While doing mountaineering you need to have good footwear. And like with everything else in life is the amount of quality given by the accuracy of the use. Thus, even if we have a quality shoes, they will serve us poorly when used for any other purpose than that for which it is intended. This specialization brings us to the fact that for climbing is one type of footwear usually not enough. It is quite normal that the climber has several types of footwear, ranging from those that are designed for rock climbing, and ending with heavy boots used for the events in the mountains, in case that he/she also does the mountain climbing. Let alone the winter! It brings other conditions to which the boots must conform to, and so the shoe rack of the climber nicely grows. To try to save on the footwear is not worth it. If we sometimes spend a lot of money for fashionable fleece shirts, caps, T-shirts and other “hot clothes” it does not make sense to skimp on footwear. Footwear has to be the best.

Basic types of footwear

Climbing shoes – footwear intended for rock climbing or climbing on artificial walls. It is mostly worn on bare foot. For easier climbs it is sufficient, if the shoe is only a little smaller than our standard shoe size. The shoe should be tight, but in a way that we can easily wear it for a long time. For more difficult climbing is good to have anatomically shaped shoe. It is also necessary to have slightly smaller shoe, its fit on the leg must be very tight to keep the foot in the shoe even while standing on a small rock foothold (e.g., mineral crystal, millimetre long protrusion, etc.). Because of that is the wearing of the shoe painful and we are wearing it only for the moment of climbing. We take it off right after the ascent.

Ankle high climbing shoes – more robust variant of climbing shoes designed for whole day mountain ascents of easy to medium difficulty. It is usually worn with a thicker sock to have more comfortable feel of the foot in the shoe while doing the longer ascents. Ankle high climbing shoes are also suitable for crack climbing, when they reasonably protect the ankles against bloody scraping.

Trekking shoes – low shoes under the ankles, suitable for walking on paths and trails in easy terrain.

Trekking boots – Light summer boot, used from spring till autumn. Used for walking without backpack or only with a light one. It is often designed in the combination of leather and synthetic fabrics with the use of some waterproof membrane.

From left: Climbing shoe – Ankle high climbing shoe – Trekking shoe – Trekking boot

From left: Climbing shoe – Ankle high climbing shoe – Trekking shoe – Trekking boot

Mountain boots – footwear used for unrestricted movement in the mountains, in the rubble and on easy rock. Used in cold weather or for occasional summer hiking on a gentle slope in firn snow. Suitable for use while carrying heavy backpack. They are very often designed as leather boots with use of some waterproof membrane. With high-quality leather processing and proper application of impregnating agent is the use of membrane not required.

Winter boots – for use in hard winter conditions, in glacial mountains with higher altitudes. Especially recommended for combined events, when at first we move in the rocky terrain (rocky paths, rubble, rocky ridges) and then also, for the significant length of time, in the snow (glaciers, snow slopes, wading in the snow). It has to have a system for fitting of the crampons. This footwear is most often constructed as a leather boot; on some models is the construction reinforced by elements made of plastic or rubber.

Plastic boots – for use in very hard winter conditions for movement in snowy and icy terrain. It has to have a system for fitting of the crampons. The footwear is designed in two layers (shoe in the boot). The outer plastic shell provides complete waterproofness, removable inner shoe is made of foam and acts as thermal insulation. This footwear is suitable for events where we mainly wade or move through the snow.

Expedition high-altitude boots – special footwear for use in high mountains over 6,000 meters above sea level.

From left: Mountain boot – Winter boot – Plastic boot – Expedition high-altitude boot

From left: Mountain boot – Winter boot – Plastic boot – Expedition high-altitude boot

Footwear categories

For better orientation in the products and in order to facilitate customer choice were shoes for outdoor activities sorted into classes, designated by the letters A, B, C and D. Sorting is very simple, one might say even inadequate. Manufacturers themselves are facing this problem, which in cases where it is apparent that the use of only one letter is not enough to describe specific boots results in the use of intermediate stages (e.g. B/C, C/D).

A – Lightest, mostly trekking shoes bellow ankles or slightly above ankles, used for summer walks in the outdoors.

B – Easy hiking, summer walks up the hill in the forest zone, shoes are reaching above the ankles.

C – Challenging hiking, steep hills, high mountains and glaciers, also easier winter hiking.

D – Very challenging hiking, climbing on rock, ice (rigid crampons) and snow.

More in e-book.

Title Part 2Mountaineering Methodology – Part 2 – Gear and Accessories

ISBN 978-80-87715-08-6

MMPublishing, 2013

Available for download from Apple iTunes (in the Books section).

For example U.S. store – link

Another countries – look on the page Download

See layout.

Another possibility is Google Play. This version is a simplified (as PDF).

Title Part 2 GPMountaineering Methodology – Part 2 – Gear and Accessories

ISBN 978-80-87715-13-0

MMPublishing, 2014

Available for download from Google Play.