Alpine boots are required by those whose adventures take them well and truly above the snow line.
It’s essential the boot is able to keep feet warm for prolonged periods above the snowline. Warmth is achieved through a combination of insulation, upper material and a waterproof/breathable lining.
Some boots have one-piece leather uppers but there are also multi-panel synthetic/leather options. The thickness of the upper should be between 2-3mm.
Perfection is crucial – these boots are so stiff, pressure points will not go away with use. Ensure enough wriggle room to keep blood flowing to the toes – helpful to prevent frostnip. The heel needs to be secure.
The shank is commonly made from nylon, fibreglass or Kevlar and has little or no flex over the length or width of the boot. This provides a stable platform in rugged terrain and while climbing, but will make the boots difficult to use 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.
A full rand running around the base of the upper protects the boot from ice, scree and moraine.
Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX $899.99
Use Alpine Upper 3mm suede Perwanger leather with fabric Construction Low-volume fit over the instep for freedom of movement, stretch Gore-Tex lining with integrated cuff gaiter, polyester fibre insulated insoles, polyurethane midsoles, nylon shank, full rand, resoleable, automatic and semi-automatic crampon compatible Outsole Vibram Weight 1800g (m), 1560g (w). www.bivouac.co.nz
LOWA Cevedale Evo GTX $799
Use Alpine all-rounder Upper Mountaineering split leather/microfiber Construction Gore-Tex lining, board-lasted and resoleable, Lowa Flex, X-lacing stud holds tongue in position, stabiliser, DuraPU midsole, full rand, two-zone lacing system, Crampon compatible. Outsole Vibram Scalatore Evo Weight 1600g www.lowa.co.nz
LOWA Alpine Expert GTX $999
Use Alpine all-rounder for heavy backpacking and climbing Upper Mountaineering split leather/microfiber Construction Gore-Tex lining, 400g Primaloft insulation, board-lasted and resoleable, X-lacing stud holds tongue in position, Lowa Flex, stabiliser, DuraPU midsole, full rand, two-zone lacing system, automatic crampon compatible. Outsole Vibram Alp Trac Ice Weight 1740g. www.lowa.co.nz