Lightest 4-Buckle Ski Boot. . . Ever

The title above, ellipses and all, is the proclamation that Garmont USA assigns to its to-be-released alpine-touring boot line, the PowerLite AT Series. Debuting this month at industry trade shows, the backcountry-oriented boots are set to ship for next ski season, with stout, four-buckle models that weigh as little as 44 ounces apiece.

4-Buckle women’s Celeste

The lightest boot cited, the 44-ouncer, is a women’s model, the Celeste. For men, the slightly beefier Cosmos boot weighs in at about 50 ounces each, or about 3 pounds a foot. This is about a pound heavier than an average winter hiking boot.

Though not the lightest ski boot on the market (just the lightest 4-buckle), Garmont says it aimed for “the sweet spot of winter ski adventures.” That means the support and power of four buckles and features for full-day alpine tours “where climbing agility, skiing performance and complete comfort are all equally critical,” to use the company’s words.

Garmont cites a “breakthrough in weight-shaving technology” with the line, and this includes a boot shell with a “webframe” design that puts reinforcing ribs throughout the shell and cuff to give rigidity while maintaining lightness. A small boot tongue, light PU inserts, and magnesium buckles are additional weight-savers.

Close-up of the sole, which has Vibram rubber and tread

The boot sole for the line is a full-length Vibram ski-mountaineering sole with tread. The rubber sole is compatible with alpine-touring and downhill bindings but also made for short hiking/climbing sections where the sole offers “maximum grip when scrambling over rocks,” Garmont touts.

The boots will cost $699 when they ship in mid-2012. The full line will be on display and available to demo at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and SIA Snow Show this month.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Men’s Cosmos boots weigh about 50 ounces each

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.