The Best Ski Boots in 2021

Whether you are looking forward to cutting some tracks in the backcountry, catching some air in the snow park or just enjoying the sunny slopes, your ski boots can make or break your weekend. There’s no doubt about it: not much trumps the importance of having comfortable feet so it’s worth doing your research whether you’re looking for the perfect snowboard boots, alpine ski boots or maybe even the best cross-country ski boots.

As far as downhill boots go, there are a lot of options as well as a lot of factors to consider. We’ve already done the work and broken down the pros and cons of some of the best ski boots on the market. Let’s take a look!

salomon s pro ski boots
  • flex index: 100
  • last width 100-106mm
  • 35mm velcro powerstrap
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These intermediate-level downhill ski boots feature a seamless liner keeping your feet warmer and ensuring an even better fit than previous models. The combination of Salomon’s patented Custom Fit HD and Custom Shell technologies, in which the boots are heated and form-fitted to your feet, almost ensure a perfect fit.

With a wider footbed and a medium flex index these boots will serve you well on the days when you want to go hard as well as when you are planning to take it a bit easier. A quick edge to edge transfer is ideal for a smooth ride while still tweaking that ski technique.

Pros:
  • Heat moldable shell and liner
  • Adjustable flex index
  • Ideal for average to wide feet
  • Calf adjuster (for width)
  • Moldable foam tongue
Cons:
  • no walk mode

Fischer Ranger Free 130 Alpine Ski Boot

The Best Double-Duty Boot: Touring & Downhill

fischer ranger free 130 alpine ski boot
  • flex index: 130
  • last width: 99mm
  • industry standard: 4 shell buckles
  • forward lean 16°-18°
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These lightweight boots are not your classic, alpine ski boot – and they are not meant to be! The Fischer Ranger Free 130s combine the best of two worlds: high performance on piste and excellent ease of movement in walk mode for walking or touring.

The walk mode allows maximum comfort off the slopes and offers a greater range of motion compared to most similar boots. The walk mode mechanism is located internally, unlike most free-range boots, and the lever is conveniently located under the top buckle. You can count on no play in the Fischer walk mode mechanism even in the roughest of terrain – that means no accidental slipping into walk mode mid-turn! The relatively lightweight liner includes a supportive plastic tongue like a classic alpine boot and optional laces for a snugger fit.

The boots have rubberized soles, GripWalk, to make walking a little easier on hard surfaces like parking lots; however, you will need GripWalk compatible bindings. The flex is quite linear offering adequate lateral stability for riding high speeds with heavier skis but allowing comparatively more forward lean which may not be ideal for heavier skiers or challenging conditions.

Pros:
  • walk mode functions superbly
  • walk mode lever compatible with crampons
  • lightweight, heat-moldable liners
  • great lateral stability
  • competitively lightweight
Cons:
  • require GripWalk compatible bindings
  • a lot of linear flex

Head Ski USA Nexo LYT 130 Ski Boot

The Best Lightweight Downhill Boot

head ski usa nexo lyt 130 ski boot
  • flex index: 120-130
  • last width: 100mm
  • 4 microadjustable buckles
  • 40mm velcro powerstrap
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These ski boots stand apart from the rest because they truly deliver the stable performance expected from a downhill boot at a weight that is more comparable with touring boots. They ride well in all mountain terrain and the thin graphene infused shell delivers stability and a responsive, snow feeling.

The Nexo LYT 130s are highly customizable with not only heat moldable liners and shells but LiquidFit tech which allows paraffin to be injected into the liner for a truly custom fit. The LiquidFit process needs to be done by a boot fitter and paraffin can be added or removed to adjust the fit at any time. The flex can also be adjusted between 120 and 130 depending on skier preference.

Pros:
  • one of the lightest alpine boots available
  • compatible with standard alpine and MNC bindings
  • heat-moldable shell and liner
  • fully customizable with LiquidFit
Cons:
  • no GripWalk soles (can be bought separately)

Lange RX 120 Ski Boot

The Best No-Frills Performance Boot

lange rx 120 ski boot
  • flex index: 120
  • last width: 100
  • 4 micro-adjustable overlapping buckles
  • compatible with an aftermarket insole heater
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These all-mountain boots have a stiff feel and are well suited for advanced or expert skiers who are looking for performance on the slopes. Expert less features and frills, but a boot that truly delivers stable, solid performance in a wide variety of terrains. If your main goal is to head out and ski hard, then these are the boots for you.

The boots are geared towards simplicity and performance as opposed to all-day comfort or your après ski. The thin shell and liner keep you close to the snow and offer a tight fit, but don’t provide a lot of cushion or warmth. The fixed forward lean results in a somewhat upright position, which may not be suited to all skiers, especially if you are used to more linear flex.

Pros:
  • excellent responsiveness
  • low profile: good snow feeling
  • moldable liner
  • excellent ski performance in various conditions
Cons:
  • soft sole material wears quickly
  • thin liner tongue wears quickly
  • fixed 12° forward lean
  • comparatively wide fit in the claves
  • not very warm

Tecnica Mach1 MV 130 Ski Boot

Best Downhill Boot for Aggressive Skiers

tecnica mach1 mv 130 ski boot
  • Flex index: 130
  • Last width: 100
  • Soles: Alpine
  • 4 micro/adjustable, liftlock buckles
  • Weight: 2330g
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These boots are sleek and stiff. Ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers who are looking for hard driving precision in a sleek yet comfortable package. The softer shell material makes them easier putting on and taking off while the stiff carbon spine combined with strategically varying plastic thickness in specific areas deliver excellent power transmission.

Forget about having to trade comfort for stiffness, these Technica’s have a soft material in the instep for increased comfort, the C.A.S (custom adaptable shape) liner can be molded and the floating tongue is heat customizable as well. They fit a bit wider in the forefoot than previous 100mm Technica boots which could make them more comfortable for slightly above average width feet.

Ideal for powerful aggressive skiers – if you can handle these boots, they can take you down just about anything!

Pros:
  • Excellent power transmission
  • Sleek design
  • Super stiff
  • Customizable C.A.S liner
Cons:
  • Recommended for aggressive skiers only

Dalbello Sports DS 130 Ski Boot

The Best Mix of Comfort and on Piste Performance

dalbello sports ds 130 ski boot
  • flex index: 130
  • last width: 100
  • 4 micro-adjustable buckles, 60mm
  • adjustable boot board and canting
  • compatible with standard alpine bindings
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These boots are ideal for the intermediate to expert skier and are designed to rip on piste. The Dalbello Sports DS 130s offer a great balance between comfort and downhill performance making them ideal for long days at the resort. They offer slightly more foot space than a race boot without losing their precision. The Powercage construction provides exceptional side stability making these boots ideal for all snow conditions and ensuring enough power transmission to feel controlled at high speeds.

The heat-moldable liners allow for some fit customization, as does the optional shim to increase ramp angle depending on your preferences in terms of forward lean. If you are looking for top comfort without compromising performance at top speed, then these are the boots for you.

Pros:
  • make comfort a priority
  • excellent control and power transmission
  • optional GripWalk
  • exceptional side stability
  • heat-moldable liner
Cons:
  • no walk mode
  • less customizable than comparable competitors

Atomic Hawx Ultra 120 S Ski Boots

The Best Performance Boots for Narrow Feet

atomic hawx ultra 120 s ski boots
  • flex index: 120
  • last width: 98
  • 4 microadjustable buckles
  • cantable grip pads
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These boots are ideal for anyone with narrower feet who enjoys setting fresh tracks in or out of bounds. Atomic’s patented plastic allows for up to 6mm of additional stretch and fit adjustment making these boots a potential winner for many skiers with average width feet as well. Another unique feature is the adjustable forward lean – your boots, your way.

Lighter weight than a typical race boot, these still deliver great control and ride well through various snow conditions on piste or in the backcountry.

Pros:
  • heat-moldable shell, cuff and liner
  • adjustable forward lean (13° to 17° range)
  • great power transfer
  • lightweight
Cons:
  • not designed for wider feet

Head Skis USA Kore 1 Ski Boot

The Best Touring Ski Boots: Comfort and Upward Mobility

head skis usa kore 1 ski boot
  • flex index: 130
  • last width: 102
  • compatible with tech, MNC and GripWalk bindings
  • 4 micro-adjustable buckles
  • 40mm standard velcro powerstrap
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The Kore 1s combine walking mobility with downhill performance. They are stiff enough to handle high speeds and wider skis with ease and their 45° range of motion offers great upward mobility for walking or touring. The GripWalk soles make scrambling to your line a bit easier; however, they can be replaced with alpine soles.

These boots have a relatively thick liner compared to many comparable touring boots including a removable plastic spoiler for increased stability. Like Head’s Nexo LYT 130 boot, LiquidFit tech allows paraffin to be injected into the liner for a truly custom fit. The LiquidFit process needs to be done by a boot fitter and paraffin can be added or removed to adjust the fit at any time. They fit a bit roomier than their predecessors, which could be an advantage depending on your foot size and fit preference.

Pros:
  • heat-moldable liner
  • LiquidFit tech
  • walk mode has an excellent range of motion
  • competitively lightweight
Cons:
  • simple walk mechanism is vulnerable to snow and ice

Rossignol Alltrack Pro 100 W Ski Boot

The Best All-Round Women’s Ski Boot

rossignol alltrack pro 100 w ski boot
  • flex index: 100
  • last width: 100
  • compatible with optional GripWalk soles
  • 4 microadjustable buckles
  • adjustable cuff
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These lightweight, stiff boots are designed for advanced skiers who are looking for performance and stability on and off piste. Boasting 50° range of motion in walk mode, these boots provide excellent upward mobility for touring. Decent responsiveness and a high flex index make them good candidates for speeding down groomed tracks as well. They are a perfect mix and can pretty well handle anything.

The 100mm last width combined with the Thinsulate liner make these boots especially warm and comfortable, although the wide fit makes them a poor option for anyone with narrow feet. They have limited forward lean and a progressive flex which makes them a good option for intermediate skiers who are ready for a more aggressive boot as well.

Pros:
  • heat-moldable liner
  • walk mode has an excellent range of motion (50°)
  • adjustable cant
Cons:
  • wide fit may is not suited to narrower feet

Nordica HF 85 W Ski Boots – Women’s

The Best Rear Entry Women’s Ski Boots

nordica hf 85 w ski boots womens
  • Flex index: 85
  • Last width: 102
  • Soles: Gripwalk (alpine soles included in box)
  • 2 buckles: cuff monolock & forefoot buckle
  • Rear-entry boot
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Welcome to the reborn rear entry ski boot – providing comfort and convenience while maintaining a good ski feeling. The unique construction features a single monolock buckle that fastens the entire cuff. The best part is that the monolock buckle is hands-free and can be easily locked and released with the tip of your ski pole or heel of your other foot making these boots convenient for everyone, especially those with limited mobility.

The closure system provides excellent lateral support and stability giving the skier a feeling of control and instant response. With a last width of 102mm these boots have enough space for average to wide feet, or perhaps some extra thick socks. The flex is mid-range making the Nordica HF 85W’s ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers. They aren’t designed for hard driving performance, but they are comfortable are perfect for cruising.

Between the waterproofed shell, infra-red customizable construction and a one-piece liner, these Nordica’s are truly comfortable. Complete with both Gripwalk and Alpine soles, you can set these boots up well to suit your personal needs.

Pros:
  • Rear-entry boot
  • Hands-free monolock buckle
  • One-piece liner
  • Customizable via infra-red fitting
Cons:
  • Not stiff enough for max performance

How to Choose the Best Ski Boots

Walk Mode

This is really the first factor you need to consider: are you looking for a touring boot or downhill only? Generally, touring boots are lighter weight and have a significantly greater range of motion but are forced to compromise the overall stability and power transfer in order to do so.

If you are interested in riding the lifts and ripping down with a high-performance boot then you are better off to skip the walk mode. If you need something with upward mobility or if you are looking for a good time and want to have increased range of motion (and therefore comfort) during your lunch break or après ski, then the walk mode is a feature you shouldn’t do without.

Intermediate or Expert?

Boots designed for expert skiers are usually stiffer and are slimmed down for maximum performance with thinner liners and a narrower fit. Not to say that they are less comfortable, but the number one design priority here is absolute performance. Boots in the intermediate range tend to be more flexible, warmer and generally more comfortable for longs days on the hill.

Flex

A stiffer boot (higher flex index) can handle high speeds better and offer better power transmission, but they also require a lot of strength and power from the skier making them potentially tiring and difficult to handle if you are a beginner or a cautious skier.

Choosing the flex index that is appropriate for your level, body type and preferred terrain will make your ski days much more enjoyable. If you are a light-weight skier you will need to dial back the flex index a touch as a very stiff boot may limit your range of movement.

Likewise, a heavier or more aggressive skier will need a stiffer boot. Terrain also plays a role: a stiffer boot will ride the best on groomed piste whereas a slightly softer flex is often preferred for big mountain or freeride terrain. If you are planning on spending time in the snow park then you will also want a softer flex.

Size

You may have already noticed: ski boot sizing is based on a scale all of its own. The sizing is based on your foot’s length in centimeters so if you stand with your heels against a wall and measure the length from your heel to your longest toe you’ll be in the right ballpark.

The tighter your boots fit, the more control you will have and the more responsive the boots will be. A snug fit also contributes to a better “snow/ski feeling” which describes your ability to feel the terrain through the sole of your foot. Most advanced and expert skiers choose to size down at least half a size although custom boot fitting may be required to achieve a perfect tight fit with no pressure points.

If you are an intermediate skier or prefer comfort to elite performance than stick to your usual size – more room for warm socks and fewer professional modifications needed! Don’t forget that your boot liners will compress with time, so a tighter fit at the beginning of the season will likely result in a perfect fit for the years to come. Also, check our guides on ski helmets and gloves.

Whatever you decide – may the snow days plenty, ride on!

About The Author

AthletePath Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts and professional athletes thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to become a better athlete.

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