Boots

Ice climbers use plastic (synthetic) boots more commonly than leather footwear. The plastic boots are warmer than leather and provide a rigid platform for crampons, which is especially important for front-pointing. Many plastic boots have indented toes and heels that help keep step-in/clamp-on crampon bindings securely attached.

Three-quarter-shank leather boots usually are adequate for general alpine ice climbing. However, leather boots used for extensive front-point ing should have a full shank.

Because ankle rotation is so important in French technique (flat-footing), you need a boot that permits good rotation. Leather boots often are better in this regard. And like any boots, you want ice-climbing footwear to fit well: snug in the heel and instep, and with room for toes to wiggle.

Make sure your gaiters fit your boots. You'll need full-length gaiters that extend from your foot to just beneath the knee. Insulated gaiters are available for added warmth.

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