It’s getting to be that time of year when people are thinking about high altitude ski objectives. If you’re looking to buy overboots chances are you’re headed to someplace cold, real cold. Ski boots often give us skiers a disadvantage in high altitude wilderness simply because they aren’t crafted to be as warm as current mountaineering boots. You definitely need a warm liner for trips like these, and if you’re looking for that added protection of warmth beyond a beefy ski boot liner then this is the piece of gear to order asap.
For a product you’re trusting to help prevent frostbite you couldn’t get much lighter without lessening the overall benefit and quality of the overboots. This is also one of the easier pieces of gear to ball up, scrunch down, and tuck into a spot in your pack that was nonexistent a second ago. The stretchy fabric makes it relatively easy to whip on your boots even when you can barely unball your hands in your gloves for the few seconds it takes to slap’em on, and they double their use as a warm protective layer for your down booties while cruising around camp(s). They’re sized from a Ladies 6 to a Men’s 16, but before you order talk to Joel (the owner) about your specific boots and crampons (bindings as well) to get the best fit.
The only and I stress only downfall of these overboots is they can get shred pretty badly from sharp crampons. However, the owner of the company directly addresses this on his website, and he gives a fair take on the reality of gear being tested to its limits in the mountains:
“One of the great features of Forty Below® overboots is that they are easy to repair! This is especially helpful, as crampons and rugged terrain are so hard on everything they come in contact with. Repairing is easily done by simply gluing the poke holes together, using glues such as those for repairing neoprene fishing waders, wetsuits, like AquaSeal from McNett, etc. For repairs on the mountain, use the Forty Below® Repair Patches, which are a special sticky and stretchy tape that works great for repairs during a trip (one is included with the overboot).”
Bottom line, if you’re looking for an overboot or heading to a place where you even have the slightest thought that your feet may get cold you want Forty Below Overboots. If you’re a skier the Purple Haze model is the way to go. They’re made well, can be repaired somewhat easily, and they work. Not only that but Joel, the owner, is a super personable guy and will go out of his way to try and make sure you have the right tool for the task you’re looking to accomplish. He’s a small business owner that’s found his niche, and I can’t be more sincere here, he’s the kind of guy that runs the kind of company you want to support. And he makes amazing products taboot!
A pair of these overboots will run you about $140. They’re nylon covered with 4.7 mm stretchy neoprene closed cell insulation and also have two layers of heat reflecting titanium. They come in sizes from XS-XL but check with Joel first before ordering as your other gear (crampons, boots, bindings, etc.) may change your exact size.
Here’s a picture of Jeff Dostie using his overboots with crampons high on Denali.