Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside

Can you recommend a good mountaineering boot for women?

Can you recommend a good mountaineering boot for women (specifically for those of us with small, like size five, feet)? I have seen debates about plastic boots and double boots. What will the guru say? Jing Boston, Massachusetts


The guru says: Plastic boots usually are double boots, with an insulating, removable liner and a hard plastic shell. That’s one reason why they’re so great. The plastic shell provides fantastic protection from moisture (frozen boots being the bane of any cold-weather mountaineer who has worn leather), while the removable liners make it easy to keep them warm and dry (moisture from sweat and a little snow is inevitable) by sleeping with them in your sleeping bag at night.

Scarpa Inverno

Inverno Boot

Scarpa’s Inverno ($279; has been around a while but remains a classic plastic boot. And it’s available in women’s 5. You might want to order up as feet swell a little at elevation. They’re very warm by themselves, and although Scarpa makes a “cold weather" liner, I don’t think it’s worth the shockingly high price of $198. Good wool socks and full overboots, such as Outdoor Research’s Brooks Rangers ($135; will ensure your feet stay warm. Scarpa’s Omega ($350) is a little lighter and designed for more technical climbing than the bulkier Inverno, but also is an excellent cold-weather, expedition-style boot. Sizing may be a problem with the Omega.

That said, it’s also true that advances in boot technology and leatherwork have made leather boots a worthwhile option. They’re generally more comfortable than plastics, too. La Sportiva’s Nepal Evo GTX ($450; combines Gore-Tex liners with silicon-impregnated leather and an insulating insole for a boot that can take cold, icy conditions. And it comes in a women’s model, built on a women’s last. So I’d give it a look along with the more traditional plastics.

The 2008 Winter Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online. From snow sports to trail-running to camping, get reviews of more than 300 new gear must-haves.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: MountaineeringHiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, Scarpa