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Leather mountaineering boots are among the oldest and widely used type of mountaineering footwear today. Many people still prefer them over plastic, synthetic, and hybrid boots, and there are many reasons for that.
Why men and women hikers choose leather mountaineering boots
Leather is durable. Mountaineering is a serious business. It isn't for the faint of heart or those who simply want some mesmerizing mountain views. It's brutal, tiring, and at times - dangerous. For a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable journey to the mountains, you need really tough boots that can survive varying conditions. What could be better than leather?
Leather boots conform to the feet, resulting in a perfect fit. Traversing mountain slopes, trails, and edges are not easy. A well-fitting boot will keep your foot safe and comfortable all through your hike.
Leather mountaineering boots are warm and protective. Alpine conditions can be extreme. Leather has many qualities that make them ideal for trudging rugged terrains, including resistance to abrasion, water, and damage. Leather also provides a warm environment for the feet.
How to find the best leather mountaineering boots
As hikers realize that no two people have exactly the same feet, the one-boot-does-it-all trend slowly waned. Now, boots come with specific features for specific uses, conditions, and terrain types.
Awesome. But with so many options out there, finding the right footwear can be totally exhausting.
Don't worry. These tips should help you find the best leather boots to help you achieve your mountaineering goals:
Consider where you will use it. Determine whether you will be primarily climbing ice, snow, rock, or a combination of these. Choose boots that can withstand such activities. Also, research the altitude that you will be at, expected weather conditions, etc. Your boots should be warm enough for your comfort and safety.
Consider the amount of load you will be carrying. A heavier load calls for a heavier boot. Make sure your boot offers excellent ankle and arch support to reduce the impact on your feet.
Pay attention to quality. Research your preferred boots really well. Check out reviews to know how they perform on the trail. Always remember - the best leather mountaineering boots are made with the highest quality standards.
Plastic vs. leather mountaineering boots for men and women - what's the difference?
As mentioned, leather boots were the first to dominate the mountaineering niche. But when plastic boots came in, they've taken the market by storm.
One is that plastics are much more waterproof, warmer, and don't require breaking in. Another thing - they have stiffer soles which are great for technical ice climbing. They are also easier to make as they require no stitching or handcrafting (these boots are simply molded and glued together). And because of that, plastic boots are sold at a lesser price than leather boots.
However, leather boots, despite their hefty price tags, remain "irreplaceable" for many mountaineers. Leather boots are capable of making you feel connected to the ground as they offer a more precise and comfortable fit. Recent innovations have made these boots even better. Now, premium boots like Scarpa and La Sportiva leather mountaineering boots are much more durable, protective, and warmer. They also come with synthetic waterproofing and insulation systems, among others.
While plastic boots are certainly a great choice for some of the toughest mountain expeditions, leather boots are nevertheless capable of tackling difficult trails. They make great hiking footwear for men and women who want comfortable and protective boots that still feel like boots - giving you some sense of what it is your feet are treading upon.