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I just bought my first pair of mountaineering boots. I know hiking boots need to be properly broken in before taking them on the trail, but what about plastic mountaineering boots?

These are extremely stiff (from the plastic) in order to support crampons, and it doesn't seem like they would get easily molded during wear.

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The boots remain stiff, but the liner inside and the footbed all adjust to your feet. You can definitely get away with not breaking them in, but if you're going to be wearing them for a prolonged period of time the first time you use them you might consider breaking them in a bit or bringing along some second-skin in case you encounter hot spots.

  • I'd add that usually these boots need to stay at a "performance" fit, depending on your sport and uses. If the liner and footbed adjust too much, you'll lose that precision which is so vital. – Greg.Ley Apr 15 '12 at 3:40
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I know the author of the original question has already make their purchase, but for anyone else out there, I would recommend getting a set of mountain-grade leather boots, like the La Sportiva Nepal. They are much kinder to your feet - plastic boots break your feet in, not the other way around!

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    I think it depends on the conditions, but this is definitely good advice for people who are not going to do long, high-altitude, very cold trips at high latitudes. In addition to leather, there are options using goretex and other similar artificial materials. The real issue is the weight, not the material. – Ben Crowell Mar 15 '14 at 20:32

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