Any boot can be used for tackling scrambling and via ferrata routes, however some boots make the challenge easier. But if you are in no rush to push your limits to the max then a well-built general mountain walking and scrambling boot is ideal. The Meindl Alta Via fills this brief perfectly, thanks to its leather upper, rubber rand and aggressive Vibram sole unit.
The Meindl Alta Via has a leather upper with minimal stitching to enhance its levels of durability. Meanwhile a rubber rand adds further protection to the upper, making this ideal for long days in rocky mountain terrain. The upper has lacing that extends well down to the toes and a more rounded toe profile than other boots here. Inside the boot you get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a good degree of cushioning to make this a comfy option. The outsole is Vibram, but it does not have the smooth climbing zone of other boots tested here. Instead it has a deep set of lugs and a deep heel breast for keeping a grip in mud. The PU cushioning can be seen in the small window at the heel. As with other boots tested here there is enough stiffness in the sole to fit a strap-on crampon for negotiating easier areas of snow.
On the hill
The Meindl Alta Via is a far less scrambling-specific design and this is evident as soon as you put this boot on the foot. That toe box is very spacious, which makes it very comfortable of course, but it does not have the ‘feel’ for the rock that other boots can provide. Equally the ride height is greater thanks to a big slab of cushioning under the forefoot, so again this is ideal for walking, but you cannot feel where the foothold is so well on the rock. As the outsole does not have a smooth climbing zone under the toe, you are left with deep rubber lugs to stand on when climbing, which is possible but is not so easy on the foot. On easier terrain none of these issues is really a problem, but for those who need or want the best performance they can get from their boots when climbing or scrambling the Alta Via is not for them. However use this boot for general mountain trekking and scrambling up easier scrambles or generally rough and rocky mountains, and it is superb. However there are other drawbacks that will affect even the general walker as this is a relatively heavy boot at 2100g (pair, size 11) and there are other 3-4 season boots with a similar or better performance available for less cash.
Upper velour leather, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Meindl Multigriff, PU cushioning
Crampon compatibility B1
Weight 2100g (pair, size 11)
Made in Germany
Stores in the UK 20
Stockist details tel. (015395) 60214; www.meindl.de
The Meindl Alta Via has good stiffness for walking over rocky mountain terrain; durable leather upper with rubber rand; broad, comfortable fit. But there are lighter boots and others that have a better toe profile, better feel and better flex for scrambling. Overall, the Meindl Alta Via is a very good general mountain walking boot, but others are better in terms of weight and scrambling performance.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine June 2010