I have been getting a lot of questions about mountain boot selection these days, so I figured I would give you all some insights on how to choose your first pair of mountain boots. We will cover 4 different styles of boots and what the advantages and disadvantages are to each style, so here we go!
Double Plastic Boots:
|Scarpa Invernos: Retails for $329|
|Koflach Degres: Retails for $399|
Double Plastic boots are an excellent choice for beginner mountaineers and ice climbers. They are solid, warm, and dry. They also have the advantage of being able to remove the inner liner, which is great on expeditions for drying as well as doubling as a pair of camp booties. The disadvantage to these boots is the weight and stiffness, although a little practice with proper lacing can help out tremendously. Another disadvantage is "toe bang" and "shin bang", both things that can also be taken care of with proper lacing.
Single Leather Boots:
|Scarpa Mont Blanc: Retails for $469|
|Scarpa Triolet Pro: Retails for $369|
Single leather boot are excellent performers. They have just the right amount of flex and have a more precise fit. These boots work well for ice climbing and mountaineering when the temps don't go to low. They are also much lighter then double plastics. The down side to these boots are overall warmth and their ability to dry. If you are planning on doing day trips in non-arctic temps, these may be a good choice for you.
Integral Gaiter Boots:
|Scarpa Phantom Guide: Retails for $599|
|La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX: Retails for $699|
Integral gaiter boots are a great choice for cold weather alpine climbs. You will see me wearing my Phantom Guides all winter. They have all the advantages of single leathers with the added benefit of having a built in gaiter and additional warmth. If you have the funds and are a single day cold weather climber, I would go with these. In fact, I already have.
Double Leather Boots:
|Scarpa Phantom 6000: Retails for $739|
|La Sportiva Spantik: Retails for $749|
Double leather boots are great cold weather expedition boots. They have the advantage of a removable inner liner and the lightness of a leather boot. They are very warm and have the ability to dry quickly by removing the inner liner. If you are going to climb Denali, these may be the boot for you, but if you are a warmer weather ice climber these may be "too much boot"..
To sum it up, there are many types of boots on the market that have advantages in certain terrain. When you go to pick out a boot, be sure to think of these places you may be going, not just your upcoming trip. A good, warm, dry boot is one of the things that will help with overall comfort and success in the mountains. If you are going to put money into one piece of gear, this is were you want to spend that hard earned cash.