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Bdubs

Fitting mountaineering boots

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So I'm looking into buying my first pair of mountaineering boots, and I'm looking at leathers. Really I just have a couple questions about fit of boots so I can be more knowledgeable as I look around. Should they fit tight like a glove or somewhat loose? Also, is there any amount of light toe bang that is acceptable or should my toes not even come close to ever touching the end? I have one foot that is noticeably longer than the other so I figure I'll need to compromise on fit somewhat.

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Mountaineering boots should not be too tight or too loose. They should fit snugly at the heel with no heel lift and have enough room in the toe to repeatedly kick a stair riser without banging your toes. You should try on boots with the socks you plan on wearing (thick mountaineering socks). If you experience any toe bang in the store, it will only get much worse while step kicking, front pointing, and descending.

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try on as many boots as you can get your hands on, buy the one that feels like you were born in it, then throw the stock insole away and have a custom one made (assuming you can afford it - downhill ski shops have lots of versions available). the custom insole will add to the price of the first pair of boots, but my first custom insoles lasted twenty years, and outlasted four pairs of heavy-duty alpine climbing boots.

as for toe-bang - as boots break in they will stretch and conform in width, but never in length. Fit the length to your larger foot (my left is a half-size larger than my right - a major pain-in-the-ass with rock shoes), then doctor the fit in the other boot as needed - a piece of molefoam on that heel, more sock, even add a neoprene insole -- whatever it takes. A qualified professional boot fitter may be of help - again, most likely found at a downhill ski shop. but don't skimp on toe-bang. I once had a pair of alpine boots rebuilt, and the size changed slightly, and I literally crippled myself on a climb of the Elliot Headwall on Mt. Hood.

-Haireball

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The previous responses have been spot-on. I can only reiterate that you need to try on as many pairs as you can before you even prepair to drop the coin on a new pair of boots. Get insoles, the stock ones that come in most footwear are garbage. Once you do finally decide on a pair, wear them around the house for a few days to see if they hit you anywhere you didn't notice in the store; any minor issues could be a trip-ender in the future.

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Have you considered the synthetics with GoreTex lining also, the tech has come a long way, they are lighter than leather and in many cases will keep drier, on the flip side though some of them don't last as long.

 

Also your feet are smaller in the morning and get larger as the day goes by if you are on them all day. Something to consider when fitting.

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In most cases the synthetics will work better, but partial leather boots with a Goretex liner also work fine. A good example that's good for alpine and glacier travel would be the la Sportiva Nepal Evo Gtx. That might be a little much to start out with Though. Usually I like my toes to end before the boot's end starts to curve over.

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