Best Winter Boots (01/01/2022)

Best Winter Boots

BEST WINTER BOOTS

One of the most popular questions we get asked is "what's the best winter boot". The simple answer is the one that's best for you!

This is explained simply by asking yourself the following questions:

What activities will I be doing with the boots?

What time of year will they be used?

How often will I use them?

What crampons will I need?

What's my budget?

Fit and comfort

Am I shopping online or in person?

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What activities will I be doing with the boots?

Are you aiming to walk paths at low level that may have sections of ice or light snow cover or perhaps forest trails that also have mud and boggy areas in winter? Are you a regular summer mountain walker who has ambitions to venture out in winter and experience your regular walks but with snow cover? Have you already been out in winter and wish to add further experience such as winter gullies with more sustained sections of ice? Or are you ready to experience winter climbing with steep terrain, mostly ice covered and technical routes? Thinking about what you will be doing with your boots is the first step in finding the right boots. They must be capable of coping with your activity whilst also being comfortable and not overly technical if they don't need to be.

What time of year will they be used?

Are you after a pair of boots to be used from Spring to Autumn or for winter only? Will they be used for boggy and cross country terrain as well as snow covered slopes or specifically for ice climbing? Waterproof and warm are good qualities and some trade off exists when using lighter winter boots. Are you good at maintaining boots so would favour leather boots or do you need a light alpine type boot where maintenance is minimal.

How often will I use them?

Will they be used only in winter or will they be used for most of the year in a mixture of weather and conditions? Are you investing in a boot to last many years of occasional use or a workhorse boot that will be used for most of the year and may last a couple of years at most. It's also worth thinking about what you will do with the boot once it is past it's best for winter activities. Can you resole the boot to extend it's life? Do you know somewhere that can repair mountain boots? Will they be down graded to summer boots or even ones to be used in the garden!

What crampons will I need?

The many choices of crampons available can be confusing and occasionally misleading. Again, it depends on what you want the crampons for. Occasional light use, medium use including steeper terrain or technical crampons for ice climbing? The choice of boot will probably steer you towards the choice of crampons but make sure they fit your boots and are able to cope with what you want them to do.

What's your budget?

This is an important point to consider before buying winter boots. Not everyone can afford £250/£350 for winter boots so have a budget and stick to it. There are many outlets that offer second hand winter boots, often in very good condition. The fact that they are costly makes it even more important to choose carefully before purchasing! Modern marketing plays it's part in enticing us to part with our money - by establishing answers to the questions posed here, you should be able to limit the risk of making a costly mistake!

Fit and comfort

They must fit properly with your normal winter walking socks as well as any additional insoles you may need or use. Often, a change in the lacing set up should correct any small niggles or hot spots. You will be using the boots in challenging conditions so make sure they are comfortable!

Am I shopping online or in person?

We encourage shopping local and in person. However, sometimes online shopping is the correct choice. Whichever you choose - never, ever hurry or feel forced to buy winter boots. It is far better to research and buy in good time rather than buy the incorrect boots for a course or activity, committed to at short notice.

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Summary

Don't rush to buy, research well and in good time.

Comfort, fit and the right boots for the right activity

Stick to your budget

Match the crampons to the boots

If possible, get winter boots that will also cross over into the worse weather of Spring and Autumn

There are of course other factors to consider such as the industry rating of boots and crampons and services such as in store boot fitting but hopefully the above article has at least given you a few ideas of what to think about before purchasing your winter boots.