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Climber Mark Synnott

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Big-Wall Warrior Mark Synnott
Answers Your Climbing Queries

Q: What are the best (also most reasonably priced) climbing shoes that you recommend? (This includes rock climbing, hiking, and climbing boots.)

Lund, Sweden


A good question, although "best" and "reasonably priced" don't really go together. In my opinion, the most expensive shoes—if they are really the best—may well offer superior value. In other words: you get what you pay for. Cheap shoes are, well, cheap shoes.

For rock climbing, ice climbing, and hiking I climb exclusively with La Sportiva. I guess you could say that I'm biased because they sponsor me. However, I can tell you that I sought them out because I felt that they made the best all-around shoes. Ask around, and I think you'll hear the same opinion from a lot of climbers. All the shoes are made in Italy where they design and manufacture a quality product that tends to last a lot longer than other shoes. I, however, use a lot of different models depending on the type of climbing I'm doing. For example, today I was doing some sport climbing and for this I like the Muiras. While a few weeks ago, I was in Yosemite climbing big walls, and for these long climbs I like the Mega because it's a high-top and very comfortable. For hiking I would recommend the Boulder or for more stout slogs with a heavy pack, the Storm. For ice-climbing I wear Nepal Extremes most of the time. These are leather boots that are almost as warm as plastic models. When I go to attempt Jannu (7,710 meters) [25,297 feet] in Nepal this fall, I'm going to be wearing Koflach Arctis Expeditions. I chose these because they are very warm, yet can still perform well on technical terrain.

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Photograph by Gordon Wiltsie

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