Mountaineering Boots

Wearing my La Sportiva Glacier Evos in icy slush
Wearing my La Sportiva Glacier Evos in icy slush

For those of you hikers who are like me, and enjoy hiking, backpacking, and climbing in the mountains, you are a “mountaineer” or an “alpinist”. While your hiking boots or backpacking boots may be sufficient for the length and difficultly of your trips, if you are in need of a good alpine climbing boot, you will want to invest in Mountaineering Boots.

Women’s Mountaineering Boot Features:

As with your selection of hiking and backpacking boots, fit is the most important factor. To make sure the boots will withstand the challenging terrain you put them through, you’ll need to look for several important features when searching for womens mountaineering boots:

  • Very stiff shank. The sole should provide very stiff and rigid support, which will enable your feet to have better contact with footholds. Believe me, it may be more uncomfortable to wear such stiff boots, but you’ll be happy when you’re climbing up exposed rocky faces, traversing across a glacier, or kick stepping up a steep, snowy slope.
  • Crampon compatible. Why bother to own mountaineering boots if you can’t strap on a pair of crampons and wear them on winter hikes?
  • Durable material. As discussed in my list of terms you should know when buying backpacking boots, make sure that your mountaineering boots are full grain leather, nubuck, or synthetic materials.
  • Weight. Mountaineering boots tend to be quite heavy. If you are an iceclimber, there are slimmed down versions of mountaineering boots that can be used for ice climbing.
  • Women's Mountaineering Boots
    Women's Mountaineering Boots
  • Insulation. One of the main benefits of mountaineering boots compared to backpacking or hiking boots is their warmth. Most mountaineers end up hiking in cold conditions, often to mountain peaks that are permanently covered in snow. You’re feet with thank you if buy well-insulated mountaineering boots. Mine sure did on a snow trip where I was snowshoeing and backpacking in -5°F temperatures.
  • Made from a women’s specific “last”. A shoe or boot “last” is what manufacturers use to design shoes or boots. Multiple styles can be constructed from the same last. The problem is, in the past, mountaineering boot manufacturers thought that it would be ok to use the same last for men’s and women’s mountaineering boots! Most women’s mountaineering boots today are made from women specific lasts, so they have a narrower heels, smaller volume, and more support in the instep.
  • FIT, FIT, FIT! I have already mentioned this before, but just to make sure you realize how important this is, blisters and unhappy feet can easily lead to a miserable mountaineering trip.

If you are a little less hardcore of a hiker and don’t think you need a pair of mountaineering boots, consider how cold your feet can get in hiking or backpacking boots when you’re hiking in the winter or snowshoeing… I now use my mountaineering boots for almost every winter time hike or snowshoe outing, and my feet are nice and warm (and well supported!).

Hiking Lady Tip:

Get Your Mountaineering Boots Ready for Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

Women’s Mountaineering Boots Shopping Tips:

  • Get ready for sticker shock! Mountaineering boots are highly engineered, technical products with lots of features. While they aren’t Jimmy Choo designer pumps, the price tags are similar! You do get a lot of bang for your buck because they will last for decades. Plus, your feet are worth it! Blisters, broken ankles, black toenails, and frostbite are worth avoiding at any cost. To get a deal, shop around online, but never sacrifice comfort to get a lower price. You’ll have these boots for years so invest wisely.
  • Keep searching! Apparently traditional retailers don’t think that many women want mountaineering boots. I have found them difficult to shop for, and when I bought my pair I ended up ordering them online.
  • Find out what brands will fit your feet. As with hiking and backpacking boots, and even water shoes, some brands run wide, some are narrow, some are true to size. I have found mountaineering boots to generally run narrow, so if you have a wide foot, definitely try on multiple styles and brands.
  • Try them on with your insoles, liner sock, and mountaineering socks. You’re not likely going to wear your thinnest pair of hiking socks with mountaineering boots, are you?
  • Walk with them up and down stairs. Just like my tips for hiking and backpacking boot shopping, make sure that your toes can wiggle and that your heel is securely in place when walking up and down stairs. To keep the boot retailer happy in the event they don’t fit well, I’d suggest you try walking around with them on stairs at home or work rather than on a rocky mountain!
  • Check out Hiking Lady’s 10 Tips for Mastering Hiking Boot Shopping!

Hiking Lady’s Favorite Women’s Mountaineering Boots:

La Sportiva Women’s Glacier Evo Mountaineering Boots: These are my personal top choice. The tongue of the shoe is removable, so it can be exactly positioned for a great fit. Ideal mountaineering boots for heavy snow travel, and a great value. They are lighter weight that some of these others, making it a nice entry point boot. For my full detailed review, check out my La Sportiva Glacier Evo gear review!

La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX: A very popular women’s mountaineering boot! They’re pricey, but definitely a great boot. A good friend has them and loves these!

Read More About Hiking Footwear:


  1. Charley Vitatoe says:

    hey there and appreciate the information you have — I have surely picked up new stuff through here. Really like this info on mountaineering boots!

Comment or Question:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *