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phaenom Wants to Upend the Ski Boot Market, and It Just Might

After 4 years of research and development, phaenom will hit the market with a super-unique ski boot this fall. I strapped them on for a day in Colorado to see what the fuss is about.

phaenom ski boots and mountains
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It was mashed potatoes at Loveland Ski Resort. Spring conditions were in full effect, with lots of soft corn, slush snow, bright sunshine, and balmy air. The conditions provided lots of variability and some tricky terrain. For a brand new company hoping to grab market share from the giants of the ski industry, the conditions were perfect to prove some mettle.

On my feet, dark, shiny black, were the latest boots from the nascent brand phaenom, the FS01 120. The “FreeSki” model (get it?) powered a pair of all-mountain Nordica Enforcers through the springtime corny mashed potato snow. While the boot looks rather normal from the outside, inside, it’s packed with uncommon design elements meant to enhance comfort, performance, and sustainability.

Spoiler: These are some damn fine ski boots. The big names should take note.

In short: phaenom (yes, all lowercase) did a limited drop of 200 boots in Europe in 2024. The phaenom FS01 120 will hit the market in North America and beyond in fall 2024. The boots have unique design elements, including lace-up liners meant to be removed from the shell. It also has a hybrid three-piece cabrio design with an overlapping upper cuff. The low-cut tongue lies under the cuff, with a 102mm last shell over the lower foot. In very short testing, I found it super-comfortable yet high-performing. Brass tacks? This is a legit ski boot coming out of left field. Check ’em out.

phaenom FS01 120


  • Flex 120
  • Shell weight 1,550 g
  • Liner weight 550 g
  • Last 102 mm


  • Lace-up liners allow for snug fit, tight control
  • Liners step in and out of shell
  • "phaenom strap" improves shock absorption, flex control
  • Built for easy modification and repair


  • Unique step-in, step-out liners might not be for everyone

phaenom FS01 120: A Unique Design

phaenom ski boot deatails
The tongue and overlap of the phaenom ski boots; (photo/Sean McCoy)

I opened the box of phaenom ski boots in the base lodge of Loveland Ski Resort. I had never seen them before. My first shock was realizing I had to remove the liner before putting these boots on. And not only did I have to remove the liner, but I had to lace it up as well.

The liners have relatively durable rubber soles so you can walk around in them. I wouldn’t plan to wear them for much distance, but they are durable enough for light après or grabbing lunch in the lodge.

Once you’ve laced up your liners (weird), you step into the plastic shell. While the brand calls this a “cabrio” boot, it is not rear entry. Thus the “hybrid” name.

I found stepping into the shell with the liner on my foot somewhat odd. But let’s be real — in 40 years of skiing, it’s the first time I did this. And it worked just fine. I imagine that with some practice, it could become second nature.

phaenom Ski Boots Review

phaenom ski boots and mountains
Phaenom ski boots at Loveland Ski Resort; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Once on my foot, I noted a roomy forefoot, no surprise with the 102mm last. Otherwise, the boot fit as expected and seemed true to size if maybe a tiny bit large.

Running just two buckles, I was curious if the boot would lock my foot into place. But I didn’t need to worry. With the buckles engaged and the unique rubber power strap locked down, the boots locked my feet and ankles into place tightly.

I was intrigued by the “phaenom strap” at the top of the cuff. It’s quite different from other power straps, and the brand claims the recycled, stretchy material “provides superior shock absorption and flex control.”

I strapped in and made some turns. The boots were too tight. My first couple of runs were rather uncomfortable, with a lot of pressure on the top of my ankle.

Fortunately, a slight adjustment fixed it quickly. By our fourth run of the day, I had a Cinderella moment. My ankle locked into place very soundly, and I started skiing hard and fast.

Leaning into hard carves, the ski edges engaged. I rocketed across the soft snow, enjoying a very progressive flex in the boots. Sure, they’re rated at 120 flex, but with forward lean engaging them quickly, these boots drove my Nordica Enforcers flawlessly.

I was really intrigued by the flex pattern, which is incredibly progressive, from soft to rock solid at the bottom of a turn. The brand claims the hybrid cabrio design creates a unique linear-flex pattern, providing a consistent feel and rebound throughout the turn, which translates to more comfort and stability. So far, that statement seems pretty on point.

Again, I’ve only skied on these one day so far. But I suspect they will be highly regarded as long as folks are into the unique design and liner system.


phaenom ski boot review
The author carving a turn in the phaenom FS01 ski boot; (photo/Henrik Lampert)

Phaenom marketing puts sustainability front and center. The boots only come in black, which the brand claims makes the TPU material more compatible with recycling. The liner uses 50% recycled fabric, and the insole uses 50% bio-based damping material. But most interestingly, owners can easily disassemble and replace parts on the boot. It uses no rivets, instead opting for screws that anyone with a driver can remove.

That means broken parts will be no issue for quick replacement, ostensibly giving these boots a longer lifespan.

Faction Sibling

Phaenom made its soft launch in early 2024. Full Stack Supply Co, the parent of Faction Skis and United Shapes, launched the brand to innovate boots into a circular economy.

According to the brand, for fall 2024, phaenom has preseason orders booked to fill more than 200 doors across 125 key accounts. This is a significant entry and the first major new ski boot launch in recent memory.

phaenom ski boot liners

With its relationship with ski brand Faction, phaenom has an obvious in with the youth market. The Faction brand has a major presence in both the Park and Freeski arenas. But it’s still a relatively small player and a unique one. A true collective, Faction ownership comprises hundreds of investors with a vision of building a strong, vibrant ski brand.

It remains to be seen how phaenom will resonate among skiers, especially in comparison with big brands that also build fantastic ski boots. But it’s exciting to see another player on the slopes.

And if my short test is any indication, skiers who try phaenom ski boots will be rewarded with a fun, capable boot ready to charge anything a ski mountain can offer.

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