Barring a sudden zombie apocalypse, nothing can ruin a solid day on the hill like foot pain. Think about it this way: 100-percent of the time you spend skiing, you also spend strapped into your boots. Ensuring your boot fits properly and adheres to your performance standards is vital. The keys to unlocking your dream boot lie in comprehending the wide variety of elements that go into its build plus the finer details of customization. Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know in order to turn your certified iron maiden of a ski boot into a high performance, comfort machine. You and your local boot fitter can thank us later.
Head Hammer 130
This 130-flex boot from head may be burly, but not at the expense of comfort. Head’s new FormFit system heat molds both the shell and liner to the shape of your foot to enhance the fit and performance. Cushioning materials in the tongue, rear spoiler, toe box and footbed provide shock absorption and protection against dreaded shin and toe bang—ideal for park shredders sending it to the Milky Way on the reg’.
Full Tilt Descendant 8
Full Tilt is making big strides this year with its new Evolution shell, tailored for those with a wider footprint; in the past, the Full Tilt line has strayed to the narrower side. This 102-mm lasted boot features an Intuition liner for comfort and warmth as well as a stronger, metal attachment point between the tongue and shell for upped performance. The 8 is the stiffest of the new Descendant line, built for aggressive shredders.
Fischer Ranger 12 Vacuum Full Fit
This 120 flexer benefits from Fischer’s raved about Vacuum Full Fit process, which molds the preheated shell to your foot shape and then adjusts the fit of the entire boot to your foots anatomy. An easy-to-engage hike mode, plus grippy heel and toe plates make hiking for that sexy line all the more enjoyable or less painful, depending on your point of view.
K2 Pinnacle 130
K2’s Pinnacle 130 is meant for the resort skier who takes the occasional jaunt out of bounds. Its rivet-free spine lowers tension at the point where the cuff and shell meet for a smoother ride. K2’s Synchro Interlock walk mode increases forward flex when disengaged for efficient hiking (or bar crawling) but still ensures 100-percent utilization of the flex index when locked into ski mode. Integrated tech fittings make this a solid touring option, as well.
Tecnica Cochise Pro W
This boot is geared toward the hardest charging female freeriders. A beefy 45 mm power strap with a cuff buckle ensures a tight closure for precision and control when charging downhill. The boot’s metal-on-metal cuff-shell connection also delivers firm closure on the descent, but when released, allows for 23 degrees of motion in hike mode. Shock absorbing heel inserts lessen the impact on your feet when stomping cliff drops, too.
Rossignol Allspeed Pro 120
The brand-new Allspeed Pro 120 focuses on customization. Its flex adjustment system—a trifecta of screws located on the spine—allows you to tweak the rating to your liking, between 100 and 120. Additionally, its bi-injected polyurethane liner can be molded to your foot for a precise fit. Rossignol’s Sensor Blade construction, a build using less polyether plastic in the lower shell, sheds bulk without sacrificing stiffness and flex where you need it most.
Scarpa Freedom RS
Scarpa’s highly praised Freedom series has grown into a five-boot line, with the Freedom RS leading the charge. Its 130 flex and molding of the lower boot around a carbon fiber frame provide ultimate stiffness, ensuring these bad boys will hold up on the gnarliest of off-piste descents. Its frictionless walk mode mechanism provides a 25 degree range of motion for effortless uphill travel and worry-free downhill performance.
Nordica GPX 130
The GPX 130 is all-new for 2015-16 and features an innova- tive cork liner. Cork is a natural insulator, keeping heat from escaping; it’s also very dense to ensure power transmission isn’t lost when this puppy is engaged amid high-octane descents. Nordica’s Power Driver 60 mm, a heavy-duty polyurethane strap, helps provide better unity between the upper cuff and liner for a boost in power transmission.
Lang XT 130
The Completely redesigned XT 130 is a certified beast. Its liner is built with anatomically correct padding for a stronghold on your ankle and heel; a one piece toe box keeps your five little piggies comfortable; and specifically stitched seams help eliminate pressure points. Its hike-ski system provides 22 degrees of motion when you’re bootpacking, while a metal-on-metal locking system guarantees this baby performs admirably on the downhill.
K2 Spyre 110
The stiffest of K2’s women’s boots, the SpYre is meant for high-speed assaults on the burliest of terrain. K2’s women-specific construction, featuring a decreased boot volume, narrower heel and 15-mm lower cuff height, accommodates the shape of a woman’s lower leg. An interlocking mechanism on the spine called Energy Interlock connects the cuff and shell, and allows for a rivet-free design yielding a smoother flex. To provide additional support for your high-octane descents, the spine is reinforced with a co-injected, Y-shaped polymer support system, which K2 calls PowerFuse SpYne, to ensure power and response when raging downhill.
Salomon Quest Pro 130
For a 130-flex boot, this baby is insanely lightweight, weighing 1,885 grams per boot. Its three micro aluminum buckles (lighter than traditional ones) and soft, lightweight polyurethane upper cuff lend to that agile build. Additionally, its shell can be heat molded to your foot shape, and the race-inspired liner is pre-shaped to provide the best fit. An extended rubber sole provides traction on slippery and/or rocky surfaces and a lever on the spine engages hike mode for better range of motion on the uphill.
Dalbello Il Moro T
The 120-flex Il Moro T is no stranger to the podium, being the boot of choice for names like Nick Goepper, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, McRae Williams and more. A snug out-of-the-box fit is achieved thanks to a lower shell construction aimed at providing an anatomically correct wrapping of your foot. Its heel-instep closure area operates independently from the rest of the boot to prevent your foot from sliding around, and its centered, balanced stance caters to today’s rockered skis.
Atomic Hawx Magna 130
Atomic has expanded its popular Hawx line to include a boot with a wider 102 mm last. Catering even more to those with Sasquatch feet, the Hawx Magna 130 is built with extra area in the instep as well as a broader tongue. Depending on your preferred stance, the boot’s forward lean can also be adjusted from 13 to 17 degrees by utilizing screws built into the spine.