To get you to the summit and back, a four-season boot needs to perform in a range of challenging conditions while still remaining comfortable.
This is dictated by the upper and insulation of the boot. A fully waterproof membrane (along with high-quality gaiters and socks) will help deal with prolonged periods in the snow.
Some boots have one-piece leather uppers but there are also multi-panel synthetic/leather options which work just as well. Consider the thickness of the upper – it should be between 2-3mm.
A full rand running around the base of the upper protects the boot from ice, scree and moraine.
The shank is commonly made from nylon, fibreglass or Kevlar and has little or no flex over both the length and width of the boot. This provides a stable platform in rugged terrain and while climbing but can mean less comfort on flat terrain.
If the boot flexes lengthways or sideways, a flexible crampon with straps front and back should be used. Technical boots sometimes have a welt at the front for crampons with front and back clips.
Because these boots are so stiff, pressure points won’t go away with use which makes getting the perfect fit crucial. You need wriggle room to ensure blood flow – which will combat frostnip – and the heel needs to be snug and secure.
Now you know what to look, it’s time to choose a boot…
|Fitwell Sirius Winter $595
Use Winter mountaineering Upper Suede leather with Kevlar effect reinforcement Construction eVent lining, PrimaLoft insulation, full protective rand, removable microfibre footbed with antibacterial fabric, lace-locking eyelets, perforated PE insole, nylon and fibreglass shank, dual density EVA midsole, fully automatic crampon compatible Outsole Vibram Teton, Weight 1880g. www.splitn2.com
Lowa Cevedale GTX $799
|Asolo Aconcagua GV $610
Use Alpine trekking, winter work Upper 2.4mm water-resistant Perwanger leather Construction Gore-Tex Performance lining, Asoflex Ascent board lasted, injected moulded insole, micro pulley lacing, fully automatic crampon compatible, made in EU. Outsole Vibram Vertige Weight 1980g. www.oms.co.nz