Shoes that are crampon-compatible are a must for touring on icy terrain.
Short passages in compressed snow can be overcome with ice cleats on your mountaineering boots partly crampon-compatible. But when you are facing longer and especially bolder icy passages during your tour, you will not get far without crampons with front points. Those work only with trekking boots that are crampon-compatible or mountaineering boots. On a physically demanding tour or on terrains with gaps you are required to have real crampons for safety reasons.
Women and men alike will find reliable, high-end processed boots by La Sportiva, Scarpa und Mammut which are suitable for glacier hiking and alpine touring or for ice and mixed climbing.
Advantages of shoes crampon-compatible
While mountaineering, glacier trekking, eventfully glacier touring and beautifully glacier hiking you will find that boots that are crampon-compatible provide you with a better step security due to their stiff soles. You put on the crampons when you get on the real terrain after the approach at the latest.
Commonly, mountaineering boots are made for use with crampons. They are installed on the boots using a variety of attachment systems. You have to distinguish between several options:
- Tilting lever bindings which are attached to the front and the back end of the sole of the shoe crampon-compatible.
- Bindings, that have a plastic bow on the front and are attached to the back end of the sole with a tilting lever. Those attachment types are to be used with shoes that are partly crampon-compatible
- Bindings, that are attached to your mountaineering and trekking shoes only by plastic straps. For these, no sole edge is needed.
Material and features clearly distinguish the bad from the good ones
Whether the upper material of your choice is leather or synthetic fiber is up to your own taste. Thanks to their respective membrane technology such as Gore-Tex glacier shoes are breathable and easily made waterproof. Combined with properly closing gauntlets they make sure that no water can get through the shaft to the foot.
High-quality soles with sufficient firmness and a grippy tread - Vibram soles are as reliable as it gets - provide sure footing and guarantee precise climbing.
What is also really important when it comes to shoes that are crampon-compatible: the right size!
A shoe that is crampon-compatible has to fit right. Because at the end of a day's touring the last thing you want is and unpleasant and painful surprise which may spoil the rest of the season. If the boots are too small, your toes will bump against the toe box while ice climbing and walking downhill. At low temperatures you will not feel the pain at first but in the evening you will feel it badly. This might lead to long-lasting injuries to your toe nails or light frost bite.