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 2023-24 FREESKIER Buyer’s Guide.
K2 Mindbender 115 W BOA
BOA is here to stay in ski boot world. By harnessing the power of BOA Fit System, K2 engineers have delivered their most adjustable fitting ski boot. With performance-enhancing features including a Powerlite Shell, MultiFit Last, Fastfit Instep and a Powerlock Spyne boasting 50 degree range of motion, the Mindbender 115 W BOA is the ultimate high-level freeride boot for female skiers. The Mindbender 115 W BOA delivers uncompromising performance and fit with more micro-adjustability than traditional buckled boots. Thanks to the BOA Fit System, you can effortlessly ease off a few clicks to let your feet breathe while on the chair and dial them back in when it’s time to turn downhill. This hybrid boot is built to tackle it all, whether you’re trekking out of bounds or cruising the resort.
K2 Mindbender 130 BOA
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.
Scott Cosmos Pro Boot
Made to go the distance, Scott’s Cosmos Pro freetouring boot is an expert skier’s dream. You can put these kicks through the wringer, and that’s where they excel. A 130 flex supports in powder while it forgives in firm snow. It’s best suited for a high-volume foot as it sits at 103.5-mm last. These fall into the lighter category of touring boots with a weight of 1,380 g at 26.5. Scott crafted the Cosmos using Grilamid material, which remains to be the lightest polyamide you can get on the market. Not only will you notice a difference drawing lines on the slopes, but the buckles and tongue received a facelift, so you’ll notice a smoother step-in while you get ready in the parking lot.
Nordica Unlimited LT 115 DYN
The Unlimited LT line makes history for Nordica as the first brand to offer a true unisex boot in a 115 flex down to a size 22 boot. For women and men with small feet, this is the boot for you. Available in LT and regular, the Unlimited line offers many iterations. The liner matches the contours of your foot through a thermomoldable, custom fit, and your toes will stay warm thanks to a layer of PrimaLoft insulation. Nordica’s Tri Force Cuff positions three different densities of materials offering a softer front cuff panel to cushion your shin, a layer of lateral support on the mid cuff and a stiff spine so you rely on the support of the boots when you need to walk.
La Sportiva Vanguard
For those looking for an intelligently designed backcountry boot, La Sportiva delivers the Vanguard. The perfect balance for going deep into the mountains and venturing out on small side country missions. The Vanguard features a V-Shape cuff with scissor construction that wraps the midfoot, instep and heel while also making bootfitting extremely fast and intuitive. The cuff is integrated with an EZ-Flex tongue to connect the upper and lower shell and provide two different stiffnesses for uphill mobility and downhill skiing. The Vanguard delivers all-day comfort and mobility for big tours and a rigid downhill performance when using wide skis on steep terrain. Its 63 degree range of motion and 102.5-mm last make for a more comfortable skiing experience for folks who have struggled with narrow touring boots in the past.
Scarpa Maestrale RS
Scarpa redesigned the Maestrale RS from the ground up using state-of-the-art, planet-friendly materials and technology to bring the perfect blend of backcountry performance and functionality. The lightest, most powerful version yet, the Maestrale RS is best suited for skiers looking for versatile, uncompromising performance on the up and down. The updated, planet-friendly cuff and shell utilize Carbon Core technology to provide increased torsional stability, providing seamless power transmission while also boasting a 61 degree range-of-motion when in tour mode. The boot also features a Wave Lite closure system that is highly adjustable and increases closing force for a more precise fit. It comes stock with a Pro Flex Performance Intuition liner to give you warmth and comfort when out on those long tours.
Head Edge 130 HV GW
After two decades in retail, the all-mountain Edge boots have reached their pinnacle. The culmination of four years of development, the Edge 130 HV GW is designed with one clear purpose in mind; to make skiing easier. Without a doubt, it stands out as the most comfortable walking boot among all the collections offered by Head. With a width of 102-mm, it’s slightly wider than the average pair, making it an excellent choice for most skiers. The tri-injected frame incorporates three levels of plastic density, ensuring a consistent and predictable flex in all situations. Plus, the Edge series boasts the new ski to walk mechanism, and an adjustable tongue is ready to be embraced by your shins.
Dalbello Il Moro Pro GW
For the past decade, Il Moro has been Dalbello’s most sought-after boot for freestyle skiers. This season, Dalbello has built on its iconic freestyle boot, bringing you the all-new Il Moro Pro GW. This new boot is a bit roomier than previous years, with a new 99-mm last to provide a more comfortable fit up front. It features a recyclable Pebax Rnew tongue, made from renewable resources and Dalbello’s signature Cabrio design, making it a popular choice for skiers looking for a three-piece boot. A 3Density wrap liner comes in the shell, offering a cushy fit that helps to prohibit shinbang. Let your freestyle passion show with a boot trusted by pros.
Salomon S/Pro Supra BOA 130
This season BOA has taken the ski boot world by storm. With a similar fit and shell construction to its tried-and-true S/Pro, S/Pro Supra BOA 130 is engineered to advance foothold and performance by challenging traditional boot construction. The BOA Fit System tightens in a cylindrical fashion to distribute pressure evenly over the instep and top of the foot. The new Supra series features Salomon’s Custom Shell HD, which gives fitters the ability to heat and mold the outer shell specific to your foot shape, creating a more precise, comfortable fit. A new Exowrap 4D Race liner is included in the boot, confidently blurring the line between comfort and performance. If you’re in search of a new resort boot and looking to jump on the BOA train, the S/Pro Supra BOA 130 may be the boot for you.
Dynafit Tigard 130
The unisex Tigard 130 touring boot is a four-buckle boot that’s as at-home on the resort as it is in the backcountry. A burly yet lightweight option in its market category, this boot weighs only 1,590 g. Crafted with Grilamid material and carbon fiber, this model offers a progressive 130 flex, making it a top choice for both pro and advanced skiers preferring a sturdier boot. For optimal performance while navigating rocky ascents or ripping laps off the pass, this boot features a durable Gripwalk sole that provides traction when walking out of the binding and makes the boot compatible with frame, tech and alpine bindings. The Italian-designed boots also incorporate the patented Hoji Lock System, seamlessly merging the cuff and shell into a single, high-performance unit. Overall, the Tigard 130 boot combines lightweight design, exceptional fit and advanced features to provide a superior downhill skiing experience.
Dalbello Cabrio LV Free 130 3DWrap
For decades Dalbello has delivered cabrio-style boots that freeskiers have relied on for charging big-mountain terrain, stomping airs and navigating the terrain features we aspire to. Dalbello reinvigorated their line of free touring boots the year to improve the all new Cabrio series–breathing new life into their already trusted line of boots. The new series features redesigned shell lasts, liners and a Dynalock Instep Buckle that optimizes heel hold and power transmission. The Dynalock buckle has been adjusted for better ergonomic positioning, more efficient closure and a buckle over the hinge point so you have the smoothest flex possible. The Cabrio 3DWrap liner provides top-level support and the instant response of a coveted wrap liner. For those looking for a do-it-all boot, visit your local fitter and slip your foot into the Cabrio LV Free 130.
Lange Shadow 130 LV GW
When Bob Lange created and released the first plastic ski boot in 1962, he revolutionized the sport and launched an iconic brand. Over 60 years later, we’ve seen innovation in ski boot materials that make them lighter, warmer and more comfortable, but from a mechanical perspective, the four buckle overlap boot functions nearly the same way it did when Bob Lange introduced that first plastic boot to the market. Inspired by carbon plate running shoes and mountain bike suspensions, Lange is looking to disrupt the industry again with their new Shadow line.
“We really leaned into the innovation that we’ve seen in other outdoor sports categories that provide a mechanical advantage to the athlete when we developed the Shadow product,” Lange Alpine Category Manager Matt Farness says. “The Shadow has these two unique design features in the Suspension Blade and the Dual Pivot that allow the skier to amplify energy and power with less effort.”
By replacing the bolts on the spine of a traditional boot with a molded piece of plastic called the Suspension Blade, the skier receives a much smoother and more consistent flex. In addition, the Suspension Blade also has leaf spring-like action that increases rebound in the boot.
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Fischer RC4 PRO MV
The new Fischer RC4 PRO MV is so feature-packed and technology-driven that its coveted BOA H+i1 system—the new BOA system for alpine boots that only three other brands offer this season and has been touted as the biggest advancement in skiing in 60 years—is just one amenity that makes this top-of-the-line boot so intriguing.
The mid-volume centerpiece of the line, the RC4 PRO MV is a high-performance boot that’s the first (as well as the RC4 PRO LV) to offer a stock ZipFit liner—the hugely popular, long-lasting, better-fitting liner that skiers shell out around $500 for. Beyond 1,000-day durability, ZipFit liners lock your heel and promote healthy circulation. Additionally, a Carbonfused cuff that’s not just a standard plastic injection but internally carbon-fused offers stiffness and direct power transfer. Further, Fischer Scan-Fit last, developed with data from thousands of foot scans, ensures a custom fit.
“It’s the top of the pyramid,” says Fischer’s Christoph Lentz, the former ski racer and Fischer Alpine Boots Product Manager who led the project from start to finish. “We wanted to give the best of the best for ambitious, strong skiers, without compromise.”