Q:

What do you make of Lowa’s Mountain Expert GTX boots?

What do you think about the Lowa Mountain Expert GTX Mountaineering Boots? I used them on Mt. Rainier and they kept my feet plenty warm, but I was wondering if you thought they might be suitable for Pico de Orizaba in Mexico. It is about 4,000 feet higher than Rainier. I don't relish wearing double plastic mountaineering boots anywhere, and hey, the red color of the Lowa is, well, cool . . . Stan El Dorado Hills, CA

The Mountain Expert GTX     Photo: courtesy, Lowa

The Mountain Expert GTX

A:Agreed, the red color of the Lowa Mountain Experts ($350) is indeed pretty cool! So of course you want to wear them and not plastics. Plus a leather boot is just more comfortable.

I really think they’ll be fine. You can expect temperatures in the teens near the summit, maybe in single digits, and the insulated Experts should be up to that. To ensure you stay warm, be sure to use wool socks (SmartWool Expedition Trekking Socks; $20) over a good liner sock. You also can add insulated insoles—Insolator Winter Insoles (available at Campmor) are $8, and add a layer of insulating Thermolite and neoprene beneath your feet.

Or, buy some vapor barrier socks (Integral Designs makes some for $30). These are thin, waterproof socks that you wear between the liner and oversock. By trapping moisture, they reduce evaporative cooling and leave your feet warmer. Take an extra pair of liner socks, though, as your socks will be wetter when wearing these.

You’ll be wearing gaiters, of course. You could also take full overboots, such as Outdoor Research’s Brooks Rangers ($160). They cover the entire boot, and have removable insulating foam padding. But that’s really for mountains such as Denali. On Orizaba, the few add-ons I mention above should be more than adequate.

Have a good trip!

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