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Chances are the first time you hit the slopes, whether or not you had the best ski boots on your feet was the furthest thing from your mind. Now that you’re shredding groomers like Bode and hucking freestyle like Jerry though, naturally, it’s pretty important your boots can take it as hard as you can. You have the best skis, now check out the boots to go with them.
As a full time ski instructor I can tell you that ski boot fitment can critically impact overall performance, remove skill plateaus, and prevent injury due to sloppy equipment. If you want to be a successful, happy, and safe skier you’re going to want to take a look at what’s on your feet and consider ditching the hand-me-down rear entry boots of yesteryear.
Here’s a look at some of the best ski boots in 2023.
Price: $399 | Flex: 120 | Style: Alpine All-Mountain
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Great performance out of the box, highly moldable liner.
As a full time ski instructor, I spend well over 100 days a season on the slopes, and I have been relying on the Salomon X Pro 100’s for my daily skiing for years. They’re comfortable, adjustable, and fit my foot like a glove out of the box. Let’s take a look at their big brother – the X Pro 120.
This boot is built around a stiff, rigid frame that’s just a little bit less aggressive than a racing boot. Perfect for the advanced to expert level skier looking to shred the groomers and rip zipper lines in the moguls. If you’re a more casual skier looking to spend days on the slopes with the family, you might consider the X Pro 100. Want to up your game and break through those performance barriers? This is the boot you need to really lock in those turns. These may be the best ski boots for advanced skiers available today.
For a performance boot you’ll find that the X Pro has a reputably roomy toe box. This will leave your little piggies nice and toasty warm all the way home compared to some super aggressive boots. Overall the X Pro lineup has an excellent and reliable seal on the boot overlap so wet feet during spring skiing shouldn’t be an issue – water won’t sneak in on you. Plus Salomon backs up their boots with a two year warranty so you can shred without worry. Another quality stiff boot that provides a great balance of comfort and performance is the Lange RX 120. In addition to the ski boots, you are planning to purchase, find some great goggles in our best ski goggles guide.
View on Amazon – $399
Price: $159 | Flex: 70 | Style: Alpine Beginner
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Economy priced boot from a great brand for new skiers.
This men’s boot features an insanely low flex rating of 70 and a massive, roomy foot bed. Beginner skiers take note: the Evo 70 is a comfortable and roomy choice for getting started.
Simple buckles and strapping with diverse adjustment are great for the beginner as skiers learn how to work with their equipment. I’m glad Rossi kept it simple with the execution here – it can be difficult managing everything new skiers deal with. Simple boots just makes the whole process more streamlined those first few days on the slopes.
Taller or heavier skiers may be well advised to seek a higher flex boot (the higher the number the stiffer the boot) as this boot may actually flex too much and lack support for bigger skiers. Overall the simple construction, roomy boot, and low price point are aimed straight at the best ski boots for beginners. A casual new skier will find that the boot fits comfortably and easily.
View on Amazon – $159
Price: $229 | Flex: 110 | Style: Alpine Touring
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Reasonable price for an intermediate ski boot in the alpine touring and randonee category.
Getting into the backcountry can be an expensive hobby! Buying new alpine touring boots doesn’t have to break the bank though, as we clearly see with Atomic’s moderately priced Waymaker boots.
Weight is critical to backcountry touring, and heavy boots can take their toll on even the most conditioned athlete, let alone us mere mortals. Featuring a walk and ski mode with 35 degrees range of motion, this boot is an easy walking and hiking boot when it’s time to get to and from the trail head.
Carbon fiber rods stiffen the frame of this boot and enhance power transfer while keeping the overall product light and responsive in ski mode. With a reasonable price point, lightweight frame, and stiff shell these are, arguably, the best ski boots for touring! Atomic has other quality products on the market right now suited for both narrow and wide feet, like the Atomic Hawx Ultra which is their line of lightweight ski boots with impressive downhill performance.
View on Amazon – $229
Price: $289 | Flex: 120 | Style: Alpine All-Mountain
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Comfortable foot bed with high performance flex.
Looking for a comfortable boot that won’t leave your toes frozen and squished? Are you an intermediate to expert level skier? Don’t get stuck with a narrow last race boot when you can have the Rossignal Alias Sensor 120 with the best of both worlds. Stiff flex performance with a roomy foot box means the Rossi Alias Sensors may be the best ski boots for intermediate skiers.
The Alias is a full-featured ski boot with four buckles for a secure fit, stiff shell, and great modern look. Rossignol kept the last of this boot generous at 104mm, but guarantees that the heel cup and toe box will keep the foot locked in. This boot might make the perfect companion to the high performance skier looking for a budget minded boot that can race with the best of them and stay comfortable all day at the resort.
View on Amazon – $289
Price: $489 | Flex: 130 | Style: Alpine High Performance
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Top of class performance in a boot that is comfortable to ski all day.
Looking for the best ski boots for expert level skiers?
Salomon’s X Pro 130 isn’t for the faint of heart. This is a boot for serious skiers offering serious stiffness in the shell to max out performance. Boots don’t get much more rigid than 130 flex, and you’ll feel it in the way your skis respond. Featuring a quick adjust power strap around the top and four highly adjustable buckles, this boot can be tuned in to match your skiing performance. If you’re going to rip high speed carves down the front side, this is the boot to take with you.
Awesome benefit? Easily available and easy to replace toe and heel plate to keep your boots tuned in so that the soles don’t wear out your shell. The only real downside is that the boot will not be comfortable for long days relaxing on the slope – the 130 flex won’t be forgiving one bit. With the high performance comes a high price tag, but we know it’s worth it.
View on Amazon – $489
Durability: It’s amazing how quickly ski boots can take a beating. Make sure the boot you pick is made of quality materials by a reputable manufacturer. All of the ski boot makers we’ve listed have been in the industry for years and stand behind their products. Take care to keep your toe and heel plates in good repair.
Flex: As skier’s skill, weight, and height goes up – so does flex. Generally speaking the more skilled a skier is and/or the larger the skier is, the higher flex rating you’ll want to have. Flex ratings below 100 are good beginner boots, but won’t hold up as the skier advances. Any flex ratings above 120 are for expert level skiers, generally.
Liner: Fitment of the boot is critical to a good skiing experience and adequate control of your skis. Some boots come from the factory with heat moldable liners or shells, and these boots are usually more expensive, but you can also expect a great jump in performance, fit, and comfort. Entry level boots usually lack the fine adjustment options available on higher end boots. One option for finding the right pair ski boots that are the perfect fit for you is to seek to professional help of a boot fitter.
Shell: One thing skiers will want to watch out for is shell construction. Make sure the rivets or attachments used at the boot pivot point (if it has one) are reliable and high quality. Also see what other skiers are saying about the waterproof reliability of the boot. Believe it or not poorly designed boots can sometimes leak melting snow water in around the seals where the boot shell overlaps.
Intended Use: Are you just going out for a day with the kids, or are you heli-skiing in Alaska? A beginner skier needs a different boot than a skier looking to compete in racing events or mogul skiing. Make sure you have reasonable expectations of what type of skiing you’ll be doing in your shiny new boots.
Buying an AT Boot: Some skiers are under the impression that the walk mode offered on Alpine Touring (AT) boots is for walking around the resort. While it can be used this way, we recommend you avoid buying an AT boot for resort use as the walk mode is never quite as reliable as a true alpine boot for frontside carving. You just won’t get the same performance.
Skimping on Price: With ski boots you’ll really find that you get what you pay for. Advanced skiers looking to save a buck may find that the cheaper boot actually can hold them back from progressing in skill level. Don’t save money on one of the most important pieces of equipment – buy what you need for your level. However, don’t think that buying expensive gear will make you a better skier. It won’t.
Ultimately it comes down to your size, skill level, and preferred skiing style. If you’re going to do some backcountry touring and some front side piste shredding you may want to go with a reputable AT boot. For most skiers a good alpine boot is just the right solution, and we recommend beginners start with something modest before moving into one of our mid range or high end options until their skill level demands better equipment.