For most avid hikers, an alpine trail makes the perfect place to test their hiking skills while enjoying the best of nature. But for a successful journey on some of the most rugged and challenging terrains, every hiker needs a good pair of alpine hiking boots.
What makes the best alpine hiking boots?
Hiking footwear is most probably the most complicated and “technical” kind of footwear. Needless to say, they have to be durable enough to survive severe weather conditions and all other challenges on the trail.
Alpine hiking boots come in many types. Depending on the hike you choose to do, the terrain you’re navigating, and your experience, you should be able to find the best hiking boots for the Alps.
Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing alpine hiking boots:
While lightweight hiking boots seem to be taking the spotlight these days, there are hiking trips that require a heavy boot. Specifically, longer backpacking trips on tougher terrains where you will be carrying a heavy load calls for heavier boots.
Stability and support
Alpine hiking boots must also offer enough support and stability. Alpine trekking requires boots that have a firmer midsole so you don’t lose your balance when walking on uneven terrain. Other features to look for are the shank (a semi-rigid insert in the midsole), heel brake, and a thicker outsole.
To check for the shoe’s stability, squeeze its rear part. If it resists compression or twisting, it’s a stable shoe.
Most alpine boots feature sturdy uppers, usually made of leather. Boots that have toe caps, mudguards, or rubber rand also offer additional protection against sharp objects and other trail hazards.
Waterproofing and insulation
These two are a must in alpine boots. Some boots have two or three inner booties, thermal insulation, Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, and other similar features for optimal protection.
Alpine trekking also means hiking in freezing temps. Depending on where you’re heading, wearing a hiking boot with insulation is important for your comfort and safety.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are the most comfortable alpine hiking boots for women?
The best women’s hiking boots are those that fit perfectly and are comfortable, supportive, and protective. For longer trips, heavy-duty technical footwear that offers support on and above the ankle, and has stiffer midsoles are ideal.
What are good hiking boot brands for the alps?
La Sportiva and Asolo alpine hiking boots are very popular among mountaineers and professional hikers because they are very supportive, durable, crampon-compatible, and warm enough to survive negative-degree weather conditions. For day hikes in well-maintained trails, Timberland alpine hiking boots are a good choice.
What to look for when buying hiking boots?
The most important thing to look for when buying alpine boots is comfort. There might be some discomfort at first but it should go away once the boot is broken in. Also, determine what type of terrain you’re tackling and what activities you’re doing. For instance, some boots will have tec bindings for skiing, others will have “walk mode” or “ride mode” for alpine touring, etc.
Alpinists have different needs and there isn't a one-size-fits-all boot that caters to all of them.