7 Best Mountaineering Boots, 70+ Shoes Tested in 2022

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Mountaineering Boots, 70+ Shoes Tested in 2022

Are you feeling anxious and unsure about which pair of mountaineering boots to snag? Well, shake off that feeling and worry no more. Whether you need a boot that delivers a well-rounded performance or the best there is for the most treacherous of elevations, this selection right here will help you choose the right pair.

We have tested 70+ mountaineering boots to come up with this comprehensive top-picks list. There is a lot to sink your teeth into here—from the most versatile mountaineering kick to the pair that can be your starting point budget-wise.

How we test mountaineering boots

Core to the RunRepeat experience is helping mountaineers of all skill levels find the best footgear for their next ascent. To meet that goal, we test and review boots ourselves. Here is our approach:

  • To eliminate bias and promote objectivity, we buy mountaineering boots with our own money.
  • Our professional testers go through mountain-climbing hoops to identify each pair’s strengths and forte.
  • We reflect hundreds of expert reviews and thousands more from regular mountaineers in our reviews.

All those elements result in our very own rating system, called CoreScore. This exclusive 0-100 scoring system helps us round up the best mountaineering boots for your shopping pleasure.

Best mountaineering boots overall

La Sportiva Karakorum
La Sportiva Karakorum

CoreScore

88
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 236 users
96 / 100 from 4 experts

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Maintains a strong grip
  • Stability from ankle support
  • Virtually zero break-in period

Cons

  • Leakage in wet environments
  • Laces don't fit snugly

Verdict

Ready your mountaineering hearts because the Karakorum from La Sportiva is simply stellar in almost every way! Yes, after testing over 70 brilliant mountain-specific kicks, this offering deserves the top spot in our books.

On rock, the Karakorum’s tough and studded outsole didn’t relent, giving us excellent surface traction and control. It wasn’t just on steep surfaces where we were quite pleased with its grip performance; even on flatter terrain, the boot kept us anchored.

Our ankles were also quite secure on crags and extremely uneven terrain. We give its stiff-yet-comfy collar A+ when it comes to support, yes!

Speaking of comfiness, it wasn’t just the Karakorum’s color that gave us an easier time on our ascents. It was practically every inch of it that’s plush, and from the moment we slipped into it, at that! Props to its gusseted tongue for giving us neither hotspots nor bunching around the instep.

And the Karakorum’s mostly leather upper floored us with its durability. Abrasive hazards didn’t seem to affect it that much, only causing some superficial scratches. The boot’s low-rise randing also did a fantastic job of preventing cuts and the like.

All that goodness in a light-ish pair? Yes, the Karakorum only reads approximately 880 g per boot on the scale. Give yourself a break and get this remarkable beast when you can!

La Sportiva Karakorum full review

Best lightweight mountaineering boots

Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX
Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX

Out of stock in all 49 shops

Scarpa mountaineering boots  

CoreScore

89
Great!
4.7 / 5 from 176 users
81 / 100 from 5 experts

Pros

  • Great all-around mountain boot
  • Budget-friendly
  • Superbly lightweight
  • Satisfying grip
  • Extra cuff protection

Cons

  • Deficient ankle support
  • Too-bright colorway

Verdict

Who doesn’t like taking on ascents with ninja-like prowess? We do, especially if it’s in the ultra-light Zodiac Tech GTX from Scarpa!

At no more than 620 g per kick, the Zodiac Tech GTX will give you nimble feet as you make your way to the top. We’re linking its awesome lightness to the boot’s minimalist leather upper and springy midsole.

Speaking of its leather shell, the Zodiac Tech GTX didn’t hold back in protecting our feet from bad weather. It stayed watertight throughout our ascent-slash-test, not allowing a single bead of moisture to ruin our day.

That said, we were equally floored by its moisture management on the inside. We didn’t get sweaty feet in the Zodiac Tech GTX. Yes, we highly recommend this mountaineering boot for summer use, too!

Gaining elevation with the Zodiac Tech GTX was also amazing. Scrambling was a cakewalk thanks to its aggressively treaded Vibram outsole. On vertical rock, we got the amount of purchase we needed on both smooth and rugged surfaces.

And have we bragged about its 300-dollar MSRP price tag yet? Yes, the Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX is as light on your feet as it is on your wallet. Get a pair now and fast!

Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX full review

Best alpine mountaineering boots

Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX
Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 89 users
93 / 100 from 6 experts

Pros

  • All-around alpine boot
  • Zero break-in period
  • Ample stability
  • Comfortable tongue construction
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • Exceptional fit
  • Laudable ankle flex
  • Warm like an integrated gaiter
  • Breathable
  • Exceptional stiff sole

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lack of insulation
  • Insufficient support
  • Short lacing system

Verdict

Users admired the boot’s virtually zero break-in time and exemplary comfort. They also appreciated the tongue construction. The boot was lightweight, stable, and breathable. Its stiff sole allowed easier snow climbing. On the flip side, the insulation and support from the flexible cuff were insufficient. There were those who also wished that the closure system let users tighten the top-most region of the boot’s shaft.
Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX full review

Best b2 mountaineering boots

Scarpa Manta Tech GTX
Scarpa Manta Tech GTX

Out of stock in all 49 shops

Scarpa mountaineering boots  

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.9 / 5 from 23 users
95 / 100 from 5 experts

Pros

  • Incredible ankle support
  • Spacious forefoot
  • Mighty pampering confines
  • Quite cozy in the cold
  • Long-lasting
  • Waterproof
  • Affordable than most

Cons

  • Weighty
  • Subpar ventilation

Verdict

Bridging the gap between mobility and ascent-centric functionality is perhaps what the Aequilibrium ST GTX is all about. The intention here by its engineers is pretty clear: to make something “equally” agile and mountain-tough. Some of its elements may take a bit of getting used to, but in the grand scheme of things, the Aequilibrium ST GTX can redefine your climbing pursuits.
Scarpa Manta Tech GTX full review

Best La Sportiva mountaineering boots

La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX
La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX

CoreScore

82
Good!
4.6 / 5 from 43 users
91 / 100 from 4 experts

Pros

  • Quite light
  • Waterproof
  • Superb winter boot
  • Flexible
  • Astonishing comfort
  • Grippy outsole
  • Very sticky on surfaces
  • Offers stability
  • Sufficient balance

Cons

  • Less calf support
  • Puffy tongue

Verdict

Modest yet powerful—just might be what the Trango Tech Leather GTX is in a nutshell. As impressive on the mountains as it is on treks, this unassuming B2 boot will keep you in control on extra-rugged terrain, vertical or otherwise. If you have been looking for something in which you can transition from more serious pack adventures to daring ascents, this La Sportiva offering could very well be it.
La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX full review

Best value mountaineering boots

Salewa Crow GTX
Salewa Crow GTX

CoreScore

88
Great!
4.6 / 5 from 3,303 users
90 / 100 from 3 experts

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Supportive
  • Impressive traction
  • Virtually no break-in
  • Good in snow
  • Outstanding durability

Cons

  • Not breathable

Verdict

Who said mountaineering equals overspending? If you ask the Salewa Crow GTX, it’s not!

At its 280-dollar MSRP, the Crow GTX goes against the current of pricey mountaineering boots and swims contently within the waters of affordable backpacking kicks. For the things it can do (which we’ll talk about shortly), this piece from Salewa has the word “value” written all over its proverbial face!

This boot has superior traction to match its low price. Yup, the Salewa Crow GTX helped us claw (no pun intended) our way across icy terrain and snowy slopes no problem. Over more normal backcountry surfaces—rocky patches, mud, and inclines—the boot provided us with intense grip.

“Highly insulated and watertight” also describes the Salewa Crow GTX. While its coziness is limited to a few Fahrenheit below zero, the boot kept our tootsies toasty on the icy mountain we climbed. No moisture from the slushy snow also got past its leather upper, which only meant dry feet for all of us!

Comfort-wise, the Salewa Crow GTX was also quite a doozy! Sure, its insulation played a big role in this regard, but the boot’s break-in-free interior translated to blister-free feet and zero hotpots from the off.

Salewa Crow GTX full review
Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.