I'm considering buying the Makalu boot from La Sportiva for extended backpacking and mountaineering duties, thinking it would be flexible enough for backpacking yet stiff enough for some crampon work. I understand that for really cold winter climbing I'd want something insulated, but am I wrong in thinking the Makalu will be up to the task? Christopher Mountaintop, Pennsylvania
I'd also be doubly sure the Makalu fits well. These boots do break in, but they're not going to mold themselves to your foot. The opposite will occur. So try on a few boots of this type. Among them, Montrail's Moraine ($235; www.montrail.com); Lowa's Baffin ($230; www.lowaboots.com); Scarpa's Rio ($240; www.scarpa-us.com); and Garmont's Dakota Plus ($210; www.garmontusa.com). All are very capable, well-made boots that would serve you well across a wide range of trail and off-trail conditions.