Shoes and Footwear
Climbers – The Right Boots For The Right Job
Mountain climbing requires you to have the right equipment for scaling and hiking rough terrain in extreme temperatures. Proper shoes or boots are essential for protecting your feet from the external elements and ensuring traction on the terrain. There are different types of mountain climbing and the terrain and environment is different for each type. The type of shoe or boot you should wear depends on the type of climbing you will be doing. Traditional high mountain climbing is done in freezing temperatures but the footwear required for ice climbing is different even though both are done in sub zero climates. Rock climbing requires a different type of shoe since you will be scaling walls.
Climbing is not a place to “break in” shoes or decide that you’ll “make do”. Blisters and sores can quickly develop due to the amount of strenuous activity and open wounds can easily get infected. Wearing inappropriate footwear in cold weather can cause frostbite resulting in nerve damage. Shoes and boots are not just for comfort; they are for safety as well. When choosing boots, lighter is generally better but you have to take into consideration the amount of insulation and the durability.
New technology has allowed boots lighter in weight so you can have the best of both worlds. Good hiking boots will usually weigh between three and four pounds. Various boots are made for cold climbs. You’ll need a boot with inner insulation and probably an outer cover to protect against the snow and ice. Thinsulate and Gore-Tex are both modern materials that help keep in the heat and your feet dry. On warm trips you’ll need a quality boot that is non-slip and durable. Don’t penny pinch even though you may feel that regular tennis shoes are sufficient. The traction on hiking boots is specially developed for hiking in rough terrain, on slippery rocks and in the rain. Rock climbing shoes are completely different from the other types of shoes for mountain climbing. Since you are suspended much of the time from ropes it’s important that your feet are as light as possible for mobility reasons.
Rock climbing shoes are designed to have a great amount of traction but light weight. Regardless of the type of shoe, you to need make sure they fit before you buy them. Again, climbing is not a place to “break them in” so don’t settle on something the wrong size because of the price. For climbers, your feet are very important and therefore it is worth the extra money to buy shoes or boots that are both comfortable and appropriate for the terrain.
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