Mountaineering is a very demanding sport. Mountains often offer a variety of terrain, so climbers must be able to navigate a wide range of conditions. Mountaineering trips can last from a few hours to several days. To practice this activity, technical equipment is required. To fully enjoy your climb, the choice of your shoes is crucial. A bad purchase could be very painful and even dangerous. There is a large number of products on the market, so it has become more and more complicated to find a pair of mountaineering shoes adapted to your practice. That's why we give you some advice on how to choose them.

How to recognize a mountaineering boot:

Mountaineering shoes are similar to hiking shoes. However, there are many details that will allow you to recognize them. A mountaineering shoe is often larger and the upper is generally higher. They can go up on certain models until the half of the tibia.
Secondly, a specific characteristic of the mountaineering shoe is the rigidity of its sole, it is very difficult to bend. This type of sole ensures the protection of climbers on terrain where a fall could be fatal. Mountaineering boots also have notches, called overhangs, on the front or back, which allow you to attach crampons.
In addition, a mountaineering shoe is often thicker, because this activity is associated with progress in often extreme weather conditions. The thickness of the shoe varies according to the degree of thermal insulation, but also its waterproofing to offer you the right protection for your outings.
Finally, the last characteristic that differentiates a mountaineering and hiking boot is the rock guard that is located at the front. It covers the tip of the shoe to protect you from falling rocks or repeated impacts with the rock.
After reviewing the specifics of a mountaineering boot, we will look at its technical characteristics so that you can then choose mountaineering boots that are perfectly suited to your needs.


It is essential to choose the right shoe for your activity, but it is also very important to choose the right size. To help you, we have some advice. First of all, you must try the mountaineering shoes with special mountaineering socks. Secondly, your toes should not touch the tip of the shoe. To check this, we suggest a trick. You have to stand on an inclined surface, and if your foot slips and hits the tip, it means that the shoe is too big. Finally, they must be compatible with cleats.

To give you an idea, you need to take about 1 size above your usual size for city shoes.

Nathanaël - product expert for mountaineering

About Nathanaël: "Sport is a big part of my life. I practice climbing, mountaineering, paragliding, trail and ski touring. A full day without enjoying the nature around me? Don't ask me, it's inconceivable."

What are the different types of stiffness?

Depending on the model, the rigidity of the sole varies. It is important to choose your mountaineering boot according to this technical characteristic, because the different types of soles have specific uses.
It is therefore possible to distinguish 2 types of rigidity, the semi-rigid soles and the rigid soles.

First of all, we find shoes with a semi-rigid sole. They are recognizable by their small size. They offer absolute comfort and freedom of movement thanks to their slight flexibility. This type of shoe is recommended for progressing on difficult terrain, ridges or snow. However, it is important to avoid routes involving glacier climbing because the sole is not rigid enough for this type of practice.

Semi-rigid soles only offer accounting with strap-on crampons or semi-automatic crampons because they have an overhang on the back of the shoe only. It is also important to note that mountaineering boots with semi-rigid soles are suitable for only 3 seasons (spring, summer, fall).

Now we will focus on mountaineering boots with a rigid sole. With this type of sole, you will be able to practice mountaineering on very difficult terrain, ice falls or even on snowy routes while being optimally protected. However, with this type of footwear, the fluidity of movement is less and so is the comfort. Nevertheless, new technologies have been developed to remedy this problem. Stiff boots have front and rear overhangs, so they are compatible with automatic crampons.

The rigidity of mountaineering boots is one of the most important characteristics to consider when choosing this type of equipment. However, when selecting a pair of mountaineering boots, it is not only necessary to consider its rigidity. So let's continue with another important element.


What are the different types of mountaineering boots?

Within the range of rigid mountaineering boots, there are two types of boots, single and double.
First, there are the single mountaineering boots. They are constructed in one piece. This design allows for a considerable reduction in the weight of the boot, but it also allows for better balance. This type of shoe is ideal for the most rugged terrain, as they are lightweight and give you optimal freedom of movement.

However, they are not recommended for climbs or prolonged expeditions. Indeed, once wet or damp, it is extremely difficult to dry them quickly.

Secondly, there are the double mountaineering boots. These are composed of 2 parts: the shoe and the inner liner that can be detached. This technology allows you to be much better insulated, to be dry all the time and therefore it will be possible to go to climb summits in extreme conditions.
Nevertheless, they have some disadvantages. Indeed, they are much heavier and very imposing. These weaknesses lead to a lack of fluidity and reduce freedom of movement. However, technological advances allow double shoes to be lighter and lighter and offer more fluid and precise movements.
We have just analyzed the different characteristics of a mountaineering boot. However, it is important to take into account other elements such as your level or your experience in the field of mountaineering.



To ensure that your mountaineering boots are perfectly waterproof, we recommend that you add high gaiters or overboots.
These will allow you to considerably improve water resistance, but they also provide much better thermal insulation. Designed with completely waterproof, windproof and especially very resistant materials. These accessories are essential for your outings in winter.

How to choose your mountaineering boots according to your level and experience?

Mountaineering is a sport that requires a lot of training and knowledge. It is important to remember that the mountain is king and a simple mistake can be fatal, so it is important to adapt your equipment to your level, experience and terrain.

For a beginner climber, the choice of shoes is very important for your safety. We recommend a pair of semi-rigid shoes. They will be adapted to initiation outings on mixed terrain. These models will offer you a good foot support and an optimal protection. Moreover, it is possible to add crampons. The weight of the semi-rigid shoes prevents you from tiring too quickly during long trips and it also allows you to keep a great precision in your movements.

If you are an experienced mountaineer, you are going to do some serious climbing. For this, you must choose suitable mountaineering shoes. The semi-rigid model will not be suitable for your practice. It is preferable that you equip yourself with fully rigid shoes. These will offer you an excellent support and an optimal protection. Moreover, their insulating power will allow you to be comfortable over long distances without feeling the cold. Finally, thanks to their front and rear overhangs, it is possible to attach crampons that are also adapted to this type of climbing.

Finally, if you are an expert mountaineer, you plan to climb the highest peaks around you. You must then opt for double rigid shoes. Indeed, they offer you a very good support, an unequalled protection. But above all, its insulating power will allow you to progress in extreme conditions. This type of shoes also offers a quick drying so that you remain comfortable throughout the course.