La Sportiva Spantik Boots
It’s probably the most you’ll ever pay for a piece of gear you may only use once in your life, but this is truly the single most important piece of equipment on your climb. The good news is that, unlike mountaineering boots a decade ago, these things are something NASA would be proud of — as warm, durable, and light as you could ever need above 6,000 meters (but below 8,000 meters), without any compromises. The Spantik is what’s known as a double boot, comprising a rubber, leather, and synthetic shell and a soft, insulated inner “booty” that can be worn by itself in the tent, or just brought inside to keep it warm. Lacing the boot — a notoriously frustrating ritual while wearing big gloves — couldn’t be easier with the Fast Laceing system, which basically just requires a hard one-handed yank. [$750; sportiva.com]
TIP: While La Sportiva Spantiks are the best-selling boot in this category, there are a handful of top-quality options, and fit is your ultimate buying guide. Each manufacturer has a slightly different profile, some better for narrow feet, some better for wide feet.
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