Via ferrata and tough mountain scrambles can be a mixed bag of challenges and terrain, so finding the right climbing boot is not easy or obvious. For my money the Scarpa Charmoz provides just about the right balance to cover the widest range of terrain, from boggy approach through technical rock and onto snow and ice. Most importantly of all, the sole is stiff, so you can climb hard routes by using the edges, without fear of the sole flexing and sending you slipping off the hold. The sole gets a smooth climbing zone around the toe, for more precise footwork. To further enhance the feel of the boot on rock, you get lacing that extends to the toe and a slightly pointed toe profile. The upper is synthetic to keep the weight down, but the Charmoz manages to shave the weight down to just 1664g (size 11). As the upper is so lightweight, you get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to keep your feet dry. A full rubber rand and solid toe box provide excellent protection for the fit while improving durability of the upper. If you find your rock route ends on some snow, as it could in the Alps, you can fit crampons too. All that adds up to a superb climbing performance boot that is ideal for Alpine regions as well as UK mountain routes. But like many climbing boots, the upper is a synthetic and suede design, so it won’t be as durable as a full leather upper. Other boots have slightly more flex at the ankle, which some may prefer. Walking around the valley is not going to be the most comfortable activity, but then that is to be expect with a stiff-soled boot. This is not the lowest-priced option by a long way, so others are definitely better if you are on a tight budget.
Upper: LTech / Techno Funk, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole: Vibram Mulaz with dedicated climbing zone
Sizes: 41-48 (men’s); 37-42 (women’s)
Trail fit profile: forefoot 1; heel 2; volume 2; length 2
Crampon compatibility: B2
Weight: 1664g (pair, size 46)
Made in Italy
Stores in UK: England 38; Wales 3; Scotland 16; Ireland 2
Verdict: Buy it if you want a dedicated scrambling, climbing or via ferrata boot for routes in Alps or the UK as this does it all at a good weight for the performance advantages.