Mountaineering Shoes

Mountaineering Shoes

The choice of footwear for a hike and, moreover, for climbing is an extremely important stage of preparation. The success of the entire event largely depends on the correctness of this choice. In the list of necessary equipment for climbing Elbrus (or any other large mountain), climbing boots occupy a special place. Why boots? Because it is the legs at any high-altitude ascent that are the weakest point. They are the first to begin to freeze: the cause can be both low temperature and hypoxia, as well as a combination of these factors. The most difficult thing is to warm up the legs: it will not always be possible to take off the shoes and grind the feet, and without this it remains only to swing the legs - to drive the blood to the limb, which helps insignificantly and for a short time. It is the incorrectly chosen boots (and as a result, frozen or frayed feet) that are one of the most popular reasons for the "turn" on the summit. To prevent this from happening, let's choose the right climbing boots!

This short article will answer the questions of novice climbers on the choice of boots for climbing Elbrus, and will also be useful for those who are going to other routes, i.e. the basic principles of selection are the same.

There is a saying: “you cannot save on shoes, backpacks and hardware - you can save on everything else”. In many ways, this is true, but you should not run to the store and buy the "best" climbing boots for 100 thousand. In the store, of course, they will be delighted, but not the fact that you will be delighted after your first trip in such boots.

First, let's understand the types of climbing boots:

For ease of understanding, all the variety of climbing boots suitable for climbing Elbrus can be divided into two types (according to the material from which they are made):

- plastic - leather (or other modern materials)

And also by design:

- single layer - double layer (with liner)

All plastic boots are double-layered, i.e. have an insert. Leather boots, most often, are single-layer (i.e. without an insert - like a regular city boot). But there are also two-layer models (Zamberlan Denali, La Sportiva Spantik, etc.)

What does the double layer of a boot give us? An air gap that makes the boot warmer. All the warmest mountaineering boots have a double layer construction.

Which boots are better for climbing Elbrus - plastic or leather?

There is no definite answer - both boots have their advantages, and there is simply no universal solution. Plastic boots are more massive and heavy, but also warmer, do not get wet (if only from sweat), the liner is convenient to dry, but you will be comfortable walking in them only in the snow, because. already high enough. But what if you chose the route to Elbrus, which implies an approach within a few days (for example, from the east)? This means that, in addition to plastic boots, you will also need trekking boots - in order to walk in them to the border of the snow. And this will significantly affect the weight of your backpack! While in leather climbing boots you can walk the entire route - both on the approaches and on the ascent itself. In addition, even from single-layer leather boots, you can make two-layer ones by putting on special shoe covers. This design will not only create an additional air gap, but also protect the leather boot from getting wet. A separate place is occupied by leather double-layer boots - they are often as warm as plastic ones, and some models (high-rise, for example, La Sportiva Olympus) are even warmer.

Boots for climbing Elbrus

Shoes for summer climbing: what is important in it, what is not, and which one to choose.

No shoes, sneakers or sandals are allowed on the ascents. They do not protect their feet on the talus, cats cannot be fitted to them and it is cold in them. Mountaineering requires special footwear.

No boots are suitable “for everything”: in summer boots it is cold in winter, in warm winter boots it is hot and bulky in summer. The middle ones are always hot or cold, but they are usually worn.

Mountaineering boot specifications


Walking in uncomfortable boots is difficult and unpleasant. Buy mountaineering shoes one size larger than city shoes. Overly tight shoes chafing your feet and disrupting your blood supply. This makes my feet freeze. If your toes rest on the toe of your shoe, you will knock your nails off when you trample the path or go down for a long time.


If the boot is hard, it will protect the foot from uneven relief. When walking on scree and climbing rocks, hard boots sit better on small shelves.

Foot Support

Mountaineering boots are tall and laced tightly to support the foot when walking on uneven ground. Try to place your foot on the outer edge and stand on it. Feel how the muscles stretch. Do it sharply and with the muscle cooled down, get a stretch.

Ability to use with cats

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