For a rigorous adventure that will last a couple of days, you will need more than just hiking boots. For trips to cold and icy alpine regions, a pair of reliable mountaineering boots are a must. But they are more than just bulky boots; they should be weatherproof like water-repellent mountaineering boots.
Weatherproofing is a very important trait to consider in any outdoor footwear. Weatherproof footwear could come in three types: water-resistant, water-repellent, and waterproof. How do water-repellent mountaineering boots differ from their water-resistant and waterproof counterparts?
Water-resistant footwear is that which is made with upper materials that make it difficult for water to seep through. This is the weakest form of weatherproofing.
Waterproof materials are those that have the highest form of weatherproofing property since it completely keeps water out but it also locks moisture in. Most waterproof footwear lack breathability so your feet may feel too warm wearing them.
Water-repellent footwear is one made with hydrophobic materials that cause water to bead up and roll off instead of seeping through. A good point about water-repellent footwear is they retain the breathability needed to endure a day on the trail.
Water-repellent mountaineering boots are for the tough ones whose free spirit take them to the top of the world. High-altitude adventures are demanding. Mountaineering in itself is multifaceted and encompasses almost all other outdoor activities: ice climbing, hiking, crevasse walking, and camping. As a climber, you need to be physically prepared and well-equipped before you start your climb.
Have confidence in tackling big rocks, snowy trails, and glaciers, by wearing water-repellent hiking boots that will help protect the feet from the elements and prevent these from getting wet. When climbing alpine zones, you need to wear a pair that will keep your feet warm and dry while giving you support and stability.
A look at men's and women's water-repellent mountaineering boots
Best water-repellent mountaineering boots - July 2018
Identifying pair of mountaineering boots can be easy. Generally, these are pairs that are insulated, weatherproof, have rigid soles, and are taller than other footwear types. Even at first sight, you will never miss them out because of their robust look. While most of these are made with waterproof membranes for weatherproofing, there are some that are also water-repellent.
Water-repellent mountaineering boots also have the basic parts of any mountaineering boot. In terms of the upper material, the boots are often made of leather, plastic, other synthetic materials, or a mix of these. The upper may look more robust and bulkier than other outdoor footwear because of the insulation.
A pair of water-repellent hiking boots will also have stiff soles. Between the midsole and the outsole is a full steel or carbon fiber shank. This stiffness helps you get more support, especially when climbing very technical trails.
The outsole, apart from being rigid, also have deep lugs. For example, La Sportiva G5 uses Vibram® Matterhorn with Impact Brake System lugs , La Sportiva Spantik uses Vibram Montagna , and La Sportiva Karakorum uses Vibram Couloir . Vibram is a brand that is known for providing rubber soles that provide good traction to wearers.
Water-repellent mountaineering boots are crampon-compatible. Crampons are traction devices that are attached to the boots through the molded welts . These are very important gears that will provide you grip and support when climbing icy terrain. Experts recommend bringing crampons before buying a pair of mountaineering boots to ensure the fit and compatibility of the models.
Water-repellent mountaineering boots could be single, double or have an integrated gaiter. Choosing the type of boot depends largely on the kind of environment you will be hiking in. There are lighter boots while others need to come with more protection since they are ideally used for climbing 8000-meter peaks or higher.
- La Sportiva Karakorum is an example of a single mountaineering boot. Single boots are more compact and are lighter than double boots and come with insulation to keep you warm.
- La Sportiva Spantik is an example of a double boot. It comes with a PU-Tech transparent, PU-coated, water-repellent Lorica with Antiacqua external coating for an outer boot.
- An example of a boot with integrated gaiter is La Sportiva G5. It has an internal water-resistant membrane and an external and water-repellent Cordura gaiter.
Finally, a very important part of water-repellent mountaineering boots is the insulation. Cold mountaineering conditions could lead to frostbites and other serious injuries. Hikers need to wear footwear that will keep their feet warm and toasted even if they are 6000 or 8000 meters above the ground.
Things that make mountaineering boots water-repellent
Products like water-repellent mountaineering boots can be described as hydrophobic. It means that there is a material coating the upper of the boots which block water from penetrating at a certain angle and speed. The boots could be worn on trails with dampness or when it is not raining very hard.
Water-repellency is a property that lies between water-resistant and waterproof. This means that a pair of water-repellent mountaineering boots can prevent water from penetrating but only to a certain threshold. Aside from being tightly woven, the fabric is also coated with a chemical coating that causes water to form beads instead of seeping through.
The La Sportiva Spantik is a model that uses a different water-repellent liner–the Lorica with Antiacqua external coating. This is a heat moldable liner that protects the boot from water intrusion. Lorica is a technology company that develops innovative materials in technical textiles and yarns.
Water-repellent mountaineering boots FAQs
How will I know if the mountaineering boots are water-repellent?
Identifying the pair of water-repellent mountaineering boots sold by a store is simple. Shoe manufacturers have made it a point to label their models if there are weatherproofing features to them. As mentioned, shoe brands like La Sportiva tie-up with companies like Lorica and Cordura to improve and weatherproof their products.
Are water-repellent mountaineering boots easy to find?
There are not as many water-repellent mountaineering boots available on the market as there are waterproof ones. This doesn’t mean though that you have little to no option. Consider the offerings of major outdoor brands as they often carry water-repellent models.
What are some of the benefits of wearing water-repellent mountaineering boots?
Wearing water-repellent mountaineering boots bear little to no difference from other footwear in terms of style and comfort. Its leverage is in the weather protection that it can give you. Since the upper is made of materials coated with chemicals that repel water, it can keep water out throughout the day.
Another benefit of wearing water-repellent mountaineering boots is the breathability it can offer. Despite the improved weather protection, the upper remains breathable so moisture doesn’t remain inside.
Are water-repellent mountaineering boots better than waterproof models?
Waterproof mountaineering boots are readily available. The excellent weatherproofing capacity of these boots makes them seem like a better footwear option. However, there are also disadvantages that should be considered.
One edge that water-repellent mountaineering boots have over waterproof pairs is the breathability. As waterproof models are covered with a membrane, breathability becomes a great issue. Mountaineering boots may be worn on alpine regions, but the body still releases moisture. If you are not wearing breathable footwear, you will end up with a damp inner boot or lining.
Are double water-repellent mountaineering boots better than single boots?
Different types of boots exist because they can offer different things to people. There are benefits, and there are also negative aspects that should be considered before deciding on which type to avail.
Single boots are generally lighter than double boots. They come with built-in insulation and also have very robust looks. They are perfect for climbers who want a pair that they will wear for day trips.
Double boots are better compared to single boots in two ways: first is the ease of drying the inner boot; and second, the warmth they give. These are a little heavier than single boots and are generally better for multi-day trips since the inner and outer boots could be detached and allowed to dry.
Choosing between single, double, or gaiter-attached boots depends largely on a person’s preference, the hiking environment, and to some extent, a person’s budget, too. Weighing these things first could help choose the right boot type.
Are water-repellent mountaineering boots expensive?
The price range of water-repellent mountaineering boots depends largely on the technology, style, type, and other features that these have. For instance, the versatile La Sportiva Karakorum is worth $305 since it is made for general mountaineering and heavy backpacking. The La Sportiva Spantik and La Sportiva G5, which are both made for technical climbing on alpine regions are priced $750 and $700 respectively.
Will water-repellent hiking boots remain water-repellent?
Outdoor footwear is worn where they are exposed to the elements, and this can affect its look and performance. The water-repellent coating of water-repellent hiking boots will eventually give in to wear and tear. It shouldn’t be surprising if water will start seeping through the boots after months or years of use.
Can water-repellent mountaineering boots regain their weatherproof property?
There is still a chance for water-repellent mountaineering boots to regain their weatherproof property by spraying or applying chemicals on them. Some ready-to-use chemicals are available in shoe stores. These could be applied to the boot’s upper before an outing.
Are ready-to-use coatings reliable?
Water-repellent mountaineering boots will suffer wear and tear, and while they may retain their water-repellency through do-it-yourself coatings, they are not permanent. The treatment is just temporary and will last only for a couple of outings. Once it wears out, reapplying the treatment will be a good move.
6 best water repellent mountaineering boots
- La Sportiva Spantik
- La Sportiva Makalu
- La Sportiva G5
- La Sportiva Karakorum
- La Sportiva Nepal Extreme
- La Sportiva Glacier WLF
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