Mountaineering boot

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Mountaineering boots from 1961. They are a copy of the model that Edmund Hillary used on Mount Everest in 1953 Boots, mountaineering (AM 2014.7.95-4).jpg
Mountaineering boots from 1961. They are a copy of the model that Edmund Hillary used on Mount Everest in 1953

Mountaineering, expedition or high altitude boots are a type of footwear used in mountain climbing. They are designed specifically for moving over harsh terrain.



Not to be confused with hiking boots, mountaineering boots are usually taller, stiffer, and insulated. The boots can be made of leather, plastic, or modern synthetic materials like Kevlar.

From left to right: two rock climbing shoes, approach shoe, hiking boot, a leather mountaineering boot and a plastic mountaineering boot. The mountaineering boots are fitted with automatic crampons Mountainboots.jpg
From left to right: two rock climbing shoes, approach shoe, hiking boot, a leather mountaineering boot and a plastic mountaineering boot. The mountaineering boots are fitted with automatic crampons

The extra height and stiffness of mountaineering boots helps support the climber in steep terrain where flexible boots could cause unsure footing and possibly result in a fall. This extra stiffness is traditionally achieved through the use of a full steel shank, though some manufacturers have begun to use carbon fiber to create the necessary stiffness.

Mountaineering boots from 1911 Mountaineering Boot Ad, 1911.jpg
Mountaineering boots from 1911

Mountaineering boots are typically designed to be used with crampons. To achieve compatibility with crampons, welts are moulded into the toe and heel of the boot, providing a platform for the crampon to attach to. The stiffness of the boot enhances the precision of the crampon and allows a climber to pursue steeper and more difficult terrain.

Another important aspect of mountaineering boots is warmth. To prevent frostbite in extreme cold conditions, synthetic insulation is incorporated into the boot. Lighter weight boots are classified as single boots. These single boots are insulated as a single unit with the insulation being permanently attached to the rest of the boot. Double boots, another classification, typically consist of a non-insulated leather or plastic outer shell with a removable insulated liner. The purpose of a double boot is long-term protection from cold weather. If the liner becomes wet, it can be removed from the shell and dried inside a sleeping bag. Since the insulation cannot be removed from single boots, they are not ideally suited for multi-day cold weather excursions.

Other uses

Mountaineering boots are used for ice climbing, mixed (rock & ice) climbing, and crevasse traverse and rescue. They are not completely stiff like ski boots as they need some degree of flexibility for activities such as hiking and snowshoeing.

The versatility of these boots also makes them popular for other activities. With their durability and extreme-weather adaptability, they are worn by snow-plough drivers, cable car operators, mountain rangers (especially in the winter), rescue paramedics, ski lift operators and snowcat drivers.

Mountaineering boots are generally considered to be too stiff for backpacking on established trails.

In recent years, companies have been making mountaineering boots to be NFPA compliant so they may be used in wildland firefighting.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mountaineering</span> Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, mountain climbing, or alpinism is a set of outdoor activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing, and traversing via ferratas that have become sports in their own right. Indoor climbing, sport climbing, and bouldering are also considered variants of mountaineering by some, but are part of a wide group of mountain sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alpine skiing</span> Sport of skiing downhill

Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, unlike other types of skiing, which use skis with free-heel bindings. Whether for recreation or for sport, it is typically practiced at ski resorts, which provide such services as ski lifts, artificial snow making, snow grooming, restaurants, and ski patrol.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Snowshoe</span> Footwear for walking easily across snow

Snowshoes are specialized outdoor gear for walking over snow. Their large footprint spreads the user's weight out and allows them to travel largely on top of rather than through snow. Adjustable bindings attach them to appropriate winter footwear.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sleeping bag</span> Insulated covering for a person

A sleeping bag is an insulated covering for a person, essentially a lightweight quilt that can be closed with a zipper or similar means to form a tube, which functions as lightweight, portable bedding in situations where a person is sleeping outdoors. It is also commonly used indoors for people who do not have beds or at sleepovers. Its primary purpose is to provide warmth and thermal insulation through its synthetic or down insulation. It also typically has a water-resistant or water-repellent cover that protects, to some extent, against wind chill and light precipitation, but a tent is usually used in addition to a sleeping bag, as it performs those functions better. The bottom surface also provides some cushioning, but a sleeping pad or camp cot is usually used in addition to that purpose. The bottom surface of a sleeping bag may be moderately water repellent, but a plastic tarp or groundsheet is often used to protect against moist ground.

Ski boots are footwear used in skiing to provide a way to attach the skier to skis using ski bindings. The ski/boot/binding combination is used to effectively transmit control inputs from the skier's legs to the snow.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crampons</span> Traction device for ice-climbing

A crampon is a traction device attached to footwear to improve mobility on snow and ice during ice climbing. Besides ice climbing, crampons are also used for secure travel on snow and ice, such as crossing glaciers, snowfields and icefields, ascending snow slopes, and scaling ice-covered rock.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ice axe</span> Winter mountaineering tool

An ice axe is a multi-purpose hiking and climbing tool used by mountaineers in both the ascent and descent of routes that involve snow, ice, or frozen conditions. Its use depends on the terrain: in its simplest role it is used like a walking stick, with the mountaineer holding the head in the center of their uphill hand.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski mountaineering</span> Skiing discipline

Ski mountaineering is a skiing discipline that involves climbing mountains either on skis or carrying them, depending on the steepness of the ascent, and then descending on skis. There are two major categories of equipment used, free-heel Telemark skis and skis based on Alpine skis, where the heel is free for ascents, but is fixed during descent. The discipline may be practiced recreationally or as a competitive sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Extreme cold weather clothing</span> Clothing for arctic or high altitude conditions

Extreme cold weather clothing is clothing for arctic or mountainous areas. Its primary function is to trap air as an insulator to prevent heat loss from the wearer's body. Secondary and necessary is to conduct water vapor away from the body to keep the insulating layers dry. A shell keeps the wind from disturbing the still air in the insulating layers. In warmer conditions, the shell protects from water intrusion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski touring</span> Skiing on unmarked or unpatrolled areas

Ski touring is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. Touring is typically done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day. It is similar to backcountry skiing but excludes the use of a ski lift or transport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Backcountry skiing</span> Skiing in unmarked or unpatrolled areas

Backcountry skiing (US), also called off-piste (Europe), alpine touring, freeriding or out-of-area, is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside a ski resort's boundaries. This contrasts with alpine skiing, which is typically done on groomed trails benefiting from a ski patrol. Unlike ski touring, backcountry skiing can – and often does – include the use of ski lifts including snowcats and helicopters. Recent improvements in equipment have increased the popularity of the sport. As the sport does confront the individual practicing it with the dangers of natural, unprepared alpine terrain like avalanches, it is generally recommended to carry standard safety equipment and to learn beforehand how to behave safely under such conditions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Combat boot</span> Type of boots designed to be worn by soldiers

Combat boots are military boots designed to be worn by soldiers during combat or combat training, as opposed to during parades and other ceremonial duties. Modern combat boots are designed to provide a combination of grip, ankle stability, and foot protection suitable for a rugged environment. They are traditionally made of hardened and sometimes waterproofed leather. Today, many combat boots incorporate technologies originating in civilian hiking boots, such as Gore-Tex nylon side panels, which improve ventilation and comfort. They are also often specialized for certain climates and conditions, such as jungle boots, desert boots, and cold weather boots as well as specific uses, such as tanker boots and jump boots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hiking boot</span> Sturdy footwear for outdoor activities

Hiking (walking) boots are footwear specifically designed for protecting the feet and ankles during outdoor walking activities such as hiking. They are one of the most important items of hiking gear since their quality and durability can determine a hiker's ability to walk long distances without injury. Hiking boots are constructed to provide comfort for walking considerable distances over rough terrain. Boots that protect the hiker's feet and heel are recommended. Hiking boots give ankle support and are fairly stiff. A less popular alternative is to use light trainers with thin soles. Footwear should be neither too loose nor too tight, to help prevent blisters and sore feet. Hiking socks that wick sweat from the feet, provide warmth, and cushion the feet are recommended and a thin, inner sock may also help. Most hiking boots are also designed for other outdoor activities such as backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, and hunting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mukluk</span> Soft boot worn by Arctic peoples

Mukluks or kamik are soft boots, traditionally made of reindeer (caribou) skin or sealskin, and worn by Indigenous Arctic peoples, including Inuit, Iñupiat, and Yup'ik.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sportswear</span> Equipment and attire for physical activity

Sportswear or activewear is athletic clothing, including footwear, worn for sports activity or physical exercise. Sport-specific clothing is worn for most sports and physical exercise, for practical, comfort or safety reasons.

Hiking equipment is the equipment taken on outdoor walking trips {{Citation needed}}. The duration, distance, planned activities, and environment impacts equipment selection. For example, a short day hike across flat farmland versus trekking in the Himalayas would call for different types of equipment. Applicable government regulations may also be a consideration when selecting equipment {{Citation needed}}.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bunny boots</span> Extreme Cold weather boots, originally issued to the military

Bunny boots or Mickey Mouse boots are the most common nicknames for the Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots used by the United States Armed Forces. These large, bulbous, waterproof rubber boots can be worn in extremely cold weather, −20 to −60 °F, with the liner-free interior retaining warmth by sandwiching up to one inch of wool and felt insulation between two vacuum-tight layers of rubber; this vacuum layer insulates the wearer's feet similar to a vacuum flask. These boots were originally developed at the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Center in Natick, Massachusetts, for use during the Korean War.

Hanson Industries invented and popularized the rear-entry ski boot. Formed by brothers Chris and Denny Hanson in 1969, the company became a huge success in the late 1970s. A series of missteps in the early 1980s led to a rapid death spiral and the company went bankrupt in 1984. It was purchased by Daiwa, a Japanese fishing tackle company that handled Hanson's distribution in Japan. Daiwa ended sales in North America and Europe. European products, notably the famous Salomon SX series, used Hanson's exit as a springboard to market domination during the second half of the 1980s. Denny Hanson later introduced the "Apex" design, which combines features of alpine and snowboarding boots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lange (ski boots)</span> Ski boot manufacturer

Lange is a major producer of ski boots used in alpine (downhill) skiing, founded in 1948 in the USA. They introduced the world's first plastic ski boots in 1962, and a greatly improved model aimed at the racing market in 1965. After several World Cup and Olympics wins in 1967 and 1968 made them a must-have on the circuit, Lange has remained a force in the racing market ever since. Their boots have equipped five times as many World Cup medal winners as any other brand into the 2000s. The front-entry design introduced by Lange is used by almost every modern ski boot to this day. Lange remains a major brand worldwide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Raichle Flexon</span>

The Flexon was a downhill ski boot introduced by Raichle in the winter of 1980/81. Based on designs by Sven Coomer, Al Gross and Erik Giese, the Flexon used a unique system to control forward flex in a predictable way, as well as making the boot more comfortable and easier to put on and remove. The basic layout was, and is, generally referred to as a "three-piece" design -- three-piece boots preceding the Flexon included the Henke Strato, Nordica Comp 3 and a dozen other designs from Italian bootmakers.