Mountain boot construction, sizing nuances, quality control

Mountain boot construction, sizing nuances, quality control

Trekking boots are special footwear for trekking of varying degrees of difficulty, some classify them as trekking boots and footwear for mountaineering ascents.

The appearance of trekking boots in the form that we are familiar with today is largely due to the invention of the Italian climber and mountain guide Vitale Bramani.

In 1937 he patented a rubber sole, which the whole world would later recognize as Vibram. All real trekking boots are equipped with it or its counterparts today. In addition to the sole made of special rubber and with a special tread pattern, other modern materials are used in the manufacture of the best trekking boots, such as membrane fabric (the most famous is Gore-Tex) and high-strength aramid fiber (the leader is the Kevlar trademark of DuPont), etc. And developments new materials are ongoing.

Currently, there are winter and summer trekking boots of various brands on the market, Italian manufacturers such as Asolo, Dolomite, La sportive, Zamberlan, Scrapа hold the palm. Although the production of trekking boots was launched in other countries, for example, in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Poland.

Before answering the question of how to choose trekking boots, let's talk a little about their types. Although there is no official classification, and the "boundaries of use", even different models of the same manufacturer are very, very blurred.

Classification and types of trekking boots

By type of hike:

Urban trekking boots. Suitable for everyday wear and not very difficult outings. Although my first boots were such uncomplicated and budget Campus (Poland), and in comparison with ankle boots, and even more so, working bastards, it was a breakthrough.

Trekking shoes. Honestly, although the manufacturers recommend them for hiking on rough terrain, hinting at the Crimea and other southern regions, I would not be very deluded about this. Too short to fix the ankle and protect the leg from dislocation and the ingress of stones and sand, they are only suitable for walking on level surfaces and roads. Some mountain tourists take them as a second shoe for a hike on the greenery, but note that they have to be on the alert all the time. Of course, the lightness of both the sneakers themselves (a pair weighing 400-500 grams) and their prices are a competitive advantage that pays off if you walk around the city a lot and prefer a sporty style of clothing.

Hiking boots. These are lightweight trekking boots for easy hikes. Unlike crosses, they are high, just as good for rough terrain and heights up to 2000 m. Sometimes there is a marking on the box - Tourist shoes.

Mountain boots. Shoes for mountain hikes and technically simple ascents from 2000 to 6000 m. These are powerful, heavy and hard trekking boots, some of their models have special welts for crampons. If they are not there, then crampons with soft attachments are used. Some manufacturers refer to them as Mountain boots.

It is very important to understand how to choose footwear for hiking in the mountains: any preparation for the mountains begins with finding the right equipment, since this is the key to survival. However, no matter how you dress, if you have the wrong hiking shoes, you are putting yourself at great risk. Mountain and climbing boots, in addition to protecting from the cold, perform an important function - keeping you on the mountain. And only the right grip will keep you safe. The severity of your shoes should increase with the heights you climb.

Trekking shoes or hiking boots are available for simple cross-country hikes. Usually they differ from everyday shoes only by the presence of a powerful protector (from slipping on stones and ground) and protection of the toes - from blows and in case small stones fall on the feet. They bend quite well and have a soft insole. Most often, such shoes are made without a membrane, since at sea level and a little higher, even in such shoes, you will be hot and you need to ventilate your leg.

How to Choose Shoes for Summer Trekking

Trekking boots are considered the most comfortable footwear for a hike. They are suitable for altitudes up to 5000-6000 m in the summer season for easy ascents and longer hikes. They usually have a membrane embedded in them, which will not allow the feet to get wet. These boots are also much stiffer so that the weight of the backpack and yourself is correctly distributed over the foot and you can walk for a long time without getting tired. These shoes are always higher than the ankles to prevent the legs from twisting. Sometimes manufacturers add welts for crampons, but if you know that you will not walk in the snow, then you can do without boots. The main outer material for such shoes is leather or impregnated synthetic textiles. Leather is usually a little more comfortable, but when wet, leather boots take much longer to dry.

If there is a risk that on several (but not all!) days of the hike, the temperature will drop below expected, you can take with you insulated (high-altitude) shoe covers, which are worn over trekking boots.

How to choose shoes for hiking in winter

Shoes for hiking in the mountains in winter or climbing boots are necessary for winter high-altitude ascents and usually consist of two or three layers. Winter trekking shoes always have crampons, and the top boot reaches mid-calf or near-knee to keep warm. It makes no sense to use them up to 6000-6500 meters, since they are designed for snow and stable low temperatures.

For rest and parking on a hike, you can use thin sneakers, hiking shoes in the summer or hiking shoes in the mountains in autumn, sneakers or galoshes to rest your feet from a rigid fixation.

It is best to take the purchase of suitable shoes seriously: it is important to consider what kind of shoes you need to have on a hike, what leg length and its width - overly wide boots will unsafely dangle on your foot. The best hiking shoes are sold in specialist stores, where you can test the tread on different surfaces.

Trekking comfortable hiking shoes are never sized. It is important that when descending (that is, when the feet are in the position with the noses below the heels), the toes do not rest on the boot. Sometimes it will be shoes one size larger than yours, and sometimes two - but otherwise you can knock your toes off. When trying on, be sure to use thick trekking socks or multiple pairs of cotton socks to simulate trekking conditions. It is optimal to measure hiking shoes in the mountains in two passes - in the morning and in the evening, in order to understand how the boot will sit after sleep and at the end of the day when the legs are swollen.

Watch the video for just 3 minutes and you will learn how to choose the right shoes for hiking in the mountains

Trekking shoes for hiking in the mountains are usually one of the most expensive equipment costs. But remember that this is an investment in your safety for several years to come. But if there are doubts about the choice of the right hiking shoes, then, if necessary, we give out trekking boots to the participants of our hikes. This is a good option for testing a specific brand and configuration, after which it will be a little easier to choose hiking shoes. By the way, you can do this in our store.

Special footwear

Camping equipment is not complete without quality footwear. Correctly selected models protect the legs from injury and provide comfort during long hikes. Experienced hikers recommend wearing specialized mountain boots that will provide full traction on the most challenging terrain. The assortment is represented by trekking options, which are designed for climbing to the peaks, conquering high heights.

Basic construction

Mountain shoe models should be durable, lightweight, comfortable, resistant to negative external factors. The construction of the boots consists of several elements:

  • Soles. For their production, all kinds of compositions are used. Volcanic rubber is enriched with metal inclusions. The boots are equipped with an intermediate layer that enhances shock absorption and rigidity. The base of high-altitude shoes is firm, almost unbendable, for models for simple relief it is softer and more comfortable. Options for men's shoes are the roughest, capable of withstanding heavy loads. Women's - lightweight, flexible, designed for less weight.
  • Insoles. The products are adjusted to the width of the pads, so it will not be difficult to find the right pair. There are thermoformed orthopedic inserts. Customized options are the most expensive, they are made to order. The male varieties are thick, heavy, coarse, the female ones are thinner and narrower. In most cases, unisex models are used that are optimal for different types of shoes.
  • Top. Most boots are made from quality bovine leather. The material is durable, fits perfectly on the leg, keeps its shape well. When wet, the surface does not lose its properties, it is resistant to abrasive compounds. Ski options are completely synthetic, they are made using plastic, supplemented with a soft inner liner.

If you plan to climb high in the mountains, you should give preference to boots with a hard sole and last, warm upper. Shaft heights can be up to 12-25 cm for reliable protection from snow.

Women's travel models are not as bulky as men's. The main distinguishing features: softer sole, narrow last, low weight. Modern manufacturers paint shoes in various colors, decorate with embroidery, all kinds of patterns.


Choosing the right hiking shoes depends on the type of area, the time of year, and personal preference. Based on these criteria, several types of models are distinguished:

  • Light trekking. Presented by boots or sneakers, which are designed to overcome easy routes, marked trails.
  • Mountain models. They are of medium weight, designed for medium-difficult ascents.
  • Height products. Specialized boots for climbing to great heights in the presence of difficult terrain and low air temperatures.

Tourists who climb the mountains are not recommended to wear simple trekking models. Such boots are not intended for these purposes, therefore, the risk of injury and frostbite increases.


The lightest shoe options come in the form of sneakers. Models are heavier and more massive than urban models. The products are equipped with a full-fledged ventilation system that prevents the feet from sweating. The only drawback is the lack of ankle support.

The maximum weight of sneakers reaches 700 g. They are designed for walking on rough terrain or in medium mountains. These models are most widespread and are presented in a wide range.

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