Moreover, leather boots cost much more to make because they require much delicate handwork, such as stitching. Plastic boots are pretty much just molded and glued together. That's certainly why plastics have taken the telemark market by stormthey're just much cheaper to make (and buy) that painstakingly made leather boots. The Boreal G1 bootsif you can even find them in the U.S.retail for about $500, more than even the highest end plastic boots.
The down side of plastics is their lousy "feel." Fine for bashing crampons into ice, not so good should you actually encounter a little rock and need to have some sense of what it is your feet are treading upon. Leather boots are much better for this.
Moreover, recent innovations in boot making are allowing leather boots to compete a bit better with plastics. Synthetic insulation, better tanning methods, and other boot-making advances make boots such as the Boreal G1 a good all-around mountain boot. And for purists, there's something that never will beat the great feel of a leather boot. I've had a chance to wear the leather Scarpa Cerro Torre ($319), for instance, and lo-o-ve themmuch nicer than plastics, from a general comfort standpoint. But if I were heading to Denali, I'd take plastics.