“The ultimate all-mountain boot,” raves our tester after a season of snow and ice climbs, glacier travel, snowshoeing, and winter camping from Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness to Washington’s Mt. Rainier National Park. “There may be lighter boots for vertical ice and warmer boots for higher altitudes, but there are terribly few boots that can take you to these extremes and everywhere in between and do it this comfortably.” The secrets? A 3mm thick Perwanger suede outer is backed by a layer of Gore-Tex and light synthetic insulation that stayed warm down to near 0°F (while moving) and dry even as snow turned to slush late in the day on the Muir Snowfield.
The stiff-as-hardwood sole has heel and toe welts to accept automatic crampons; they proved sumo-sturdy while climbing ice at Rocky Mountain National Park’s Hidden Falls. But thanks to softer polyurethane inserts in the TPU midsole and a mild rocker (designed with input from Swiss speed-climber Ueli Steck for a lighter, more shock-absorbing and precise feel), the Mt. Blanc smoothed out varied terrain and “feels like it’s propelling you along as you toe off.” To-the-toe lacing and a wide nylon heel gusset that lends flex to the upper allowed our tester to dial in fit for a “slipper like” feel whether he was wearing thick wool socks on the Ingraham Glacier or thinner synthetics on day trips (though one narrow-footed tester experienced heel lift and blistering).
A full rubber rand adds durability, and a Vibram outsole held to rocky approach trails and low angle snow alike. Nice: It’s $50 cheaper than the most comparable competitor.
4 lbs. (men’s 43); 37-43 (W), 39-48 (M)