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Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots


Postby pjm1 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:03 pm

I'm after some first hand experience here.

First some context: I currently walk in Scarpa SL Activ boots in both summer and winter. I love them, but I do suffer from cold feet in the winter, especially on multiday trips. Perhaps surprisingly, I've also found that despite having a stiff (for B1) sole, the Activs don't hold quite as good an edge as I'd like on neve without crampons.

I did some decent scrambling and easy grade climbing in Skye with them in the summer and they were good for that, but again, that's summer conditions. I'm keen to get into proper roped winter scrambling and ultimately climbing and I'm concious that will ultimately involve spending quite a bit of £ on harness, ropes, racks etc. So the prospect of spending lots on anything else at the same time isn't necessarily ideal, but it has to be about being safe and comfy.

So, onto the question: do any of you have experience of walking (as in hillwalking) or long walk-ins in the latest generation of B2 or B3 mountaineering boots?

The important point here is I'm asking about the current crop of boots from the big names (e.g. available at EB, S&R, Nevis, etc.) rather than previous years' (or year before that) versions from Go Outdoors etc.

I'm conscious that boot technology, especially at the alpine/mountaineering end, has progressed pretty rapidly over the last few years and even rigid-soled boots have developed to the point where they can theoretically be used on a long walk in to/from climbs, as we typically have here in the UK. So experiences with 10 year old B3 boots probably aren't beneficial!

I'm also aware that most reviews you see online have some element of bias - either towards particular brands or because of sponsorship - so perhaps all of this "development" is actually less tangible and just marketing spiel.

I'm after a boot which I can use for winter munros and I'll be happy to stick G12s on and climb low grade stuff in. If that were it, then a B2 would be the obvious answer. However, because I suffer such terribly cold feet (even in summer sometimes!) I'm attracted to the extra insulation that is often included in B3s, especially those in the range with higher altitude ambitions.

An alternative would, of course, be to spend nearly £100 on an insulated Yeti gaiter (e.g. Berghaus) - it seems to be when snow piles on the front of my boot that the chill really kicks in. But £100 on top of a good B2 boot... pretty much takes me into, if not past, B3 territory.

Any thoughts? (I've asked the same question on a climbing forum to gauge opinion from out-and-out climbers, but I'd like to know more about the walking side of it).
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby prog99 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:29 pm

I saw your post on ukc.

B3 boots may push you over the edge on long walk ins. Yep they are warm but if you are on tracks it may get very uncomfortable.

Some good deals on boots at the moment. I got some nice salewa b2 ones very cheap in tiso. Again though they were a joy to take off after walking along a land rover track for several hours at the weekend.
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby pjm1 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:02 pm

prog99 wrote:I saw your post on ukc.

B3 boots may push you over the edge on long walk ins. Yep they are warm but if you are on tracks it may get very uncomfortable.

Some good deals on boots at the moment. I got some nice salewa b2 ones very cheap in tiso. Again though they were a joy to take off after walking along a land rover track for several hours at the weekend.


Thanks for that prog99... appreciate you replying. I realise it might verge on spam asking the same question on two somewhat related forums, but I thought it would be worth getting opinion from two quite different "users" of boots.

The really frustrating thing is the only way I'll get to know is to buy a pair of B2s and B3s and try them each. Unfortunately that'll be £500 of boot (!) and I'll end up with a pair I'll very rarely use :(

So I'm not up for that... I'm going to have to rely on all of you!
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby pjm1 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:22 pm

prog - I can't seem to edit that last post, but looking at the Tiso range, the Salewa is indeed a very interesting boot. If the flex system genuinely works and can convert the boot from a B3 to a B1 at the twist of the allen key, then it might just be the best of all worlds.

Ok, it's a heavy boot (although no heavier than my SL Activ) but it looks to be toasty warm.
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby gman » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:39 pm

I've done a few winters with B0/C1 which is the comfiest option for Munro bagging. Last winter I got B2 Manta Pro GTX and G12s and did some routes up to Grade 2. These are not as good for the walk in/out but better for the climbs, as you would expect. I imagine B3s are going to be pretty tough on long walk-ins and worse on the walk back so the only justification for getting them would be for higher grade climbing, not to keep your feet warm. I would have a look at non-lightweight B2 boots (maybe Goretex) , gaiters and warm socks, unless you have a definite plan to progress through the winter grades.
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby pjm1 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:45 pm

gman wrote:I've done a few winters with B0/C1 which is the comfiest option for Munro bagging. Last winter I got B2 Manta Pro GTX and G12s and did some routes up to Grade 2. These are not as good for the walk in/out but better for the climbs, as you would expect. I imagine B3s are going to be pretty tough on long walk-ins and worse on the walk back so the only justification for getting them would be for higher grade climbing, not to keep your feet warm. I would have a look at non-lightweight B2 boots (maybe Goretex) , gaiters and warm socks, unless you have a definite plan to progress through the winter grades.


Thanks gman. I'd agree with you completely, if it weren't for the fact that my B1s give me cold feet :( and that's with them being supposedly warmer B1s... But the message is pretty clear - B3s aren't great for walking in (even if they're less painful than they used to be) so what's the point in using them for the walk-in?

I'm going to try some boots tomorrow morning - I won't be buying them there and then, but just to feel the difference in stiffness.

I have mid volume feet, but with a fairly broad/wide front and narrow heel. Probably the worst combination to try to fit into a boot! Current boots aren't overly tight at all (perhaps leading to the lack of edge bite) but that should make them warmer, which is why I'm worrying about the warmth of any replacement.

I need to get into the shops and try stuff on... will report back after tomorrow!
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby jepsonscotland » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:49 pm

I have found TNF - VERTO S4K GTX are fantastic.
I wanted a scrambling/winter boot and these have fitted the bill nicely.
They take a C1 or C2 crampon, but are not as rigid as a Scarpa Manta Pro, for example.
Plus they are significantly lighter and far better for the longer days, especially the ''walk ins''. I generally miss one lace loop across the boot, where the ankle bends, on a long walk in and then full lace for the ascent/descent which helps.
They have only ever leaked once and on that day, anything would have let water in!! ( Except maybe Caberfeidh's waders! :lol: )
For climbing/scrambling they are fantastic and all day comfortable. The only thing I would advise is to try on or go half a size up. Mine are a little tight, so I can't wear a liner sock or thick winter ones. But this is not a worry, as I am definitely going to get another pair, only half a size up.

The Manta Pro are more rigid and heavier. More at home on steeper climbs and long days in G12's.
They are a great all rounder, but I have found any more than 16km a day is a bit sore and a joy to remove.
Probably a ''better'' boot overall, but if walk ins are a concern, maybe something lighter and less rigid?

As for cold feet, I've never suffered with it in either boot really, but I'm not an ice climber. Long days with snow capped boots have never presented an issue though.
Obviously all our feet are different, so neither of these boots may work for you, but hopefully my 'sixpennyworth' may help.
For what it's worth my feet are fairly narrow, so Scarpa are quite a good fit for me, but not everyone.

Good luck. :D

Chris
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby pjm1 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:53 pm

jepsonscotland wrote:I have found TNF - VERTO S4K GTX are fantastic.
I wanted a scrambling/winter boot and these have fitted the bill nicely.
They take a C1 or C2 crampon, but are not as rigid as a Scarpa Manta Pro, for example.
Plus they are significantly lighter and far better for the longer days, especially the ''walk ins''. I generally miss one lace loop across the boot, where the ankle bends, on a long walk in and then full lace for the ascent/descent which helps.
They have only ever leaked once and on that day, anything would have let water in!! ( Except maybe Caberfeidh's waders! :lol: )
For climbing/scrambling they are fantastic and all day comfortable. The only thing I would advise is to try on or go half a size up. Mine are a little tight, so I can't wear a liner sock or thick winter ones. But this is not a worry, as I am definitely going to get another pair, only half a size up.

The Manta Pro are more rigid and heavier. More at home on steeper climbs and long days in G12's.
They are a great all rounder, but I have found any more than 16km a day is a bit sore and a joy to remove.
Probably a ''better'' boot overall, but if walk ins are a concern, maybe something lighter and less rigid?

As for cold feet, I've never suffered with it in either boot really, but I'm not an ice climber. Long days with snow capped boots have never presented an issue though.
Obviously all our feet are different, so neither of these boots may work for you, but hopefully my 'sixpennyworth' may help.
For what it's worth my feet are fairly narrow, so Scarpa are quite a good fit for me, but not everyone.

Good luck. :D

Chris


Thanks Chris. More evidence that even a B2 boot is going to take its toll on my feet during the walks :) Lighter boots are the panacea, if only they were typically warmer!

You're lucky not to suffer with cold feet... I end up getting paranoid about any pile of snow sitting on top of my boot - maybe I'm secretly an accountant at heart because I walk along staring at my feet ;) (sorry to any accountants out there :D )
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby prog99 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:10 pm

pjm1 wrote:prog - I can't seem to edit that last post, but looking at the Tiso range, the Salewa is indeed a very interesting boot. If the flex system genuinely works and can convert the boot from a B3 to a B1 at the twist of the allen key, then it might just be the best of all worlds.

Ok, it's a heavy boot (although no heavier than my SL Activ) but it looks to be toasty warm.

Thats not the ones i have(Raven Combi GTX Boots).
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby jepsonscotland » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:50 pm

I forgot to mention Scarpa Charmoz Pro GTX.
My mate Andy, aka ''Flump'' on here has some and he loves them, great price for a B2 and very light.

Those Salewa are on an incredible offer at Tiso currently too...........
They do sound quite good........?

I think either ''Urban Rock'', ''Rock and Run'' or '' Snow and Rock'' did quite a good review on those.

Chris
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby pjm1 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:59 pm

Thanks prog - it's just the reduced insulation on the Raven which puts me off. I think they also do/did a Blackbird which might be the insulated version? That's not in Tiso though... Cracking price though for a B2 boot.

jepsonscotland wrote:I forgot to mention Scarpa Charmoz Pro GTX.
My mate Andy, aka ''Flump'' on here has some and he loves them, great price for a B2 and very light.

Those Salewa are on an incredible offer at Tiso currently too...........
They do sound quite good........?

I think either ''Urban Rock'', ''Rock and Run'' or '' Snow and Rock'' did quite a good review on those.

Chris


Thanks again Chris. I like Scarpa, as I do own a pair, but both the Charmoz and the Rebel Lite are likely to be too cold for me, judging by reviews etc.

I have the Pro Guides in a 7 held in Tiso Glasgow until tomorrow morning to try them on. Last pair. I'll give them a whirl in the shop and then come back to think about it all. £260 is the absolute max I want to spend on a pair of boots, so they're going to have to be nigh on perfect. Certainly wouldn't be able to justify the full £370!
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby prog99 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:06 pm

I got cold feet even in my scarpa cumbres on saturday when waiting at belays and they are pretty warm.
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby mproudfoot » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:53 pm

Before last month, I'd have said that B2/B3 boots are horrible for walking in, mainly because I spent last winter having my feet destroyed by a pair of Scarpa Manta Pro B2s (with various footbeds) and just assumed that's how all stiff-soled boots are. This year I'm rocking a pair of La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX B3s and they are a revelation - I feel like I can walk and scramble all day in them (and have over several weekends already). Plus they keep my feet nice and warm, even when standing around on pitched sections. Clearly I don't have Scarpa feet :)

Point is that B2s/B3s may be absolutely fine for you - finding a fit that is comfortable for your own feet however, is another matter - all very well testing them in a store and walking around your house, but until you've been on a 10+ mile hillwalk, you'd never know if they work or not.
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:24 am

I have Scarpa Mantas for winter walking/scrambling, and from the first time on I have found them excellent for this purpose PROVIDED there's plenty of snow: completely waterproof, extremely comfortable (never had blisters), and very warm. But the sole is way too stiff for me for walking on anything other than snow; to the extent that I always do any necessary approach walking in approach shoes, or, if really pushed, B1s. For me it's worth carrying the weight of the boots, rather than suffering the awkwardness of walking in a stiff-soled boot.

Just to give you some feedback in case you'd been considering these....
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Re: Walking (not just climbing) in the latest B2/B3 boots

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:48 pm

prog99 wrote:Thats not the ones i have(Raven Combi GTX Boots).


I got a pair of (wide fit) salewa ravens last winter and found them very comfortable (for a b2), nice to walk/climb in and had no problems with cold feet (wearing thick sealskinz with them).
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