I'm in the market for some new winter boots, I have shocking circulation in my feet so want them to be warm (as can be).
Using the magic of twitter I got Andy Kirkpatrick's opinion that plastics are fine for Scotland (right now he is providing inspiration with Xmas present books!) but the only other person I know who has ever done winter climbing (this time my friend not a "celeb" climber) said he wouldn't use plastics compared to leather as they are too likely to leak and thus get cold anyhows.
I know Scarpa shoes like my foot shape so did see the Omegas going cheep on Rock n Run, not bothered whether they are a couple year old design really I'm sure they'll stand up to more than I can ever do!
So do they let in more water stomping over the crap boggy terrain of Scotland than a pair of leather/goretex boots
Would say it is worth getting double layer boots for Scotland if your feet are badly affected by the cold. Omegas are good, Vegas will be overkill. La Sportiva Spantiks are just as warm as plastics but without the plastic (although a lot more expensive than Omegas currently).
I use Omegas, which are fine for Scotland as they are flexible enough. I would pick up a pair whilst they are cheap as nothing to lose at the price on offer. The newer liner types are a tight fit for the sizing so you may want to try on first, else order a larger size. The newer model with the tougher liners have the same plastic outer as the older model despite the liners being thicker. Hence the tighter fit. I have the older model Omegas, which fit fine. I've recently ordered the newer type on clearence in the same size but they were far too tight so needed to be returned. The liners on the original model split with use but still usable. I don't remove them from the plastic outers as they split quicker (which some would say partly defeats the point of double layer boots).
In reply to fire_munki: I use Scarpa Cumbres which are quite warm as they are Thinsulate lined. Seen them on here a few times and quite cheap. Get a pair of merino wool thin liner socks as well as thick expedition socks. Plastics are warmer but can be uncomfortable depending on the person. If the fit is not great the plastics highlight it more than leather or man made boots.
In reply to fire_munki: Another vote for the Cumbre's. Like the OP Scarpa make stuff that likes my feet. Only thing to watch is, because it's a very rigid boot you might need a (Continental) size bigger, my size 46 Cumbre's destroyed a couple of toenails before I sold them.
I replaced them with Freney's which aren't nearly so warm, not a big problem in the Alps in summer but a definite downer in a scottish winter.
In reply to fire_munki:
Well I've gone for them, if they are too heavy after walking I'll ebay them, I've still got some b2s for long winter walks anyhows.
I'd rather be warm and tired than cold and a bit fresher!
I used Scarpa Grintas for many seasons in Scotland (the predecessor of the Vegas) then when they fell apart replaced them with Vegas. Until the end of the 1990s 99% of Scottish climbers wore plastic boots and Vegas were amongst the most popular. I always found my plastic perfectly comfy to wear all day but fit and foot shape will be important I guess.
The Omegas look like really nice boots and have a pretty good rep.
the thing with plastics on the walk in is to experiment with the lacing, if you do them up tight, you'll really suffer.
I usually only use the lacing up to bottom of the ankle and leave the top two lacing eyes undone completely for the walk in. and even for most of the climbs I did unless you needed to be particularily delicate on mixed ground and rock.
You do need to try and find out what works, theyre a lot less forgiving than leather but its worth trying to find out what works before you ebay them after the 1st go. They are great for keeping your feet dry and as you know, dryness is vital for warmth.
In reply to fire_munki: I wore plastics for everything including savage slit in june. It was all I could afford at the time and needed something for winter. This was late 80's early 90's I nearly sold them to a baggy scene raver at 630am at buchanan st bus station for 200 quid he raised selling plasms at a rave (he thought they were the biz for all nighters)
In reply to fire_munki: I'm using older style Mantas now but that reflects the grades i manage nowadays....i used various plastics from around the late 80's untill 5 years ago....103's, viva's and vega's. All good boots and there is plenty to be said for them....it depends on what you are planning to do ..
> I once nearly crippled myself walking out of the Lairig Ghru in plastics - there was no snow below 2000 ft.
My climbing partner and I walked in to Morven (the Corbett on Deeside) wearing plastics and carrying huge sacs before we went to the Alps in August 1998. We got a few funny looks from people on the way but I don't remember having any problems boot-wise. A few weeks later we wore them on the hill day after day without any problems. Even on the way down from the summit of The Dom (4545m) - something like 3000m of vertical descent to get to the valley - my feet were fine.
I get terribly cold feet normally, but for the past two winters have used Scarpa Cumbre's and they have done me really well and have been super comfy. On extra chilly days a thicker pair of socks seems to be enough.
Have a pair of double boots, but think it is a little over kill for Scotland even on the colder and more 'full on' coldness/wetness days.
I wore Koflachs for years. In fact only binned them a couple of years ago, as the mice had eaten the inners. I always found them comfortable to walk in and once completed a 17 mile walk along tracks and roads without any foot problems.
If I could get them, I would buy another pair as I have difficulty finding boots that are comfortable for me.
That's good to know, just stomping around the house seeing if they fit my feet, not 100% but don't want to put miles in so i cant return them but never having such stiff boots it could be I'm just not used to them.
In reply to fire_munki: IMO, something like the Scarpa Alpha/omega is better in scotland than the equivalent leather boot (Nepal Extreme etc) as its lighter, and easier to dry out. 9 times out of 10 in Scotland it'll be pishing wet - Leather boots take forever to dry out if your back on the hill next day.
> 9 times out of 10 in Scotland it'll be pishing wet - Leather boots take forever to dry out if your back on the hill next day.
You've definitely got a point, and a great deal of damage is caused to boots by trying to dry them out too agressively. Something like this might help http://www.alpenheat.com/universaldry.html but you're not going to be able to take it camping...
Some people seem to be fine with the comfort of Alphas and Omegas, others less so. If they fit OK I'd definitely expect them to be dryer and more rigid than most leathers, and might be a better bet if you see yourself also going to higher ranges. I was seriously considering the Omegas for rigidity and reduced heel-lift before I got Phantom Guides, as these had been issues with every leather boot I'd had before.
When I did my Winter ML assessment (2 nights of snow-holing) I borrowed a pair of Vegas. Wet feet and snow-holes do not mix! I wasn't exactly bounding around in them, but for plodding about with big packs they were fine.
In reply to fire_munki: I have used plastic boots in Scotland in winter, I've also used Freney's, matterhorns, and Nepal xtreme.
the plastics are very warm and getting wet feet will not make your feet cold indeed cause no sweat can escape your feel will be happily stewing in their own juices pretty quickly. unless you put a hole in them they will not let any water go in or out.
the omega or alphas will be great for Scotland and presumably a fraction of the cost of scarpa guides for example.
many peoples cold feet issues are related to boots that are too tight so be sensible about sizing.
In reply to fire_munki:
I really like them but a unsure if they fit, the problems of mail order i guess.
They are firm around my insteps, but I have flat feet so it could just be that they are giving the required support, and are a lot stiffer than my b2 or trainers.
Does anyone have any tips for seeing if they fit (bar the going for a walk as that would mean I can't return them), or even better anyone live in plym and fancy a climb/help at the life centre!
This threads highlighted some interesting views on the different boots worn on routes in Scotland. I tend to use Nepal xtremes whatever the weather and find them warm even if damp. Combined with long thick winter wool socks they keep my toes warm as long as I'm on the move.
I have some Omegas and have tended to leave them at home when faced with the 20kg limit on flights. The one time I used in Scotland was for the short walk in from top of ski lift on Aonach Mor to get to the ice climbing on the backend of the mountain. Deep snow, scottish hoolie conditions and standing on belay for long periods really froze my toes despite double booting. I may try the omegas again given the thumbs up they've been given here but my vote goes with my sportivas.
My experience has been similar. Every pair of leathers I've owned has let in dampness to a lesser or greater extent, but as long as my body-core is warm I've never suffered cold feet. It only really becomes an issue when one has multiple days out and poor drying facilities.
The Phantom Guides were probably the best leather boots I'd picked up for staying dry, but they have developed leaks with age! For me they also balance comfort, stiffness, and heel-grip better than anything else, but every foot is different!
I've used Scarpa Alphas on a couple of dozen winter days out and I'm afraid to say I don't remember having dry feet ever.
I think the problem is that I never wear gaitors though, so this could probably be easily avoided. But once the water's in, it ain't coming out with plastics and I've frequently emptied chunks of ice out at the end of the day. Even so, my feet have always been pretty warm in them and they do fit me well.
I bought a pair of La Sportiva Trangos earlier this year for the Alps etc and have been amazed at how waterproof they are walking across Dartmoor bogs etc. Obviously these will mostly be too cold for Scottish winter, but I think when I replace my Alphas, I won't be going for plastics again.
In reply to fire_munki:
Well I've decided to keep them, if they are too tight then I'll take a small hit.
Wearing thin waling socks now and not too bad, just a bit tight on fallen arch which I hop eis actually the support my foot needs!
Agree John; I've used Nepal's for last 10 years or so, never had any problems with cold or damp (other than sweat!) - I think a lot of the warm/cold issues are dependant on foot fit; if the boot fits badly and has to be over-tightened then it will more than likely get cold...circulation is king.
In reply to fire_munki: Have used Omegas to great effect in Scotland on many occasions. To be honest haven't waded through too many bogs with them but no probs with comfort if you are careful with lacing and they offer great support for front pointing, and you'll have the warmest feet in the gang if you go snowholing!
In reply to fire_munki: used scarpa vegas for my first two scottish seasons. certainly wasnt climbing hard, but they did the job really well. Also ended up doing a few 15-20km walks in them when all the snow disappeared and they were the only boots I had. Feet were warm, but absolutely no rubbing or pain. On my boots the liner seems to take all the abuse that my feet/socks have to take in my sportiva trangos. Stood in a stream once and got wet feet, but didn't when I was climbing. I think plastics still have a place.
In reply to fire_munki: I got some Omega's a few years back.
1st thing I did was take them to my local ski shop and got the liners molded to suit my feet, now they felt ok out of the box but fantastic fit after moulding,
Yes they squeek when you walk in them,
Yes they are warm
No never had wet feet in them, Always wear gaiters (only exception to this has been when using them for snowblading)
Not the best for long walk ins but compared to all other B1,and B3 boots ive used they are no worse, they are even more comfortable than my Scara Frenneys that I ended up selling.
Seriously if you can have inner boots moulded get it done, and by a professional.
> so far winter boots in general are overkill for scotland!
Really? There have been routes in condition regularly since late October and plenty has been done. I'm standing on 16 routes for the season and fully expect to get plenty more once this mild spell has finished. I think you over-play the gloom and doom a bit!
In reply to fire_munki: I have Omegas which are blinding - warm, comfy on a long day and dry out fairly fast. My wife's Cumbraes take about twice as long to dry in the same heat so may be a consideration if you're spending a few nights out.
In reply to fire_munki:
Decided not to keep them, even with my thinnest sock there was too much squeeze around my arch.
Going to stick to B2s for this trip unless something pops up and see what I can find later on.
Bit disappointed as I had high hopes and they looked so shiny!