Having good boots is essential for going in the mountains. There are variety of mountaineering boots out there on the market. All of them are made from different materials and are for different use and difference in prices.
Boots may be leather, plastic or made from some modern materials. A good boot should be tough enough to withstand the scraping of rocks, stiff and solid enough for kicking steps in hard snow, but it should be comfortable in same time so you can enjoy the hike.
The classic leather boots have the following features: high uppers to protect the ankles in rough terrain, specially constructed soles (most used is Vibram sole for traction on slippery terrain), midsoles for shock absorption and semi-rigid shank. If the shoes are used for hikes or easy snow climbs they should have half-length nylon or fiberglass shank that will keep the sole flexible. The boots made for technical and ice climbing have full-length or made of plastic shank. Another important things that should have the boots you will choose are: minimum number of seams so the places water can leak through are decreased, double or triple layered leather or fabric in the areas of the toes and the hill.
With the improvement of the technology the new lightweight boot are made of leather and nylon. The uppers of the boots are glued to the sole, they are high enough for ankle protection and the abrasion areas are reinforced. The lightweight boots are with increased breathability, improved comfort and faster drying.
The plastic boots are designed for technical and ice climbing. The plastic shell of the boot is waterproof and the inner is dry and keeps your feet warm and it can be easily removed to be dried.
How to choose the right sizing for you?
How the boot will fit you is the most important thing when choosing boots. When you buy boots for you better try several different styles and models and it is important to try them with the type of socks that you usually wear on a mountain trip. Wear the boots for couple of minutes before buying them, let the to adjust to your feet and see if there will be any uncomfortable seams. If the boots fit your heels will probably feel firmly attached in place and the toes will have plenty of free room and will not jam against the toe box when you press forward. Never buy too small boots, it is always better to have more space in the boot, and in case you have more extra space you can fill it with a thicker sock.
How to take care of the boots?
If you care for the boot properly they may last a few years and keep the properties of a good boot. Don’t wash the boot frequently, and always read the take care of part concrete about your boot model so you will be sure not to destroy the boot properties. When you dry the shoes never expose them to direct source of heat because that will make the fall apart on the future trip you take. Instead, dry them in a warm ventilated area. Use waterproofing products that are made for your shoe type and this process should be repeated periodically because the shoe loses its waterproofing properties. The waterproofing should be made day or two before you use them.
If using plastic boots, after the use remove the inner layer, clean it and leave it to dry itself before you return it inside the plastic shell.