Gear Watch: These (Mountaineering) Boots Are Made for Walking

If you've ever tromped around in a pair of rigid mountaineering boots, you know the clunk, clunk, clunking discomfort they entail. They're hard on your shins. They're taxing on your calves. Yet stiff soles are all but essential if you intend to do any serious winter climbing or mountaineering. If only there was a boot you could switch from a flexible walking mode to a fully rigid climbing mode. Soon there will be.

Salewa, an Italian gear company, recently introduced their Pro Gaiter and Pro Guide mountaineering boots, which both feature the company's new patented Flex System. To switch from walk to climb, you turn a small metal mechanism in the heel using a coin or the included adjustment tool. The mechanism locks, or releases, a metal element that runs the length of the sole to allow full climbing stiffness or flexible walking comfort, depending on your needs. (Here's a YouTube video from Trailspace.com that demonstrates how it works.)

The Pro Gaiter ($599) is designed for serious alpine use and features a waterproof-breathable membrane, integrated elastic gaiter, and watertight closure zipper. It is available in a variety of widths and volumes. The Pro Guide ($499) is a slightly less beefy version. Look for them both in 2012.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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