might also look at how much of a rocker the boot has: how angled up the toe end of the sole is vs the flat heel. (This difference allows the boot to rock as you walk, hence rocker.) A larger rocker can be more comfortable for walking, but also can cause issues fitting crampons. It’s always worth testing how well your crampons fit your boots if you can, because not all are a good match – especially in smaller boot sizes.

A Winter Boots Fitting Guide

Fitting winter boots are very much like fitting any other hiking boot. You need to find one that fits your foot shape and size. In order to do that, you really want to try them on. You’ll probably be a size bigger than your normal footwear, but not necessarily – so it’s hard to give any definitive advice without your actual feet in front of us.

What we might recommend is starting with the brand that makes your summer boots. If they do winter boots, great! There’s a high chance the fit will be the same. If not, try to find out the characteristics of your feet. Are they wide in the toe box, do you have a narrow heel or a high arch? Are you one of surprisingly many people who have one foot half a size bigger than the other? Or do you just have feet so big that it’s hard to find brands that stock the sizes? At least, if you know the specs of your foot, you’ll be well equipped to find a boot that matches. And when you do, you can stick with it forever.

The Best Winter Boots For 2024

  • Mammut Kento Pro High GTX
  • Scarpa Ribelle Lite
  • La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX
  • Meindl Air Revolution 4.1
  • Hanwag Makra Combi
  • Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro
  • AKU Tengu GTX
  • Salewa MS Raven 3 GTX
  • Salewa Vultur EVO GTX

Mammut Kento Pro High GTX

Price: £285
Weight:
810g (UK8.5)
Best for: Mountaineering

The Mammut Kento Pro High GTX (men’s – also available in women’s) are lightweight B2 rated boots that take a semi-automatic crampon. They are three season boots, made with velours leather and textile, with a Vibram Hexa Tech sole. Plus a GoreTex membrane to keep your feet dry. The back of the boot has a ledge for crampons and a special high heel cap reduces ankle twist inside the boot. The outer is made of textile but reinforced with a more rugged plastic-like grid and a wide rand. 

A key feature of these boots is comfort. The inside contains 3D memory foam that literally moulds to the shape of your foot – unlike, as is often the case with new boots, moulding your foot to the shoe. Plus memory foam is a pleasantly soft texture for your feet. The lacing is separated into two zones, with four pairs of metal eyelets and the rest a strong textile.

Full Specifications

B2 Rating / Sizes UK6.5 – 12.5 / 2 zone lace system / PU wedge Vibram soles / GORE-TEX Footwear lining / -20 °C insulation / 3D Memo Foam cushioning / pre-shaped tongue construction.

MORE INFO:
MAMMUT.COM

 

Scarpa Ribelle Lite

Price: £290
Weight: 1310g per pair (size 42)
Best for: Alpine summer or winter walking

The Scarpa Ribelle Lite (men’s – also available in women’s) boots are sturdy winter mountain boots. With a Pentax Precision III sole and a stiff Tech Fabric upper, they have an H-Dry waterproof lining that is laminated directly onto the upper. They also have a very wide rand on the front of the boot that goes all the way down to the tread. These boots are B2 rated and can take a semi-automatic crampon thanks to the big ridge on the back of the boot. However, it’s worth noting that there is quite a lot of rocker in the sole. In terms of lacing, there are 8 sets of eyelets – three pairs of metal eyelets from above ankle and up plus one pair at the toe, the rest are textile. These are sturdy boots, great for winter walking or less technical mountaineering – a solid all-rounder if you’re looking to only buy one pair of winter boots.

Full Specifications

B2 Rating / Sizes 40-48 inc half sizes / Lining: H-Dry® Lamination + 37.5 by Cocona / Sole Pentax Precision III / Upper Tech Fabric + Microtech / Vibram outsole.

MORE INFO:
SCARPA.CO.UK

 

La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX

Price: £330
Weight: 1400g
Best for: scrambling, light mountaineering and UK winter mountain walking.

This is another versatile Gore-Tex boot that will be able to take on a number of different tasks – whether that be winter mountain walking in Scotland, summer alpine adventures or scrambling over tricky ridges.

In essence, it’s lightweight without any big trade-offs, offering technical performance, durability, protection and warmth. While it should provide just about enough flex for comfortable mountain approaches there’s also capacity for this to handle semi-automatic crampons as well as some step-in crampons (we suspect) thanks to its toe and heel welts.

One of the vital ingredients of the Trango Tower Ex is the nylon used in the upper. High tenacity and formed into a honeycomb construction, it’ll shrug off any sharp rocks or crampon spikes while still keeping the boot light and nimble.

Other features worth pointing out include the super sticky Vibram sole, the gaiter-like upper and also that slightly pointed toe which makes it perfect for scrambling as it allows for precise foot placement. All-in-all this is one of our favourite mountain boots this season.

Full Specifications

Sizes: 36-48 (men’s), 36-43 (women’s) / 1676g per pair / high tenacity 6.6 Flextec 3 nylon upper / Microgibre + Light PU thermal adhesive inserts / Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining / 7mm nylon footbed / La Sportiva Cube by Vibram / crampon compatible heel / Internal EVA foam with TPU insert.

MORE INFO:
LASPORTIVA.COM

 

Meindl Air Revolution 4.1

Price: £264.99
Weight:
1400g
Best for:
alpine trekking, UK winter hillwalking, scrambling

We’ll agree with what Meindl’s UK distributors, Bramwell International, say on their website about this boot – that it’s a ‘modern Alpine looking walking boot’. That’s because, despite its crampon compatibility and mid to high cut ankle, it’s probably one of those options that you’d expect to do more moderate-level hiking in than mountaineering.

Out of all the boots featured on this page, this one probably has the most flexible sole. It’s also roomy rather than too snug or precise, and light in weight, altogether equating to a comfortable option for long hikes.

The combination of suede leather, mesh, Gore-Tex and an inner lining make this warm enough for any three to four season stuff we’d say, and the Vibram sole with its deep, wide lugs offers reliable and self cleaning grip.

One of the most intriguing things about the Air Revolution is its removable tongue. It’s made of a 3D mesh – like the kind you see on padded hipbelts and shoulder straps – to allow air flow/breathability right down into the boot. As for why it’s removable, it must be so you can hang it out to dry after a big day – that’s our guess anyway.

Full Specifications

Sizes: 6-12 (men’s), 3.5-9 (women’s) / 3-4 season with Meindl rating of BC / Suede leather and mesh upper / Gore-Tex lining / Vibram sole / PU heel cushioning / full length rubber rand / removable tongue with 3D mesh.

MORE INFO:
MEINDL.DE

 

Hanwag Makra Combi GTX

Price: €270
Weight: 1250g
Best for: alpine trekking, UK winter hillwalking, scrambling.

This option from long-running German bootmakers, Hanwag, has a smart looking upper that, thanks to the its blend of Cordura, suede leather and reinforced seams, is basically indestructible. This upper also features a Gore-Tex membrane, a solid toe bumper and rand, and a generously padded ankle cuff and tongue – so all the right ingredients.

It’s a real multi-terrain boot, the kind of thing you want to be wearing on your feet when a day might involve everything from scrambling to glacial traversing. The padding in the upper, wide toe box and flexible sole, not to mention its light weight, make it sympathetic to your feet over long distances, while it still brings those technical aspects needed for mountain terrain – protection underfoot for instance, a solid grip, and, thanks to the welt on the heel, the ability to fit a semi-automatic crampon when required. That said, the flexibility of the sole probably makes it better suited to a C1-type crampon.
All-in-all, this is a perfect boot for say, a summer trek in the Alps where you’ll be facing all kinds of terrain. It will also suit mountain walking in moderate winter conditions in the UK.

Full Specifications

Sizes: 6-13 (men’s), 3.5-9 (women’s)/ Suede and Cordura upper / Gore-Tex lining / Vibram Pepe sole / semi-automatic crampon compatible.

MORE INFO:
HANWAG.COM

 

Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro

Price: £475
Weight: 1560g per pair (size 38)
Best for: Winter Mountaineering

The Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro (women’s – also available in men’s) boot are a fantastically well thought out B3 winter boot. The stiffest pair of boots in this round up, they are designed for winter mountaineering and perform very well. The Vibram Essential AC sole is nicely cushioned and well angled. The upper is predominantly suede leather which is warm to wear and waterproofed with a Gore-Tex lining. The sole is light and durable with quite an aggressive tread.

We particularly like the built in gaiter. Not only did it help keep snow out of the boot, but it also improved the fit – especially for women with narrow ankles. The tongue of the boot is as soft as the gaiter itself, which really adds to the comfort when wearing. For lacing, all eyelets are metal, with an extra cord loop wide at the ankle to give different lacing options. In all, these are a perfect choice for Scottish winter mountaineering and are particularly recommended for women struggling to find B3 boots with a comfortable ankle fit.

Full Specifications

B3 Rating / Sizes 37 – 42 inc half sizes / Pro-Fiber XT 20 insole / GORE-TEX® lining / Vibram® Essential AC sole / 3mm Suede Perwanger HS12 + S-Tech Fabric + PU upper / Built in gaiter.

MORE INFO:
SCARPA.CO.UK

 

AKU Tengu GTX

Price: £300
Weight: 1450g
Best for: 
alpine trekking, scrambling, UK winter mountain walking, and light mountaineering.

We’re big fans of Aku boots and have included a number of variations of this particular model, including the Tengu Lite, in a few of our Outdoors Magic 100 product guides in the past.

It’s a mid weight, mid to high cut boot made for multi-terrain use, and it’s extremely well made. There’s that durable nylon mesh upper with a Gore-Tex lining, suede overlays, a rubber rand, self-locking laces and a hefty toe that’s perfect for kicking steps. There’s also that midsole that blends carbon fibre with EVA foam for a sturdy and protective feel underfoot. It’s not the lightest of options when considered as a trekking boot, but conversely, it’s a lightweight option when considered for four-season mountain use. As for its grading, it should be able to take C2 semi-automatic crampons. Full Review.

Full Specifications

Sizes: 3-13 / nylon mesh and suede upper / Gore-Tex waterproof lining / semi crampon compatible / Vibram Curcuma outsole / Aku Exoskeleton midsole / Liba smart PU / carbon fibre + EVA foam.

MORE INFO:
AKU.IT

 

 

Salewa Raven 3 GTX

Price: £280
Weight: 1658g per pair
Best for: Alpine

The Salewa MS Raven 3 GTX boots are mountaineering boots that will see you through winter into summer alpine. We need to address the neon yellow-green elephant in the room: like many Salewa products, these boots certainly make a statement. If this kind of thing bothers you, you’ll have to buy the women’s version. They are made of a wear resistant fabric and suede upper. The lacing is designed to create three separate sections in the top, ankle and bridge to help shape the boot to your feet. All the lacing eyelets are metal and we particularly liked the tiny ratchet devices inside the bottom pair of eyelets – allowing you to isolate tension in the laces at one end of the foot.

The back of the ankle is particularly flexible when walking and the inside heel holds the foot well. They have GoreTex throughout with a Vibram sole and quite aggressive tread. There is a bit of a built in gaiter at the top of the boot, but it feels like an extra rather than a feature. Unlike the external toe cap, which is unusual for winter boots. Having the toe cap on the outside of the boot helps to protect the toe end of the shoe from damage, keeps it shape better and makes it far more long lasting compared to boots with an internal toe cap. The boot has a ledge to make it compatible with C2 crampons, but it is smaller than most, so might be worth double checking that it forms a good connection with your particular crampons.

Full Specifications

B2 rating / Sizes / Highly wear-resistant fabric upper with protective rand and suede / TPU midsole / GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort lining / Vibram® WTC outsole / 3F System / External toe cap.

MORE INFO:
SALEWA.COM

 

Salewa Vultur Evo Gore-Tex

Price: £315
Weight: 1820g
Best for: mountaineering, via ferrata, scrambling.

This is a monster of a boot (we mean that in a good way), one that’s made for the trickiest of terrain – think alpine mountaineering or ascents of winter munros.

It’s got a high and very sturdy ankle that will give plenty of calf support, a toe cap that’s durable enough to kick through a brick wall, plus there’s loads of protection around the heel.  An array of materials have been for it, including a Gore-Tex membrane, Perwanger suede leather, nylon and fibreglass midsole and a Vibram outsole.

There’s only the slightest bit of flex to the sole (thanks to that fibreglass) and there’s a heel welt, so in regards to grading it’s a B2 option for semi-automatic or strap-on crampons.

At over 1.8kg per pair, there’s some weight to carry, but then this is an option for when durability, performance and protection comes first, and weight comes second.

Full Specifications

Sizes: 6-13 (men’s), 3-9 (women’s) / 2.8mm Perwanger suede leather / Nylon and fibreglass mid sole / Gore-Tex lining / C2 crampon compatible / Vibram WTC sole.

MORE INFO:
SALEWA.COM

 

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