WINTER MOUNTAIN BOOTS, FROM B0 TO B3
Whatever the adventure, you need footwear to match. Whether you’re looking to move quickly over gentle terrain or steadily cross a glacier, you need the right tools for the job. Choosing winter mountain boots can be a daunting task. Key features include rigidity of the sole, thickness of the uppers, compatibility with crampons and overall ease of use. Mountain boots are categorised from B0 to B3 – the lower numbers are lighter and more flexible with the higher numbers more suitable for challenging terrain.
WHAT ARE B0 BOOTS?
B0 mountain boots are walking boots for three seasons – spring to autumn. They are flexible, lightweight boots that are designed for walking, backpacking and scrambling. They’re not recommended for use in snow and they’re incompatible with crampons.
With a flexible sole and flat heel, B0 boots have a lower cut allowing greater freedom of movement. A lightweight construction delivers greater comfort on long walks.
WHAT ARE B1 BOOTS?
More rigid than B0 boots are four-season B1 mountain boots. They’re still relatively light, but are sturdier, warmer, often well above the ankle and are compatible with C1 strap-on crampons. Their leather or fabric uppers are breathable and flexible. These boots have a flat heel so don’t have the toe lips required for C2 mountaineering crampons.
Though a good all-round boot, B0 boots aren’t recommended for climbing or colder and more demanding winter mountain conditions. B1 boots are useful for general alpine terrain and less technical rock routes.
WHAT ARE B2 BOOTS?
B2 mountain boots are genuine four-season boots, with the rigid soles and uppers required for challenging winter mountain conditions, while still retaining a small amount of flexibility for general walking. Because B2 boots have thicker uppers and a heel lip compatible with C2 crampons, they’re suitable for mountaineering and mixed climbing.
Highly durable with wide-spaced lugs on the soles, along with a higher cut, B2 boots provide the support and protection needed to tackle mid-grade climbing and glacial terrain. Flexible C1 crampons can be used with B2 boots but they’re also compatible with C2 crampons with heel-clip bindings.
WHAT ARE B3 BOOTS?
B3 mountain boots are rigid boots for serious mountaineering including ice-climbing. Stiff soles and uppers give a high level of traction for the most challenging conditions.
B3 boots give the highest level of support in both the lateral and medial axis for technical climbing in all conditions. The stiffness of these boots makes them less appropriate for general hiking. B3 boots have a heel and toe ledge making them compatible with both C3 and C2 crampons.