The TLT7 was so different from its prede­cessor that it bombed on shelves, despite expert accolades and exceptional performance. Further, on the downhill, the Salomon lacks the Scarpa's smooth and progressive flex: the MTN is stiff and fairly harsh, reminding us of AT boots of the past. All the pairs on offer are light, reliable, durable and comfortable. La Sportiva's Synchro takes direct aim at the Scarpa Maestrale RS above. The Gea RS features Scarpa’s Web Frame, a carbon and Grilamid lower boot for stiffness and low weight. Skis, bindings, and boots get a lot of attention in the touring world, but don’t overlook your humble climbing skins. The top-end Zero G Tour Pro here uses a thin Grilamid shell, and carbon fiber in the cuff keeps it light while also adding stiffness. An alpine-style ski boot sole (referred to as ISO 5355) is flat on the bottom and only compatible with a frame style binding (either a standard downhill binding or a backcountry-specific frame binding). But as with any all-in-one answer, there are some compromises. Most boot liners are a classic slip-on with a forward tongue, while some have a lace closure for added support. On the budget end of the spectrum are open-cell foam designs, which are comfortable at first but tend to pack out quickly. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. 1 Color Available $349.99 $314.99 . Compare the best alpine touring boots with reviews and technical specs. The design is user-friendly and functions just like a typical backcountry model by flipping a lever along the back of the boot. The boot does a fine impression of a mid-range downhill design with solid performance even in mixed snow conditions. With a lighter fiberglass cuff, easy switching between ski and walk mode, 110 flex, and 60 degrees of walking range, the TLT8 does it all. Online shopping from a great selection of alpine touring boots in the Outdoor Recreation store on Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. Race-oriented downhillers will want a little more stiffness and control (adding a resort-focused liner would help), and dedicated backcountry enthusiasts will prefer the Maestrale RS above with its smoother tour mode and better range of motion. The Scarpa Alien truly is a niche boot that is excellent at doing one thing: moving fast on flat and moderately uphill terrain. It's also among the most versatile touring boots in terms of binding compatibility with a design that works well with the majority of tech, frame, and crossover models. This certainly is one of the more complicated topics surrounding backcountry ski boots, especially as technology continues to change so dramatically. On the pendulum of uphill and downhill performance, Lange’s XT3 swings decidedly toward the latter. We don't live in a perfect world, however, and although some boots come close, the reality is that you'll always be sacrificing a bit of downhill prowess for uphill comfort or vice versa. But it's important to note that soft materials and a high cuff rotation create inherent weakness in the structural integrity of a boot. When applicable, we’ve made mention of the various flex options available for each boot in the individual write-ups above.  This boot has been designed for advanced backcountry skiers with a sturdy 120 flex rating, reinforced Grilamid shell, and stiff carbon fiber spine. Look for an increase in weight, bulkier designs, less cuff rotation, four buckles, a slightly more forward lean, and compatibility with alpine bindings. Category: UltralightWeight per pair: 4 lbs. Whereas a boot's Mondo size refers to the length of the foot, the last refers to the foot's width, in millimeters. 6 oz.Flex: 125Other flexes: 110, 130+What we like: Excellent performance on both the uphill and descent.What we don't: Can be tedious to get on/off due to its split boot design. Whether you’re headed to the resort or gearing up for a big backcountry outing, you’ll need a pack to carry the essentials: extra layers, water, snacks, and—if you’re going out of bounds—avalanche equipment... It’s summer in Colorado, and we’re smack dab in the middle of a heat wave. Most ski boots technically are unisex, but some manufacturers have chosen to broaden their audience by making touring models specifically designed for female skiers. And among sturdy freeride-oriented models, the Lange XT3 has a little better range of motion and climbing comfort. To be sure, Scarpa had skimo racers in mind when producing this boot, so if that is a sport that you are excited to dive into, the Alien RS is an excellent ultralight option.See the Scarpa Alien RS. Boots with WTR or GripWalk technology are not quite as rockered as tech-only boots, yet not totally flat like an alpine boot. Opened up, the boot should have sufficient range of motion for climbing. Truth be told, many backcountry skiers split their time between touring and the resort. That said, the Scott’s aggressive $630 price tag makes it a great value for a proven and well-rounded design.See the Scott Cosmos III  See the Women's Scott Celeste III. There are important considerations when making a purchase: What is your skill level? Like boots, the binding options fall into general categories of ultralight, all-around, and downhill-focused. Alpine Touring boots are similar in design to Alpine Ski boots, except Alpine Touring boots will feature a built-in walk mode, a wider/more aggressive tread and sometimes tech fittings in the toe to accommodate a lighter weight binding known as a “tech binding.” The Scarpa Maestrale, for example, now uses a "wave closure system" at the mid-foot that combines two buckles with one strap for a lightweight set-up that spreads pressure out along the entire top of the foot. Subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest outdoor news. And finally, Salomon has cut down on the amount of rubber on the sole in order to save weight, which results in less durability. As if last year’s new Hoji Pro Tour wasn’t tough enough, Dynafit went back to the drawing board to create an even stiffer, alpine-inspired power boot. 3 lbs, Dalbello’s three-piece design is known for its progressive flex. First, backcountry skiers are more likely to seek out powder than hard snow, and a boot with more give will perform better in these conditions. In between the extremes of ski mountaineering and sidecountry designs is our all-rounder alpine touring category. 2.2 lbs, Scarpa’s Gea and corresponding men’s Maestrale are the bestselling AT boots on the planet. Click the arrow below and fill out the simple form, we'll take care of the rest. There is no rubric for this, but generally boots with a higher flex rating (115+) should be paired with stiffer skis, and vice versa for boots with a lower flex rating. The fit also is among the most customizable on our list thanks to Salomon’s Custom Shell HD, which is shared with the brand’s popular S/Pro resort boot and allows for extensive head molding. But these are fairly common concerns for ultralight boots, and the Backland’s combination of weight, mobility, and downhill performance make it a very appealing option.See the Atomic Backland Carbon. In the end, the Vega’s climbing skills earn it a spot on our list, but it’s caught a little too much between the ultralight and all-rounder categories to secure one of our top rankings.See the La Sportiva Vega  See the Women's La Sportiva Vega. With such impressive specs, why isn’t the Backland Carbon ranked any higher? Finally, while it can't match the overall mobility of the Salomon X-Alp below, the TLT8 does beat the X-Alp in both weight and ski-ability.See the Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR  See the Women's Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR. Add it all up, and at $500, the K2 Mindbender 100 ticks all the boxes for beginner skiers on a budget. Produced in tandem with the Arc'teryx Procline, the Salomon S/Lab X-Alp is built for long traverses and unrelenting uphill travel. Further, the Atomic’s sole has better traction and durability for scrambling over rock. Womens. The Rossignol ALLTRACK LT range - a new generation of Free Touring boots created using Generative Design. The cuff rotation is defined by a few factors, namely the materials used in the design of the boot and the amount of play these materials are allowed. If you're a Mondo size 25.5 for example, you'll get a size 26 ski boot shell with a size 25.5 liner. The Dynafit TLT8 Expedition and Salomon S/Lab X-Alp are two of our favorite ultralight boots.Sidecountry Category: All-aroundWeight per pair: 6 lbs. Because sidecountry terrain necessitates far less uphill travel than other forms of backcountry skiing, an ideal sidecountry boot will prioritize stiffness and stability on the downhill (similar to a typical alpine boot) over uphill comfort and weight savings. Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today. With a flip of a lever along the spine of the boot, you can control the flexibility of the cuff. Ski mountaineers love this boot for its extremely low weight and huge cuff rotation, both vertically (75 degrees) and laterally (35 degrees). A Vibram or rubber sole for grip. Alpine Bindings Compatible with Touring Boots. Unfortunately, many companies have not gotten around to producing women's specific-models of some fantastic boots. With the impressive combination of a 74-degree cuff rotation and relatively stiff, 110 flex, it’s on par with the Salomon X-Alp above in mobility, but with greater control on the descent. 2.8 lbs, The Scout has downhill chops (115 flex) and what a tester described as “one of the flexiest walk modes I’ve ever experienced.” The polyurethane upper makes it a natural for soaking up any terrain at nearly any speed. Further, the boot does a fine impression of an alpine model with a progressive flex that can be driven hard. Touring boots are undeniably expensive, but K2’s Mindbender 100 is a solid entry-level design for skiers splitting time between the resort and backcountry. Very few boots and bindings are labeled MNC, but it is a strong indication of where the market is headed.Â, When choosing a pair of boots, it's important to think through the style and performance level of your entire ski kit, including your skis and bindings. The boot hinges at the toe point and the heel locks in (for the downhill) or remains free (when skinning uphill). Scott flies a little under the radar in the backcountry ski world, but there's a lot to like with their men's Cosmos and women's Celeste boot line. Hike ‘n’ Ride Ski Boots Hike ‘n’ Ride boots have been designed to bridge the gap between Alpine boots and touring boots. On the other hand, with an aggressive stance, four-buckle design (many backcountry models use two or three), and a new, more substantial liner, the XTD can hold its own on steep groomers. The stiff cuff limits its range of motion when leaning forward and we consistently maxed out its flex while skinning and bootpacking. Each boot has a way of locking into ski mode or releasing into walk mode, usually by way of a lever on the back that engages and disengages with a flip.Â, Walk mode and "cuff rotation" go hand-in-hand: this specification describes the amount of fore/aft motion (and in cases like the Salomon X-Alp, side-to-side motion as well) available in a ski boot while in walk mode. To make your boot and sole length fit perfectly, we have created a sole length and mondo point guide for touring boots. Opened up in hike mode, it matches the Maestrale above in overall range of motion and comfort (as long as you take the time to dial in the fit). In a perfect world, an alpine touring boot would be both lightweight and flexible on the uphill, and stiff and supportive when bombing down steep terrain. And third, touring boots typically are manufactured with lighter materials, which makes them softer in general. In addition, the design is a little dated overall: the boot isn't as smooth while climbing, you occasionally can max out its range of motion, and it's a fairly time-consuming process to transition between hike and ski modes. The shell provides strength for the downhill, while the liner is built to conform to the foot and provide both comfort and warmth. Shop alpine touring boots online from Monod Sports Banff at the lowest prices you can find in Canada. And we'd be remiss not to emphasize here that sidecountry skiing holds almost all of the same risks as any other kind of backcountry skiing, so be sure you are prepared with the proper equipment and training (you can see our full backcountry skiing checklist here). One tester noted, “The polyurethane lower shell absorbs terrain no other AT boot can even think about.” 4.4 lbs, As if last year’s new Hoji Pro Tour wasn’t tough enough, Dynafit went back to the drawing board to create an even stiffer, alpine-inspired power boot. 11 oz.Flex: 130Other flexes: 110, 120What we like: Like the Lange XT3, the Alltrack is confidence-inspiring on the descent.What we don't: Heavy and fairly limited cuff rotation. ALPINE: Salomon’s S/Pro s are one of the best “out of the box” alpine boots on the market, fitting 70 percent of all feet. Thus, while boots with a greater cuff rotation will be more comfortable on long ascents, they aren't able to provide as much support on the descent as a boot with harder materials or lower cuff rotation.Â, The cuff rotation specification is a good number to pay attention to when thinking about how much of your ski day will be uphill focused. Salomon Shift Pro 120 AT Ski Boots Men's . To start, it's a standout on the skin track with a comfortable fit, lightweight carbon fiber and Grilamid construction, and total flex of 60 degrees, which exceeds our ankle's range of motion. And Scarpa didn't skimp on the liner either: the included Intuition Cross Fit Pro is a proven design that is warm, resists packing out, and can be heat molded for a custom fit. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. This best-of-both-worlds scenario tends to warrant a higher price tag, but for folks who seek a true backcountry experience with big ups and downs, it's worth the investment. This rail attaches and releases from the heel, allowing for both uphill and downhill movement. Steep & Cheap stocks an excellent selection of Garmont, Scarpa, Salomon, and other brands of alpine boots. The Hawx is reasonably nimble and flexible for walking, and reworked, lighter buckles in the 2020 update improve touring performance. All-purpose ski touring boots are the sweet spot for most backcountry skiers. 2. For this reason, all backcountry ski boots (and some alpine ski boots), are designed with two modes: a walk mode (increased range of motion for uphill travel) and a ski mode (stiff and supportive for descents). For example, La Sportiva created the Shadow as the women's counterpart to their revered Synchro. 3.4 lbs. Typically, less experienced skiers will prefer a boot on the soft side, while advanced skiers will want the power transfer and stability of a stiffer boot. Frame bindings often are less expensive than tech bindings and offer more power on the downhill, but they are bulky and heavy, both on your ski and with each step. It also has sticky rubber on the bottom, which comes in handy for walking or kicking steps in snow. And with a new Freetouring liner and the form-fitting Custom Shell carried over from the prior model, the S/Lab MTN fits a wide variety of foot sizes.Â, The S/Lab MTN is designed to go head-to-head with a do-everything model like the Scarpa Maestrale RS above, but we've found that it falls short in most areas that matter. What do you give up by going with such a downhill-focused boot? Essentially, it is a "normal" ski boot that tours. It’s true that weight has gone up a little and the newer variation is certainly less proven than alternatives like the La Sportiva Synchro below, but the Free delivers as an all-rounder with a true 130 flex (it pushes our 122-millimeter-wide Black Crows Noctas with ease) and a solid 55 degrees of cuff rotation. An alpine touring boot sole (ISO 9523) is rockered (similar to the bottom of a boat) to allow for a more natural gait. Importantly, Dynafit paid plenty of attention to the Hoji's climb-ability with the aforementioned range of motion, plus transitions are lightning fast (we only have to lock down into ski mode and tighten the toe buckle). 2.2 lbs, Drawn up from the Italian brand’s winning skimo-racing line, the Scorpius CR carves out a new sweet spot between price and weight. Read more about us.Â. A lower number means the boot is softer, while a higher number means the boot is stiffer, and you'll find numbers ranging from 70 at the low end for a super soft beginner alpine boot up to 130+ for an expert model. More than any other style of touring boot, ultralight designs for ski mountaineering or deep backcountry exploration prioritize uphill travel. So the brand took the best parts of versions six and seven and merged them in the new TLT8. In addition, women's boots usually come in smaller sizes (for instance, the La Sportiva Synchro starts at a size 25, while the Shadow offers a 23). At almost a pound lighter per boot, the Ultra XTD is the better option for those putting in a lot of time on the skin track.See the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130  See the Women's Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115. The main challenge will be finding the ideal balance of a snug yet comfortable fit. While many of the models in this article are made with Grilamid or carbon, the K2’s more affordable TPU shell adds significant heft. Dynafit's tried-and-true TLT series received an upgrade last season with the TLT8 Expedition CR. For those on either end of the spectrum, Scarpa also makes a standard Maestrale (110 flex rating and $100 less) and Maestrale XT (130+ flex rating and $100 more)... Read in-depth reviewSee the Scarpa Maestrale RS  See the Women's Scarpa Gea RS. If you are more interested in full days in the mountains with big ups and long traverses, a greater cuff rotation like what you get with the Salomon X-Alp (75 degrees total forward/backward) will help preserve energy in your legs and will be more comfortable in general. If sized too tight, it will (at best) be uncomfortable during long days in the mountains, but more likely it will cut off circulation and create dangerously cold feet. Fewer buckles means less weight, which certainly is helpful for uphill travel. ... Doolland Portable Snowboard Adjustable Skiing Mini Sled Ski Boots Combine Skates Outdoor Skiing Winter Sports Equipment Doolland CDN$79.99 CDN$ 79. Further, you get the benefit of compatibility with both alpine and tech bindings—a great set-up for those who want to try out backcountry skiing but aren't ready to fully commit. Category: UltralightWeight per pair: 5 lbs. And Dynafit has a women's version of almost every one of their models. The low weight and increased motion of these boots can make skiing down feel a little insecure, especially on icy or hard-packed terrain. Tecnica trimmed away over one pound from the previous model, which certainly is impressive, but we're curious to see how the boot stands the test of time. It's important to pay attention here, because the style of boot you choose will influence which binding you'll pair it with, and vice versa. Although the flex of 95 is decent for a lightweight rider, it's too soft for a strong pilot on a set of stiff skis. Whereas a standard alpine ski boot has four buckles, a backcountry boot can have anywhere from two to four. Find more newsletters on our, By: Will Taylor, Jeremy Rellosa, Ariella Gintzler, and Maren Larsen, our entire suite of free newsletters here. Why does this well-designed ski boot end up with a mid-pack ranking? Category: SidecountryWeight per pair: 7 lbs. Compared with other boots in the sidecountry category (the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD and Rossignol Alltrack Elite, for example), it's the heaviest of the bunch. Also be aware, that the inner shoe usually wears out a little after a while, meaning better buy a … All in all, the Cosmos is a solid backcountry boot option but fails to stand out in a very competitive market. 3. If you are interested in using your backcountry boots with your downhill set-up, it's definitely worth double checking whether or not your bindings are WTR or GripWalk certified. Its narrow 98-millimeter last might not work for all foot shapes, but the Alltrack Elite is well-equipped for hard chargers that like to take on ambitious side- and backcountry lines. With the Alltrack's emphasis on downhill performance, you inevitably give up some of the seamless walkability of a dedicated backcountry boot. Alpine touring boots are designed for backcountry skiing. Oct 26, 2020. Many modern tech bindings now have a bit of elasticity, so riding them at the resort is quite tolerable. And boots like La Sportiva's Synchro and Shadow use the solid and durable Pegasus Plus Buckle, a system that incorporates a micro-adjusting "washer" on the end of each buckle for a more exact fit. 102 Ski Boot Finder the quick and easy route to finding your perfect pair of ski boots. One of the more innovative parts of the design is the Hoji Lock System, which locks the spine and cuff together in a stiff forward lean for a closer-fitting, more alpine-centric feel on the descent. If the boot proves to be reliable—and all signs are positive thus far—we fully expect the Hoji Free to become a go-to choice for expert-level backcountry skiers... Read in-depth reviewSee the Dynafit Hoji Free. 7 oz.Flex: 100What we like: Skis better than most skimo boots.What we don't: The stretch gaiter makes removing the liner difficult. And although it comes with a stated flex of 100, the S/Lab X-Alp feels noticeably stiffer than the Procline (flex: 90), thanks to the spine built into the back of the shell.Â, If skiing big lines is a priority or you're looking for a single boot for all types of backcountry adventures, the Salomon X-Alp falls short. Tech bindings, otherwise known as pin bindings (such as the G3 Ion) have metal prongs at the toe that insert into small holes in the front of the boot. Most importantly, you want to match the design and materials... Backcountry skiing can be an incredibly rewarding way to spend your time outdoors—no crowds, untouched snow, and a skin-track workout to compliment your knee-deep powder turns... Best Backcountry (Touring) Ski Boots of 2020-2021, Best Backcountry (Touring) Skis of 2020-2021, Ski Portillo: Chasing August Turns in Chile, Best Climbing Skins for Skiing of 2020-2021, See the Women's Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 115, See the Women's Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR, See the Women's K2 Mindbender 90 Alliance, See the Women's Rossignol Alltrack Elite 120, Back to Our Backcountry Boot Comparison Table. Furthermore, the Synchro shares the Pegasus four-buckle system with La Sportiva's recently discontinued Spectre, a set-up that locks tightly and offers micro adjustments so you can hone in a snug, secure fit. But it’s still the Maestrale we know and love: the RS is compatible with a wide range of binding and crampon styles, sports a generous 101-millimeter last that accommodates most foot types, and its 125 flex rating is plenty sturdy for the vast majority of aggressive skiers. For sidecountry skiers or those who want one boot that can transition between the resort and backcountry, the Lange XT3 is a strong option. Below are some general recommendations for ski boot flex based on ability level: Beginner: 70-90Intermediate: 90-110Advanced: 100-120Expert: 120+, Recently, there has been a push by many ski gear manufacturers to offer a range of flex options for individual boot models, allowing the user to choose the perfect stiffness for his or her ability level. And most importantly, as we covered in detail above, you'll want to make sure your boots and bindings are compatible with one another. If you're transitioning from alpine skiing to alpine touring, keep in mind that you'll want to size your boot a bit looser than you might be accustomed to. As long as they feel snug and comfortable, they'll provide you with the backcountry ski experience you're looking for.Â. If you are a skier that is predominantly skiing downhill but wants the ability to hike/skin uphill on occasion, then these may be the boots for you. And locked into place, it resembles a standard downhill design with enough stiffness to transfer power to the bindings and skis. A Ski/Walk mechanism. The men's and women's models embody the distinct qualities the brand aspires to offer. The good news is that most backcountry ski boots (and every boot that made our list above) are now made with tech fittings—essentially, two holes built into the toe of the boot that allow you to lock into the pins of a tech binding. Boots like the Lange XT3 130 LV and Rossignol Alltrack Elite fit squarely into this category. Testers felt the CR could drive far bigger skis than its svelte looks indicated. Additionally, its 50-degree range of motion is only average, and it lacks the friction-free performance of higher-end alternatives. Similar to its predecessor, the Vega is among the best climbers in the business. Dynafit’s Hoji Pro Tour was an attention-grabber when it was released a couple seasons ago, but its speed toe design came with limitations in binding and crampon compatibility.