The Best Ice Climbing Boots

There are few pieces of gear as important as an ice climber’s boots. The wrong pair of boots can turn any day from a perfect trip in the backcountry to a brutally cold suffer-fest. Whether you’re climbing your first routes at the local ice park or sending WI6+, this list has got all the info you need to pick the best ice climbing boots. 

Remember, the best ice climbing boots may be different for you than for other climbers. Ice climbing boots work best when they fit well and match the type of climbing you’re doing. They may be single or double, depending on your mission.

1. Scarpa Phantom Tech

Type: Technical 4 Season Alpine Single Boot

Material: Synthetic Upper and Vibram® Precision Tech Roll / Mont Sole

Insulation: Yes 

Weight: 3 lbs. 3.2 oz.

Crampon Style: Automatic and Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • Primaloft insulation
  • ACTIVimpact technology to reduce impact
  • Vegan materials used in construction

Scarpa Phantom Tech Review

One of the most popular boots among ice climbing guides, the Phantom tech is an incredible boot that deserves the number 1 spot on the list. Its lightweight design has been improved for more durability and increased warmth for this season. The boot has also gotten a new HDry system and an improved gaiter/lace design that makes it much easier to use. It is a terrific boot for technical climbing and those wearing it will notice the level of control they have during their climbs. This is one of the best ice climbing boots of 2020-2021. Though it isn’t as warm as some others on this list, it is the perfect boot for lower altitude ice climbing and nicer days.

 

2. Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX Mountaineering Boots

Type: 4 Season Alpine Single Boot

Material: Leather upper and Vibram® Essential AC / Mont sole

Insulation: Yes

Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz

Crampon Style: Automatic and Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • GORE-TEX Insulation keeps feet warm and dry
  • Sock-Fit™ XT ensures a snug fit 
  • ACTIVimpact technology reduces impacts and shock

Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX Mountaineering Boot Review

Each version of this boot just gets better and better. Since its original release, the Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX has become a favorite of technical mountaineers on a variety of peaks. With plenty of insulation and automatic crampon compatibility, this boot is ready for long days out on the ice. With its weight at just under 4 pounds for the pair, it provides for a slightly lighter experience than some of the double boots on this list, while maintaining some of our favorite elements. Based on a reports from climbers, this boot fits slightly wider feet as well which is a major consideration for some climbers when comparing these to a La Sportiva boot like the Nepal series. 

3. La Sportiva G2 SM Mountaineering Boot

Type: 4 Season Alpine Double Boot

Material: Cordura™ Upper and  Vibram® Matterhorn with Impact Brake System™ sole

Insulation: Yes

Weight: 4 lbs. 8.2 oz.

Crampon Style: Automatic and Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • Integrated Gaiter
  • Dual Boa® tightening system
  • Impact brake system

La Sportiva G2 SM Mountaineering Boot

The La Sportiva G2 SM mountaineering boot is our favorite double boot for technical mountaineering and days out on pure ice. Being a double boot it will be a bit heavier but will be great for multi-day adventures in the backcountry when you’ll need to dry your gear out in the field. When it comes to mountaineering this is an ideal boot for 5000 to 7000-meter mountains with its incredibly warm build (even warmer than the older Spantik). The design of the boot leaves it feeling less stiff than some of its peers, which can be nice for walking in but can lead to some looseness which can make climbing feel a bit sloppier. For many climbers, it is the perfect blend of technical skill, lightweight, and incredible warmth.

4. Lowa Alpine Expert GTX Mountaineering Boot

Type: Light 3-4 Season Alpine Single Boot

Material: Split Leather and VIBRAM® Alp Trac® Ice Sole

Insulation: Yes

Weight: 3 lbs. 13.4 oz.

Crampon Style: Automatic and Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • Fit Wing for articulation and ease when climbing
  • Mountaineering Hard Winter Stabilizer for support
  • Fleece top for additional warmth

Lowa Alpine Expert GTX Mountaineering Boot Review

This is one of our favorite entry-level alpine boots. A perfect combo of lightweight design and warmth with 400g Primaloft insulation. It handles traditional mountaineering like a champion and is still stiff enough and responsive enough for more technical ice and mixed routes. Though it lacks some of the fancier features of other boots, it will still impress with its toughness and ability to tackle varying objectives. It’s the perfect first mountaineering and ice climbing boot for someone that isn’t ready to break the bank. 

5.La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Mountaineering Boots

Type: 4 Season Alpine Single Boot

Material:  Idro-Perwanger Roughout Leather Upper and Vibram Matterhorn Sole

Insulation: Yes

Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.

Crampon Style: Automatic, Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • Insulated GORE-TEX membrane for breathability and water-proofing
  • 3D Flex™ ankle
  • Honeycomb insole

La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Mountaineering Boots Review

This is a tough boot loved by mountaineers across the world. It’s a boot that could carry you across adventures from ice climbing in the lower-48 to some summer ascents of larger mountains in Alaska. It’s a single boot on a mission to make alpinism better with its newer, lighter design and removable tongue. This boot is also one of the most durable boots on this list and will last year after year without wearing out or breaking. For ice climbing, we love the fact that it is a lighter boot with more durability than many of the others. We also love the warmth factor of these boots for long days on the belay.

6. Arc'teryx Acrux AR GTX Mountaineering Boot

Type: Technical 4 Season Alpine Double Boot

Material: Synthetic Upper and Vibram® Mont Sole

Insulation: Yes

Weight: 4 lbs. 2 oz.

Crampon Style: Automatic and Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • GORE-TEX membrane on both the outer and inner boot
  • Zip up GORE-TEX gaiter
  • Low volume design

Arc'teryx Acrux AR GTX Mountaineering Boot Review

Coming from a brand that absolutely crushes performance, it makes sense that the Acrux AR GTX boots have made the list. Arc’teryx continually pushes the envelope of lightweight equipment and at just above 4 pounds these double boots accomplish just that. With only a few seems throughout the boots they’re not only light, but also incredibly durable for long days using the front points on your crampons. It’s a great boot for those with narrower feet who are looking for high performance on ice. It may not be the best choice for exceptionally cold days and closely lines up with the performance of the Phantom Tech and the La Sportiva G2’s cousin the G5.

7. La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX Mountaineering Boot

Type: 3-4 Season Alpine Single Boot

Material: Nylon Upper and La Sportiva One by Vibram Sole

Insulation: Yes

Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.

Crampon Style: Automatic, Semi-Automatic

Features:

  • Honeycomb Guard inserts
  • Impact break system for easier downclimbs
  • Collar tip gaiter

La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX Mountaineering Boot Review

Similar to the Lowa Alpine Expert boot above, the Trango Tower Extreme is an entry-level ice boot that can truly do it all. It’s extremely lightweight and packs enough insulation to keep you warm in the lower-48 on most cold days. Its best performance certainly comes on less steep ice and over rock, which makes it the right choice for a beginner mountaineer. Due to its lower insulation level, it is the perfect boot for warmer days out when you don’t want to get sweaty feet. With a lightweight design, it is also the best ice climbing boot to pack for ski touring where you might encounter some icy climbs or mountaineering conditions that you’d rather wear a more flexible boot for. 

 

FAQ

Most ice climbers wear stiff mountaineering boots or special “fruit” boots that allow them to attach a crampon to their boots to climb the ice.

The best ice climbing boots should typically be a half to a full size larger than your street shoes.

Mountaineering boots fit into three categories for crampons:

  • B1 boots that are generally 3–4 season hiking boots will take a strap-on crampon (C1)
  • B2 boots are rigid mountaineering boots with a heel welt that will accept a hybrid crampon (C2) or a strap-on crampon (C1)
  • B3 boots are rigid winter mountaineering boots and ice climbing boots that have both a heel and toe welt. These boots accept an automatic crampon (C3), a hybrid crampon (C2), and a strap-on crampon (C1).

Mountaineering boots fit into 3 categories for crampons:

  • B1 boots that are generally 3-4 season hiking boots will take a strap-on crampon (C1)
  • B2 boots are rigid mountaineering boots with a heel welt that will accept a hybrid crampon (C2) or a strap-on crampon (C1)
  • B3 boots are rigid winter mountaineering boots and ice climbing boots that have both a heel and toe welt. These boots accept an automatic crampon (C3), a hybrid crampon (C2), and a strap-on crampon (C1).

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