Needless to say, ski boot models have changed dramatically over the years. The ski boot you’re trying on at ski shops is a far cry from the ski boots your parents had. “I believe the ski boot world is in a golden age,” says Adam Greenier, owner of Gravity Jones Orthotics, and certified pedorthist/boot fitter for Sport Thoma in N.H. “The last few years have offered amazing new developments in boot technology, including lighter plastics, AT capabilities, advanced customization options, and increased comfort.”
In order to find the best boot for your physiology and ability level, every industry pro recommends that you visit a qualified boot fitter, as we discuss in our guide to buying boots. They will ask you about your ability level, where you like to ski, and whether you have any injuries. After they identify which category of boots to work with, they will start by finding the correct size, or the inner shape of the boot that best fits your feet. Narrow fitting boots have lasts around 96mm to 98mm and are usually the choice for experts who favor a tight fit and stiff flex for power and precision. Medium or average fitting boots have lasts around 100mm and wide-volume boots for high-volume feet have lasts that are 102 mm or above. Some companies offer the same boot model in two different last sizes to cater to higher or lower foot volume. Boot fitters also look at the instep height, heel anatomy and calf muscle position.
Bootfitters like Greenier have championed customization features in boot models because it allows them to work at a micro-level to improve comfort and performance between the skier’s body and their equipment. “We want to meet you and be a part of your skiing support team,” says Greenier. “It’s no longer about having the best gear; it’s about having the most appropriate gear customized to function most efficiently with the skier.”
Before you go into the store, however, educate yourself by reading the following boot roundup. You can learn a lot about categories, boot features, and offerings, which will help with your initial discussion at a shop. This 22/23 roundup features a wide range of boots in the All-mountain category. Skiers shopping in this category ski the entire mountain—frontside and backside—and need a boot that can handle a variety of snow conditions. Some of the boots lean toward the freeride side, with walk/hike modes, which offer freedom of movement in the cuff for occasional trips off-piste or out-of-bounds. Others have features that blend performance with comfort, including combinations of plastic density designed to offer power without adding weight.
Every boot manufacturer has a variety of boot models to suit a range of ability levels and snow conditions. Think of boot fitters as matchmakers—and the boot-to-foot match they recommend can result in a season full of great turns and happy feet. As such, you’ll find a variety of ski boot categories below, including all-around, lightweight, intermediate, comfort, beginner, and hybrid.
Men’s All-mountain Ski Boot Roundup for 22/23
Tecnica Mach1 MV 120 (All-around)
For years, the Mach1 MV from Tecnica has stood out amongst the pack for being an excellent ski boot geared toward a high level skier. The shell is constructed out of C.A.S. Polyester and designed with an Asymmetric Power Transmission, creating more lateral power transmission and a quicker edge grip. “The Mach 1 MV 120 TD is a high-performance ski boot designed for advanced level skiers with medium-volume feet who are looking for all-mountain performance, a comfortable but precise fit and a high level of customization,” said Christian Avery, North American Product Manager. “The C.A.S. shell and liner provide for the best out-of-the-box fit and industry-leading customization capabilities and the T-Drive—a unique shell to cuff connection technology—allows the boot to function in a much more efficient way, resulting in a smoother more consistent flex, better performance and less energy required to ski at a high level.”
Dalbello Panterra 130 ID (All-around)
The Panterra 130 ID from Dalbello is a boot that combines comfort and performance, allowing you to ski hard all day on variable terrain without killing your feet. The latest iteration of the Panterra 130 ID features an updated Powercage that distributes force evenly throughout the boot. Dalbello innovated their warm ID liners, creating a tighter and more responsive fit, while also making the boots more comfortable. These boots also feature a hike mode with a motion radius of 51°, allowing mobility while hiking to the side country or to the resort bar for a round of aprés.
K2 Recon 130 (Lightweight)
When designing the Recon 130, the legendary bootmakers at K2 honed in on making this boot as light as possible, yet it’s still stiff enough for precision riding. Weighing just over three-and-a-half pounds, the Recon 130 feels feathery on the feet, while the TPU Powerlite shell makes for ultimate responsiveness. Additionally, the Powerfit Pro liners are firm and asymmetric for power distribution and support, and have pre-molded ankle pockets for comfort. The K2 Recon 130 is a high-performance boot fit for groomers, powder, park, and everything in between, all the while keeping your feet from flaring up.
Salomon S/Pro Alpha 100 (Intermediate)
The Salomon S/Pro 100 is a medium-stiffness ski boot that can cater to both powerful and playful skiing, great for the all-around intermediate skier. This boot is not overly aggressive, but still has enough umph for hard cuts and carves on groomers, while rebounding and absorbing shock in choppy terrain. The S/Pro 100 features a fiberglass Coreframe that increases lightness, sensation, and power. Salomon also boasts that this is an easy-on and -off boot due to the soft PU Sensifit inserts. The My Customfit 3D seamless liner is built without any seams or stitching, which improves your foothold and boot insulation.
Lange R/X 100LV (Intermediate)
The Lange R/X 100LV is another excellent option for the intermediate skier. The Dual Core Shell and Dual 3D Liners integrate flawlessly, offering a precise fit and dialed footwork. The medium-flex stiffness in this boot affords a quick response time while still allowing for some flexy playfulness. The “LV” stands for low-volume, meaning this boot is geared toward folks with narrow feet, a critical consideration when ski boot shopping—you certainly don’t want to be swimming around in boots that are too wide.
Nordica Speedmachine 3 130 S (Comfort)
The Speedmachine 3 130 is the epitome of an aggressive, high-performance boot that is also wildly comfortable. Nordica’s 3 Force Technology optimizes the transfer of energy from the foot to the liner and shell of the boot, maximizing the level of control. They’ve also designed the boot with a 3 Force EVA reinforcement just above the heel for more comfort and support. Finally, the stiff 3 Force Honeycomb shell provides a better fit as well as an impressively responsive ride. For long days of aggressive skiing, the Speedmachine 3 130 S will help you to ski your best without cramping and crushing your feet.
Rossignol Hi-Speed 80 HV (Beginner)
The Rossignol Hi-Speed 80 HV is a great ski boot for newer skiers who are looking to get out of those uncomfortable rentals. It features a high-volume fit for comfort, as well as a forgiving low-stiffness flexibility. This super comfy ski boot allows you to ride all day and dial in your technique. In addition to being a comfortable pair of ski boots, these are still a performance boot that will help you ride better. The Dual Core technology provides targeted power transfer, providing solid response and control.
Atomic Hawk Ultra XTD 130 CT GW (Hybrid)
Atomic boasts that the Hawk Ultra XTD 130 CT GW is “Blurring the line between all-mountain and freeride touring.” This boot can rip groomer laps all day, but doubles as your best friend out-of-bounds. It features Prolite construction that gives support right where you need it, providing ultimate power and control on any terrain. The Free/Lock 2.0 ski-to-walk mechanism and tech binding compatibility allows you to ski uphill to reach those steep and deep backcountry turns. In addition to being an all-around solid boot anywhere in the mountains, the Mimic Platinum Liner and Achilles Flex Zone molds to your foot shape for idyllic comfort.
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