The disparity between a perfectly tuned ski boot and one that’s, well, imperfect… is akin to the difference between being nestled in a cozy, plush sleeping bag on a cold, stormy night and crammed into a medieval Iron Maiden torture device.
Your ski boots are the mission control center of your perfect ski day and a great deal of fine-tuning is required to ensure you’ll perform at your best. Everyone has different feet, so refining your boots’ fit is beyond essential.
We highly recommend seeking the assistance of your local bootfitter, who will be the guiding light in finding your very own glass slipper like Cinderella. To start, read up on the vital information needed to take your ski boots from zeros to heroes.
Fischer’s updated and upgraded Vacuum customizable fitting process is an essential part of why you’ll love the new RC4 The Curve 130; the system uses a 360-degree, three-dimensional mapping technique to form the liner and shell perfectly to your foot. As techy as that sounds, the process is made easy thanks to the guys n’ gals at your local ski shop, and the result is outstanding comfort and fit, and thereby longer, better days on the hill. Another noteworthy aspect of this boot is its use of Aramid in the lower shell to boost your performance. Aramid boasts a high strength-to-weight ratio and keeps its integrity regardless of temperature—ensuring a consistent flex no matter if it’s bitter cold or sweltering on the hill.
The X Max 120 W is a fantastic everyday, all-mountain boot geared towards women who covet stiffer shoes; the 120 flex airs on the rigid side of female offerings—fitting for advanced to expert skiers. A poly- amide chassis provides added responsiveness and stability and on the inside, pre-shaped ankle and heel zones on the liner prevent nasty hot spots. For those of you with ultra-sensitive feet, these pre-sculpted areas can be even further dialed-in via heat molding, providing for dreamy comfort and thereby dreamy skiing. The boot is offered in a 98 mm last (at size 24.5) catering mostly to those with narrower feet.
Skiers looking for a reliable boot that excels both in-bounds and in the backcountry will go bananas over this all-new model from Dalbello. Weighing just 1,500 grams per boot (without the tongue) and equipped with a whopping 67-degree range of motion, walk-mode, tech inserts and comfortable, form-fitting, EVA foam IF Air liner, they’re absolutely fantastic on the skin track. And as a reflection of Dalbello’s dedication to freeride prowess, its burly three-piece construction and 120 flex hold up to the highest downhill standards. Furthermore, this boot’s soles are Grip- Walk-friendly and compatible with bindings like those in Marker’s SOLE.ID lineup (p. 66). We were belting out uplifting obscenities while skiing in this boot and we’re confident you’ll do the same.
The Maestrale saw a full redesign for 2017-18, resulting in a stiffer, more powerful boot without added weight—weight, reaffirming its position as one of the best freeride-touring boots on the market. The Grilamid shell is infused with carbon fiber for a sturdy boot that weighs 1,410 grams per boot (at size 27). It’s a delight on the skin track, yet burly enough (125 flex) to induce hoots and hollers all the way back down to the trailhead. A roomy 101 mm last does well for mid-sized feet, and its intuitive walk mode, complete with a 60-degree range of motion, aids in mobility on the ascent (we’ll refer you back to that “delight on the skin track” comment). As the icing on the cake, a Crossfit Pro Flex G Intuition Liner wraps your feet, ankles and shins like a warm, soft, perfect Chipotle burrito.
Apex Ski Boots is reinventing the wheel via an ultra-comfortable, inner walking-boot that slips into a rigid, open-toe, carbon-reinforced chassis for a mix of insanely happy feet with ample performance on the ski hill. In other words, this offering provides the warmth and cozy feel of a snowboard boot with the power of a ski boot all at once. Two lacing Boa closure systems around the lower leg and instep keep the walking-boots snug while three buckles on the chassis lock up the whole system. And when it’s time to head to the après bar, just step out of your skis and leave the plastic chassis locked right into your bindings. If you’re the type who can’t stand traditional alpine boots and have been craving a solution, hurry up and demo a pair. This boot might just change your outlook on skiing forever.
You don’t hear about 140-flex boots very often, and that’s exactly why HEAD created this bad boy. The Raptor 140 is intended for those who demand a maximum level of performance and precision (we’re looking at you, former racers). Highlights include a 40 mm Double Power Booster Strap for increased response; low-profile buckles that maintain a consistent closure point and wrap the foot evenly; comfortable, forgiving Performance Pro Liners; and 16 degrees of forward lean to promote an ultra-aggressive stance. Make no mistake, telling your friends you rock the “Raptor 140” sounds badass AF.
K2 partnered with Thermic to develop a low profile, out-of-the-way heated liner that will make the days of cold feet and numb toes a thing of the past. The heated version of the Spyne 120 comes in a 100 mm last, best suiting medium-sized feet. This boot offers a mid-stiff flex of 120, ideal for those who want just a touch of give when engaging the turn. Both the shell and liner are heat moldable for the perfect fit and a pre-formed “bump” on the instep area prevents unwanted pinching when flexing like Arnold Schwarzenegger—hasta la vista, painful pressure points.
The new B&E Pro from Full Tilt is sleek and stylish to parallel the skiing of its namesake duo, Phil Casabon and Henrik Harlaut. A 102 mm last accommodates those with wider feet or skiers who prefer a bit more room for their “little piggies.” The boot also boasts a soft flex, ideal for nose butters, tail presses and any number of creative moves in the park and across the entire mountain. Furthermore, subtle artistic hints on the plush Intuition Liner add copious amounts of swagger to your day, as does the matte-white finish—‘cause Gigi Hadid wears white sneaks, and Gigi is never wrong.
Answering the demand for ski boots with walk mode mechanisms, Nordica introduces the all-new Strider line for winter 2017-18. Nordica built the hike mechanism to allow for more support structurally, thus increasing power transmission when it’s time to rail turns on the descent. Dynafit inserts make the boots compatible with tech bindings and a Grilamid construction ensures these babies are lightweight yet incredibly rigid for the best of both worlds. The boot is also developed mutually with Nordica’s Infrared Heating Element, an in-shop customization process that will provide a stellar fit that you’ll recommend to all of your pals, no doubt.
The Mach1 Pro W LV is built in conjunction with Tecnica’s Women to Women initiative, a project that seeks to better understand the female anatomy as it relates to ski equipment and develop an engaged community of female skiers around the world. Utilizing findings from the Cerism University Research Center, the boot is built with a 12-degree forward lean and three millimeter higher back spine than previous Tecnica models to better adhere to the natural stance of women to reduce fatigue and improve balance. A customizable upper cuff allows the volume to be increased by 10 percent or decreased by five percent for the best possible fit. The lower cuff is scallop shaped (i.e. curved) to provide better fit for a variety of lower leg shapes. To round it out, a 115 flex rating satisfies the most aggressive shredders and a Merino wool liner boosts warmth and combats odor.