- 1. Hanagal Men’s Tangula Waterproof Hiking Boots
- 2. La Sportiva Men's Makalu Mountaineering Boot
- 3. Scarpa Men’s Zodiac Tech GTX Mountaineering Boot
- 4. Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot
- 5. Salewa Men’s Crow GTX Mountaineering Boots
- 6. La Sportiva Men’s Spantik Boot
- 7. Alpina Alaska Backcountry Boot
- 8. La Sportiva Men’s Nepal EVO GTX Boot
- 9. XPETI Men’s Thermador Outdoor Boot
- 10. SCARPA Inverno Mountaineering Boot
Lovers of trekking through wicked and treacherous trails and up the sides of steep, sloping peaks for the fun of it, need the best mountaineering boots around to ensure their experience is ever so slightly on the side of not-terrifying. The proper shoes are essential, whether you’re running around the neighborhood or a marathon, hiking an easy trail or one with more obstacles than a kid’s game show, or just keeping your feet warm when braving the icy, slushy streets during winter.
When climbing above the clouds to witness a side of the world that many of us would never dream even existed, mountaineering boots can be the difference between stability, warmth, comfort, and success. They are designed to tackle a variety of conditions from snowy peaks to rocky and uneven terrain, along with everything in between.
Mountaineering is not as simple as throwing on your regular hiking shoes or ordinary winter boots, but instead demands another level of protection to guarantee safety when you’re 7000 meters (and maybe more) above sea level. If you’ve got the adventurous itch to match your ambitious and maybe not-so-interested-in-self-preservation spirit, then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are the top mountaineering boots you can buy for the next time you realize sea level is a boring place to be and wonder what the world looks like above the clouds.
The Best Mountaineering Boot
Nubuck leather uppers
Anatomically shaped insole
True to size
Our top pick for the best mountaineering boots are the Hanagal Men’s Tangula Waterproof Hiking Boots. These tough, rough, and ready boots are an excellent option, especially for those who are looking to start slow with their mountaineering and aren’t yet ready to splash premium bucks on more expensive models.
They start at around $90, and while they’re not the cheapest we’ve selected, they’re still excellent value for money and serve as a superb slightly-above-entry level pair. The waterproof design protects your feet when trekking through wet environments, while the breathable material prevents hot spots and keeps your feet comfortable when walking all day.
The Nubuck leather uppers are secure and durable, while the anatomically shaped insole ensures premium comfort you’d normally expect to find in a pair of boots that are much more expensive. Unlike some mountaineering or hiking boots, they fit true to size, ensuring a secure and stable fit to prevent pains and injuries.
The secure fit is useful too, as the laces don’t tighten as perfectly as other boots, which could be an issue if you like your shoes super-tight fitting and snug. However, this is the only thing we could find that was wrong with them, and considering the price, it’s a small minor tradeoff for what is still a top-quality option at great value. If you like walking, make sure you also check our guide to the best walking shoes for men.
Gusseted tongue prevents debris
Shock absorbent EVA midsole
360-degree abrasion-resistant rubber
Laces are not tight enough
Protective Vibram rubber rand
Accepts automatic crampon
Removable EZ flex tongue
Our second pick is the La Sportiva Men’s Makalu Mountaineering Boots made from 100% leather to ensure waterproofness and durability while also offering a comfortable experience that’s always necessary when searching for climbing boots.
The Vibram rubber band ensures excellent protection and keeps everything together even when giving the boots the battering mountaineering demands. For trickier climbing situations, they also accept automatic crampons for hassle-free attachments and installation and ensures they stay secure when scaling the slopes of mountains where you can almost hear the peak calling your name. The full-steel shank can be used with or without a crampon, too.
While they’re nearly $300, they’re also one of the more affordable options we’ve selected, so if you need to take the next step in your mountaineering, these are a spectacular option for intermediates who now know what they’re doing and what boots will be most beneficial. The EX flex tongue also ensures comfort, while the easy lace up system saves you time when you need to beat the sun to the top and back down again.
The stiff, rugged design means they can survive a variety of treks and conditions, but the break-in period may be a little difficult to deal with for some, and if you want to use them as soon as they arrive at your door, we’re afraid you will have to put your mountaineering gear away for a while. Once they are broken in, though, you’ll be happy you gave them the time, and can reap the benefits.
Easy rollerball lace up system
Stiff, rugged design
Long break-in period
Semi-automatic crampon compatible
The Scarpa Men’s Zodiac Tech GTX Mountaineering Boot provides an excellent combination of breathability and waterproofness without skimping on either. With a bright orange design, it’s easy to spot should you wander from the trail (although you definitely shouldn’t do that), while the enhanced fit ensures a comfortable experience even when trekking all day long.
They’re also lightweight, which is made possible by the reduced bulk design, something that often puts some people off mountaineering boots. This design keeps your feet ready and your mind alert without the distractions you’d get from heavier and fatigue-inducing models.
The extended rubber rand provides excellent protection from rocks and similar obstacles, and they are also compatible with semi-automatic crampons to help you overcome more awkward and advanced terrain. This makes them a great pick for those who know their way up and down a mountain and are looking to expand their gear collection.
However, they’re not warm enough for winter trekking, so you may need to invest in another pair if you want to tread through crisp untouched snow. If you’re more of a spring and summer mountain guy, though, this won’t be a problem and you can enjoy the expanse of vistas without a cloud in the sky, but if there seems to be a threat of rain, at least your feet will stay dry. Our guide to the best walking shoes for women offers more great products like this.
Extended rubber rand increases protection
Suitable for most conditions
Not warm enough for winter environments
Durable rough out uppers
Protective gusseted tongue
Boasting a variety of awesome and effective features, the Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot is great for experienced mountaineers who might not want to spend the massive bucks but still want assured quality in their gear. This boot is filled to the brim with that, with the likes of a double tongue and rough out uppers to deliver a no-frills and no-nonsense boot to the serious trekker.
The gusseted tongue prevents dirt and debris breaching the opening and annoying you during your trek, while the ankle support ensures protection and prevents injuries without you needing to focus on every step. It’s 100% leather construction also ensures comfort and dryness with waterproof features for an enjoyable trek into the wilderness.
The tough design gives you confidence you can tackle the more treacherous and difficult terrains, and the easy lace up system guarantees a secure fit to keep your gait natural. If you’re a forester or need firefighter boots, this is a superb option for you, and will keep your feet feeling fresh even when stepping through crowded, unmarked woodland paths.
However, the sole isn’t as durable as other options and it will split. If you take care of the boot, you should maximize its lifespan, though, so if you really truly love this boot, we’d advise doing everything you can to ensure it stays with you for as long as possible.
Simple no frills design
Ideal for foresters and firefighters
Tough but comfortable
Sole splits over time
Stiff, crampon compatible midsole
Breathable, comfortable, and effortlessly reliable, the Salewa Men’s Crow GTX Mountaineering Boots are another lower-cost option for mountaineers who can’t justify spending half their paycheck on a pair of boots.
The stiff design keeps them secure, and the crampon-compatible midsole helps you tackle steeper and less welcoming terrains. The leather upper provides water-resistance, while the adjustable footbeds ensure you can personalize the fit to suit you and get the most from them.
If you’re planning on using them week after week, you can expect them to take a battering, but the abrasion-resistant design keeps them going longer than you thought possible. You’re also blessed with superb traction to guarantee sure footing, which is excellent for when crampons may feel like overkill.
They fit a little too snug for our liking, but that may just be personal preference. That being said, they’re perhaps not ideal for long-haul treks but a quick adventure up and back down again over a day or even a weekend.
Whether you’re experienced or just beginning, you’ll discover a lot to love about these boots for the more simple and less intense situations, because sometimes you don’t have to dive in headfirst, but instead wade in at your own pace and just take in the wonders of your surroundings, and that’s enough. You can combine these with one of the best hiking socks from our list.
Optimal traction and sure footing
Abrasion-resistant fabric upper
Ideal for changing weather
Fit a tad too snug
Vibram rubber rand
Thermo-formable PE inner
Dual-density micropore EVA
The La Sportiva Men’s Spantik Boot are the indisputable pick for the finest, most all-around excellent mountain shoes available. Designed for the experienced mountaineer, they give you everything you could ever want and need in shoe, including a host of features you never knew you needed too to ensure superb and unmatched comfort when high above the clouds while you’re on top of the world.
The thick and almost bulky design defies itself by still delivering excellent breathability, while the water-repellent coating keeps your feet dry when trudging through shin-high snows at 7000 meters. The vibrant yellow color helps with visibility, and the thermo-reflective coating ensures excellent comfort.
This comfort is further enhanced by the dual-density micropore EVA, while the outsole is secure and tough to deliver stable traction. For icy climbs, they are also compatible with step in crampons for fast and hassle-free application to ensure safety on slippery surfaces, and the ankle backstay gives an extra level of support.
Not everything about them is perfect, though, and they run a size too small, and maybe even more if you double and triple layer your socks to stave off frostbite, and the lacing system, while convenient, may not be as reliable as traditional laces are.
They’re also pricey, so unless you love buying gear way above your current level, they’re only suitable for those who know their way around the highest peaks and don’t complain when the temperature drops too far below zero.
Ankle backstay reinforcement
Perfect for 7000m altitude comfort
Step-in crampon compatible
Lacing system not as reliable as others
High-top ankle support
Insulated and warm
An excellent option for trekking through snowy forests and the backlands, the Alpina Alaska Backcountry Boot is for those who love a secure and stable boot that boasts quality along with safety for the best backcountry experience possible. They are designed for tackling deep and damp conditions without causing discomfort with a solid waterproof upper to keep your feet dry where other shoes would fail.
They are also breathable, too, which is essential when taking them out on longer treks to ensure your feet don’t sweat too much. The high top ankle support also provides excellent security from rolling and injuring yourself, especially on uneven terrain, while the insulated inner design keeps your feet warm, even in conditions that hit well below zero.
The protective rubber rand is ideal for keeping your feet safe along sharp rocks, and the low-bulk construction not only reduces the weight but also makes it easier to walk in the boots without suffering fatigue. For climbing obstacles, they are compatible with all NNN-BC binding systems that lock comfortably into the front of the boot for easy application and guaranteed safety when working your way up cliff-faces.
The boots run a little large, so if you’ve got more regular-sized feet, we’d advise looking for a size or a half smaller than what you’re used to. If you prefer hiking during summertime, check out our guide to the best hiking sandals.
Rottefella sole works in all NNN-BC system bindings
Protective rubber rand
Runs slightly large
High abrasion-resistant fabric
Another expensive option, the La Sportiva Men’s Nepal EVO GTX Boot is a vibrant and dynamic pick for those on the cusp of searching for and discovering the perfect mountaineering boot for them. The thick heel provides stability, while the thick lug treads ensure excellent traction regardless of the terrain you’re battling.
With them, you’re also guaranteed comfortable and reliable warmth thanks to the insulating insole. However, unlike other, cheaper models, this won’t lead to overheating, as the breathability is still there to keep your feet feeling cool and dry even after more intense treks. The waterproof design and Gore-Tex lining also offer superb reliability you’ll need when testing out more ambitious trails.
Ideally, they’re perfect for a variety of conditions including winter mountaineering, ice climbing, and mixed climbing environments, so while they look expensive at first glance, their versatility is something you won’t get with many other mountaineering boots. The abrasion-resistant fabric also ensures longevity and durability to keep these gore-tex boots working hard for you through many climbs and treks without complaining once.
You won’t be able to use them straight away, though, and if you do, prepare for a less-than-enjoyable experience. They take a few weeks to break in properly (wearing them once a week, that is) so if you need them to perform immediately, we’d advise taking an easy walk around the house or neighborhood to get used to them.
Once they are broken in, though, you’ll be amazed at how effective and comfortable they are and while breaking in isn’t ideal, it will feel more than worth it.
Suitable for winter mountaineering, ice climbing, and mixed climbing
Fits any foot shape
Slightly long break-in period
Waterproof mesh upper
Protective rubber toe cap
Optimal trail grip
Molded TPU ankle support
If you’re looking for a pair of mountain climbing boots that provide the best value, the XPETI Men’s Thermador Outdoor Boot are another superb entry-level option for those just beginning their ascent into the wonderful and rewarding world of mountaineering. While more of a budget pick, they still provide quality required for tackling moderately tough environments and conditions and ensures excellent comfort throughout.
The waterproof mesh upper keeps your feet dry with the hydroshield membrane and accents its breathability. The protective rubber toe cap keeps your feet safe from injury on terrain that threatens to stub your toe and ruin your day, especially when your feet are too deep in the snow for you to see any obstacles.
No pair of mountaineering shoes are worth the money, though, unless they provide stability and traction. The XPETI provide superb grip on a variety of terrains with an aggressive sole that clings to rocks and trails. For uneven and steep terrain, the molded TPU ankle design ensures excellent support you’d typically expect from more expensive options to guarantee protection when the legs tire.
They are durable and sturdy, providing miles of use before there’s any need to replace them, however they start out a little too stiff for our liking at first, so they may take a little longer to break in than other options around. They’re also not ideal for mammoth mountaineering expeditions, but considering they’re designed for beginners, this isn’t a surprise. Make sure you also check our guide to the best walking sandals for women.
Moisture wicking mesh lining
Integrated inserted EVA midsole
Durable and sturdy
Stiff at first
Removable high altitude liner
Vibram stabeler sole
Pebax upper shell material
Our final pick in our search for the best mountaineering boots is the Scarpa Inverno Mountaineering Boot which is a great high end (although they all feel high end) option for lovers of skiing and the coldest temperatures around. To tackle the bitter cold, they boast an insulated EVA inner boot that also cushions your step for maximized comfort and the lightweight construction prevents fatigue, yes even when you’re walking all day.
The Vibram stabeler sole provides superb traction on different trails and terrains without altering your gait to something wholly unnatural, and the soft tongue prevents abrasions and discomfort that can distract you when your only goal is to keep going. The lace closure system is easy and traditional and also allows you to tighten the shoes however you desire.
Those who need to use them immediately will also love the lack of a break-in period that ensures optimal comfort as soon as you remove them from the box, and considering blisters are up there was one of the worst things, you can feel confident you can enjoy your trek without the stinging, searing pain in your heels and soles.
They also provide a secure fit, and while this is useful, they can be a little tight at the heel which would be a problem for those with wider feet. Despite this, you can always order half a size or a size larger to compensate, which should hopefully do away with any major problems to ensure your next cross-country ski trip is as warm and comfortable as it is successful.
Cushioned step without stiff gait
No break-in period
Slightly narrow at the heel