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What mountain or trekking boot I buy

When we consider buying a boot to do a mountain or hiking activity and we stand in front of that wall of the store, with that endless shelf, where a large number of different types of boots are exposed, we gulp down, look from left to right and ourselves ask, what now?

What mountain boot I buy

It is not a trivial decision, in the choice of our footwear lies an important part of the success of the company we want to undertake. The task is not going to be easy, because although the footwear industry is innovating day after day, there is no one boot that fits us for everything.

I will try to help you in this difficult task. I will do it as always, in a simple way, without getting tangled up in technical issues and above all with the best of intentions.


First we dissect a boot, so we get used to recognize the parts that make it

The sole, is composed of several elements such as:

  • The blocks (drawing for ground contact)
  • The reinforcements (side, front, rear and floor)
  • The palmilla (gives rigidity to the footwear)
  • The removable insole (is in contact with our foot, absorbs sweat and has cushioning properties)

The body, is composed of elements such as:

  • The lining or bootie (with thermal properties, waterproof and breathable)
  • The outer material (contact with the elements)
  • The tab, the laces and the tying system

The cane has several parts, among them:

  • The lateral ankle stabilizers
  • The locking collar (the part that closes the boot over the leg)

Zones of a boot

Now let's focus on the activity we are going to do with them

We have to be clear about the type of activity, which is going to be the terrain where we are going to walk and in which weather station this activity is going to take place, in this way we will be able to answer some questions that may arise concerning how rigid the sole should be, the heat that the boot should provide, the waterproofing and breathability that it should have and the material that it should be made of. We should also know what kind of crampon we can attach to our boot when ice and snow are the protagonists.

Let's get started:

Boots Hiking, trekking, or for the Way of Saint James

If we are going to do hiking, or walks where we are going to move through simple terrain without any or little technical difficulty, at low levels and in summer, spring or autumn, ie without snow or ice conditions, the boots we choose should have the following characteristics:

  • They must be waterproof, breathable and quick-drying; with good cushioning and shock absorption against the ground when walking, they must also be lightweight.
  • The sole has to have a good degree of longitudinal flexibility, but it has to have a minimum of transverse rigidity, to be understood, a boot no matter how little it is cannot be twisted like a shoe.
  • This sole also has to have a certain degree of adherence, resistance to wear and isolation from the ground with which we will achieve that the stones do not nail us and we will make the walks less painful.

While if our activity is going to develop by more complicated and varied land, with long ascents and descents, with technical difficulties, where we are going to have to deal possibly with rocks and small climbs in summer, spring or autumn.


Boots semi

  • Here we will need boots with moderately rigid soles, what has come to be called semi-rigid boots; they have more hardness to the longitudinal and transversal torsion than the previous ones and the cane is also usually higher, they usually have rubber bands around the contour of the boot that favor impermeability while simplifying its maintenance, the toe is harder, it comes prepared to have better support on rock, the buttress is also hard, this gives us more stability.
  • They usually have more layers of leather to give them more durability against friction, they can be made of leather but they also usually combine synthetic materials. Apart from being waterproof they must have a good degree of breathability as a rule we will be with them quite a few hours.
  • In some of them, the most technical, if you look at the front of the sole you will find that they have a "climbing area" that facilitates the support in rock for climbing. In short, they must have a good compromise between comfort and technical capacity.
  • If we want to use this type of boot in winter, in mid-mountain, and with a benign weather situation, in addition to all the above we must check that they bring a good insulator for the cold and dry as quickly as possible because if we are going to be in snow this is essential to avoid problems.
  • It would also be advisable to check that the buttress is rigid enough to sink our heel into the snow and that the sole is reasonably firm so that it helps us to make our mark on the white cloak with the edges. We must pay attention to the type of crampon our boot can take, strap or semiautomatic, depending on whether it has a heel flange or not.

Rigid boot​​

When our approach is to make climbs in winter, where the snow is the protagonist, some ice climbing, get into corridors ...

  • We would undoubtedly need a rigid boot.
  • Walking becomes a little uncomfortable, but on the contrary when we have to advance in the snow having to hit with the tip of the boot or make small steps with the edge of the sole, hold on to small projections both front and side, make the difference in terms of safety.
  • They are heavy boots, although they are becoming lighter thanks to the inclusion of new materials. They have good thermal insulation and some of them can even have a removable inner boot or not.
  • They can be made of leather or plastic depending on the activity to be carried out, given their rigidity they can be fitted with automatic crampons. I don't want to extend myself too much in this case, since we should enter into technical issues related to the progression in winter and this is a topic for another post.

Let's go with some advice, the first is that you try on the boot with the socks that you take to the mountain normally, the second try on the boots preferably at the end of the day, when the foot is warmer and more dilated, the third do not be in a hurry to choose, put on your boots and walk around the store for a while, going up and down stairs or if they have a ramp walking on it, and the fourth thing is that when you put on this footwear the feeling has to be good, without pain or squeezing if not, do not buy it and keep trying.

But above all remember that planning the activity with time will help us to equip ourselves correctly and choose the most suitable boot for the terrain we are going to tread.


Go to Walking Poles,Trekking or Moutain Go to Feathers or Fiber Go to How to choose your Snowshoes


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