Ice climbing is a good bit more dangerous than regular climbing or hiking. Snowy and icy climbs have the added danger of cold and unsure, slippery footing.
The best way to ensure that you are totally safe on your ice climb is get the best ice climbing boots possible.
The best types are the kind that not only keep your stability high, but also climbing boots that keep your feet very warm, since frostbite may be an ever present danger and at times it is hard to tell if you are getting too Cold.
Below are a couple of options for you to consider so that your choice can be informed and on your ice climbing adventure you will stay sure footed, warm, and have an enjoyable time.
Top 5 Ice Climbing for Every Kind of Climb
La Sportiva Men’s Spantik Boot
A water resistant coating made with an Antiacua layer really makes this ice climbing boot stand out from the others. It is extremely sturdy with vibrate rubber constructed into it and features ankle backstay for really good reinforcement. You will want to be as secure as possible in your boot while ice climbing.
Inside the boot there is a thermo-formable layer that will be sure to keep your foot very warm and cozy while trekking through the ice.
A flaw with this shoe is that it may be a little tough to find the right size for the La Sportiva. You will probably have to try to go a size up from what you normally would.
The toe rocker feature also helps the boot feel like a much better fit, rather than the oversized club foot some other ice climbing boots feel like.
At a weight of 5 pounds, the Spantik is a pretty low weight shoe and will definitely be a boon when your hike gets tough.
Another awesome feature for this ice climbing boot is that you can easily cinch your laces with one easy pull. The fit of your boot is always paramount so that you can stay as safe as possible.
Possibly a tough part of this show is though it’s made for ice climbing, using crampons with the boots are a little bit hard. The very front of the boots are a little bit oddly shaped so fitting them over the boot may be a problem.
Scarpa Men’s Mont Blanc Goretex Mountaineering Boot
The Scarpa boot is fully suede and has a vibram constructed sole. It’s a great boot for stability because it has a rear randing lock on each heel, which is a really big bonus for safety.
It also has an advanced mid sole system that creates really great shock absorbent ice climbing boots.
These are some of the best ice climbing boots, especially because they are extremely waterproof and the material that keeps the waterproof boot tight.
It’s great also that the Scarpa has a gaiter that is able to snap at the very top of the boot to give you that firm fit at the top of your ankle, which is very reassuring when hiking for a long time.
At the very sides of the climbing boot, the rubber rand is continuous from the front of the shoe all the way to the back, making it pretty shock absorbent.
Fit a Variety of Crampons
Also, these shoes are great at handling all various types of ice climbing crampons. The two main kinds of crampons are automatic and semi-automatic, and both of these types fit very nicely onto the Scarpa ice climbing boot.
This boot is a lighter version from the last model and in some ways better. However, it being lighter means it has a little bit less insulation, so if you are looking for the warmest possible ice climbing boot, this may not be the one for you.
- Gaiter locking straps
- Continuous rubber rand
Salomon Men’s X Ultra Winter CS Waterproof 2 Hiking Boot
The Salomon has a very tall shaft which gives the ice climbing boot really great stability. It is lined with thinsulate insulation which keeps you really warm with crowding your feet inside. The boot features a gaiter hook as well, allowing you to go for a little bit deeper snow walks than other boots.
The upper leather material really keeps off the harsh snow and rain, while also giving a really great fit that is very comfortable.
Traction under the Salomon is really good. It has a premium wet traction contragrip that gives your boot superior grip, keeping you safe on your ice climbing adventure.
Built Like a Running Shoe
Made to be built like a running shoe while still having the durability and utility of an ice climbing shoe, the chassis is built to be surrounded by foam for super comfort. The chassis connects itself right to the sole to also stabilize the heel. It also has amazing arch support.
Not Very Breathable
Because of how super warm and waterproof these ice climbing boots are, they are not necessarily the most breathable boots. You will want to try to size these climbing boots really well so that you can wear thinner socks so that you won’t overheat during your climb.
Also a great build of this ice climbing boot is that it fits snowshoes really well. The shape of the boots, mainly the curve of the heel really fits the straps of the snowshoe.
- Leather upper
Asolo Fugitive GTX Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boot for Light Hikers and Trekkers
The makeup of the Salewa ice climbing boot is leather, suede, and cordura, so even for a lighter mountaineering shoe, it’s pretty sturdy. The suede and corder are actually made to be waterproof as well which is great while climbing in ice. It’s got a great thick rubber sole which improves its durability greatly.
GTX actually stands for Gore-Tex lining, a very strong and durable fabric that allows breathability while also being very waterproof, which are two very important features to have in your climbing boots.
The midsole is actually a combination of two different materials melted together to increase the strength of your climbing boot.
Flat footed ice climbers will really appreciate this shoe, as they have some of the best fit for flat footed mountaineers.
A downside with these boots is that they are pretty stiff, and they stay pretty stiff, which is a good thing and a bad thing. These will last you a long time but won’t ever really be as comfortable as you would like them to be.
They are also great mountaineering and climbing shoes for attaching crampons to. They have good edges for the crampon straps to really grip on to and stay tight.
A toe cap sits at the very front of the shoe and provides a pretty wide area of protection. It is not made out of steel, but it is almost as hard as steel is firmly fixed in place.
- Gore-Tex lining
- Very stiff
Salewa Rapace GTX Mountaineering Boot
Quality made leather and thick rubber soles are two of the Salewa mountaineering boots’ best features.
Some of the great build features on this shoe are listed below
- Gore-Tex Lining
- Vibram WTC in the outsole
- Multiple Layers of foot bedding
The Gore-Tex lining making it breathable and waterproof. The outsole is made of Vibram WTC which is another really amazing material that just makes this ice climbing boot just that much stronger.
And it comes with a couple layers of foot bedding that allows you to put more padding in the foot. This will allow you to mold your boot to the exact shape of your foot, creating a more specialized climbing boot.
For people with narrower, longer feet, the toe box will be a present surprise as it is pretty roomy and won’t cramp your toes while still giving a good form fitting feel.
Uniquely, the boot has a small wire frame wrapped around it from ankle to heel that gives additional support as you walk through ice.
The tread on these climbing boots isn’t particularly deep, so it may not be the best shoe for you in the mud or the snow, as the shallow treads may become filled pretty easily and lose traction on your climb. However, the forefoot actually has a pretty flat edge which makes it pretty easy to find your footing if you have lost it on slick or wet ice.
A pretty lightweight climbing boot, you will definitely be pleased with how much your boots won’t weigh you down on your climb and you will definitely be grateful for the low weight if you’re forced to tuck your boots into your gear bag and change to climbing shoes.
These boots also work pretty well with a variety of crampons. You probably won’t have much trouble fitting them over your shoes.
Might Not Be That Waterproof
A complaint about these shoes is that, while lined with Gore-tex which is supposed to keep out as much water as possible, people have found the water resistance to be a little lacking.
- Roomy toe box
- Water resistance
How to Choose the Best Ice Climbing Boots
The best way to find out which of the best ice climbing boots you can find is to look over and decide on a couple of key features. Not only will this help you narrow down your search and make it easier to get what you need for your ice climbing adventure.
Below are some foundational features to look out for when trying to find your perfect, best ice climbing boot.
You will definitely want to get an ice climbing boot with really great traction. Deep cuts in your tread are critical when ice climbing. If snow or mud gets stuck in between shallow tread it will cause you to slip on the ice.
Another important part of traction is being able to find your footing quickly, not just keeping it at a constant grip. You may find yourself in a sticky situation if you can’t quickly find your footing again when you slip.
Obviously this is going to be a huge feature in your ice climbing boots. Your boot will be constantly inundated with snow and ice and you will need to make sure that your climbing boots are very resilient to water.
The water around your shoe will constantly be melting and refreezing and you don’t want to have that water get inside of your shoe adding to any cold that you may already be feeling.
You most likely will be using a variety of ice climbing crampons to put on your boots. The shape of your boots is important so that it can fit those crampons. These are very important to have so that you can stably walk through ice and snow.
The fit of the ice champions depends on the shape of the ice climbing boot. If the boot is too irregular you will have to constantly readjust the crampon and they may come loose on your climb and cause you to fall.
The Best Questions About Climbing Holds
Q: Can I use these for everyday use?
A: No. For one you will find ice climbing and mountaineering boots very stiff for regular walking as they are made to stand up against extremely tough terrain. Two, since you need these shoes at their highest performance level, you won’t want to wear them down except for on your climb.
Q: How should I size ice climbing boots?
A: You should always try to size your climbing boots about a half size or a size up from your normal shoes to accommodate for the rigid and more compressed fit.
Q: Can I use crampons and snowshoes on ice climbing boots?
A: Yes. Preferably you would want to use snowshoes for snow climbing and crampons for ice climbing, but sometimes your trail will be a mix of both and you may need to carry both to make sure you have the right type of gear for your climb.