Throughout my skiing life, which has spanned nearly two decades, I have learned a few tips and tricks on how to better my skiing with minimal effort. And of course, when you have a better skiing experience, your level of fun and enjoyment only goes up when you are on the slopes.
One of the best ways to help you have more fun on the mountain is by investing in the right gear. When it comes to your skiing gear, one of the most important aspects to pay attention to is your ski boots. Having the right ski boots can make or break your adventure. Lucky for you, after years of experience, I have put together a handy guide of the best ski boots for you to choose from.
Whether you are just getting started, or are actually looking to replace your boots, one thing is for certain; you have plenty of options to choose from. The good news is, for the most part, these options are great ones. However, narrowing down all these options to just one can be tricky.
With just a little bit of information about what your needs are, you can easily pick out the best ski boots that will enhance your overall experience once you start to ski. Before I dive into my list of the best ski boots on the market today, let’s go over some key aspects that you need to know when you are thinking about buying a pair of ski boots first.
- Reaching for the best experience
- How to find the right ski boot
- Consider your skiing ability
- A few millimeters can mean a huge difference
- Just don’t make yourself suffer
- Consider the stiffness, or flex, of your boot
- TOP 10 Best Ski Boots 2019 Session
- Final Thought on the Best Ski Boots
Reaching for the best experience
Ski boots are your connection to the boards that carry you around snowy wonderlands. Without an optimal connection, many skiers are unable to reach their full skiing potential. This is in part why it is so important to make you do your research when looking for the best ski boots to take with you on your next adventure on the mountain.
Throughout this article, I will reveal to you my secrets to picking the best ski boots that will accommodate your ski gear. After all, finding a pair of the best ski boots will make your on-slope performance better, boost your confidence, and will enhance your ability to enjoy a day on the slopes.
Consider your needs.
One of the most profound factors when purchasing anything in skiing is being real. If you do not need a professional, custom-tailored, high-end race boot then do not buy a pair. All too often, especially in the world of skiing, novice and average skiers tend to dish out hundreds of dollars on high end ski boots that are more for show than actual practicality. With anything you buy, just because it is packed with bells and whistles, does not mean it is a great buy. Especially if you have no need for it. One of the best ways to ensure that you do not spend hundreds of dollars on a boot that does way too much for you is by setting a budget. Setting a budget and adhering to it will prevent your finances from spiraling out of control. It will also keep you from being pulled towards purchasing that high end pair of snow boots that you likely do not need.
Do you need a new pair?
Part of considering your needs is knowing whether or not you should actually be purchasing a new pair of ski boots. A key question to ask yourself is why you want new ski boots. All too often, skiers waste away money each year upgrading their gear when in reality, there is no need to do so. Before you decide whether or not to invest in a new pair of boots, be sure to check your old pair to see if they still hold up their integrity. Try them on and look for things such as a comfortable fit, and any seams and tears. Be sure to also look our for any damage to clips or the outer shell. Typically, if you have stored your boots properly, they are more than likely just fine.
How often will you need your boots?
If you have determined that your boots are actually in need of being replaced, that is when you need to consider what type you need to replace them with. One of the first ways to do this is by asking yourself how often will you be using your boots. If you have the ability to get to the slopes year round, then you will want to shop for a pair that was built to last. If this is the case, then you may need to expand your budget slightly so that you can buy a high quality pair.
Once you have deemed that you are truly in need of a new pair of ski boots, then you are ready for the next step; shopping. Let’s proceed to examine how to select the correct boot for you.
How to find the right ski boot
The first step in finding the best ski boots for yourself is knowing your size. Everyone’s feet and skiing styles are marginally different. Because of that, the boot that you find should be one that is customized to your fit. To go about finding the best boot for you, there are two avenues you can go down. The first is getting a customized ski boot just for you. The other option is shopping for a boot that offers the features you need.
Custom boots can run into thousands of dollars and will make very little difference to those skiers who are not professionals, which is most of us. While it may be tempting to throw in thousands of dollars into a custom made boot, you really will only be wasting your money if you do not know how to properly use that boot.
Luckily, there are a few variances between ready to buy boots. These variances can be manipulated to allow you to purchase the boot that will give you the best results.
One such variable is the size of a boot. Boot size is crucial to the overall effectiveness of a boot. If the boot is too small it will destroy your feet and be extremely uncomfortable, limiting skiing potential. Boots that are too large will cause skin irritation as your feet contact the liners. Therefore an optimal balance is difficult to attain. Also, not buying the right sized boot will ultimately lead to an injury one way or another. The last thing any skier needs is a rolled ankle that will keep them out for the duration of the season.
Be sure to consider things such as your foot width when you are shopping around for the best ski boots too. If your toes are wider than typical feet, be sure to shop for boots that offer that extra width.
Consider your skiing ability
The size of your boots depends not wholly on the size of your feet as many believe, but also on your skiing ability. The more advanced your skill set, the tighter a boot needs to be. Not having a boot that is tight enough can and will ultimately lead to injury.
Many beginners opt for boots that are far too large, maximizing comfort at slow speeds, however, if a racer were to adopt the “comfort over performance” mentality, they would lose 80% of their ability. If you are a skier who is looking to enhance their ability, this is clearly something you want to avoid.
Make sure the boots you invest in are comfortable and will be throughout the whole day. Otherwise you threaten the likelihood of enjoying a day hitting the slopes.
The width of a boot holds a similar significance. Your optimal width is wholly dependent upon the width of your feet, skiing ability and the speed at which you travel around the mountain.
A similar rule that applies to the size of your boot applies to the width of your boot. The better you are on skis, the tighter your boots need to be.
A few millimeters can mean a huge difference
If you were a beginner with an average size foot, you would ideally be skiing on 105mm to 102mm wide boot. As you progress to intermediate skiing, your boot narrows to between 102mm and 100mm. Once you hit the advanced level, your boot will then be between 100mm to 98mm.
This is the narrowest many boots will be unless they are tailored for ski racers. Ski racers like myself have a blatant disregard for the safety of our feet or feeling pain in them. Performance over comfort in the boot is the mentality of many ski racers. In fact, you will often find the boots of ski racers measure out to less than 95mm wide!
Just don’t make yourself suffer
The example racers give recreational skiers is that if you choose a boot that does not fit properly, you will be in pain. Even if you ski marginally faster. The best ski boots for you may be slightly wider or narrower than you would expect.
In my opinion, the most important part of purchasing a boot is ensuring the flex is correct. The flex of a ski boot is how much muscle power it takes to push the boots forwards when flexing your ankles and knees. (We will dive into the details of flex rating shortly).
Perfect ski boots for a racer are immeasurably stiff, whereas, for a beginner, boots are somewhat softer. Superficially, the reason why racers and more advanced skiers have stiffer boots is to allow them to put more power into the booth which will in turn increase stability and allow them to gain speed throughout.
However you approach this, just be sure that the boot you settle on is one that will allow you to be the most comfortable while you are on the slopes. This goes back to being real and considering your needs and your skill level. If your goal really is enhancing your speed and maneuverability, then you will want to shop for those tighter fitting boots.
Consider the stiffness, or flex, of your boot
Stiffness (or flex) is indicated by a number that is displayed on most boots. This is what many call the flex rating. This number will typically be between 60 and 160. This number is part of the reason why one person’s perfect ski boots will not be the perfect pair for another skier.
While it is difficult to out your number without having hit the slopes, there is a range you can stick within. For example, a probable good fit for a skier with a basic skill-set would be between 50 and 70, whereas the equivalent figure for a male racer is 130 and above.
Speaking of male racers, it should be noted that men tend to require stiffer boots. This is because men will usually put fort more strength and weight.
Now that we have gone over some of the basics when it comes to finding the best ski boots, it’s time to dive into our selection of the best ski boots this season. Let’s get started.
TOP 10 Best Ski Boots 2019 Session
Black Diamond Factor 130
If you ask any outdoor enthusiast, they are sure to tell you that Black Diamond is one of the leading brands of quality outdoor gear. Their Factor 130 ski boot is no exception.
This pair offers users a flex rating of 130. Because of this, these boots are aimed at a skier with a more advanced skill set. A plastic liner tongue helps to evenly distribute flex. There is also 20 degrees of resistant free touring motion for even greater stability.
Comfort is another aspect that Black Diamond has paid attention to with this boot. The Facto 130 features a 3:1 BOA closure system. It will also keep you nice and warm with its insulated Strobel base and articulating zones.
To allow advanced skiers to get the most from this boot, Black Diamond has designed the boot with an extra-wide powder strap. This strap is able to further stiffen the boot while you are on the slopes.
Lastly, for even greater control, this boot is compatible with integrated tech inserts, however, these inserts are sold separately. The only downside to this part is the fact that they tend to be a bit higher in price than the competition. However, due to the durability and dependability they provide, they can be quite a worthwhile investment.
Salomon New X Access
For a great looking pair of boots with a bold dash of color, the Salomon New X Access boot is a great option to go with. The Salomon New X Access Boots are produced by one of the greatest and most trusted ski companies all over the world. The New X Access is ideal for anyone who has graduated from their snowplow and is working towards achieving parallel skiing.
With micro adjustable clips, these boots can be adjusted to fit anyone’s feet and ski optimally. Thanks to its construction, this is also one of the most comfortable pairs to shop for. The comfort provided does not compromise the of the boot either. If you are looking to up your game from novice to intermediate, then this boot is a great place to start. Also, it hurt that you will not break the bank doing .
Tecnica Mega 8
If you are just getting started in the world of skiing, then this next pair is for you. The Tecnica Mega 8 was designed for the astute beginner. This pair features a flex of 60. This easily makes the Tecnica Mega 8 possibly one of the best ski boots for a beginner.
A power spoiler and progressive flex system make for easy skiing; leaving room for improvement before replacing them becomes necessary. Plus, it is a super bonus that this pair is conveniently priced so that you do not have to dish out hundreds of dollars.
Rossignol Alltrack 100
If you are looking for the best ski boots to replace your current pair, then the Rossignol Alltrack 100 is the perfect pair to consider. Many skiers will refer to this boot as the bread and butter of ski boots. Rossignol’s 100 flex boot creates the perfect easy-to-use ski boot for intermediate skiers.
With an easy entry system removing the hassle of putting on and taking off your boots, you will have far more fun on the slopes with the Alltrack.
Comfort is another highlight of these boots. The Forefoot Thinsulate Platinum Thermal Insulation will keep your feet nice and cozy while you are on the slopes. Coupled with the 3D T2 Liner Technology, you are sure to be comfortable while you wear them. Lastly, this boot comes in a neon yellow or a pop of blue that will make them nicely standout while you are on the slopes.
Lange SX 100
One of the most versatile boots that fit a variety of intermediate skiers is the Lange SX 100. This sturdy pair or ski boots comes equipped with a four buckle system and 100 flex rating. With this dedication to stability, it is easy to see why this is the best boot that suits almost any intermediate skier.
Along with its stability, comfort is another facet to this boot that should not be ignored. It features a polyurethane shell and cuff canting that will keep you protected throughout each use. And, with the comfortable interior padding, putting on and pulling off your boot is an absolute breeze.
Salomon Ghost FS 100 Ski Boots
This next pair is a boot that was designed for the intermediate skier who desires customization, without the arduous stiffness of racing roots. The Ghosts are easy to handle boot and will keep your feet comfortable until you are back in your room relaxing at the end of the skiing day.
The size of the boot is 100mm which is perfect for average width foot size skiers. For a bit of customization, users can take advantage of the performance liner with 60% thermoformable foam.
Also, what makes this pair one of the best ski boots to invest in is the fact that they feature a waterproof gusset. This gusset is a piece of PVC that lies between the lower shell’s overlap and the forefoot hood. You can be sure that snow and water will be kept out of your boot no matter how intense your ski session gets.
Overall, comfort, stability, and design are not overlooked in this pair that many skiers consider to be the best ski boots.
Rossignol ALIAS 120
For intermediate skiers, another great boot to pay attention to is the Rossignol ALIAS 120. This intermediate boot features a polyurethane shell and cuff that will keep you nice and dry throughout all your skiing adventures. Also, the overall construction of this boot is one that is durable and will last for many seasons to come.
Lastly, what makes this one of the best ski boots on the market is the fact that it is ideal for intermediates skiers and older skiers. There is a level of comfort and stability that is truly unmatched here.
SCARPA Freedom SL Freeride Ski Boots
This next pair was designed for the advanced skier. From the design to the construction to the overall features, the SCARPA Freedom SL Freeride Ski Boots is a pair that has a lot going for it if you know how to use it.
For starters, this boot was designed with comfort in mind. The dial-in comfort controls allows you to adjust the spoiler up and down. There is a patented carbon core construction that allows you to have a greater sense of stiffness and power. The beauty is that this stiffness and power is provided without having to deal with heavy or bulky materials. When you are going downhill, you are sure to enjoy the patented ride power block that offers riders maximum power going downhill. It also offers a frictionless 27 degree range of motion when you are on the uphill.
Atomic Hawk 80
One of the trickiest parts of being a skier is navigating between the beginner and intermediate mode. For riders who are entering that state or are currently in it, then one of the best ski boots to consider is the Atomic Hawk 80. This pair is considered to be the best ski boots for women for several reasons. For starters, it caters to the transitory period between beginner and intermediate level. The brand Atomic has produced a boot that balances ease of use with fundamental performance, which will aid progression to an expert level.
It also offers users a level of comfort that will greatly aid with on the slopes. Thanks to the Memory Fit 3D Silver Lining, you will not need to feel like you are breaking in your boots each time you use time. Also, because they feature a lower cuff height, ladies are sure to find a more natural feel when they ski with these boots on.
Tecnica Cochise 130 Pro 2017
Although this next pair is not a racing boot, Technica has been unable to hide their race tendencies with the Cochise 130 Pro. The stiff flex and aluminum buckles have produced the closest boot to a race boot that is not a race boot. Although they are traveling that line, they are undoubtedly one of the best ski boots if you are looking to move into the more advanced apparel gear.
The Tecnica Cochise 130 is perfect for advanced skiers who do not want the discomfort of full-out race boots. Whether you ski uphill or downhill, these boots are the perfect freeride boots to invest in. For the perfect blend of modern technology, comfort, and practicality, this is easily one of the best ski boots on the market right now.
Final Thought on the Best Ski Boots
If it is your first time purchasing ski boots, then it has probably become pretty clear to you that not all boots are made alike. When you are shopping for the best ski boots for yourself this ski season, there are a couple of things that you need to consider at first. Hopefully, the tips at the start of this article have helped you narrow down what you should be looking for.
Once you have narrowed down what type of features you should be looking for, we hope our list of the best ski boots has been helpful for you. With so many of the best ski boots to choose from, knowing exactly what to select can be difficult. Especially if you don’t know what to look for. Luckily we are confident that whatever ski level your are at, our selection of the best ski boots are ones that you can find success and enjoyment with.