Generally, for trails that are easy to tackle, go with low-cut shoes. Go mid to high if there are more trail obstacles.
Boot Grading for Crampons
Mid cut mountaineering boots
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Conquering high altitudes is a fun, physically-challenging, and fulfilling activity. The climb though is not as easy as walking on paved roads as it also entails hiking, backpacking, skiing, via ferrata, and other activities. The activity in itself is demanding. Thus, it is but sensible to invest in a good pair of high or mid-cut mountaineering boots and other safety gear.
Mid-cut mountaineering boots are a popular choice for climbers who are set for multiple-day hikes with a moderate load. Although the cuff of these boots extends up to the ankle, they are not as heavy as high-cut mountaineering boots. They also have some features like toe caps to protect the wearer.
Ankle support is one of the reasons why hikers and climbers purchase mid-cut footwear. Although this topic is highly debatable, many hikers believe that mid-cut hiking boots can give ankle support. Mountaineering boots generally have a tall design and made of materials that are robust that help keep the ankles upright.
Qualities of a mid-cut men's and women's mountaineering boot
Mid-cut mountaineering boots are probably most known for a cuff that extends up to the ankle. But more than this, there are characteristics that make these a preferred footwear for tougher adventures. It is safe to say that these boots are a product of different technologies that come together to give every climber the support and protection needed.
Making them suitable for rough days, mid-cut mountaineering boots are made of robust upper materials. While leather remains a prime choice by many manufacturers for their products, modern synthetic materials are also becoming very popular. Garmont’s Tower Extreme LX GTX, for instance, uses a combination of microfiber and Kevlar for better abrasion resistance.
Ankle support and protection is emphasized in most mid-cut mountaineering boots. Apart from an improved upper coverage, the ankle collar is also given great attention. Salewa’s Rapace GTX, for instance, uses the brand’s patented Flex Collar which improves rear ankle mobility.
Foot stability is one thing that shoe manufacturers incorporate in their models. Salewa uses their 3F System which stands for foot support, flexibility, and fit. Shoes with this system, according to Salewa, are afforded improved protection for via ferratas mountaineering. Brands like Lowa and Scarpa likewise use their own patented technologies to create mid-cut mountaineering boots that support climbers on via ferrata routes, technical trails, and rescue activities.
The sole is also a very important part of mid-cut mountaineering boots. Ideally, this should be stiff enough to provide ample stability when tackling technical trails. Traditionally, the extra stiffness is achieved by using a full steel shank between the midsole and outsole.
Vibram outsoles are also used for most mid-cut mountaineering boots. The rubber soles manufactured by the company are known for their tread and lugs that provide good traction on a variety of surfaces. So far, over a thousand shoe companies are using Vibram soles on their products.
The stiffness of the sole of mid-cut mountaineering boots also matters so much since you will need them to be crampon-compatible. The boots have welts where crampons are attached. Crampons are traction devices that are attached to the footwear so you can move better over ice, rocks, glaciers, and other slippery surfaces.
How men and women should choose a mid-cut mountaineering boot
When planning for an outdoor adventure especially in alpine regions, choosing the right gear matters. You need to be careful in selecting your mid-cut mountaineering boots. Therefore, consider the following factors:
As with everything, there is nothing that can beat the joy of wearing comfortable footwear. If you are going to buy a pair of mid-cut mountaineering boots, make sure that you will pick a pair that doesn’t hurt in any part. A comfortable pair makes walking, even on torturous terrain, a little more bearable.
Like all other footwear, mid-cut mountaineering boots need to fit you perfectly. When trying it out, your foot shouldn’t feel that the boot is too tight or too loose. The toes should splay perfectly and the ankles should sit properly. To get the perfect fitting boots, always have your feet measured by professionals.
As a mountaineer, you are expected to spend days on the trail. If you are going to choose a pair of mid-cut mountaineering boots, make sure that these are not too heavy to conserve energy. The less weight that you will carry, the more efficient you will be in tackling different trails.
What you should remember when choosing mountaineering boots is that they are most likely to be heavier than other outdoor footwear. Boots are insulated and are typically taller. These factors contribute to their weight.
If you dream of via ferrata outings, you need to invest in a good pair of mid-cut mountaineering boots that are properly insulated. It is never fun to climb with cold toes. The boots that you should wear must be warm enough to keep your blood circulating well and avoid cold-related injuries like frostbites.
While mid-cut mountaineering boots are generally crampon compatible, not every person realize that they need to consider suitability. Experts always tell people to bring their crampons with them when choosing a pair of boots. Make sure that they are indeed compatible before buying a pair of boots.
Value for money
Mid-cut mountaineering boots are considered investments because they are not on the cheap side of the scale. A pair could be priced from $250 to over $1000. As with anything, consider how often you see yourself using them, the kind of terrain you will be tackling, and the materials and technologies incorporated in them to measure if they are indeed worth the money you will be spending.
Differences between mountaineering boots and hiking boots
Stacking a few pairs of outdoor footwear in your arsenal will save you during your trips, but you need to make sure that you pick the right one for each outing. Confusion often arises especially when the lines blur between the footwear types and their intended use. Two commonly confused footwear are mountaineering and hiking boots.
At first glance, it would seem that the two are just the same. However, it is good to remember that mountaineering and hiking boots differ in some ways. While both are durable and dependable, their function and makeup are different.
Hiking boots are generally used for quick or multi-day trips. They are meant to provide comfort, support, and protection to hikers when they are walking long distances over rough terrain. They are generally built using high-quality materials to also protect the hiker’s feet against scree, rocks, and even animal stings.
Mountaineering boots could serve the same purpose as the best hiking boots only that they are taller, stiffer, and are made of more robust materials. This footwear could either come in a single, double, or gaiter-integrated form. And while they are still made for walking over rough terrain, they are insulated so they can be worn comfortably on cold regions.
Mid-cut mountaineering boots FAQs
Are mid-cut mountaineering boots expensive?
Mid-cut mountaineering boots are more expensive than other types of outdoor gears. A pair can bear a $250 to $1000 price tag. This is partly because of the kind of materials they are made of, the technology they are incorporated with, and the support and protection they can offer you.
Are mid-cut mountaineering boots readily available?
There are many outdoor brands that produce mid-cut mountaineering boots. Most physical shoe stores and online stores carry a wide range of boots that you can choose from.
What are the types of mid-cut mountaineering boots available?
There are generally three types of mid-cut mountaineering boots: single, double, and gaiter-integrated. Here’s how they differ:
Single boots come as a single unit and are lighter than the other types. They are also made of robust materials and can provide protection and warmth to the wearer. They can be a little disadvantageous when used for multiple-day trips as they don’t dry quickly.
Double boots are those that come with an inner boot and outer shell which can be separated to dry out. Since they are made of two parts, they are heavier than single boots.
As for Gaiter-integrated boots, the name says it all. They are those with a gaiter to protect the wearer from the weather and keep the feet warm. They are lighter than double boots.