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Is there a real difference between men’s and women’s boots?

Other than color, is there any difference between men's and women's boot in the se model? I specifically interested in the La Sportiva Glacier. Chris Geneva, Illinois


There certainly should be. Women typically have a narrower heel and taller arch than a man. So a boot that is billed as suitable for women should be built on a last (the mold used to form the boot) that reflects these characteristics, rather than simply taking a men’s boot and down-sizing it.

La Sportiva Glacier Boot

Glacier Boot

And the La Sportiva Glacier ($250) is indeed built on a women’s last and should be a good-fitting boot. Overall it’s an excellent piece of footwear for heavy backpacking and light glacier mountaineering, with one-piece waterproof-leather uppers, a half-length steel shank for support, and tough toe rands for protection.

In the case of the Glacier, the women’s model also comes in a pretty shade of blue, so that may be seen as a plus. Or not.

Another excellent boot to consider is the Scarpa Charmoz GTX Lady ($260), which is similar in purpose to the Glacier, with a little more modern design. The Charmoz has a synthetic upper that’s waterproof, as well as a Gore-Tex liner. It’s lighter than the Glaciers, too—nearly a pound lighter per pair. And it’s built on a women’s last for good fit.

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.

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Filed To: Hiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, La Sportiva