I currently have a pair of Nepal Cube GTXs (B3) and pair of Boulder X Mid GTX (B1?).
I shelled out on the Cubes a few years ago with goals of climbing steep ice, but life happened, and the vast majority of the winter outings I've had have been ~III Scotland and ~PD in the on the continent, and this looks likely to continue that way.
With that in mind, should I invest a B2 boot, with Scottish Winter and Summer Alps shaping up? I do like my Cubes, but slogging up/down hours of trails to get to/from routes isn't really enjoyable, and I've even taken the Boulder X and swapped into the Cubes on hot days in the Alps.
I've got a few bob burning a hole in my pocket after Covid trip cancellations, so I'm tempted...any suggestions for a B2 that might fit in nicely with my plans also much appreciated!
Will deffo try Mantas as I've read good things (although they look heavier than newer models?)
Boot (foot) size makes a difference -if you have big feet you'll notice more difference.
Last year I switched the other way, B2 to B3, from Scarpa Triolet to Mont Blanc Pro, both size 46 and the same last. The Triolet were the most comfortable boots I'd ever worn, and light as well, and TBH the Mont Blanc aren't far behind though heavier. The B3s are easier on the calves front pointing due to the greater flex in the B2s needing more muscle input.
We've found that B2 synthetic boots leak within a season and a thread I put up a couple of weeks back suggest this is a common problem. A heavier leather boot might last longer, a B1 perhaps.
If you like Sportiva try the Aequilibrium, light, comfortable, climb and walk well. Or even the Trango Tech (they are a bit narrower and not very durable , but comfortable and will do AD )
wouldn’t bother with Manta, heavy bricks
Bear in mind there is huge variability in B2 boots stiffness. I’ve had B2 boots I’ve done steeper ice grade IVish ice, and I have a pair of B2 at the moment that are so flexible that Ive brought flexible crampons for. Nice to walk-in but not confidence inspiring on steep snow.
For what it’s worth in my foot size (nine) B2 Asolo and scarpa are on the stiff side, salewa and Hanwag are the opposite.
If you find the right boot the walking will be slit easier and the climbing only marginally less stable.
I did my first couple of alpine summer outings (till about II/PD) in B3's. First year a pair of old La Sportiva Nepal Tops, second and third year a more modern Scarpa Ortles GTX. Last year I decided to buy a slightly older pair of Nepal Treks (I like how bomb-proof their design is) to fill the niche you are talking about and I gotta say for easy summer alpine it really has a lot of advantages:
-Significantly more flex than a B3 so much more comfortable to walk in (which AD- summer alpine mostly is...)
-Less outsole wear due to more flex, so your B3's will last longer if you don't use them for stuff they are not built for
-Able to wear the same shoes valley to summit (of course you can also do this with B3's but see above)
So yeah, if you're mostly doing alpine up to III I would definitely invest in a pair of B2's. Your feet will thank you. Your resoler will be less happy
I find boots with a rocker to the sole are much more comfortable, whichever level of "B" they are. I only use boots if I will need crampons, I use trail shoes the rest of the time (even in "light" winter conditions, just with microspikes), so I probably value the rocker more as my feet are used to good movement. But either way, worth trying some with a more pronounced rocker and see what you think of them
I find that B2s are more comfortable / lighter for easier alpine routes. With harder / steeper snow and ice or mixed I tend to go with the B3s. However, depending on conditions I would most often use lightweight approach shoes as Girly Monkey suggests and then leave them in the hut / bivvy for collection later.
B2s Scarpa Triolets have been my only boots for probably 15 years now. With a pair of Grivel G14s I have climbed WI4+ on lead and seconded Scottish V,7. I have size 46 feet, do they flex, yes a bit, is it manageable, yes. I honestly think that if you have the right pair, unless you are climbing macca hard, they are the right tool for most climbers. The triolet is leather mostly, has good ankle flex, is reasonably warm (-12 was too much for them mind) and climbs well. They aren't like a pair of ugg boots for walking in, but they are comfy enough. I think much like double ropes, British climbers seem to fixate on having B3 boots. Your crampons are more important in my opinion as they lend rigidity to the boot, and give your foot support according to their point arrangement. I'd say you would be better off climbing in a pair of G14s or petzl lynx in B2s, that you would be in B3s with a less adequate crampon. Personally I would do it and be more comfortable....
I’ve got the leather version of the trango techs and I’ve not had an issue with durability so far.
Very much depends on the boot, the fit, and yourself. My Nepal Evos are more comfortable *to me* than my old Manta GSBs.
The standard version seems to wear through the side (I assume where it bends) there’s some good pics of it in the online reviews. Mine started to show signs of wear there too before I sold them. They were too narrow for me (seem a lot narrower than the Aequilibrium and Trango cube). Seems like the leather versions are more durable though
Interesting that you think they were narrower than the aequilibriums as I’m tempted by those, but have heard that they were a narrow fit
The Aequilibrium are nice, much better to walk in than the Cube. They are a bit pointier than the cube but wider than the tech (might be that the sizing is different- I went up .5 in the tech but still found it too tight in the toe. The Aequilibrium is wider but more tapered than the Cube, but the heel for is good