I finally got to try on a pair of Scarpa Omega Mountaineering Boots this past weekend. I’ve had my eye on them for a while because of their light weight: 5.2 lbs per pair in a size 9.5 US. So, when I saw them in the EMS outlet in North Conway, NH, I immediately tried them on.
The Omega’s fit really well and I bought them on the spot at a 20% sale discount, which is significant because they retail for $360.
I know this sounds like it was an impetuous purchase but I’ve gotten to the point where I know what to look for in a plastic mountaineering boot. I didn’t experience any heel lift, shin banging or toe movement in the boot when I walked around the store and simulated kicking steps and front pointing. The level of ankle flex in the boot was also fantastic: almost like a leather boot instead of a cinder block. Heel rocker was good, making them easy to walk on a flat surface and the sole was very stiff, due to a carbon fiber shank, which makes them good boots for ice climbing.
The Inner boot in the Omega is made with a synthetic material that feels a little like felt and seals at the top with a velcro strap instead of a bootlace system, like some other Scarpa boots. It is not sturdy enough to use as a camp bootie, but provides good insulation. The inner boot is also heat-moldable like good ski boots, which is a huge benefit if you want an ultra-personal fit.
The morning after buying these boots, I got to use them in a three day Introduction to Mountaineering course I took with the International Mountain Climbing School in North Conway. This was a strenuous class combining ice climbing, winter hiking, camping and an ascent up Mt. Washington (6,288 ft), famous for it’s extreme weather conditions.
Winter Sock System
Suffice to say: I didn’t get one blister the entire weekend, and we did at least 10 miles of hiking in fresh snow with heavy packs. My feet were never cold either, unlike those of my classmates: I wore a light liner sock under a heavy expedition weight REI wool sock. I also added a Green Superfeet foot bed under the inner boot to give me slightly better arch support and prevent plantar fasciitis, a condition I’ve had in the past and go out of my way to avoid.
Plastic mountaineering boots, like the Omega are compatible with all grades of crampons. This weekend, I wore a pair of Petzl step-ins which locked over the front and rear boot welts. Ankle flex in the Omega’s was really good, particularly when side stepping up steep icy slopes using French Technique where you need to keep the base of your foot completely flat: I never felt like I was fighting the boots to maintain safe purchase. I also did not experience any shin bang during the weekend which I attribute to the softness of the plastic in the Omega’s tongue and the cushioning of the inner bootie.
I am very pleased with these boots and glad that I held out and tried them on before selecting another boot. The excellent comfort and fit that they provide is worth their premium price.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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