Lightweight Alpine Boots
Finding the ideal alpine climbing boots is difficult. Not only must the boots be lightweight, durable and waterproof, but they should also offer enough flex for long approaches without comprising the support necessary for carrying heavy loads or the stiffness required when wearing crampons.
Leather uppers have been the traditional favourite for good reason. They are durable, eventually mould to climbers’ feet and offer a reasonable combination of waterproofness and breathability. Unfortunately, leather uppers are often heavier than many of the leather/fabric upper-combos making them less suitable for climbers wanting the lightest boots.
Sticky rubber rands improve climbing performance in cracks and provide increased protection against abrasion during scree-filled approaches.
In the past, seams equalled leaks but many of today’s boots use a waterproof/breathable liner which eliminates this problem. Poorly positioned seams, however, are still susceptible to abrasion and this is more of a concern with multi-panel leather/fabric boots. Climbers wanting maximum durability should consider protecting the seams with urethane-like rubber sealants.
The midsole provides cushioning and determines the boots’ stiffness. Climbers will appreciate extra cushioning during long approaches with heavy packs. Stiffer midsoles are required when using crampons or when carrying heavy packs. Climbers moving light and fast on technical rock will prefer softer, less cumbersome boots.
Lighter boots feel more agile on technical terrain and reduce fatigue during long approaches. Get the lightest boot possible without compromising durability, weather protection and climbing performance.
Thanks to its light overall weight and lowcut uppers these boots excel on long approaches and less technical climbing. The rigid midsole provides plenty of support for carrying heavy packs and also improves compatibility with rigid crampons. Asolo’s fabric/leather construction reduces weight and allows the upper to quickly conform to the climber’s foot. This lightweight upper does not however compromise weather protection, thanks to the use of a waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex membrane. Technical climbing performance is surprisingly good due to the rigid midsole and small edging platform on the outsole. For added durability in scree and loose rock, Asolo wraps the Lothar GV in a thin but abrasion-resistant rand.
Mamook GTX MS – $479
Climbers will instantly notice the low weight of Mammut’s Mamook GTX MS boots – a pair of men’s size 9.5 boots weighs just 1720g. Even at this weight, the Mamook GTX is stiff enough for step-in crampons and offers enough support for climbing vertical ice. Durability is also not compromised, with robust synthetic materials and overlays ensuring abrasion resistance in even the harshest conditions. For versatility in cold and wet weather, the Mammok GTX employs a Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable membrane and insulation. With all these performance features, Mammut could not ignore fit and so they used a unique lacing system that surrounds the foot to the bottom of the sole with an asymmetric lacing system. The result is exceptional comfort and control. Vibram’s Teton outsoles deliver solid traction and the edging platform improves climbing performance.
Trango S EVO GTX – $325
Created for female climbers, the Trango S EVO GTX offers the climbing performance found in the men’s version of this boot but with a fit optimized for women’s feet. The result is a closer fit with greater control and less chance of blistering. The careful use of synthetic fabric panels reduces weight while the full rand offers increased abrasion resistance and better climbing. A flexible ankle construction assures easy walking and does not restrict movement during technical rock moves. For even greater precision on technical rock, Sportiva uses a sticky Vibram Mulaz outsole with a front toe edging- platform. Walking is surprisingly comfortable thanks to the gentle, built-in rocker and somewhat flexible midsole. Climbers encountering snow will appreciate the Trango S EVO GTX’s compatibility with heel-bail strap-on crampons and the waterproof/breathable liner.
Triglav Vibram – $350
These beautifully made, lightweight alpine boots exemplify the high-quality construction typical of Boreal. Using a combination of durable synthetic and leather panels, the Triglav Vibram remain light enough for moving fast without compromising the support required when carrying heavy packs. Boreal uses tall rubber rands which provide exceptional abrasion protection and improve security when crack climbing. The Vibram outsole is similarly versatile delivering great performance when climbing or during the approach. For protection against snow and rain, Boreal employs a highly effective waterproof/breathable membrane which ensures comfort when conditions crap-out. The Triglav Vibram’s ability to mount step-in heel-bail strap-on crampons extends the boots functionality, allowing climbers to explore isolated routes. The boot’s heavily rockered sole and somewhat flexible forefoot take the sting out of long approaches while Boreal’s padded Heel Fit System locks the foot in the boot and minimizes blister-inducing heel lift.
Triolet Pro GTX – $369
Intended for moving fast in technical terrain, the Triolet Pro GTX blends exceptional weather protection and durability into a lightweight and agile boot. The leather uppers conform to a climber’s foot and work with the articulated ankle construction for blister-free comfort on the approach and increased precision during technical climbing. Scarpa adds a Gore-Tex lining for extra protection against cold and wet conditions. The new PU/EVA midsole softens the knee-jarring impacts of long descents without breaking down or adding unnecessary weight. Finally, the sticky rands protect against abrasion and enhance crack climbing performance while the outsole’s edging-platform improves control on technical rock. -GA