Climbing shoes? As in, rock-climbing shoes? Or more all-around youngster-sized hiking/mountain boots?
If the former, there are several. La Sportivas Fuego ($60; sportiva.com) is a pint-sized version of its grown-up rock shoes, with sticky rubber soles and slip-last design for a snug but comfortable fit. Velcro straps make the on-off part easy. For a bit less cash, Mad Rocks Mad Monkey (madrockclimbing.com) has the close fit and grippy soles of adult shoes for a mere $39. Thats not bad, although I realize youll get probably one season of use out of them, given the nature of growing feet.
For more of a hiking shoe, Hi-Tecs Tormenta ($35; rei.com) is a reliable choice, with decent support for young ankles and a sturdy midsole for support. Its not a good wet-weather shoe, however, with too much stitching and nylon. Merrells Summitt III ($60; merrell.com) is a down-sized version of an adult hiking boot, with full-grain leather uppers and a waterproof bootie. Theyll need some break-in, though.
As for a mountaineering" boot for a child, well, I dont think youre going to find much. Youll need to wait until he/she grows up to be a size seven or so, and can fit into something such as the Raichle All-Degree Lite GTX ($175; rei.com).
The Gear Guy reports from 2007 Winter Outdoor Retailer, the bi-annual gearapalooza in Salt Lake City. Check out his top picks for gear to watch in 2007.