Climbing those huge icy mountains may warm up your soul, but for keeping your feet warm, what is necessary is a good pair of ice climbing boots. During the hiking expedition, climbing boosts are the most essential and highly vital gear to care for.
A right ice climbing boot is necessary for keeping you warm and for your composure, grip, and comfortable climbing while carrying a heavy load on your back. A firm grip is essential while walking through slippery icy pathways. This ensures your safety and you can climb comfortably and confidently.
If you are a newbie or are still in confusion about how to choose the best climbing boots for your next hiking expedition, so you face lesser inconvenience during your trip, then you have landed on to the right place. Here I have listed down some features to consider while choosing the best ice climbing boots for yourself.
Key factors to consider while buying ice climbing boots:
These are some of the essential considerations that one must keep in mind before buying ice climbing boots:
One of the most crucial features to consider is deciding the material of boots that will suit your purpose. The outer shell material is vital. It provides maximum protection against the harsh weather condition and ensures a smooth and comfortable trip. Some of the materials commonly available for ice climbing boots shell:
Leather boots are robust and sturdy, ensuring to withstand the harshness of the ice and provide warmth in the cold weather. The boots are stiff and are very comfortable to wear for a whole day hike. The boots are lightweight, and you can easily climb the technical rocks with them. The boots are very durable, and if you take proper measures to get a high enough upper to support your ankle and proper leg sole, the leather boots are best to wear.
Nowadays, many hikers prefer an ice climbing boot made out of synthetic material. The benefit of using synthetic boots is that they are more comfortable and lightweight, they fit more perfectly. They don’t get out of shape from stretching as the leather ones do. Although they are less durable and may get softer, giving less support on steep ice.
If you are searching for maximum warmth and waterproof boots, then plastic boots are your best choice. Plastic boots come in double bot design with the outer hard plastic shell and inner soft synthetic boot. Plastic boots are stiff and high to bear the crampon. They perform best in ice climbing. With their water-resistant property, you can quickly feel safe from snowmelts, glacial pools, or stream crossings. The boots are very durable but may weigh more than leather or synthetic boots.
Proper fitting of your ice climbing boots is vital as it may cause you much inconvenience and pain if you choose a pair that doesn’t fit you properly. The boots must not be loose as you can’t walk and grip properly in those, while a tighter boot may cause restricted blood flow and frostbite. Due to walking and standing for extended periods, your feet may swell up, so there must be an extra heel room in your shoes. Different brands have different designs and fit, and you must choose accordingly to get the best fit.
The stiffness of upper and sole of ice climbing boots is another essential criteria to consider. Depending on the expedition you are heading to, the sole and upper stiffness is selected. For low altitude climbing, you can go with a medium or completely flexible boot. Still, for higher altitudes, rigid ice climbing boots are suitable.
For easy approaches or for trekking through snow or ice, flexible boots are suitable s they are lightweight and comfortable. But for technical routes or higher climbing, they are not adequate to go. For a quick climb through low altitude, you can opt for flexible boots with flexible crampons, and you can reach much faster.
· Medium flexible:
These are a lightweight and comfortable option for climbing cracks and low-angle ice. Medium flex boots are the right choice for less demanding ice and snow routes. They can provide enough support for climbing and standing in aider with extra comfort. The boots perform well in these situations. There is enough support above the ankle, and the upper sole is firm.
For rugged and more technical routes, rigid plastic or leather boots are the choices of many climbers. The boots are less comfortable and heavy, but on trails that are difficult to climb, stiff boots are your best option to climb the technical bits or hold up your weight on an inch of ice on toes; these are a lifesaver.
Weight is significant when you are going on a long expedition. A heavier bot may be bulkier and may let your calf burn if you attempt a long approach. A synthetic option is better if they are warm and water-resistant enough with a bit lighter design.
5. Closure system:
For ice climbing boots, zipper or speed closure systems are preferable as you want to lace up your boots fast, and while wearing gloves tying up laces may be a hard task. So choose a pair of boots with secure closure you can handle with gloves.
Another crucial factor is the compatibility of crampon with your boots. For ice climbing, automatic or step on crampon are best with secure attachment. The crampon attachment depends on the toe and heel welt of the boots. The boots must have stiff and rigid built to provide a stable structure for the crampons.
Chose ice climbing boots that come with a built-in gaiter to provide waterproofing of the external boot, and you don’t have to get additional gear for that.
This is the most vital factor in deciding the best ice climbing boots you can’t afford to break boots during your expedition. With warmth and stiffness, the boots must be durable enough to last long. Choosing the flexible, lightweight bots may be comfortable, but there may be some compromise on durability.
Best ice climbing boots of 2020
This fantastic boot is suitable for light climbing and walking. The boots are lightweight, along with providing warmth, support, and protection. The boosts are durable and offer excellent technical performance. The boots come with a pointed toe that enables precise foot placement. The upper of nylon and honeycomb construction makes it able to shrug any sharp rock or the crampon spikes.
- Flexible and lightweight design
- Compatible with semi-automatic crampons
- Supper sticky Vibram sole
- Nylon made gaiters like upper.
- Not suitable for high altitude or technical climb
- Have lace closure system
These boots are a super comfortable, flexible, and lightweight option. With a quick lacing system, the boots ensure a fast, secure, and customized fit. The midsole provides extra shock absorption, and the grip is outstanding on slippery and wet surfaces.
- Quick lacing system
- Extra comfortable and lightweight
- Great shock absorption
- Rubber outsole providing excellent grip on wet surfaces
- Not durable
- Fit is not great
- Not for long hikes or technical routes
This is one of the most popular ice climbing boots in the market. The boots provide superior quality stiffness and support, making it suitable for technical climbs and high altitudes. The bot is compatible with automatic crampons and comes with a built-in gaiter. The boots have a quick lacing system with a Velcro strap providing extra upper stiffness.
- High amount of ankle articulation for precise foot placement while climbing
- Provides better warmth
- Extra ankle flex and support
- Built-in gaiter
- Extra stiffness suitable for technical climbs
- Heavier and bulky
- Not completely waterproof
- The lacing system is not good.
These boots from SCARPA phantom line are one of the most popular boots for ice climbing. These are more durable, lighter, and comfortable boots. The closure is system is simpler and faster. The boots provide good foot flex. The stiffness and grip are suitable for technical ice climbing and good for precision placement and steep terrain.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Includes gaiter
- Compatible with automatic crampon
- Waterproof and technical boots
- Not much warm for very high altitudes
This is a single boot design especially suitable for ice climbing. The boots provide less bulky and comfortable feel with good ankle flexion and a stiff sole for better approach and can be used without crampons. The boots are warm and waterproof suitable for mild conditions and ensure precise toe and front point placement in ice.
- Lighter, less bulky single foot design
- Built-in gaiter
- Easier and fast zipper closure
- Rigid sole and good ankle flexion
- Extra added waterproofing
- Not warm enough for extreme cold
Although all of the above boots are best in their own ways, you can decide to buy the one that suits and serves your purpose best. The “SCARPA Phantom Tech Mountaineering Boot” is the best all-around ice climbing boot with an included gaiter and extra waterproofing. The design is lightweight, with no compromise on the durability and stiffness for ankle support.