A mountaineering boot that only weighs 650 grams? Editor Vince Hempsall steps up for this honest review of the Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX boot.

Vancouver-based Arc’teryx has been in the soft goods and outdoor gear manufacturing game since 1989 but it wasn’t until 2015 that it stepped into the footwear market. Since then the company has crafted trail runners, approach shoes, hikers and mountaineering boots. The previous iteration of the Arc’teryx Acrux boot, released in 2018, was insulated and best used for cold-weather escapes. The new Acrux LT GTX boot is best for the other three seasons. The “GTX” stands for Gore-Tex and the “LT” stands for lightweight. I’ve reviewed another lightweight shoe offering from Arc’teryx called the Konseal LT approach shoe in the past and while it’s insanely light, I found it to be very willowy and blew a hole in it after my third big alpine excursion. Given each Acrux LT boot is only 650 grams, I was curious to see if they would stand up better. I wasn’t disappointed.

Snapshot: Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX

  1. Pros: The lightest and most comfortable mountaineering boot I’ve ever owned.
  2. Cons: I can’t think of one, which is the first time I’ve come to that conclusion when reviewing a piece of footwear.
  3. Price: $530 Cdn
  4. Who Should Buy: Casual mountaineers. If you’re climbing Everest or technical mountains in the winter, consider something else.
  5. Who Shouldn’t Buy: Hikers. Look to the Acrux TR (trekking) version instead.
  6. Helpful Hack: When the factory DWR coating of the boot starts to wear off, you’ll notice water pooling on the fabric. DO NOT APPLY WAX or any other type of product used on leather boots. It will only clog the fabric’s pores. Instead, use a fabric waterproofing product like Nikwax, which, despite the name, isn’t wax at all but a water-based spray.
  7. Author’s overall rating: 10/10

The Test

I received a pair of size 9 men’s Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX boots in the late Spring and spent three seasons in them trudging through alpine rock and snow, navigating across streams, hiking the forest trails near my house in every type of weather from baking sun to downpours, and doing fourth-class scrambles in the Selkirk mountain range of British Columbia.

The Verdict

I’ve never been a fan of wearing mountaineering boots. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Purcells and Selkirk mountains of British Columbia, where I live, and have always tried to get by with approach shoes or light hikers. There have been moments I’ve regretted it, like the time my hiking shoe slipped in a snowy couloir and I almost slid to my death in a rock-strewn alpine lake. But those rare, albeit terrifying, occasions seemed worth it to not have to cram my feet into a pair of constrictive, concrete blocks. Therefore, I was expecting some pain when I first donned the Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX boots and went for a walk around my house. In years past I’ve spent months trying to break in new mountaineering boots to no avail. Which is why I was incredibly surprised to find the Acrux boots were comfortable from the very start. I have a wide foot and require a large toe box, which most mountaineering boots don’t offer, perhaps as a weight-savings tactic. But my toes felt immediately comfortable in the Acrux LTs and it got to the point that I’d take them on short forays to the forested trails around my house, not because I needed to break them in, but because they were just that comfortable.

As mentioned above in the Snapshot section, the Acrux LT GTX boots are not designed for winter use or for bagging 8,000-metre peaks. Which is fine by me because for the type of mountaineering I do, I need a sturdy, lightweight boot with excellent grip on the rock and traction on the trail with a heel groove that can accommodate a pair of crampons. And these boots definitely deliver. The tread of the Vibram sole is deep, almost a full centimetre at its deepest, so it chews up forested trails with east and it’s tough: I’ve seen very little wear in the months since I received the boot. It speaks to how far Vibram has come in its evolution that it also adheres well to the rock, even when wet. It used to be that Vibram was as grippy as Teflon but I felt more than comfortable in these boots scrambling over class four terrain.

The Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX boots incorporate a very lightweight three-millimetre carbon plate with a polyurethane foam core that offers the perfect amount of stiffness. In other words, it’s not like walking in cement blocks. In a pinch, I’ve even taken these boots to walk downtown in early-season flurries because I couldn’t find my winter boots anywhere. Granted, I haven’t taken these boots ice climbing yet, nor will I ever because I gave up the sport after too many bouts with the screaming barfies, but it would be interesting to see if the carbon plate’s stiffness holds up with crampons on in vertical terrain.

Other aspects I like about the Acrux LT GTX boots include the self-locking rivets that engage when you cinch the laces to tie the upper part of the boot. The toe cap is beefy and barely shows any sign of wear after months. The outer Gore-tex fabric breathes well and sheds torrential downpours while the inner foam perfectly cups my ankle bone, which is typically a hot spot area for me, aside from my fat toes.

In summary, the Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX boots are the best mountaineering boots I’ve ever owned and I could not find one single flaw with them. They absolutely deserve a 10/10 rating in my opinion.

The Deets – Arc’teryx Acrux LT GTX

  • Vibram Mont outsole
  • 3mm carbon plate with PU foam core
  • Gore-tex upper
  • Flexible SuperFabric upper feature micro-plate technology for abrasion resistance
  • Colour: Black/Helios
  • Men’s US Sizes: 5-13
  • Women’s US Sizes: 6-14
  • Weight: 650 grams (23 oz) per boot
  • Activity: Alpine Climbing / Ice Climbing
  • Price: $530

Author’s Note: Mountain Culture Group is not paid for these reviews. They are honest expressions of our opinions. In some instances we are given the product to keep but that does not sway our assessment. If we dislike a product and feel it would score a rating of less than 5/10, we simply won’t review it.