Never Forget About Your Feet!

Hiking Boots Vs. Mountaineering Boots

     Hiking boots and mountaineering boots are both designed for outdoor activities, but they serve different purposes and have distinct features due to the varying demands of the activities they are intended for. Here are some key differences between hiking and mountaineering boots:


  1. Activity Type:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots are designed for hiking or trekking on established trails and moderate terrain. They are suitable for day hikes or multi-day backpacking trips where the terrain is less technical and does not involve significant climbing or mountaineering.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots are specifically designed for technical mountaineering and climbing in alpine environments, including snow, ice, and rocky terrain. They are meant for more advanced and challenging outdoor activities.
  2. Durability:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots are built for durability and comfort during long walks. They are typically lighter and more flexible than mountaineering boots, making them suitable for extended hikes.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots are constructed with robust materials to withstand harsh conditions, including sharp rocks, ice, and crampon use. They are generally heavier and stiffer to provide better support and protection.
  3. Ankle Support:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots often provide ankle support but are usually lower-cut than mountaineering boots. They are designed to allow for more natural ankle movement, which is suitable for hiking on well-maintained trails.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots offer substantial ankle support, typically extending higher up the calf. This added support is crucial for navigating uneven and treacherous terrain encountered during mountaineering.
  4. Insulation:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots may come with some insulation for comfort in varying weather conditions, but they are generally not heavily insulated.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots often have significant insulation to keep your feet warm in cold alpine environments. They are also compatible with crampons, which are essential for icy or snowy conditions.
  5. Traction:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots usually have moderate traction suitable for well-maintained trails, dirt paths, and rocky terrain.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots are designed with aggressive outsoles to provide excellent traction on snow, ice, and steep, uneven terrain.
  6. Weight:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots prioritize lightweight design for extended comfort during long hikes.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots are heavier due to their added insulation, support, and protection features.
  7. Flexibility:
    • Hiking Boots: Hiking boots are more flexible to allow for a natural walking motion.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Mountaineering boots are stiffer to provide stability while walking on uneven or icy surfaces and to support the use of crampons for ice climbing.
     In summary, the choice between hiking boots and mountaineering boots depends on the type of outdoor activity you plan to engage in. Hiking boots are suitable for less technical hikes on established trails, while mountaineering boots are essential for more challenging mountaineering and climbing adventures in alpine environments. It’s crucial to select the appropriate footwear to ensure safety and comfort during your outdoor pursuits.

What To Know About Ski Boots

      Ski boots are a crucial component of your skiing equipment, and selecting the right pair is essential for both safety and performance on the slopes. Here’s what you need to know about ski boots:

  1. Sizing and Fit:
    • Ski boots are typically sized in mondo point sizing, which is based on the length of your foot in centimeters. It’s essential to get the correct size to ensure comfort and control.
  2. Boot Flex:
    • Ski boot flex refers to the stiffness of the boot. Different types of skiing require different flex ratings. Beginner boots have a softer flex for easier control, while advanced skiers may prefer stiffer boots for more responsiveness.
  3. Boot Type:
    • There are three primary types of ski boots: alpine, backcountry, and cross-country.
      • Alpine Ski Boots: These are the most common and are used for downhill skiing at ski resorts.
      • Backcountry Ski Boots: Designed for skiing in off-piste terrain and often used with touring bindings.
      • Cross-Country Ski Boots: Used for Nordic skiing and come in various styles, including classic and skate.
  4. Boot Compatibility:
    • Ensure your ski boots are compatible with your ski bindings. Different bindings have specific requirements regarding boot sole length, shape, and norm (e.g., ISO 5355 for alpine skiing).
  5. Sole and Traction:
    • Alpine ski boots have smooth soles for compatibility with alpine bindings, while backcountry boots have grippier soles for walking in the snow.
  6. Liners and Customization:
    • Many ski boots come with heat-moldable liners that can be customized to the shape of your foot for added comfort.
    • Some liners have adjustable padding to fine-tune the fit.
  7. Buckles and Closure Systems:
    • Ski boots typically have buckles or other closure systems to secure your feet. Make sure they are easy to adjust and provide a snug fit.
  8. Footbeds and Insoles:
    • Consider using custom footbeds or insoles to provide better support and alignment for your feet. This can enhance comfort and performance.
  9. Try Before You Buy:
    • It’s highly recommended to try on multiple pairs of ski boots to find the one that fits your feet best. Visit a specialty ski shop where professionals can help you with fitting.
  10. Consider Your Skill Level:
    • Beginners may prefer softer-flexing boots for easier control and comfort, while advanced skiers might opt for stiffer boots for better responsiveness and precision.
  11. Budget:
    • Ski boots come in a wide range of price points. While it’s essential to stay within your budget, investing in quality boots that fit well is a good idea as they can significantly impact your skiing experience.
  12. Boot Care:
    • Proper care and maintenance are essential to prolong the life of your ski boots. Dry them thoroughly after each use, avoid exposing them to extreme heat, and store them in a cool, dry place.
  13. Professional Advice:
    • If you’re unsure about which ski boots to choose, seek advice from experienced skiers or visit a professional boot fitter who can assess your needs and recommend the right boots for you.

     Remember that the right ski boots can significantly enhance your skiing experience by providing comfort, control, and performance. Take your time to choose the perfect pair and ensure they are properly fitted to your feet and skiing style.

All About Climbing Shoes


     Climbing shoes are specialized footwear designed to provide optimal performance and grip while rock climbing or bouldering. These shoes play a crucial role in a climber’s ability to maintain control, balance, and precision on the climbing surface. Here are some key things to know about climbing shoes:
  1. Types of Climbing Shoes:
    • Neutral Shoes: These are ideal for beginners and all-day comfort. They have a flatter sole and less aggressive downturn, making them more comfortable for long climbs and less technical routes.
    • Moderate Shoes: These provide a balance between comfort and performance. They have a slight downturn and more tension in the sole, making them suitable for intermediate climbers tackling a variety of routes.
    • Aggressive Shoes: Designed for advanced climbers and difficult climbs, these shoes have a pronounced downturn and a pointed toe. They offer maximum precision and power on steep and overhanging terrain.
  2. Fit:
    • Climbing shoes should fit snugly to prevent your feet from moving inside the shoe. A properly fitted shoe minimizes dead space, which can reduce performance and control.
    • Climbing shoes often have a sizing chart that differs from street shoe sizes, so it’s important to try on multiple sizes and styles to find the best fit.
    • Some climbers prefer a tighter fit for precision, while others prefer a more comfortable fit for longer climbs.
  3. Closure Systems:
    • Climbing shoes come with various closure systems, including lace-up, Velcro straps, and slip-on designs.
    • Closure systems affect the fit and ease of putting on/taking off the shoes. Choose a system that suits your preferences and needs.
  4. Materials:
    • The uppers of climbing shoes are typically made from leather, synthetic materials, or a combination of both. Leather shoes tend to stretch over time, while synthetic shoes maintain their shape.
    • The sole, usually made of rubber, is the most critical part of the shoe for grip and edging performance.
  5. Sole Rubber:
    • The type of rubber used on the sole of climbing shoes varies between brands and models. Some types of rubber provide better grip on rock, while others are more durable.
    • Resoleability is a consideration if you plan to keep your shoes for a long time. Some shoes can be resoled to extend their lifespan.
  6. Downturn and Asymmetry:
    • The downturn of a shoe refers to the angle of the sole from the toe to the heel. Aggressive shoes have a pronounced downturn for better performance on overhangs.
    • Asymmetry refers to the shoe’s shape; asymmetrical shoes are typically more pointed and offer better precision on small holds.
  7. Sensitivity:
    • Sensitivity in climbing shoes refers to how well you can feel the rock or holds underfoot. More sensitive shoes provide better feedback but may be less comfortable for long climbs.
  8. Specialized Shoes:
    • Some climbing shoes are designed for specific types of climbing, such as crack climbing, slab climbing, or bouldering. These shoes have features tailored to the demands of those styles.
  9. Breaking-In Period:
    • New climbing shoes may feel tight and uncomfortable initially. They often require a breaking-in period to conform to your foot’s shape and become more comfortable.
  10. Caring for Climbing Shoes:
    • Keep climbing shoes clean and dry after use to prevent odor and deterioration.
    • Avoid exposing them to extreme heat, as it can damage the glue that holds the sole to the upper.
     Choosing the right climbing shoe depends on your climbing style, experience level, and personal preferences. It’s recommended to try on different models, consult with experienced climbers or climbing shop staff, and pay close attention to fit and comfort to find the best pair for your needs.

Wear The Proper Socks Too…

     Choosing the proper socks for mountain activities is essential for your comfort and safety. Socks play a crucial role in keeping your feet dry, warm, and blister-free, which is especially important in challenging and variable mountain environments. Here are some tips to help you choose the right socks for your mountain adventures:
  1. Consider the Season and Conditions:
    • For cold weather and winter mountain activities, opt for thicker, insulated socks that provide warmth.
    • In warmer seasons or for strenuous activities, choose lighter and breathable socks.
  2. Material Matters:
    • Merino wool is a popular choice for mountain socks as it wicks moisture away from your skin, insulates when wet, and resists odors.
    • Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are also common for their moisture-wicking properties and durability.
  3. Sock Height:
    • Choose sock height based on your activity and the type of footwear you’ll be using. Crew socks are versatile and work for many activities, while taller socks like knee-highs provide additional warmth and protection.
  4. Moisture Management:
    • Look for socks with moisture-wicking properties to keep your feet dry. Wet feet can lead to blisters and discomfort.
  5. Cushioning and Padding:
    • Socks with cushioning in specific areas like the heel and ball of the foot can provide extra comfort and reduce fatigue during long hikes.
  6. Seamless Construction:
    • Socks with flat, seamless toe seams minimize friction and reduce the risk of blisters.
  7. Fit and Size:
    • Make sure the socks fit well and aren’t too tight or too loose. Socks that are too tight can restrict circulation, while loose socks can lead to friction and blisters.
  8. Layering:
    • Consider wearing a thin moisture-wicking liner sock underneath a thicker hiking sock. This can help prevent blisters by reducing friction.
  9. Quality:
    • Invest in high-quality socks designed for outdoor activities. They are more likely to last longer and provide better performance than cheaper alternatives.
  10. Test Before Your Adventure:
    • Always try out your socks with your hiking or mountaineering boots before embarking on a big adventure to ensure they are comfortable and work well together.
  11. Carry Extra Socks:
    • Regardless of the season, it’s a good idea to carry an extra pair of socks in your backpack. You never know when you might need them, especially if your feet get wet.
  12. Specialized Socks:
    • Depending on your activity, you may need specialized socks. For example, for extreme cold conditions, you might consider heated socks, and for mountaineering, you may want high-altitude or expedition-specific socks.
     Remember that everyone’s feet are different, so what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to find the socks that suit your feet and the specific conditions of your mountain activity. When in doubt, consult with experienced outdoor retailers or fellow hikers and mountaineers for recommendations based on their experiences in the same terrain and weather conditions.
Above are two examples of socks from Paka. They are made from soft, warm, and odor resistant alpaca wool. And on the right is a pair of merino wool ski socks from Arc'teryx

A great Pair Of Everyday Shoes, Around Town And In The Field!

The Scarpa Spirit EVO

     I personally own these shoes, and I love them!  They are very comfortable , and fit true to size.  I also own a couple other boots from Scarpa, and they are built to last.  These shoes are built with that same quality, and are made from recycled materials.  A nice suede shoe with protective rands in front and back.  A great shoe for everyday use.  See my video on YouTube About Them!