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The Best Ski Boots of 2024

Finding comfortable ski boots that also meet your performance needs can be a daunting task, but we're here to help. Here's our guide to the best ski boots of 2024.
Ski testers putting ski boots through the paces at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)
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The first step in researching ski boots is knowing how and where you want to ski. Alpine boots, touring boots, and hybrid boots — with a walk mode to go uphill but beefier build than touring boots for resort laps — all bring different features and benefits to the table.

Before you walk into your local ski shop, determine if you’ll want to stick to lift-served skiing, explore the backcountry or side-country, race, or get into a little bit of everything.

Buying new ski boots is best done in person or with a customer service representative who knows the category well. A good shop will measure your feet and help you hone in on what brands and models naturally fit you, your experience, and your aspirations.

Plus, everyone’s feet are a unique shape, which is all the more reason why you should try boots on in person and consider taking your pair to a professional boot fitter to dial in the fit.

While more boots are offering skiers the ability to resort ski and hike for turns in a single boot, a hybrid boot isn’t the best option for every skier.

If you’re not sure where to start, read over our buyer’s guide — which includes advice from a master boot-fitter on how to make sure you buy the best boot for you — and FAQ at the bottom of this article. Are you looking for a quick overview of each model’s price and features? Check out our useful comparison chart. Otherwise scroll through to see all of our recommended buys for the best ski boots of 2024.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Ski Boots guide on November 9, 2023, to include four freshly tested products plus educational sections to support rippers.

The Best Ski Boots of 2024

Best Overall Alpine Ski Boot

Tecnica Mach 1 — Men’s MV 120 TD & Women’s LV 105 TD


  • Last 100 mm
  • Flex 110, 120, 130 flex (men’s)
  • Weight 2,060 g (4.6 lbs.)
  • Sizes 24.5-30.5
  • Best for Experienced/advanced/expert/intermediate alpine skiers, resort skiers
Product Badge The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Takes less energy to drive this boot
  • Warm
  • T-Drive is now available in the women’s low-volume boots


  • T-Drive is not available in the HV (high-volume) women’s boot
Best Budget Alpine Ski Boot

Dalbello Panterra — Men’s 90 GW & Women’s 85 W GW


  • Last 99-101 mm (women’s), 100-102mm (men’s)
  • Flex 85 (women’s), 90 (men’s)
  • Weight 1,785 g (3.94 lbs.)
  • Sizes 22.5-27.5 (women’s), 25.5-30.5 (men’s)
  • Best for Intermediate alpine skiers, resort skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Good choice for experienced intermediate-level skiers
  • Easy entry and exit
  • More budget-friendly compared to premium boots


  • Not supportive for narrow feet
Best Women’s Alpine Ski Boot

K2 Anthem Pro Women’s


  • Last 98 mm
  • Flex 120
  • Weight 1,650 g (3.64 lbs.)
  • Sizes 22.5-27.5
  • Best for Experienced/advanced/expert/intermediate female alpine skiers, resort skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Carbon-reinforced spine for precision and control
  • The high-density liner didn’t pack out


  • Liner felt too comfortable to be high-performance, though it wasn’t
Best Alpine Ski Boot for Wide-Footed Men

Lange LX 120 Ski Boots


  • Last 102 mm
  • Flex 120
  • Weight 1,850 g (4 lbs.)
  • Sizes 24-31.5
  • Best for Male alpine skiers with wide feet, resort skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Heat-moldable liner
  • Great for high-volume feet


  • Not suitable for narrow or average feet
Best Alpine Ski Boot for Wide-Footed Women

Nordica Sportmachine 3 65


  • Last 102 mm
  • Flex 65
  • Weight 1,610 g (3.54 lbs.)
  • Sizes 22.5-27.5
  • Best for Female alpine skiers with mid-volume to wider feet, resort skiers, beginner to intermediate skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Good pair for wider-than-average feet
  • Heat-moldable liner
  • Economic


  • The soft flex might be outgrown by intermediate skiers
  • Not for narrow feet
Best Alpine Ski Boot for Beginners

Salomon QST Access — Men’s 80 & Women’s 70


  • Last 104 mm (women’s and men’s)
  • Flex 70 (women’s), 80 (men’s)
  • Weight 1,560 g (3.4 lbs.)
  • Sizes 23.5-26.5 (women’s), 25.5-30.5 (men’s)
  • Best for Beginner alpine skiers, resort skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Features walk mode
  • Beginner-friendly ski boot
  • Best for wide feet
  • Great quality


  • Not an option for narrow feet
Best Ski Touring Boot

Scott Freeguide Carbon


  • Last 101.5 mm
  • Flex 130
  • Weight 1,455 g (3.2 lbs.)
  • Sizes 25-29.5
  • Best for Ski touring
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Indicators help skier line up boot with binding pins
  • BOA liner gives a great fit


  • Expensive
  • Top buckle has to be released for touring
Best Hybrid Ski Boot

Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech GW


  • Last 100 mm
  • Flex 120 and 130 (men’s), 95, 115 (women’s)
  • Weight 1,852 g (4.1 lbs.)
  • Sizes 24.5-32.5
  • Best for Hybrid use, downhill alpine ski boot, and freeride tour boot
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Warm and infinitely moldable


  • It packs out, so don’t get too aggressive with molding before you’ve skied it several times
  • On the heavy side
Best Hybrid Ski Boot for Women

Tecnica Cochise Pro W


  • Last 99 mm
  • Flex 115
  • Weight 1,630 g (3 lbs., 9 oz.)
  • Sizes 22.5-27.5
  • Best for Hybrid boot for resort days, short tours, and female skiers that are experienced or expert level
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Super comfortable liner out-of-the-box
  • These boots kept our feet warm
  • Size run goes down to 22.5


  • LV (low volume) and HV (high volume) models not available for narrower or wider feet
  • Medium or soft flex not available
Most Progressive Ski Boot Technology

K2 Mindbender 130 BOA


  • Last 97-104 mm
  • Flex 130
  • Weight 1945g in size 27.5 (4.29 lbs.)
  • Sizes 24.5-30.5
  • Best for Intermediate to advanced resort skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Precise fit with new BOA system on forefoot
  • Good downhill performance
  • Roomier toebox suitable for touring


  • Disappointing mobility in touring mode
  • Heavy for regular backcountry use

Best of the Rest

Scarpa 4-Quattro XT


  • Last 100 mm
  • Flex 120, 130 (men’s)
  • Weight 1475 g (3.25 lbs.)
  • Sizes 24.5-31.0
  • Best For Advanced/expert backcountry skiers
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Very moldable liner
  • Stock elastic booster strap
  • High alpine-style cuff
  • Relatively lightweight


  • Hard to put on/take off
  • Thin liner
  • Fixed Gripwalk soles

Tecnica Cochise HV 130 DYN


  • Last 102 mm
  • Flex 130
  • Weight 1750g in size 26.5 (3.86 lbs.)
  • Sizes 22.5-30.5
  • Best for Experienced/advanced/expert/intermediate alpine skiers, resort skiers, occasional backcountry
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Good ankle mobility in walk mode
  • High-volume version now available
  • Progressive flex that feels like a softer 130


  • Upright stance out of the box
  • Heavy for regular touring

Head Kore RS 130


  • Last 98 mm
  • Flex 110, 120, 130 (men’s)
  • Weight 1615 g (3.5 lbs.)
  • Sizes 24.5-30.5
  • Best For Advanced/expert backcountry skiers, or advanced skiers looking for a one-boot quiver to use at both the resort and in the backcountry
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Excellent range of touring motion for this class of boot
  • Very good rearward support
  • High cuff
  • Heat moldable shell
  • Adjustable forward lean of 9° or 16°


  • Liner is a little too unsupportive relative to the stiffness of plastic
  • Not as warm as some comparable boots
  • Expensive



  • Last 101 mm
  • Flex 130 (men’s), 120 (women’s)
  • Weight 1,508 g (3.3 lbs.)
  • Sizes 25.5, 27.5, 28.5, 29.5
  • Best for Ski tours
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Very stiff (for experienced skiers)
  • Comfortable
  • Great warmth retention


  • Pricier option
  • Not the glass slipper for narrow feet

Salomon SHIFT PRO 130 AT


  • Last 100-106 mm with shell-molding
  • Flex 100, 120, 130 in men’s; 90 and 110 in women’s
  • Weight 1,631 g (3.6 lbs.)
  • Sizes 22.5-31.5
  • Best for Hybrid use, downhill alpine ski boot with uphill/tour mode
The Best Ski Boots of 2024


  • Heat-moldable shell
  • Excellent downhill performance


  • Heavy
  • Not as much range as most touring boots
Our team tests ski boots in a range of conditions and terrain all season long; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Ski Boots Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Last, Flex, Weight, Sizes.

Ski BootsPriceLastFlexWeightSizes
Tecnica Mach 1$700100 mm110, 120, 1304.6 lbs.24.5-30.5
K2 Anthem Pro Women’s$75098 mm1203.64 lbs.22.5-27.5
Dalbello Panterra — Men’s 90 GW & Women’s 85 W GW
$450-50099-102 mm85, 903.94 lbs.22.5-30.5
Lange LX 120 Ski Boots$730102 mm1204 lbs.24-31.5
Nordica Sportmachine 3 65$300102 mm653.54 lbs.22.5-27.5
Salomon QST Access$350-425104 mm70, 803.4 lbs.23.5-30.5
Scott Freeguide Carbon
$900101.5 mm1301,455 g25-29.5
Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech GW$1,050100 mm95, 115, 120, 1304.1 lbs.24.5-32.5
K2 Mindbender 130 BOA
$90097-104 mm1301945g in size 27.524.5-30.5
Tecnica Cochise Pro W$75099 mm1153 lbs., 9 oz.22.5-27.5
Scarpa 4-Quattro XT
$869100 mm120, 130 (men’s)1475 g24.5-31.0
Tecnica Cochise HV 130 DYN
$800102 mm1301750g in size 26.522.5-30.5
Head Kore RS 130
$1,12598 mm110, 120, 130 (men’s)1615 g24.5-30.5
Salomon SHIFT PRO 130 AT$800100-106 mm90, 100, 110, 120, 1303.6 lbs.22.5-31.5
SCARPA Maestrale XT, Gea RS$849-930101 mm120, 1303.3 lbs.25.5-29.5
Editorial Director Sean McCoy testing ski boots; (photo/Jason Hummel)

How We Tested Ski Boots

The GearJunkie product testing team is made up of amateur to expert alpine and backcountry skiers. We’ve skied runs in-bounds and hut-to-hut all over North America, including bell-to-bell resort powder days, ski-to-surf trips on Vancouver Island and in California, and backcountry hut adventures. We’ve trained for the country’s toughest skimo races and enjoyed cross-country laps on countless miles of nordic trails.

We took this season’s newest ski boots up and down the lifts for hundreds of inbounds runs, and then skinned up and hiked for our turns in more than six mountain ranges, three states, and two countries.

Leading the testing is Sean McCoy, who has been a skier for decades. Among our testers, Snowsports Senior Editor Morgan Tilton started alpine skiing in her backyard at Telluride Ski Resort at age 4, just before learning to snowboard. Thirteen years ago, she completed her first AIARE 1 course and continues to pursue backcountry certifications and exploration today by skis or splitboard. Whether going uphill or downhill, she loves sliding ski boots across snow. Several other key testers include well-established ski boot reviewers and outdoor industry journalists Berne Broudy, Justin Park, and Drew Kelly.

While testing ski boots in-bounds and in the field, we assessed shells, liners, and outsoles and considered durability, overall fit, functionality, comfort, value, weight, flex, downhill performance, and for some boots, uphill performance. We considered what type of feet and skier would be the best match for each boot design.

We’ve tested these boots while carving turns in a range of snow conditions affected by ice-cold temperatures, blizzards, blustery wind, intense sun, and even rain from far-out tours to parking lot tailgating.

In addition to our team’s experience, we also considered the most popular, innovative, award-winning, and bestselling ski boots on the market as well as a broad range of price points and a variety of features and applications.

Testing Ski Boots at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing ski boots at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Ski Boots

“Your boot is the most important part of your skiing setup,” said Dan Weis, master boot-fitter and Snowsports Department manager at Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, Vermont.

Weis, who has fitted at least 2,000 pairs of boots over the past decade, said, “Your boot is where your day starts and ends. It needs to be properly sized for all parts of your foot so that you can be comfortable without compromising performance.”

Ski Boot Construction 101

Ski boots are constructed with a squishy foam interior liner that absorbs vibration, provides warmth, and protects the foot. The hard exterior of a ski boot is made with a rigid outer shell, typically made of plastic.

The front of the boot widens a bit for you to slide your foot inside and then closes via buckles. Make sure your liner is flat against and cupping your shin before closing the boot.

Boot designs have various interior liners as well as exterior boot soles and insoles that affect the boot’s fit, compatibility, performance, and comfort in various conditions.

Ski Boot Sole Length
Ski boot sole length, in millimeters, is measured from the toe lug to the heel lug but is not universal across mondopoint sizes; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Types of Ski Boots

“The first step in buying ski boots is knowing if you want an alpine boot, touring boot, or hybrid boot,” said Weis.

Buy a boot to match your priorities (alpine/downhill, uphill, or both) and the ski you’ll wear it with. While a touring boot can be skied at the resort, most aggressive downhill skiers prefer a hybrid boot if they’ll ski resort and backcountry equally.

Alpine or Downhill Boot

These boots will have a bill at the toe and a DIN-compatible sole, which means they’ll release when they need to. Some downhill boots come with a cuff release to make it easier to walk to your car from the slopes. But Weis warns not to confuse a “cocktail clip” with a proper touring mode.

  • Heaviest weight
  • Heaviest duty
  • For lift-served skiing
  • Compatible with downhill bindings
Cable buckles made of metal are very lightweight and durable but less rigid and not as easy to clip compared to traditional rigid buckles; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Touring or Backcountry Boot

Also known as an uphill boot, a backcountry boot’s cuff will rotate so you can walk uphill. Some have a bill that’s compatible with a hybrid binding. They typically use pintech inserts in the toe, small metal divets on either side of the toe that accept pins from compatible bindings.

  • Many backcountry-specific boots are lightweight
  • Usually lighter than a downhill boot
  • Some are geared toward quick ascents with a superlight ski, not technical terrain, deep powder, fat skis, or freeriding

Hybrid Boot

A hybrid boot will have a tour mode, like a touring boot, but it will usually ski more like an alpine boot on descents.

  • Usually heavier than touring-specific boots
  • Somewhat less forward and aft rotation when you’re skiing uphill compared to touring boots
Testing Ski Boots in Colorado
Editorial Director Sean McCoy testing ski boots at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Ski Boot Flex

Flex describes a boot’s stiffness, and the correct amount of flex is determined by a skier’s experience level, strength, style, and preference.

Ski boot flex is determined and assigned by manufacturers. While the ratings give us an idea of how the ski boots feel within a brand’s lineup, the flex isn’t standardized across each company. So, for cross-brand comparison, the flex ratings can help you make broad versus apples-to-apples comparisons.

As you shop around, you’ll see boots with a flex that generally ranges from 65 to 120. The lower number represents a softer boot and gradually stiffens as you go up the scale. You’ll also see these flex ranges are usually lower for women’s-specific ski boots compared to men’s boots.

  • Soft: 65-90
  • Medium: 100-110
  • Stiff: 110-130
The two most important ingredients of a ski boot are the shell and liner; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Soft Flex

Weis said a new skier should be looking at boots with flex from 65 to 90. A lower flex number is easier to engage.

“When a skier is engaging a boot, or flexing it forward, the boot needs to have resistance to transfer energy to the ski. If it’s too stiff, a skier won’t be able to flex the ski to carve — there won’t be any energy transfer,” said Weis.

Soft boots are also typically more comfortable and retain heat better than stiff designs. These are a good choice if you prefer cruising on green and blue runs or if you’re just getting started on the slopes. They’re also a fair choice for folks that weigh less.

They’ll also have the most economic price tag, but paying more for boots that match your ski style and skill level is worth the extra cost.

Traditional ski boots feature four buckles on each boot with two across the top of the foot and two up high along the shin; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Medium Flex

Intermediate skiers should focus on flex from 100 to 110. A higher flex number indicates the boot will have more resistance and responsiveness. The boot can handle more aggressive turns and faster descents than soft boots. “If the boot is too soft, the skier won’t be able to control their ski,” said Weis.

If you’re a beginner skier but are heavier set, consider a medium flex boot right off the bat.

Stiff Flex

Advanced and expert skiers should buy boots with flex from 110 to 130. These designs provide the highest level of response and hold their own through speed. The price tag is higher in this category because these boots usually have a more technical build.

Advanced-level boots strategically place and integrate a range of soft, medium, or stiff materials into the design for optimal energy transfer. Don’t be surprised if the most rigid boots, typically intended for racers, simply feel too tight to use as an everyday driver.

Ski Boots Offer Different Volumes for Different Width Feet
Ski boots are usually available in three volumes including low, mid, and high — the latter being for wide feet; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Sizing: Mondopoint & Last Width

Ski boots use unisex mondopoint sizing, often referred to as “mondo,” which is the foot length in millimeters. You’ll also commonly see this size reference in centimeters, instead, like the 24.5-30.5 size range, for instance.

Mondo sizes start as low as 21.5 (U.S. women’s size 5) and go up to 30.5 (U.S. men’s size 13). They increase by half-size increments.

The last or footbed width ranges from 97 mm to 106 mm. Skiers with a narrower foot will want a slimmer last, as will athletes that want a tighter fit for snappier energy transfer and precision. Many ski boots offer a variety of last width options for narrow, average, or wide feet.


  • 96-98 mm
  • Narrow feet
  • Precise fit, feel, and responsiveness
Some ski boot liners are insulated with PrimaLoft for additional warmth; (photo/Jason Hummel)


  • 99-100 mm for women
  • 100-102 mm for men
  • Good target range for feet with normal widths


  • 103 mm+
  • Wide feet
  • Can be more comfortable for beginner skiers but might need to quickly upgrade to an average-width boot

To get the best boot for your foot, Weis recommends scheduling a fitting with your local shop. At that fitting, a ski tech will measure the length and width of both of your feet. They’ll properly determine your ski boot mondo and last size.

Depending on the ski boot model you need and your skill level, you also might need to size down to account for packing out the boot. But once they have those numbers, they should be able to advise you on which boots from which brands will match your physiology and best help you meet your goals.

For the winter of 2023-24, ski boot brands are beginning to roll out the first generation of BOA in ski boots; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Boot Sole (Outsole)

Not all ski boot soles are compatible with all bindings. Check with your ski shop to confirm the boots you’re considering will work with the bindings you own or plan to buy.


Don’t think you’re just being upsold if the ski tech recommends custom insoles. Weis said skiers with a soft or collapsed arch will especially benefit from aftermarket or custom insoles. By supporting the arch, an insole keeps your foot from over-splaying inside your boot.

“You want to make sure the natural shape of your arch is matched to the insole of your boot,” said Weis. “When your foot sits in the correct spot in your boots, it’s less likely to become fatigued.”

A new bio-based material derived from castor beans is being used in some ski boots as an alternative to traditional PU plastic; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Boot Weight

Following the growth of backcountry, side-country, and uphill exercise on skis, a boot’s weight has become a more important differentiator between boot types and preferences. There are more lightweight boot options for downhill and backcountry skiing on the market today than in years past. And the lighter a ski boot, the less weight you’ll need to slide atop the snow or step with as you climb a bootpack.

For instance, the SCARPA F1 LT is an ultralight boot for ski mountaineering that weighs 990 g (2.18 pounds). The SCARPA Alien 1.0, which is a hit among skimo racers, weighs 785 g (1 pound, 11.7 ounces).

Hybrid boots, like the Tecnica Cochise Pro W — 1,630 g (3 pounds, 9 ounces) — are heavy enough to drive skis at the resort but still light enough for touring. Pure alpine ski boots are heavier, like our top pick, the Tecnica Mach 1, which weighs 2,060 g (4.6 pounds).

Note: Our guide references the weight of one ski boot out of the set.

Women's Specific Ski Boots
Women’s-specific boots tend to have a lower flex, smaller size run, narrower last, and unique liner/cuff compared to men’s boots; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Women’s-Specific Ski Boots

A handful of manufacturers make ski boots that are women’s-specific. Compared to a unisex or men’s ski boot, women’s lineups typically have a lower flex rating set, so the boot options are softer. The models usually feature a smaller size or mono range compared to the men’s models.

Sometimes you’ll see narrower last options for women but not for men in a particular ski boot. The style features, like the color scheme, are usually tailored to a female demographic, too.

Some women’s-specific boots also have anatomical differences based on research, boot-fitter input, and feedback from female skiers. That includes the Tecnica Mach1 LV 105 TD boots, which are built with a unique upper liner that molds to the shape of the female calf. The result is no pressure points while charging steep laps or making fast carves.

The cuff is also built with a tad more forward lean and a higher spine, which increases performance while decreasing overall fatigue. In general, some ski boots have a narrower or tapered heel and greater cushion around the ankle for security.

While the male- and female-labeled ski boots might help the average skier, there are folks who identify as male who need narrower, softer boots, and there are female skiers who want extremely stiff boots. Don’t be afraid to try on boots across these two general categories. Choose the style and fit that best matches your feet.

Exploring the Steeps at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Editorial Director Sean McCoy testing ski boots while exploring the steeps at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Boot Liner

Boot liners are made from various densities of foam. They provide foot and ankle support and comfort and help prevent fatigue. They also add a layer of heat insulation inside the boot’s exterior, which is a hard plastic shell.

Most boot liners naturally break in with the foot’s heat. Many boot liners are custom-moldable, so another heat source can warm the material to be worn and conform to the owner’s foot. Generally, the boot liners of the priciest ski boots feature a greater quantity of heat-moldable material.

Heat-moldable liners can help ensure a snug, supportive, and comfortable fit; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Customizable Fit

Most boots have thermo-moldable foam liners, which are removable and should be heated at a ski shop and molded to your foot, a process that takes 30 minutes to an hour. Weis warns it can take up to three visits to get new boots perfectly fit.

The time investment of molding your boot liner is worth it. During the boot fit process, the tech will heat your liners, add padding at pressure points to compress the liner, and create more space. In some cases, a boot fitter may also grind, punch, or heat-mold a shell to accommodate prominent ankle bones or bunions.

New for 2023-24, some ski boot designs are combining a BOA dial with traditional buckles for a secure closure and fit; (photo/Jason Hummel)


Buying new ski boots can be one of winter’s biggest challenges. How a boot feels when you first slip your foot into it in the shop can be a far cry from how it feels once you have had it heat-molded and fit by a reputable boot-fitter.

The temperature inside the shop versus on a wind-chilled ski lift will influence the fit, as will how your foot swells on a spring day or during exercise.

“Go with the mindset you’re buying the tightest piece of footwear you own,” said Weis. “And pick the boot that most feels like you could ski it out of the box.”

It’s easier to make a boot bigger than smaller, and if a skier has one or two small issues, including pressure points or pain points, a boot should be workable. “If your foot isn’t happy in the boot in the shop,” Weis advises, “try something else.”

Whether you’re buying an alpine, hybrid, or touring boot, the same rules apply. Get your boot fit, consider aftermarket insoles, and be sure the boot you’re planning to buy matches your foot and binding.

Ski Boots in Action Above Crested Butte
Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing ski boots at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)


What are the different ski boot types?

The types of ski boots include alpine or downhill boots, which are the burliest, heaviest, and used for downhill lift-served skiing at the resort. You’ll also find touring or backcountry boots, which are lightweight and made for off-piste terrain.

There are hybrid boots that have a tour mode and weigh more than lightweight touring boots, but can perform more like a downhill boot. They withstand more aggressive descents. Read more about the differences between these types of ski boots in the buyer’s guide above.

How do you determine your ski boot size?

To get the best boot for your foot, schedule a fitting with your local shop. At that fitting, a ski tech will measure the length and width of both of your feet. They’ll properly determine your ski boot mondo and last size, which might also be influenced by the type of boot you choose and the type of skiing you aim to do. Read more about ski boot sizes, including the mondopoint and last width, in the buyer’s guide above.

Do you need a soft or stiff ski boot?

Generally, new or beginner-level skiers, or skiers who prefer mellow terrain (greens and some blues), prefer a soft ski boot. A medium-flex ski boot is great for an intermediate skier who’s progressed to steeper terrain, more and sharper carves, and speedier days. The stiffest boots are sought by advanced and expert skiers for a higher level of responsiveness.

A man skiing down mountains
Editorial Director Sean McCoy testing ski boots; (photo/Jason Hummel)
What is the difference between men’s and women’s ski boots?

Women’s-specific ski boots are different from men’s ski boots in a variety of ways, and not all boots are women’s-specific for the same qualities. Some boots differ aesthetically, and the size range is smaller and has a narrower option, too.

Other women’s-specific boots are anatomically designed based on female input. Those features could include unique liners that mold better to the female calf muscle, more forward lean in the cuff, a tapered or narrower heel, and additional cushion around the ankle.

Are expensive ski boots worth the investment?

Higher-priced ski boots typically have a more complex blend of pliable materials, which provide a precise boot fit and performance. They can offer a more tailored fit out of the box and additional features like grippy soles for walking over ice.

Also, narrower boots typically cost more, so skiers with those alleyway feet should upgrade from the get-go for a good fit. Premium boots also have liners with a blend of various foams, which enhances security.

Overall, more expensive ski boots are worth the investment for a better fit but not at the exchange of comfort. If you are new to skiing, it’s a good idea to start with a cushy, soft boot versus pulling on a more aggressive-fitting premium boot right away.

How do you take care of your ski boots?

To preserve ski boot soles, don’t walk on gravel, asphalt, or long distances on a sidewalk. Walking on firm surfaces will degrade the toes and heels. To help protect the soles, you can wear cat tracks, which are detachable sole protectors.

After every use, hand-remove the snow (joint bang the boots together). Then remove the liner and thoroughly dry it with a boot dryer. Moisture builds throughout the day from snow and sweat. If they stay wet, then mold, mildew, and bad odors can form. Wetness can also deteriorate the liner.

You can also wipe down the exterior and interior of the ski boot shell with a dry cloth. Close each buckle so the shell can sit in its preferred shape and avoid damage or getting warped over time.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket; (photo/Jason Hummel)

The Best All-Mountain Skis of 2024

The right ski can make your day, and not every all-mountain ski is created equal. We hit the slopes and put them to the test from Vermont to Colorado to find the best of 2024. Read more…

The Best Ski Pants of 2024

Whether at the resort or in the backcountry, we found the best ski pants of 2024 to fit every style, budget, and adventure. Read more…

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