Hiking boots

Hi, My son has now grown and his recent Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award expedition, he had to use my boots as his feet have grown.

Seems a good excuse to look at some new boots for me :slight_smile:
I have had Scarpa SL since i bought them in a sale in gaynor sports Ambelside around 2003/2004 christmas sales, for about £125.

They are this model:(not a picture of my boots but same model/type)(*borrowed the pic from ebay)

Now i have heard that Scarpa has since changed their foot last and the leather is cheaper/thinner.

So I want recommendations that:
1: are leather
2: can take walking crampons
3: NOT fabric boots
4: can last another 20 years looked after and not walking lots. if i had to guess I probably would say these boots have done less than 500 miles, at a guess.

I might also just steal some boots from my brother, he likes to collect, i mean buy, boots quite often lol.


Alt-Berg - actually in Richmond North Yorkshire. Worth going to the factory shop as they have every size of every model and they are very fussy about making sure they fit! (Not Cheap).


Well if they suit you a free loan from your brother would be hard to beat!


lol that is true. Trying to get a permanent borrow out of him is another thing lol. :slight_smile:

1 Like

just had a google. they look very very nice :slight_smile: not too far away Richmond too. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Go to an outdoor shop. Find a pair of boots that are stiff/not too stiff for you and can take crampons. Try them on and see if they fit and are comfortable. If yes, buy. If not, try another pair.

It’s the only way to buy boots - what suits one person may not suit another.

My latest boots are Scarpa and they are not made from thin leather.


@M0VED: Meindl GTX Vakuum boots - full stop :slight_smile: don’t know how many miles they do for me in a year, but it’s well over 500 on all terrain. Scarpa have never worked for me, that’s my opinion.

1 Like

My old Scarpa SL’s (c 2002/03) retired after 15 years…

replaced with SL-Active. A very different boot, softer leather but just as thick. Much easier to break in and have been much more comfortable than the old SL’s.

Softer compound on the soles (SL-Active’s left, old SL’s right). Mine are approaching resoling time.


I would second that, mine have lasted for a serious number of years, fit perfectly (I have small but wide feet) and will remain in good condition provided they are looked after.

1 Like

All major manufacturers of hiking shoes have cheaper and higher quality in their range. You have to be clear about how you want to use them. (I have 4 pairs of different walking shoes.) You just have to pay attention to the fit…

Wide or narrow foot, flat or high instep,… there’s hardly any advice (at most tendencies) … you have to try it yourself.
But I can give you one advice: Despite all the perfection in production, there are still minimal tolerances that you can feel. So I put on different pairs of the same size and ended up with a right shoe and a left shoe as two pairs.

Be careful - there are also differences in crampons and not every shoe is suitable for all types

73 Armin


I have Meindl, Hanwag, Mammut and could say hat for me absolute leader is Meind Borneo:

I have two pairs of them, older have better quality but I guess it applies to all products nowadays …

73, Jarek


I use the military Altberg boot, it’s called a Defender. I picked my current pair up about 16 months ago off eBay for about £110. Great boot, love them.


You’re right about Scarpa SLs, I got a pair in 2004 and they’ve served me very well, but they are now very tired. I got a new pair of SLs last year but the fit is different and I don’t like them as much as the old pair. Also, the heel on the new SLs isn’t as protected and I’ve already scuffed the leather a few times.

For Mull I’ve bought a pair of Scarpa Rush GTX fabric boots, I don’t need to be clomping about in heavy B1 boots. For crampons I have a pair of Scarpa Mantas, so it might be that the SLs don’t see much action. The New SLs aren’t a patch on the old ones.

73, Colin


I’ve been wearing the Lowa shoes for seven years, replaced the sole 4 times.
de JG0AWE / Hiro WAKA

1 Like

I think it is similar to the situation with rigs: It does not harm to have multiple options :sunglasses:.

If Scarpa fits your feet, I can recommend the following assortment:

  1. As an all-purpose hiking boot, also suited for crampons with a basket at the front: Scarpa Ribelle HD. (There is also a “lite” variant with unknown differences.)

I use these for a broad range of activities, including the approach to climbing routes where I will have to carry them up in my backpack if the approach or way home includes snow passages, gravel, or is rather long.

  1. For lighter approaches without the need for crampons and very little snow to expect (or if the climbing will be so difficult that 400 g less in the backpack will matter): Scarpa Zodiac GTX.
  1. For more serious glacier/ice/mixed tours: Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX. Excellent for tours with all-day crampon usage, steeper ice, or mixed passages (crampons in ice and rock). Super boot, but of course on the heavy and stiff side, and not cheap. But will last for decades.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


Meindl Bhutan Pro MFS. I’m on my second pair plus I had the previous type before then.

1st pair lasted from April 2008 to mid 2016. Used a huge amount, 40+ weekends/year. The sole came off in 2016. Was glued back but the layer it was glued to started breaking up and it came off again. I bought a replacement pair in 2014 which I started breaking in but main walking was the original pair.

I had the chance to pick up another pair cheap (£175 instead of £225) in Autumn 2017. These get occasional breaking-in usage.

The 2014 pair have many more good years in them. There are some cracks and nicks in the leather but they just get a good “doing” with Graiger’s Wax regularly. Still good amount of tread still. Goretex still working fine. I use them occasionally with Kahtoola Flexible Crampons

As has been said… buy quality boots that fit your feet. I tried Scarpas but they seemed too narrow for my fat feet.


I had my Scarpas resoled last year. Very happy with the service (I think I even managed to activate Pendle Hill on the way to the factory :grin:). All my boots are fabric so not what you want Anthony. A heavy pair of Scarpas for serious winter work (not used much), a slightly lighter pair which are probably my go to set and a light pair of Lowas for summer. Now I’m retired I doubt I’ll replace the heavy boots; 2 pairs will be plenty!


I bought a pair of Scarpa boots from Cotswold Outdoors in 2000 within three years they failed near the top of Cross Fell, the soggy wet acidic ground did for them, I ended up walking down with wet feet and yes I did use to look after them correctly!


As many above I run the Borneo as a work boot for bush work. However I don’t find them reliable for extended crampon use despite being rated for such use. Specifically for steep sidling and front pointing there seems to be too much flex in the sole to keep the boot seated correctly.

But they are a well built boot and one of the few full leather (leather lined) options in this world gone mad for poor quality/durability (sub-90 days of use before failure) goretex linings. And i fully recommend them for all other situations, especially river travel and other wet use where the goretex lined boots fail quickly.

As others have said - fit should drive your choice, especially with a more durable (tougher) leather lined boot.


Altberg Mallerstang are my four season boots, suitable for crampons.

Available in five width fittings for every half size, made of leather and a good traditional look…they are perfect for uk walking.

I use the lighter weight alt berg tethera for most of the year, but the Mallerstangs come out for winter weather.

1 Like