Best Ski Boots Reviewed & Rated for Overall Quality

If you’re an avid skier, then you know how important your gear is in keeping you both safe and performing at the highest possible level. If, however, you are someone just looking at purchasing their first pair of ski boots, you are likely to be befuddled by the huge variety of choices and options available. With several different types of makes and options, you might have to choose between downhill, alpine touring, telemark or even cross-country without knowing what it is exactly what you need.

Featured Recommendations

Rossignol Evo 70
  • Rossignol Evo 70
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Sensor Fit Liners
  • Price: See Here
Lange RX 130
  • Lange RX 130
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • RX Shell Construction
  • Price: See Here
Fischer Offtrack 5 BC
  • Fischer Offtrack 5 BC
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Injected Exterior Heel Cap
  • Affordable
  • Price: See Here

In order to make a purchase you will be happy with for several years to come, you need to ensure that you’ve done your research. What type of skiing are you interested in? What’s your budget? What’s your foot type? If you’ve already worn this type of footwear, it’s a good idea to think about what you liked and what you didn’t like about the fit. All of these are important in order to provide you with maximum comfort and performance ability.

This list gives you a detailed overview of the ten best boots to use when skiing, listing the pros and cons of each model. Furthermore, you’ll find that the Criteria for Evaluation and FAQ sections contain plenty of handy information that can help you make an even better choice for your next purchase.

 

10 Best Ski Boots

 

1. Rossignol Evo 70

The Evo 70's by Rossignol is a fantastic hybrid that's great for downhill trekking as well as backcountry if need be. This alpine boot is suitable both for beginners and intermediate skiers with a wide forefoot and medium to wide shaft of the leg. Offering a flexibility rating of 70, the Evo 70 will allow you to build up your strength without slowing you down.
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Sensor Fit Liners
Each boot includes custom sensor fit liners that that aid in general foot comfort allowing for all-day trekking as mentioned above. The liners themselves provide an accommodating instep and a more articulate ankle area for increased support, circulation, and warmth.

3 Buckle Design
In addition to comfort, the Evo 70's are known for their wide fitting cuff as well as the shoe itself. The 3 buckle system included, aided by the XL Power Strap, allows for a strong and clamping closure in addition to being easy to slip on and off.

Cost and Value
The Rossignol Evo 70 is a great budget and beginner option as they excel in almost every skiing category. In addition, the Evo 70's are a versatile hybrid that works great whether it be on beginner or technical terrain, making this one of the best investments for those just getting on the slopes for the first time.
Pros

Strong Clamp

Wide Fit

Flexible Toe

Great for All Terrains

Great Beginner Boot

Cons

No Walk Mode

2. Lange RX 130

If you’re looking for something more advanced, suitable for professionals, then the RX 130 by Lange is definitely a good option. It’s an all-mountain pair of equipment that can be worn all day thanks to the anatomical Dual 3D Liner that can be adjusted for the best possible fit around the heel and ankle. With a lower level of flexibility, the RX 130 is perfect for more aggressive skiers who prefer a stiffer boot.
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Dual Core
The RX 130 uses leading technology in the outer shell construction, providing the skier with energy, rebound and flex control. Including a combination of softer and more rigid durometers to enhance performance in the most important parts of the boot, Lange has created a truly great boot you’ll definitely want to try.

Flex: 130
The stiff flex featured in the Lange RX 130's are recommended only for expert and advanced level skiers. As a result, a stiffer boot allows for carves to be much stronger in addition to more stability on harder snow.

Cost and Value
The Lange RX 130's may be one of the most expensive products on this list, but the price definitely speaks for itself. Lange is a tried and true brand in the world of skiing and you definitely can't go wrong if you opt for this model. Although, you should be much more experienced when purchasing this pair of boots as the stiffness makes control while on the slopes much harder.
Pros

Very Comfortable

Not Too Tight

For Narrow Feet

All Mountain Style

Dual 3D Full Liner

Cons

Expensive

Not Suitable for Beginners

3. Tecnica Mach1 120 MV

The reason why Tecnica’s Mach1 120 MV is such a highly regarded product is the fact that it offers a fit like no other. Made for average feet but with a highly customizable shell, this is a boot you’ll be able to adapt to your own feet and needs. As for the liner, it’s made to anatomically hug your feet without losing its shape or support with continued wear. You’ll find that the Mach1 is a versatile boot intended for advanced skiers that can be just good for carving up slopes or cruising the backcountry.
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Polyether Quick Instep
Most ski equipment can be kind of a pain to put on and take off. The Mach1 120's are quite different in the sense that they feature a softer plastic around the instep, making them easy to slip on and off no matter the conditions.

Fiberglass Rear Spine
The rear spine on the Mach1 120's are made from high-quality fiberglass supporting the polyester cuff giving the wearer better power transmission as well as reduced weight. The spine takes all the energy from the power strap and puts it straight into your heel making for a fantastic and extremely versatile boot.

Cost and Value
The Tecnica Mach1 120's are by no means budget, and if you want this level of quality, you’ll have to be ready to pay for it. They’re best suited for advanced skiers, but can also be chosen by enthusiasts who have high ambitions. It’s great for all types of terrain, and has one of the best fits on the market, making it a great choice for almost anyone.
Pros

Great Fit

Versatile

Steering Capabilities

Easy to Put On and Take Off

2 Year Warranty

Cons

Expensive

More Suited for Experts

4. Scarpa Freedom SL Freeride

4. Scarpa Freedom SL Freeride
This is an alpine touring boot that’s got some serious fans, and with good reason. The Freedom SL is perfect for all types of backcountry skiing and is a surprisingly lightweight boot for all the tech it boasts. You’ll find that these have a very snug fit, more suited to aggressive skiers, while still allowing for a considerable amount of flexibility that will make walking in these a bit easier.
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Carbon Core Technology
The shell of the Scarpa Freedom SL was made with Carbon Core Technology which uses a carbon insert which is injected into the shell of the boot in order to maximize power transfer and minimize torsion.

Overlap Closure Technology
One of the biggest downsides of boots made for skiing is that the closures can leave a lot to be desired. Scarpa fights this with their specially developed technology that works to snugly wrap the forefoot without creating any pressure points, as well as to safely connect the upper part to your shin.

Cost and Value
The Scarpa Freedom SL Freeride is the most expensive item on this list, and that makes sense seeing that this is a product that is made by a family company in Italy that has been around for quite some time. If you’re someone who wants the absolute best out of their equipment, then this model is definitely high on our list of suggestions.
Pros

27° Range Of Motion

Overlap Closure

Lightweight

Vibram Soles

Excellent Ski Control

Cons

High Price

Lacks in Comfort

5. K2 Spyne 100

5. K2 Spyne 100
The Spyne 120's is a fantastic combination of raw power and comfort and is one of the most versatile boots on this list; which says a lot due to this entire list being based upon overall quality and versatility as a whole. The middle of the road 100mm and 102mm width options provide just enough size for those that have wide feet and the 100 flex is perfect for both intermediate and advanced skiers who prefer a bit more flexibility..
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Powerfuse Spyne
The "Powerfuse Spyne" on the K2 Spyne 100 adds a balanced amount of strength to the interlock. This makes for great responsiveness on different areas, which also adds to the boots versatility.

LuxFit PRO Liners
The liners you’ll find in these boots are fully customizable, upping the comfort as a whole. With heat molded and traditional foam elements, you are sure to find the fit that suits you perfectly.

Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the K2 Spyne 100 is a serious investment that is sure to pay off. It’s a great choice for those who are looking into taking up skiing more seriously, and want a boot that will last for quite a while.
Pros

Very Versatile

Reinforced Body

Customizable Liner

Wide Fit

Great Flex

Cons

Unsuitable for Narrow Feet

Slippery When Walking Off Snow

6. Nordica Cruise 120

6. Nordica Cruise 120
If you’ve been skiing for some time now, and have brought your skill level to the intermediate level, or even if you’re an advanced skier who’s looking for something more affordable, then the Nordica Cruise is a great choice for you. It is a comfortable boot that still boasts plenty of tech features which will help you improve even more.
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104 Last
Those who have wide feet and have trouble finding an adequate pair of footwear for their feet shape can breathe a sigh of relief, seeing that the Cruise 120 was made to fit wider feet with a medium to wide shaft of the leg.

Performance Fit Liner
Regardless of its average price, the Cruise 120 features some great technology, including the boot’s liners. They are heat activated, and will perfectly mold to your feet to give you the best possible fit.

Cost and Value
Ranking average on this list when it comes to price, this pair of skiing footwear is still quite expensive when compared to regular shoes. However, those who have dedicated some time to bring their skill level up will appreciate everything that this pair of boots has to offer.
Pros

Natural Foot Stance

Flex Index of 120

104 Last

4 Micro Adjustable Buckles

Performance Fit Liner

Cons

Unsuitable for Narrow Feet

Expensive

7. Atomic Hawx Ultra 130

7. Atomic Hawx Ultra 130
Here's yet another advanced piece of ski equipment but this time tailored specifically towards those with narrower feet. The Hawx is a great crossover option being both great for backcountry as well as downhill skiing due to its lightweight build. It’s a boot which excels in terms of its overall versatility, providing users with a stiff shell with plenty of control and power transfer.
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Progressive Shell
The construction of the shell on the Hawx optimizes the boot for thickness in key zones for protection and slimness in others to make the boot 25% lighter as a result. Being one of the lightest boots on the market, it's also one of the most fun and versatile boots to use due to its ability to be utilized in a variety of scenarios.

Free/Lock 2.0
Unlike many other products on the market, the Hawx Ultra 130 features a lock mechanism that's taken straight from the backhand line. The lock allows for frictionless pivots to provide smooth cuff movement off the skis themselves.

Cost and Value
While the cost of the boot is quite expensive, the features provided justify the price. With a lightweight build unlike any other currently on the market, in addition to an added walk mode, makes this boot a prime choice for all terrain skiing. Although, due to it's lightweight nature, the boot is only recommended for advanced skiers as lighter boots are generally harder to control.
Pros

Sleek Look

Lightweight

Walk Mode

Progressive Shell

Backcountry and Downhill

Cons

Expensive

Not for Beginners

8. Nordica Cruise 60

8. Nordica Cruise 60
The Nordica Cruise 60's are a great beginner level boot when taking into account their extremely low flex index of 60. With such a low flex, control is fantastic on these boots and the 104mm width allows for plenty of room for wider feet to spread out.
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Natural Foot Stance NFS
The Nordica Cruise 60's keeps your feet abducted slightly outward in what's called a "natural foot stance" which is the way the skier would naturally stand. As a result, this increases the overall comfort of the boots itself in addition to making the boots more efficient in power transfer.

PFP Comfort Liner
Nordica's PFP Comfort Liner includes plenty of insulation as well as padding to keep you warm while out on the snow. The additional padding allows for a much more comfortable and supportive experience when out skiing.

Cost and Value
The Nordica Cruise 60's are the perfect shoe for the aspiring beginner in terms of skiing. They provide the perfect amount of flex for a fun and controllable experience and shredding the slopes, and also have fantastic addition in terms of comfort. If you’re a beginner who wants to get a lot of use out of their newly purchased equipment, then the Nordica Cruise 60 is an excellent choice.
Pros

Medium to Wide Foot Width

Great for Beginners

PFP Comfort Liner

NFS (Natural Foot Stance)

Low Flex Index

Cons

Unsuitable for Narrow Feet

Not for Advanced Skiers

9. Fischer Offtrack 5 BC

9. Fischer Offtrack 5 BC
The Offtrack 5 BC by Fischer is definitely the most unique option on this list. With a sleek and low-key design, this is a boot that stands apart from other models. It features a stiff toe with almost no flex, and it’ has a comfortable fit that will work for a wide variety of foot shapes.
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ASC 3 Ankle Support
Fischer hits home with their ankle support as it offers more stability along the side, as well as a joint that gives the wearer more power transfer.

Injected Exterior Heel Cap
Fantastic heel cradling is included on the Offtrack 5 in addition to better protection and added power transfer thanks to the exterior heel cap. Also, the zipper system ensures that moisture stays out of the wool build making sure to keep your feet warm and dry.

Cost and Value
The Fischer Offtrack 5 BC is the cheapest item on this list making for a fantastic budget option. A wool blended liner and high-quality ankle support put this boot among one of the most comfortable on this list, and great for skiers of all skill levels. Definitely a worthy investment if looking to get into skiing.
Pros

Great Ankle Support

Fits a Variety of Foot Shapes

Low-Key Look

Affordable

Extremely Comfortable

Cons

Very Stiff

Unsuitable for Higher Level Skiers

10. Full Tilt Descendant 4

10. Full Tilt Descendant 4
Descendant having previously hit home with their award winning 3-piece DNA boots have to figure out a way to somehow top that with their Full Tilt line. Of course Descendant doesn't disappoint as the Full Tilt 3's are all that you could ask for; all-day performance, customized comfort, and a wide to normal fit.
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Focused Intuition Liner
The liner on the Full Tilt 4's is made from closed cell foam that is body heat activated to mold to your foot shape. As a result, the Full Tilt 4's are completely customizable, making them a great option for a wide variety of foot shapes.

Rigid Bootboard
This is something you don't see on ski equipment very often but that sure is a welcome feature. A bootboard is a firm layer underneath the liner that makes the responsiveness of the boot on soft snow much better, a fantastic all terrain feature.

Cost and Value
The Full Tilt Descendant 4 is the perfect option for intermediate to advanced skiers looking for something with a bit more power to attack the slopes. At a relatively budget price tag, these are a great boot to shoot for especially with all the features considered.
Pros

Low Flex Index

102mm Width

Intuition Liner

Asymmetric Rubber Tongue

Replaceable Soles

Cons

Low Level of Durability

Run Small

Finding the right pair of ski boots is difficult. Not only do you need to consider your foot size, but you’ll also have to consider shape, forefoot width, instep height and calf volume. Furthermore, the level of flexibility you will require from your equipment will depend on your level, which can considerably change within a single season, if you practice enough. The above list features some of the best possible choices, both for a beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers, and gives you high-quality options for all budget levels. If, however, you want to know even more about this type of equipment, make sure to read on for added information about what to look for in your next pair of boots.

 

If you’re looking for some skis to go with your new boots check out our article on the 10 Best Skis

 

 

Criteria For Choosing The Best Ski Boots

Materials Used

One of the most important pieces of criteria when composing this list was the quality of the materials used to produce the items. Because the boots you will be using with your skis need to protect you and to enable you to navigate sometimes rough terrain, material resilience and durability are key factors.

You are most likely to find that your equipment is made out of thermoplastics such as Polyurethane. It’s even likely that the same pair of boots will use different types of these materials to ensure a varying level of stiffness in different parts of the boot.

One of the best parts about technological advancement is the fact that many shells can now be molded to fit your feet perfectly. This is often done through heating the boots in special ovens, then putting them on, making them adjust to the wearer’s foot shape.

Overall, you will find that different manufacturers will use different materials and compounds, especially over a variety of price points. While some materials are used for their performance features, others are chosen because of the fact that they are cheaper, or even because they look better. No matter what boot you choose, you need to ensure that it has the following properties:

  • Resistant at high impact and low temperatures
  • Optimized resound and flexibility
  • Not become stiff at low temperatures
  • Scratch resistant
  • Long-term stability
  • UV resistance
  • Must be able to return to their original position after flexing

All of these criteria mean that there is a limited number of materials you will see used in the making of your equipment. A good rule of thumb is to look for the following:

TPU: 230 C Melting Point – 1.18 Density (G/cm)

Polyolefin: 140 C Melting Point – 0.89 Density (G/cm)

Nylon 12: 178 C Melting Point – 1.01 Density (G/cm)

Pebax: 172 C Melting Point – 1.01 Density (G/cm)

Flex Index

In order to accommodate a wide variety of skill groups, flex has to be taken into account as it more or less determines the way in which your boots will contribute to controlling your skis. A high flex generally means that the boot is going to be stiffer and therefore harder to control on the slopes. Boots with a lower flex index are going to be easier to control as the boot itself is more flexible, resulting in a higher level of comfort as well.

Different manufacturers will have different flex indexes, but they generally range somewhere on a scale from 50 to 140. The lower the number, the softer your boot is going to be, allowing for more movement and more comfort. This is ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers who want a pair of boots that are going to be both easy to ski in, as well as warm and padded. Professional skiers, on the other hand, need higher performance features, which means that they will usually go with a very high flex index.

If you are unsure as to which flex index to go for in your next pair of ski boots, here’s a helpful chart:

  • 50 – 90 Beginner-Intermediate
    Perfect for well-maintained slopes, slow pace and providing adequate all-day comfort.

 

  • 90 – 100 Intermediate-Advanced
    Made for those with a bit more experience, who are not afraid to ski at a higher speed and who might go off-course from time to time. Provides an adequate combination of performance and comfort.

 

  • 100 – 130 Advanced-Expert
    Very stiff, made for professional athletes who ski at very high speeds, have an aggressive style and who prefer a tight, performance-driven fit to a comfortable one.

Boot Width

Your equipment can come in various widths that are used to accommodate those with differing foot sizes and shapes. When buying boots for skiing, the ‘last size’ refers to the width of the boot at its widest point, which is generally at the forefoot and ball of the foot. Picking a width that fits your shoe is one of the most important decisions you’ll be making when choosing the best product for your needs, and you need to carefully look over all the details when it comes to this aspect.

These boots are generally measured on a Mondopoint scale which is based upon the length of your foot in centimeters. You can find your mondopoint by putting your foot up against a wall and then measure from the wall to the end of your toes. Using a mondopoint scale, you will easily find the correct size of your boots.

Liner & Insole

The way your boots fit will definitely be very much u to the type of liner and insole found in them. The liner is the inner part of the boot which will be in contact with your feet. If you are a beginner or intermediate enthusiast, then a thicker liner will be helpful in that it will provide more comfort, but will also keep you warm. If, however, you are a professional, you will find that the best boots for you won’t be very soft, including a stiff liner that will enable you to achieve more power transfer.

Just like in the outer shell, the liner area of boots made for skiing has seen many technological advancements in the last few years. From neoprene toe boxes to slide areas along the back of the foot to provide an easier on and off, you’ll definitely find that skiing equipment has come a long way. Nonetheless, if you’re really after the best possible fit, then make sure to look for a pair of boots with moldable liners which are to be heated, and which will shape to your feet perfectly.

As for the insoles in your boots, your best bet would be to replace the ones that come with your boots with custom or highly supportive orthotics. It is important for your entire foot to be supported in order to get the best results, and a pair of good insoles can achieve this in addition to keeping you comfortable for as long as you want to be out on the slopes.

 

Closure System

A secure closure is crucial for any type of sport, including skiing. When shopping for your next pair of ski boots, you’ll notice that they usually come with 2, 3 or 4 buckles and a strap that adds stability in the top of the boot. Those who ski on a professional level will require a tighter fit, which is 4 buckles are more common in boots aimed at advanced and expert skiers. Nonetheless, if you’re a beginner, you might find that two buckles work perfectly fine for you, allowing for a combination of comfort and security.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How do I put on my boots?
A: Sit on a bench or chair with a pair of socks on and make sure all of the buckles and Velcro straps are open. Slide the boots on to your feet and pull the tongue up and out at the same time. Hit the heel of the boot on the floor and tighten each buckle on the boot.

Q: What flex is best for beginners?
A: Beginners will do best with a lower flex index that will provide them with more control and comfort.

Q: If I only ski a few times a year, should I buy boots?
A: If if you don’t ski very often, buying a pair of boots is still a worthy investment. Renting a pair of boots will greatly decrease your skiing experience and are often worn by many other skiers before you. Buying your own pair will allow you to improve at skiing and have a much more customized experience.

Q: How long can I expect my boots to last?

A: Really there is no particular answer to this question as it depends on how and how often you use them. Ski boots, in general, are very well built and you can expect them to last quite a while. But like all things that wear, similar to a car, the boots will not perform nearly as well near the end of their life as they did in the beginning.

Sources

 

  1. https://www.evo.com/guides/how-to-choose-and-size-ski-boots
  2. http://www.surefoot.com/faq.php
  3. https://www.switchbacktravel.com/best-downhill-ski-boots


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