Mountaineering boots are stiffer, and will have a B1, B2 or B3 rating. They’re ideal for multi-day hikes, carrying heavy packs over rough terrain, scrabbling or via ferrata climbing. The minimal flex in the sole means some of these boots are crampon-compatible:
B1 Boots are compatible with C1 strap on crampons. These can be good all-rounder boots if you’re planning to take on the occasional hill in winter.
B2 boots are compatible with C2 crampons. These boots offer more support for front pointing and kicking steps in snow but have enough flew to sustain comfortable walking action.
B3 boots are compatible with C3 crampons, made for ice climbing. These boots are great for climbs on snowed up buttresses, steep gullies and arêtes.
Most walking boots include a waterproof and breathable liner between the materials of the upper to keep you dry, inside and out. Some liners will be built from GORE-TEX and others may use the manufacturer’s own technology. Either way, waterproofing is a must in your boots if there’s any chance you’ll be caught in the rain or snow – which in the UK, let’s be honest, you will.
Your boot’s upper is designed for support, and is constructed from either leather or synthetic fabrics. Which fabric is better is hotly debated, but really it’s just about what you prefer, and the fit of the boot should always be your main priority. If you’re choosing between a leather pair and a synthetic pair that fit equally well, consider that leather boots tend to be sturdier and heavier, and require a lot of aftercare but tend to last longer if well looked after. Synthetic boots tend to be lighter in weight and very breathable, and often need less care.
The fit of your boots is the most important thing to consider – you’ll never notice a well-fitting pair of boots, but you’ll definitely notice a bad fit. Insoles aren’t part of your boots but are a great addition if there’s an area of your boots that doesn’t fit well, or if your feet tend to pronate when you walk. It’ll reduce your fatigue, lessen the chance of injury and just make your life outdoors a lot more comfortable. Visit us in-store for free boot fitting and insole advice from our experts.