I am completely new to this world and need some help trying to find some mountaineering boots that are b3 rated. I'm going to be taking a course here in Iceland to be a glacier guide and one of the items on the gear list are fully stiff b3 boots. If anyone has some suggestions regarding different brands and models of boots in mens that would be greatly appreciated.
I'm wondering what the reason for b3 boots on the gear list is - do they expect you to advance into ice climbing or steep snow as well?
A good comfy b2 would be able to do almost anything a b3 could, while being much more comfortable to hike in.
That said, boot fit is highly personal and good b3 models are far from cheap so I'd try and find a store with a good selection and just try a bunch on. Nowadays it's almost impossible to find a bad boot in the category so it's mostly down to budget and fit anyway. I'm a big fan of the La Sportiva Nepal Cube but your experience might be totally different.
They traditionally come in 2 extremes with models in-between. Light quite technical, but not warm versus chunkier more insulated lumps of boot. Ron Rees Davies' comment above about trying them on in a shop with experienced staff is spot on!
Knowing the types of crampons you will be using is useful - you may need an asymmetric bar for some crampon/boot combinations for a good fit, but I think most boots will take a rapid binding these days.
Will be a very expensive mistake to find that they blister you. Generally these boots don't break in, they fit or break you.
Sounds like a fun time! I spent some time doing fieldwork in Skaftafell and the guides were a good bunch. In addition to echoing the existing replies, the guided glaciers in Iceland are usually dry and often rock covered with scree and moraine approaches. Due to all the gravel you'll be walking over, I would recommend a workhorse style boot over something flashier and lighter. Leather boots like La Sportiva Nepals (pretty much any version) or Scarpa Mont Blancs would be excellent options. They will be heavier than other options, but they will last much longer on abrasive terrain. Lots of other boot companies make boots in this style (B3 with tough leather outer, a bit heavy), so try a bunch on and if scarpa and la sportiva don't fit your feet well there will be other options. I expect they will teach you how to run their ice climbing sessions in due course as well, so I would understand if B3s were mandatory.
I doubt you will find a bad quality B3 boot, all the top manufacturers make a quality product. As others have said fit is absolutely vital, go somewhere with a massive collection and try loads on. If you can go mid week when the shop isn't busy and you won't feel rushed.
You will find it really hard to find a “bad” B3 boot, all have pros and cons but all are really well made. Fit is everything, so be prepared to try on several, and once purchased keep trying them on around the house to make sure they really do fit. If needed subtle changes to fit can be sorted with insoles (all of my boots have superfeet in) but they need to fit 95% out of the box. I’ve personally got Scarpa Mont Blancs and now use them all winter if there’s any chance of my getting crampons out. I find them more comfortable than my B2’s, possibly due to their rocker sole.
I don’t know here you are in the country but if you’re local (enough) I’d wholly recommend Joe Browns/The Climbers Shop in Ambleside or Mad About Mountains in Kirkby Stephen. You’ll get BMC discount at the latter (I think) but Joe Browns have changed to an internal rewards scheme nowadays.
have a great time in Iceland, I’ve never been but it’s a bucket list destination
It can be a pain to find a good fit so I would add that a well-fitting B3 boot needs to do three things:
1) Not have pressure points with thick socks. This can be tried at home, just wear them for a day or so while doing chores and you'll notice soon enough without doing damage to the sole so you can still return them if necessary.
2) Not have toe-bang while front pointing, ie it has to have ample room around the toes. Test this by kicking a wall multiple times throughout the day mentioned in 1.
3) Not have heel lift while front pointing. You can test this by standing on a ledge with the front and doing a bunch of calf raises.
The hard part is that it is almost impossible to get this 100% perfect so it is often a compromise between these three, and it is very difficult to know wether you're getting it right the first time. I went through two pairs of B3 boots before I got it right with the Cubes. Luckily I didn't buy them new
I think from their "Here in Iceland...." comment the OP may live in Iceland in which case they may have only one retail option. One option that I don't think anyone else has given would be to ask the course provider's advice.