Backcountry Boots at Alpenglow Sports
As a core backcountry shop, every boot we stock is made for backcountry use. We stock boots that we believe in and that make for the best backcountry experience. Here's what you need to know in order to choose the right boot for you:
Backcountry boots should not fit like race boots. We tend to buy race boots as tight as possible and then make room with punches and modifications. You'll be stoked with how comfortable your backcountry boot can be once you find the correct last and the boot has been adjusted to your needs. And if we can't find a perfect fit, we're happy to help modify. To understand fit, start with Last.
Last is a millimeter measurement that indicates how wide a boot is. Narrow boots have a last of 96-98mm while medium boots are closer to 99-101. Any boots at or over 102mm are considered wide. Last is maybe the most important measurement to get the right fit. However, don't be fooled by the general last number assigned to a model - as a boot increases or decreases in size the number does the same in a proportional manner.
The best uphill-oriented boots are lightweight and offer a huge range of motion, defined as how much travel the cuff of the boot has fore to aft, similar to the anatomical motion your ankle/lower leg goes through with each step you take. Lightweight boots lead to less fatigue over a long tour, something especially important when you also need to drive that light boot harder to get the response of a stiffer boot. The goal is to find the boot that fits and flexes to your liking, in a weight that is acceptable to your uphill needs.
Skiers know flex and most skiiers think stiffer flex is always better. You'll quickly find that backcountry boots are constrained in how stiff they can be made, while still having a usable tour (walking) mode. Generally, the stiffer boot you find, the less friendly it will be on the uphill, but there are exceptions!
Finding the Best Fit
We are stoked to help you find the boot that works best for your anatomy and your goals. We have at least two boot fitters on staff every day and you can walk in for a boot purchase consultation any day of the week. For modifications and custom footbeds, please call the shop to schedule an appointment.