Mountaineering boots are probably where you should spend most of your shopping time, and budget, when starting into the discipline. Plenty of choice for you to look at but above all, to try. I would not recommend buying your first pair online. You need to really try them on, from as many different brands as possible.
The importance of a good pair of boots
While testing the Mammut Magic GTX I also got to try many other models and there is not one that fits like another. It is the most important piece in your mountaineering kit because it is the one that can turn an otherwise great summit day into a painful experience. That and bad gloves but we’ll talk about glove in another article.
When trying a pair of mountaineering boots you want to watch for a few things. First the fit should be snug but not too short. It is important to leave room at the front for your toes. When kicking you way up in ice or snow, having your toes bump at the front with each kick is not an option. The ankle should be comfortably held by the lacing. No painful spots should be felt. Some designs were a straight no for me, like most boots from Salewa, while other felt right and comfy like the Mammut and some La Sportiva. Lacing the boot up, you should feel well supported but also keep reasonable freedom of ankle movements. When going side hill the boot should not get in the way of proper foot placement.
Mammut Magic GTX, roomy and versatile
The Mammut Magic GTX felt right from the start in terms of room. It’s one of the wider models I tried. I have wide feet and I have plenty of room for my toes in those. I am a 6.5 in normal trekking shoes. I took the Mammut Magic GTX in 7, so just ½ size up. For me no need to go up a full size in this case.
The ankle area is also one of the comfiest I have tested. Right there with the The North Face S6K Glacier and La Sportiva Trango EVO GTX. The tongue stays well in place thanks to the integrated hook that locks in the laces. The asymmetric lacing allows you to fine tune the pressure on different areas for a more relaxed or precise fit.
Built to endure tough situations
The outer materials are nylon, polyester and suede leather. The rubber reinforcement going all around the shoe could have been a little higher but it works perfectly at protecting the boot against sharp edges like rocks or even crampons. The Mammut Magic GTX gives an impression of extreme resistance and after our four days of intense testing only shows very minor signs of wear.
The waterproofing is handled by the GoreTex Performance Comfort Footwear membrane. Absolutely spot on performance here, with dry feet 100% of the time, even after stepping all day in deep heavy snow. The temperature rating given by Mammut is -20°C, which we haven’t be able to try. During our two test trips the temperature went down to around -9°C, not counting wind chill. I did feel my feet getting cold on prolonged belays but they were toasty warm again when we started moving. The Mammut Magic GTX are not winter alpine ascents or expedition grade boots. You are responsible for your own choices when it comes to temperature. We all have different resistances levels and activities varies so depending on your goals you might need to go to more insulated boots.
A great boot to get into mountaineering
The Vibram sole is rated B2, so not completely rigid but in practice you would be hard pressed to notice the difference with a B3 boot. There is a slight point of flex making it more comfortable to walk in. It also handled well steep ascents and easy-to-medium climbs. You will however push it to its limits if going ice climbing regularly. The Mammut Magic GTX is compatible with semi-automatic crampons, which makes it a great choice for newcomers to the discipline. Crampons locked in precisely as expected and stayed on without any problems.
The Mammut Magic GTX are also some of the lightest boots in this range of insulated B2 boots. The pair in size 7 weighs 1484g / 3.27 lbs.
I have only good impressions about the Mammut Magic GTX. They deliver in all aspects that are important to me: insulation, comfort, resistance. They also have the best value for money in their category, in my personal opinion. Try them out, if they fit, the Mammut Magic GTX are a great investment in you safety and comfort.