Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide feature from FREESKIER. Here’s a close-up look at the best ski boots of the year. Click here to explore the entire 2022-23 FREESKIER Buyer’s Guide.
Head Kore RS 130 GW
The new Head Kore RS 130 GW walks the fine line of backcountry slayer and inbounds driver. The Kore line received a total overhaul this year, with updates that include options for a 98- or 100-mm last, a new walk mode, tech inserts, open-lock buckles for climbing and additional rubber on the GripWalk sole. The updated hike/walk feature, with increased range of motion, also adds security to the 1664 g touring boot when skiing, since the previous model only locked the rearward mobility. This stiff-flexing boot is a great candidate for adventurous skiers given its variety of fits, sizes and lightweight and powerful graphene construction.
K2 Mindbender 130
If you’re looking for a narrow-to-medium width boot that can do it all in style, the K2 Mindbender 130 fits the bill. This hybrid boot is built to tackle it all, be it a day at the ski area or one that takes you through the gates for a monster tour. It uses a Powerlite heat-moldable TPU shell with varying thicknesses, such as a softer design along the instep for easy entry and exit. It also comes stock with a heat-moldable Pro Tour liner to further dial in the fit. With GripWalk soles and tech inserts, it can click into most bindings and is ideal for advanced skiers who don’t want to choose between different boots for different days or conditions.
Fischer Ranger 130 Pro GW DYN
Fischer’s Ranger 130 Pro hits the market this year with a redesigned shell, materials and updated customizable liner. Complete with Dynafit inserts and Vibram soles, the revamped Ranger 130 Pro is fully suited to complement your next turn, easily swapping from ski mode to walking via a lever alongside the cuff buckle, and providing 55 degrees of touring motion. The Thermoshape Polyurethane shell is easily moldable, yet retains all the most coveted aspects of a well-fitting alpine boot, offering great rebound and energy. Lasted at 99 mm, it also comes stock with a beefed up, pre-punched liner for a snugger and more comfortable fit.
Dynafit TLT X Women’s
The sleek simplicity that’s occurring in lightweight touring boots has been eye-popping to witness, and Dynafit’s latest iteration of the TLT—the TLT X—twists and snaps its way to high vertical efficiency. This boot has no problem walking uphill all day given its full stride, 60-degree walk-mode and supremely light weight. Though, it’s still about the down and that’s when the Twistfit closure locks in the instep and heel. The upper cuff buckle acts as the walk-mode lever via the Ultra Lock 5.0 (similar to previous models) and is a breeze to flick open and close without a fuss. The all-new TLT X is a no-nonsense touring boot with a progressive flex for women seeking faraway lines, best suited to accommodate medium-to-wide feet.
Lange XT3 Tour Women Pro
To create this all-new boot, Lange took last year’s XT3 Tour—its first-ever touring boot—and fine-tuned it to match the needs of demanding women. The XT3 Tour Women Pro has a lower cuff height and slightly wider cuff to avoid pain points, a huge win for ladies who spend full days touring. What hasn’t changed is the classic four-buckle feel and power for which Lange boots are celebrated. The Dual Core shell won’t crush you when you step in and out of the boot and adds extra rebound on the downhill, too. Paying homage to its race history and its honed focus on backcountry freeriding, this boot is sure to intrigue even the most discerning skiers.
Rossignol Pure Elite 120 GW
While some women’s boots have a softer flex, even in some high-end models, that isn’t the case with the new Rossignol Pure Elite 120. A traditional four-buckle shell with a powerful flex, this newly designed boot has several unique features such as accommodations in the cuff—in both height and width—to allow female’s calves to sit lower in the boot. The Dual Core shell is stiff where you need it and more supple along the instep, and earns a cleaner flex pattern from the new pivot point. Complete a heat-moldable liner with merino wool, a power strap that adjusts on both sides and GripWalk soles, this boot suited towards high-performance female skiers.
Atomic Hawx Magna 130 S GW
Even skiers with the widest feet deserve a hard-charging boot. That’s exactly what Atomic set out to deliver with the Hawx Magna 130 S GW, tailored to skiers whose feet might have wanted to be hanging in sandals on the beach rather than clamped into cold plastic. It’s a four-buckle, all-mountain workhorse that features a stout flex via a heat-moldable polyurethane shell. It then blends that with Atomic’s well-loved and heat-moldable Mimic Platinum Liner, that has a 3D Stretch Toe Box to accommodate fit and to alleviate breaking your big toenails early season. If you know you need this boot, you’ll know—and your feet will thank you for it.
Salomon S/Pro Alpha 130
The new S/Pro from Salomon builds upon the brands S/Max boots and evolves the fit and shell to accommodate more skiers without relinquishing its shredability. The S/Pro still is a low volume boot geared towards high performance, but now utilizes a thinner plastic near the top of the foot and shifts the second, lower shell buckle higher towards the cuff. This new design not only alleviates pressure along the instep, but it also allows the foot to be pulled back into the heel pocket—increasing performance and responsiveness. Both the cuff and liner are heat moldable to allow for fine tuning in fit, and comes with alpine and GripWalk soles, making it ideal for freeriders that want an alpine boot sans walk mode.
Dalbello Veloce 120 GW
Dalbello’s new Veloce line offers medium-width overlap boots for resort skiers who want four-buckle performance, but don’t prioritize the vice grip of a race boot. Utilizing Autofit, the Veloce 120’s tongue has memory foam which molds to the shape of each skier’s shin, increasing performance and also comfort by eliminating shin bang and cramping from over-tightening the buckles. The shell and liner receives Dalbello’s Contour Technology, that maps and pre-forms these common areas for better fit. This Contour 5 tech also has a little extra material in the shell to allow for easier punching and stretching with your boot fitter—so you can achieve a most comfortable fit without crushing your feet.
Scott Freeguide Carbon
Scott’s Freeguide Carbon has been around for a few seasons, and is popular among skiers looking for a stiff-as-nails flex in a touring boot that caters to medium-high volume feet. It’s also the brainchild of skiers like Jeremie Heitz and Sammo Cohen, who covet gnarly lines in the biggest mountain ranges they can find, so you know it charges. The shell utilizes a unique blend of a two-piece and cabrio design; the end result is one that can pivot and stride well while in walk-mode, and one that doesn’t give skiers a brick wall feeling when laying into turns. The stock liner, which uses a BOA cable to secure the foot into the heel pocket, also improves the fit and is easy to adjust while on the go.
Scarpa 4-Quattro XT
It’s been almost a decade since Scarpa introduced the Freedom SL; it was husky, perfect for wider feet, but it was also quite heavy. Nonetheless, the Freedom became a classic; yet was discontinued when Scarpa put more effort into its touring-ready Maestrale line. With help from legendary downhiller, Bode Miller, the 4-Quattro XT, one of the best ski boots this winter, takes off where the Freedom left off. Boasting a plant-based Grilamid Bio shell and carbon cuff, with over 60 degrees of touring capability, this four-buckle hybrid boot has a full-length GripWalk sole and weighs in at 1500 grams. It didn’t just take over from the Freedom—it ran laps around the old tech—and with Miller and Chris Davenport on-board to spearhead this project, you can be sure to expect more good things to come from Scarpa.
Nordica Strider Pro 130 DYN
Nordica’s Strider 130, one of the best ski boots this winter, is a hybrid AT/Alpine boot that will cater to those with a medium-width foot, providing skiers with the option of having a frontside boot that can also deliver articulation for when you want to earn your turns. Complete with tech fittings and a GripWalk sole, it also utilizes a Michelin Latitude X-Ice rubber (from its winter tires) along the sole—providing grip and security when scampering along ridges. The shell utilizes a blend of plastics to provide weight savings while maintaining the flex and feel of a traditional Nordica four-buckle boot and, most importantly, it comes stock with a 3D Cork liner that gives skiers a heat-moldable option to support strong heel hold and solid power transfer.
Tecnica Zero G Peak Carbon
Renowned for its performance-driven boots, Tecnica has found recent success creating boots for exacting backcountry skiers. Until this season, though, it had yet to venture into the “ultralight touring” segment. At just under 1000 g, each of the three boots in the new Zero G Peak lineup—Tecnica Zero G Peak Carbon (featured here), Zero G Peak and Zero G Women’s—will now provide superior performance on both the ascent and descent on long-haul missions where every bit of weight matters.
“We knew we wanted to go lighter than the Zero G Tour,” Tecnica North American Product Manager Christian Avery said. “We wanted to build a boot that could go farther… [but] we wanted to do it in a Tecnica way, which would differentiate it from other products. We built these Zero G Peak boots with that same Tecnica DNA—our performance philosophy, fi t philosophy and customization philosophy.”
Ultralight touring boots typically have a completely open front, foregoing a traditional wrapped plastic design, in the name of weight savings and walk-ability. The entire Zero G Peak collection features a totally unique, zig-zagging, semi-overlap design, which helps skiers better control deformation of the lower shell in layman’s terms, this means the boot is designed to feel stiffer than most boots in this category and will hold its shape better on the downhill despite its feather-weight. The design also yields fit benefits by positioning the foot and ankle further back in the boot where it is most comfortable.
“The boot was built with the intention of walking as well as it needed to while being as light as it needed to be to get you to really interesting places,” Avery said. “The Zero G Peak has the performance to allow you to ski something you might have previously thought you couldn’t. Before this new line, you would have had to either make a trade-off on performance or bring a heavier product out there.”
Borrowing from the co-molded composition of the cuff of the Zero G Tour Pro, this new lineup features a unique co-injection technique throughout the lower boot to keep weight down without sacrificing performance; the Zero G Peak Carbon gets it in the cuff as well. By injecting a carbon fiber powder along with Grilamid plastic into the mold, Tecnica achieves a boot that weighs next-to-nothing but maintain with superior elasticity and downhill power.
When it’s time to hike, the Tecnica Zero G Peak Carbon features a single-lever T-Hike mechanism that provides a 75-degree range of motion for maximum walk-ability. It also features a pre-shaped, fully customizable C.A.S. Light Liner designed to integrate seamlessly with the boot for optimum heel hold.
“The Zero G Peak lineup will unlock potential for people that have been into the light touring segment or have thought about getting into it,” Avery said. “We have three boots here that will be happy complements to a lightweight ski and will make that package feel really balanced.”