As winter arrives, skiers of all levels throng the best ski resorts in the world to test out the slopes and experience the thrill. And nothing ruins a great skiing day faster than painful or cold feet brought on by bad or ill-fitting boots. Notwithstanding your skill level, a comfortable boot is necessary. When it comes to ski boots, there are three main types – alpine boots, touring ski boots, and hike n’ ride ski boots. Alpine ski boots are a bit different from the others. They’re designed for downhill skiing and have a fixed spine at the boot’s back. And you should know that as time passes, these ski boots have gotten only better. So, you’ll need your own set of alpine ski boots if you’re looking to explore the best ski resorts in Colorado.
There’s no doubt that alpine boots are the most important part of your ski gear quiver. What’s great is that today, ski boots are feet-friendlier than ever. Also, many new boots feature everything from heat-customizable shells to custom liners. To complete your alpine kit, we’ve conjured a list of the 13 best alpine ski boots from the 2020 line-up.
How To Choose The Best Alpine Ski Boots?
Activity-specific shoes like men’s waterproof hiking shoes or comfortable women’s sandals for walking are customized to people’s feet. Similarly, different alpine ski boots suit different people in a varied number of ways. However, there are certain basic features that one needs to look for.
Type and levels of skiing
It’s important to know your skill levels of skiing for choosing ski boots that perfectly conforms to your feet. In fact, skiers of the same level will not choose the same set of boots because their styles are different too. It’s important to identify whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, senior, or an expert skier. Also, you need to know the type of skiing you’ll majorly be performing, like touring, all-mountain, freestyle, freeride, on-trail, etc.
To all newbies out there, we recommend checking our list of best ski boots for beginners as well!
Flex indicates the strength of the boot. The larger the flex, the more rigid and reactive the ski boot will be. The lower the flex, the softer, more comfortable, and more tolerant your boot will be. So, it’s no wonder that choosing the right flex is crucial. For men, the flex usually works like this – 60-70 for beginners-intermediate, 80-110 for intermediate-advanced, and 120 to 150 for the experts. When it comes to women, a flex of 50-70 for beginner-intermediate, 80-90 for intermediate-advanced, and 100-110 for the experts.
The term “last” in ski boots corresponds to the width of the boot at the forefoot. Generally, it ranges from 92 mm to 104 mm. While choosing ski boots, your feet shouldn’t be compressed and the toes should move freely. At the same time, the pressure around the feet must be uniform for good support of the heel and the metatarsal.
Mondopoint or ski boot size
Finally, we come to choosing the size of the ski boot. The measurement for the size is a term called “Mondopoint,” which is the foot length in cm. To measure the Mondopoint correctly, the toes should barely brush the tip of the boot. Also, you need to put on a ski sock to measure the Mondopoint correctly. Plus, the liner will also compress a little after the first few uses, Last but not least, remember that your feet expand as they warm, so maintain a fit margin while trying on boots.
Lange XT Freetour 130
The Lange XT FreeTour 130 sits on most lists of the best alpine ski boots. This alpine ski boot is versatile; it’s also comfortable for sidecountry riding, boot packs, and short tours. What’s more, it’s also one of the very few boots that’ll work with both resort alpine bindings and tech-style touring bindings.
While the fore-aft walk mode flexion falls short as compared to others, this ski boot’s associated friction of the pivot rivets and walk/ski mode switch makes it a thoroughly alpine boot. What’s more, it fits your feet straight out-of-the-box, which is a rare, rare instance. The “low volume” version further enhances the boot’s value by easily fitting those who find it tough to find the “right-sized” shoes for their feet. Plus, with your feet ensconced in almost eight pounds of material, the XT Freetour is warmth abound.
One thing that stands out in the XT FreeTour 130 is the versatile sole. Finally, the boot features the “overlap construction.” which means that you need to move the overlapping flaps out of the way to get in and out of the boot.
- Limited uphill performance.
Scarpa Alien RS
If you’re looking for a backcountry, high-speed, specialized alpine boot, then the Scarpa Alien RS is a winner. The nimble and incredibly lightweight ski boot offers more range of motion than most skiers even have the flexibility for! Aside from its incomparable cuff, Alien also offers uphill efficiency, incredible transition, and better downhill performance as compared to rivals.
This alpine tough nut is both an everyday skimo (ski-mountaineering) race boot and is better than those that came out five years ago. When it comes to uphill performance, there’s no boot that outdoes the Alien RS. What’s more, it’s one of the lightest alpine boots even on this list. As such, it’s perfect for extensive booting, all-day wearing, and even technical climbing while skimo. Plus, the Alien RS is a blessing for those with wide and high-volume feet. If you have lesser-than-wide feet, the Intuition liner not only betters downhill performance but also adds insulation and takes up space. So, when you reel in the fit, the downhill performance is much, much better.
Finally, the “Boa” forefoot tension system is brilliant and the boots open wide, making it easy to put on and off.
- Dextrous in tour mode.
- Good skiing performance.
- A wide fit might not suit everyone.
- Limited warmth.
Atomic Backland Carbon
Ski boots aren’t exactly cheap. Get the best bang for your buck with the Atomic Backland Carbon, which is an ultralight performance at an unrivaled price point. This alpine ski boot is comfy to boot, pun intended, and its uphill performance is like a dream. With lightweight bindings and skids, you’ll be flying up and down entire mountains with the Backland Carbon.
For those who’re on a budget and with wider feet, the Backland Carbon is an excellent fat skimo boot or “speed touring” one. Its cuffs boast a wide range of motion coupled with very less inherent friction. Compared to when you first try it on, the boots loosen up even further after the break-in period. Although the stiffness and cuff height limit downhill performance a bit, the Atomic cuff adjusted for comfort will have you hardly noticing anything else.
To top that, the high-volume fit and the cushy liner makes the Backland Carbon feel more like fleecy after-skiing-fun slippers rather than ski boots. Also, the lightweight quality allows quicker movement and warmer pace in the mountains.
- Excellent closures and buckles.
- High-volume fit might not be comfy for all.
La Sportiva Spectre 2.0
The La Sportiva Spectre was the “world’s lightest four-buckle backcountry ski boot” when it debuted a while ago. One of the most classic ski-touring boots, the power strap with four buckles eases the transition for skiers familiar with them. It’s what makes its newer version, the La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 one of the best alpine ski boots.
The La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 acts like an ultralight boot when it comes to uphill performance. The aft and fore ankle mobility is much better than many other standard ski-touring boots. Ankle mobility is top-notch, thanks to the thin liner with in-built flex points, ski-walk mode with minimal friction, and carefully-tuned pivots. Plus, the relatively soft rearward and lateral flex will be liked by proficient skiers for its downhill performance. Since it has a tin, low-volume liner, fitting takes a bit of time.
However, the boot’s ease of use is par excellence. The snap-style buckles might take a bit getting used to but make for a clever design to lighten the boot.
- Four buckle points offer a great range of motion.
- Liner is a bit too thin.
Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro
Longtime ski boot manufacturer Tecnica enters the fray with the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro. The ground-up, full touring boot is remarkable in more ways than one. Aside from its super-light execution, the alpine ski boot is well balanced for an excellent high-energy downhill backcountry skiing.
What stands out in this Tecnica boot is its weight-to-downhill performance ratio, which is simply amazing. Also, this boot is lighter than most options on the market. Given its six pounds of weight, it skies downhill better than most alpine boots at any weight. Moreover, six pounds is completely reasonable for lugging around on the most severe of skimo adventures. Furthermore, the low-friction and cuff range allows for almost effortless walking and touring. In fact, you’ll instantly trust these boots for their familiarity.
Even when it comes to downhill skiing, the boots ski exceptionally well. A smooth and progressive forward flex and a solid lateral flex makes skiing downhill better. What’s more, the external walk/ski mode, power strap, and four buckles make it easy to use. Plus, even when they’re moderately iced-up, the walk/ski locks securely.
- Excellent downhill performance.
- Moderate insulation.
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD
The Dalbello Lupo Pro HD is an excellent all-round, modern alpine ski touring boot for the masses. The boot has been a fan favorite with all sorts of skiers, right from park greasers to big-mountain powerhouses. Overall, the Lupo Pro HD is designed for avid skiers who go skiing for at least a third of the year. It’s also perfect for those who’re looking for a versatile boot perfect for alpine ski-touring.
The alpine ski boot features a three-piece design. It’s shock absorption, great fit, and damp feel earn top marks from keen skiers who ride aggressively. The boot also comes with a strong walk-ski interface and tech inserts. That, combined with the edge gives superb control and speed on the slopes. What’s more, the tongue is removed for touring. That ends up offering a superb range of hike-ability and motion both. In addition, when it’s replaced for the downhill descent, the same offers top-notch power transmission and stiffness.
- All-time favorite.
- Three-piece design favorite with aggressive skiers.
- Very, very expensive.
Nordica Speedmachine 100
if you’re looking for a budget ski boot, the Nordica Speedmachine 100 is easily one of the best alpine ski boots. The brand’s boots are famous for their comfort, and the Speedmachine 100 is no exception. What’s excellent about this all-mountain boot is that it has a supremely wallet-friendly price of $400. This is an absolute rarity in the world of skiing boots where the average price is around $550.
Even though the price is on the lower side, the Nordica Speedmachine doesn’t skimp on a warm, cushy liner. Plus, it’s filled with super-soft PrimaLoft insulation and offers fabulously fantastic customization of fit for your feet. The brand uses its proprietary shell, liner, suction cup system, infrared lamp, and even some other hardware pieces. All of them can easily be molded by a Nordica boot fitter. A smooth flex and four robust buckles make this one an excellent option for intermediate and lightweight skiers. The ski boot’s affordable price doesn’t have an impact on its performance either. Finally, comfort isn’t an issue with the Speemachine 100, thanks to its highly customizable shell.
- Excellent downhill performance.
- Good value and comfort.
- Excellent customization of fit.
- Not a high-performance boot.
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120
One look at the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120, and you know it’s no ordinary downhill alpine ski boot. The tech binding-compatible toe inserts, large ride/walk lever, and slim shape are truly built for backcountry adventure. However, what earns it a spot on this list of best alpine ski boots is its versatile nature. If you’re someone who splits your time between the resort, apres ski, and touring, then this boot is one of the best in the market.
The Atomic Hawx is ultra-lightweight and flexes freely when you’re wearing it for uphill hiking. At the same time, it’s impressively dependable and steadfast for carving a groomer. Its stiffness and low weight might be seen as a downside, but in reality, it’s not. Even though it’s lightweight, it’s sturdy and offers a competitive range of motion. Even with its limitations, we’d still say that if you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades boot, the Hawx Ultra XTD is perfect.
- Excellent for backcountry downhill skiing and resort use.
- On the expensive side.
Dalbello Panterra 120 I.D.
The Dalbello Panterra 120 I.D. is an excellent, all-mountain boot for skiers. The freeride boot handles crud, bumps, and powder with absolute ease. The Panterra is constructed with a slick, three-piece shell. The upper is ever-so-slightly forgiving and flexes smoothly when you tuck it in and ride off. The lower portion, on the other hand, is super stiff for heightened power transfer. Overall, it gives you the power you need for railing the edges. To top that, the 2020 version of the boot boasts upgraded I.D. liners which are a real treat. they’re supportive and warm, lightweight, and comfortable.
What’s excellent about the Panterra 120 I.D. is that the shell and liner are designed to offer custom-fit sans any post-purchase work. So, you have the option of not having to spring for a boot fitter, should you not want it. Plus, there’s some extra breathing space between the shell and liner around the toes, the bend in the ankle, and the heel. This is thanks to the Contour 4 Technology, which actually enhances the low-volume performance liner. Furthermore, the buckle across the toes allows you to adjust the last between 100 and 102mm. So, the snug fit doesn’t pinch at usual pain points for people with average-sized feet.
- Adaptable liner.
- Extremely supportive.
- The fit technology isn’t universal.
Salomon S/Pro 100
The Salomon S/Pro 100 is one of the best overall alpine ski boots of 2020. The fantastic ski boot is extremely durable, robust, and comfortable, given its medium-width last and premium liner. With the Salomon S/Pro 100, you’re sure to not have sore feet anymore, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier.
With a price of $550, the ski boot is indeed a significant investment. However, it’s also one of the most feet-friendly designs to have come out in boots in so many years. A smooth flex ensures top-notch all-around performance, which works for both lightweight as well as heavy-duty skiers. It even boasts moldable liners, cuffs, and a heat-moldable exterior meld together for an absolutely customized fit. Rounding up the offerings is an ankle strap which ensures additional support for downhill speed, mobility, and control.
The cherry on top is that in order to get a custom fit, it simply takes about 10 minutes. Overall, the boot boasts outstanding performance and durability for life, making for an excellent investment.
- Customized fit.
- Highly comfortable.
- On the expensive side.
Lange RX 120
The Lange RX 120 is one hell of a simple workhorse boot that you can’t go wrong with. With an approachable design, it offers top-notch performance for most advanced and intermediate skiers. With a top-of-the-class, progressive, and stiff flex, this alpine ski boot is capable of almost any and every skiing conditions.
The Lange RX 120 comes in two versions with different lasts. The narrower, lower-volume one measures 97 mm, while the broader, medium-volume one measures 100 mm. It offers excellent edging ability right out-of-the-box. Plus, the low-profile design allows close-to-snow action for your feet for initiating turns quicker. A relatively comfy liner, which could work better if heat-molded, still is relatively comfortable.
Coming to its shell, the boot features a fundamental four-buckle design with a well-defined overlap design. When compared to shoes with the same flex of 120, this one is stouter with a 12-degree forward lean and an upright stance. And even though these boots market itself as a no-frills one, the canting is adjustable too. Overall, the Lange RX 120 is the best overall downhill alpine ski boot.
- Great features.
- Good downhill performance.
- Great medium-volume fit.
- The soles wear quickly.
Scarpa Maestrale XT
The Scarpa Maestrale XT is the best boot for freeride adventures. It’s Scarpa’s gift to dedicated Maestrale fans who want stiffer models of the bestselling boot from the brand. The ski boot can handle both out-of-bounds ski touring and resort riding and is the brand’s most aggressive boot in the freeride line. What’s more, it lives up to the 130 flex rating and has proven its prowess in a wide range of snow conditions. Thanks to its Pebax and Grilamid shell, the boot is incredibly lightweight, given its stiffness. The dual-injection overlap cuff and cabled three-buckle package give it the security of a four-buckle boot. In the end, it ensures easy entry and exit, just like a true alpine boot should.
If that wasn’t enough, its Speedlock XT ski-walk mechanism gives it an incredible range of motion of 56 degrees. And although the boot fits narrower than the 101 mm last would indicate, it’s still a great overall choice.
- Lightweight for its downhill performance.
- Exceptional 56-degree walk range.
- Great medium-to-wide volume fit.
Dalbello DS 130
Besides being one of the best alpine ski boots, the Dalbello DS 130 is also amongst the best medium-volume All-Mountain boots this year. The beast of a boot combines all-day comfort with robust skiing ability to wow skiers with its all-mountain appeal. The Dalbello DS 130 is a traditional four-buckle ski boot and has a host of valuable features. To begin with, it features a polyurethane Powercage spine with a robust backbone that positions you perfectly in demanding terrain. Aside from living up to its flex rating, the boot’s malleable lower ensconces the foot snugly for stability. This benefit is evident when you speed down the slopes, whether on or off-piste. Everything is tied up by the adjustable canting systems and boot board angle allows for fine-tuning the fit.
In short, there’s nothing about the DS 130 you won’t like. Although stiff, it’s one of the roomiest boots in this flex category. So, it makes for a great boot for those who feel that their feet are cramped in narrower models.
- Excellent performance.
- No walk mode.