The Best Ski Boots That Offer Support and Style

Maximize comfort and fun by buying the right ski boots

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Ski boots are your connection between your skis and the hill, and thus, might be the most important piece of ski equipment you own. Along with skis, they’re also likely the most expensive piece of gear, as well, but worth every penny if you get the right ones.

The basic design of a four-buckle ski boot hasn’t changed much since the 1980s, but there have been a lot of tweaks around the edges and improvements in materials that have helped make ski boots lighter, stiffer, and somewhat more comfortable.

The biggest change affecting the options ski boot shoppers are seeing today is the shift into backcountry skiing, with most alpine boot companies now offering touring boots and “50/50” options compatible with touring bindings but sturdy enough for the resort.

Important note: The boots recommended here are all great boots for someone, but the best boots for you will be the ones that fit your feet and your skiing style. If you’re able to connect with an experienced boot fitter, use their experience to help put you in a brand and model of boot that’s appropriate.

With that said, here are the best ski boots of the 2021-2022 ski season, broken down into categories so you can find the right option for you.

Best Overall: Salomon S/PRO 120 Grip Walk Ski Boots

Salomon S/PRO 120 Grip Walk Ski Boots

Salomon

What We Like
  • Playful flex

  • Comfortable out of the box

What We Don't Like
  • Thick liner could loosen with heavy use

Salomon offers out-of-the-box comfort and customization that makes the S/PRO 120s a performance boot that’s a pleasure to wear without sacrificing performance. Most mid to high-end boots offer some level of moldability or customization these days, usually by gently heating the boots and clamping them down on the feet. This is a far cry from custom boot liners, but it helps ease the pain of the break-in period. The Salomon S/PRO 120s have a MY CUSTOMFIT 4D liner that has heat moldable (“thermoformable” in Salomon’s parlance) plastics on the outside that allow some initial form-fitting.

Flex: 120 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 3 pounds, 13.7 ounces

Tested by TripSavvy

Out of the box, these are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever tried on, and that was before heat molding them at all. I chalk that up to the extremely plush and thick foam used in the liner, which is elastic and soft without feeling so spongy it hurts power transfer. The toe box is elastic and stays snug to your feet without binding if you’re fitted in these properly. Different boots fit different people’s feet differently, and my experience could be chalked up to the boot simply fitting my foot shape particularly well. But I do think having tested dozens and dozens of boots over the years, that these boots simply deliver superior initial comfort, especially for a stiffer flex boot.

On the snow, there’s a little give compared to my vice-like race-style usual resort boots, but the elasticity made skiing a bit more playful, and I found these boots better-suited to having fun at lesser speeds, but never felt like the boots couldn’t keep up when laying down higher-speed GS turns. My testing period of a few weeks wasn’t enough to gauge how the plush liner will hold up over time, but the initial fit makes me optimistic. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Runner Up, Best Overall: Atomic Hawx Prime 120 S Ski Boot

Atomic Hawx Prime 120 S Ski Boot

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Forgiving flex

  • Good for progressing intermediates

What We Don't Like
  • Too soft for more advanced skiers

Like our top overall pick, the Atomic Hawx is a great medium-stiff flex boot great for intermediate to expert skiers that want a comfortable boot for all-mountain riding. Like many higher-end boots, the Hawx Prime offers a thermo-moldable Mimic Platinum liner that helps deliver a more tailored initial fit that will continue to improve with break-in.

The 3M Thinsulate liner is comfortable but firm enough not to pack out too quickly and deliver multiple seasons of performance. The Prime is a medium volume boot, but luckily you can get the same boot in the Ultra line for a narrower fit or the Magna for a roomier wide fit. 

 Flex: 120 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, 6000-series aluminum | Weight: 3 pounds, 14 ounces

Best Budget: Dalberro Panterra 90 GW Ski Boots

Dalberro Panterra 90 GW Ski Boots

REI

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Walk mode

  • Grip Walk soles

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Too soft for more advanced skiers

It hurts me to say that a $400 ski boot falls into the “budget” category, but skiing is not a cheap sport, and while there are cheaper boots, the Panterra 90 GWs deliver many higher-end features in a boot that’s at the lower end of the price spectrum. The 90 flex is forgiving and great for the full range of intermediate skiers as well as beginners who are making progress. It’s also great for more relaxed skiers that don’t spend every run in an aggressive stance laying their knees down to the piste. 

This is the entry-level model in the Panterra line, so you can spend a little more if you want a stiffer version. The last is actually adjustable making anywhere from a medium to wide fit possible. There are some surprising features for the price, as well, such as a mechanical switch-operated walk mode for hiking into the sidecountry plus Grip Walk soles that make heading to and from the lifts less treacherous. 

Flex: 90 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 4 pounds, 7.1 ounces

Best 50/50: Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech Alpine Touring Boot

Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech Alpine Touring Boot

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Downhill boot performance

  • Smooth range of motion in uphill mode

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

With the explosion of interest in backcountry skiing, there’s been a similar explosion in the number of “50/50” boots meant to serve as a single boot for someone who splits time between lift-served terrain and skinning uphill for human-powered skiing in the backcountry. Traditionally, backcountry skiers have used separate boots for their uphill pursuits because alpine boots were too stiff and heavy to drag uphill. The Atomic Hawx Prime 130 XTDs are one of the best in this category, delivering legit expert boot performance that’s serious enough for alpine use but light and flexible enough for most backcountry adventures.

Flex: 130 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 3 pounds, 10.8 ounces

Tested by TripSavvy

I tested the Hawx Prime 130 XTDs both at the resort and in the backcountry over several weeks early in the ski season and found them perfect for my aggressive race-influenced skiing style. At over 1,600 grams, they’re not light by touring boot standards, but they’re lighter than comparable downhill-only boots. My current resort boots weigh over 2,300 grams which would be unrealistic for anything but the shorter ski tours.

The fit is snugger than many touring boots which have extra-roomy toe boxes to avoid hotspots on the way up, but while I felt some rubbing in spots around my toes and heels, I never developed blisters and feel that the uphill experience will improve as the liners break-in further. On the downhill, the Hawx Prime 130 XTDs are the best downhill touring experience I’ve had. I wasn’t able to test them on extra-long tours of the kind I indulge in late spring, so I wonder if the extra weight will tire me out on four-hour or longer uphills, but for tours up to two hours, I was more than willing to take the weight along in exchange for improved downhill experience. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Heated: Salomon S/PRO 120 Custom Heat Connect Ski Boots

Salomon S/PRO 120 Custom Heat Connect Ski Boots

Christy Sports

What We Like
  • Heating solution that’s not an add-on

  • Customizable liner that’s comfortable out of the box

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Cold feet are one of the unfortunate consequences of performance-fit ski boots, which can’t help but restrict circulation somewhat—an obvious problem in cold winter temperatures. A properly fitting boot can help minimize these issues, but some folks just don’t have great circulation and suffer as a result. If you’re someone who knows they want a heating solution, consider the Salomon S/PRO 120 CHCs, which come with an app-controlled liner heating solution installed from the factory. 

Custom liner companies such as Surefoot offer heating, but if that’s not in your budget, you can pay a few hundred dollars more than the non-heated version and get a solution that’s designed specifically for these boots. It helps that these boots are extremely comfortable out of the box with a plush liner that is customizable to avoid hotspots and restrictions that can cause cold feet in the first place. 

Flex: 120 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 4 pounds, 1.2 ounces

Best for Expert Skiers: Tecnica Mach1 130 MV Ski Boots

Tecnica Mach1 130 MV Ski Boots

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Progressive flex rewards aggressive skiing

  • Durable liner with cushion, warmth, and longevity

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Tecnica Mach 1 boots are a long-running boot design perfect for aggressive, advanced, and expert skiers who don’t mind grabbing hold of the wheel and driving these boots. The 130 flex is as stiff as it gets for an all-mountain boot for recreational skiers, and it’s plenty of boot even for race-minded directional chargers. The boot also comes in low-, medium-. and high-volume sizes so you can accommodate your personal foot shape as well as snugness preferences.

Flex: 130 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 4 pounds, 9.9 ounces

Tested by TripSavvy

I’ve skied a version of the Mach1 MVs for nearly a decade now and just started skiing the 2022 model this season. Thankfully, not much has changed with a design that ain’t broke and doesn’t need fixing. The biggest upgrades of the past few years are the addition of a carbon stringer at the back which stiffens the connection between the boot lower and the upper cuff around the calf, plus a welcome reduction in weight that doesn’t seem to have hurt the performance. At 6-feet and 210 pounds, I appreciate the rigidity and support of the boot, but it’s not the right fit for most lighter skiers nor for beginner and intermediate skiers who will struggle to put the sustained force required to enjoy the Mach1 MVs.

These certainly aren’t the cheapest boots money can buy, but my experience with the Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.) liners is that they respond well to the initial heat molding and then get better with age as they form to your lower leg over time. I recommend taking them to a professional boot fitter (this is smart for any boot) before spending too much time in them because the boot fitter can punch out and remove material in the shell if needed to better fit the boot to your feet. The ultra-snug fit is great for those who want a responsive boot, but be sure you are honest with yourself about your abilities and skiing style. The Mach1 MVs demand to be driven, and they’re not at their best if you try to take a few runs off and relax your stance. They’re also going to cause more trouble for those with circulation issues than a softer-flex boot with a more relaxed compression. But if you’re a medium- to large-sized skier that likes to ski directionally and aggressively, there isn’t a boot I’d recommend more highly. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Best for the Terrain Park: Full Tilt Dropkick Pro Ski Boots

Full Tilt Dropkick Pro Ski Boots

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Purpose-built for park riding

  • Supremely comfortable and padded for impacts

What We Don't Like
  • Limited as a true all-mountain option

Even if you’ve never skied Full Tilt boots, you’ve likely noticed their throwback stylings in the lift line and wondered what they offer compared to a traditional four-buckle ski boot. The basic design of Full Tilt’s three-piece construction and routed-cable buckling system has been around since the 1970s and amassed a cult following over the decades and through different ownerships of the design. In the early 2000s, ski entrepreneur Jason Levinthal bought the design, created Full Tilt, and began the resurgence of these ultra-comfy park-focused boots.

The boots are light, making aerials easier by lessening the mass around your lower legs and better matching lighter, more flexible park skis. They also feature the wrap-around Intuition Pro liners that provide a mega cushion for hard landings in a variety of positions. The softer 6/90 flex isn’t for everyone but makes riding and landing switch much easier than a stiff race-style boot preferred by more directional big mountain skiers.

Flex: 6/90 | Last: 99 millimeters | Buckles: Wide-track aluminum cable | Weight: 4 pounds, 3.7 ounces

Best for Sidecountry: Rossignol Alltrack 130 Grip Walk Ski Boots

Rossignol Alltrack 130 Grip Walk Ski Boots

Rossignol

What We Like
  • Superior downhill performance

  • Provides touring capabilities

What We Don't Like
  • Not light or flexible enough for a true 50/50 option

These very stylish, stiff offerings from Rossignol include backcountry capabilities and lots of features that make them more comfortable when hiking or touring but retain superb alpine performance. The touring mode and weight aren’t perfect for hardcore backcountry skiers on longer journeys, but they keep the door open to touring shorter distances for the backcountry-curious who also enjoy hiking into sidecountry at the ski resort.

Flex: 130 | Last: 100 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 4 pounds, 1 ounce

Tested by TripSavvy

I got to spend several weeks in the Rossignol Alltrack 130s, and my initial impressions were that they’re a very “cool” boot with a unique look thanks to a dimpled shell meant to save weight and a unique matte, olive drab colorway that stands out. They’re also very comfortable, thanks to a firm but plush liner that has an almost crushed velvet cuff. At the resort, these boots delivered a stiff, responsive ride that rivaled my beloved Tecnica Mach1s. Unlike the Mach1s, however, these boots have Dynafit tech fittings and a walk mode with 50 degrees of motion to make them backcountry-ready. 

For shorter, steeper tours, I loved the downhill performance and didn’t mind paying the weight penalty. This is basically a resort boot experience that you can take off-resort and, as such, will be a great option for new backcountry skiers who might struggle to adjust to a true backcountry boot that makes sacrifices to shave weight. I wouldn’t recommend the AllTracks for hardcore backcountry enthusiasts who like the occasional multi-hour uphill to get their turns. The weight is much higher than other dedicated touring boot options, and while the promise of a one-boot quiver is attractive, I’ll likely only reach for these on shorter tours where the weight and somewhat clunkier motion in tour mode won’t affect me. Still, the walk mode is appreciated even when hiking to sidecountry terrain at the resort, and I see this boot as the perfect fit for an aggressive resort skier who wants the option to venture into the sidecountry and backcountry a few days a year. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Best for Ski Racers: Lange RS 130 Ski Boots

Lange RS 130 Ski Boots

Amazon

What We Like
  • Superior connection to the boot and ski

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy and stiff for all but the most aggressive skiers

If you’re a skier who comes from a racing background, you’ll likely have far different expectations from a ski boot than your average recreational skier who is more likely to prioritize comfort and warmth, even if they’re an above-average skier. You know who you are: You’re the skier willing to clamp their feet into a heavy-duty vice in pursuit of faster response and performance. 

Lange has a long and trusted race pedigree, and while the RS isn’t quite as singularly race-focused as its siblings in Lange’s World Cup series (also the distinctive blue color), it’s an all-mountain boot for those who want race-boot performance. The 97-millimeter last will only work for those with narrow feet or the truly masochistic who are okay with higher levels of foot compression in exchange for a more solid connection to the boot and, hence, the ski.

Flex: 130 | Last: 97 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum | Weight: 4 pounds, 12.9 ounces

Best Ultralight Touring Boot: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Alpine Touring Boot

Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Alpine Touring Boot

Backcountry

Touring boots have traditionally been a far different experience than what most resort skiers are used to, prioritizing lighter, softer materials and a comfortable uphill experience. As more skiers enter the backcountry and bootmakers devote more resources to touring boot development, the compromises have become less extreme. Case in point: The Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, which uses Grilamid plastics to achieve extremes in both stiffness and weight reduction for a boot that weighs about 60 percent of what a traditional 130-flex alpine boot does.

I’ve skied the Zero G Tour Pros for a season and a half as a dedicated backcountry touring boot, and I love the stiffness on the downhill and appreciate the weight savings, especially on longer spring tours when chasing far-off objectives. The flex of the Grilamid isn’t exactly equal to its alpine cousins. I find the stiffness somehow stiffer and less predictable than my 130-flex Tecnica resort boots. However, I prefer that stiffness in high-consequence situations to softer touring boots that can collapse under aggressive inputs despite feeling supportive in more casual turns.

If you’re not skiing aggressively in the backcountry, you may want to consider a comparably light boot that offers a bit more comfort, but if you want downhill performance without paying the price in weight, try on the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pros. (And I do mean try them on: Master Bootfitter Max McCay of Surefoot’s Breckenridge location told me that the Zero G Tour Pros are the tightest-fitting boots in his shop, so you’ll want to be sure they’re not too narrow and snug for you.)

Flex: 130 | Last: 99 millimeters | Buckles: Four, aluminum with cables | Weight: 2 pounds, 14.6 ounces

Final Verdict

For a great all-around boot for all but the most beginner and most expert skiers, check out the uber-comfortable performance fit of the Salomon S/PRO 120 boots (view at REI). For more aggressive skiers that split time between resort and backcountry, check out the 50/50-minded Atomic Hawx 130 XTD boots (view at Backcountry) that are a great boot for those who go only go uphill in order to go downhill. For ultralight tourers who demand performance, check out Tecnica’s Zero G Tour Pros (view at Backcountry).

 What to Look for in Ski Boots

Fit

The most important feature of your boots is, not surprisingly, fit. You can spend all your money on the “best” boots, but if the size is off or the boots just aren’t a good fit for your feet or your skiing style, it won’t matter. The best way to ensure a good fit is to work with an experienced boot fitter at your local ski boot dealer. In the words of Breckenridge-based freeskier, Zach Ryan, “even an 18-year-old kid working in a ski shop is going to know more than you when it comes to finding the right boot fit.”

Ryan’s advice to get your best fit is to visit a boot fitter with an open mind: “Don’t go in with a set idea of the type of boot you want. Don’t be tied to a brand. Boot fitters can get super dialed measurements and models of your foot and make a specific recommendation. A new model you hadn’t considered may be the perfect fit.”

Harvey Bierman, vice president of Digital at Christy Sports and a former ski shop boot fitter himself, cautions against using shoe size as a guide. “Ski boots are not like shoes. Any boot you buy online and buy to your shoe size will likely feel good at first but not provide the proper fit once you are on the hill, in a skiing position, and asking your boot to do more than your everyday shoe or sneaker does.” Even if the length of the boot is correct, a particular model may just be a bad fit for your unique foot shape.

Max McKay, master boot fitter at Surefoot in Breckenridge, says he’s fitted thousands of feet in his five years with the company and found appropriate fits for all kinds of feet including skiers with extra toes, no toes, club feet, and prosthetics and believes almost anyone can find an appropriate fit. McKay encourages skiers to be honest with themselves and their boot fitter about their abilities to help get them a boot they enjoy skiing. “I see too many skiers let brand or aesthetics get in the way of finding the right boot. Don’t let color decide what boot you choose. It’s going to be covered in snow anyway,” he says.

 Flex

Flex rating is a useful metric for understanding the stiffness of a ski boot in terms of its forward flex. It’s important to note, however, that flex isn’t a standardized measure and that boots with the same flex ratings can behave much differently when put to work on the slopes. Flex is probably most useful for comparing models from the same brand, as manufacturers use the flex ratings fairly accurately when positioning different models of boots within their lineup.

In general, higher flex rating boots are better suited to more advanced skiers, while more beginner skiers will prefer a softer flex and can progress into a stiffer boot as their skills improve. Still, McKay warns that too many ambitious recreational skiers get fixated on a boot’s flex rating to the detriment of their skiing experience. “You’re always going to have a better time if you get a boot suited to your abilities and the way you actually ski. Being realistic about your abilities will get you into a boot that you’re able to ski in the way it was designed.”

 Last and Width

The width of your boot is another important spec to consider and, again, is something an experienced boot fitter can help with. Even if you know from experience with shoes that you have a particularly wide or narrow foot, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a wider or more narrow ski boot.

The width of your boots may also fluctuate with your skill level and how snug you like your boots to fit. In general, more aggressive and advanced skiers prefer a narrower boot to provide more compression and a better connection to the boot.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • My feet get cold in ski boots. Should I get heated boot liners or heated socks?

    Cold feet in ski boots is a common-enough problem to have spawned an array of potential solutions from boot coverings to heated socks to heated boot liners to heated footbeds. If you’ve never taken the time to work on your fit with a professional boot fitter, start there as your issues with cold feet may actually be the result of ill-fitting boots. Make sure you’re using true ski socks, which are usually thin overall with reinforcing in key areas. Many skiers use thicker socks, thinking they will insulate their feet better, but that extra bulk often creates further fit issues which can hurt circulation and exacerbate problems with cold feet. 

    Bierman of Christy Sports suggests “a good fitting boot allows you to ski with your boots as loose as possible—not clamped down so hard you pull a muscle closing them. This doesn’t mean a loose-fitting boot is a good boot. But a properly fit boot will result in a comfortable, secure feeling without over-tightening the buckles.”

    If you’ve addressed the fit of your boots and still deal with cold feet often, a heating solution may make sense. If you’re an infrequent skier, heated socks could be a good solution as they can be used in rental boots as well as your own and used outside of just ski days, if desired. 

    For more frequent skiers, a heated footbed or heated boot liners make more sense as they stay with your boot and allow you to switch to clean socks as often as you’d like. Liners have the advantage of being able to wrap around the foot and provide heating in more locations along the foot. 

    Keep in mind that heating solutions will not turn your boots into ovens and use fairly low-wattage outputs. These heating elements are meant to extend your ski days and provide an edge against long days in subzero temperatures, but they are no substitute for a proper fit that permits normal circulation.

  • Should I get custom boot liners?

    I personally tried custom boot liners from Surefoot this year for the first time and can enthusiastically recommend the upgrade, at least for resort-riding boots. The combination of custom orthotic footbeds and a foam-injected liner built specifically to my lower legs’ idiosyncrasies was a welcome change given that I have protruding ankles that have been sprained dozens of times, a bulge from a broken fibula on my left leg, plus-sized calves, and fairly low-volume, flattish feet. This combination has proved challenging over the years since it’s hard to find that exact combination in a single model with a stock boot liner. 

    That said, custom liners aren’t cheap, and when paired with footbeds, the cost can be nearly equal to that of your boots and bring your total spend over $1,000, which is high even in this notoriously expensive sport. If your budget doesn’t permit going fully custom, it’s worth visiting a custom boot fitter such as Surefoot anyway, as they have lots of options, including the basic boot fitting techniques that anyone should use, such as punching and grinding shells and making use of the heat customization that many stock ski boot liners offer these days.

    I would caution against using custom liners in boots that you take backcountry touring as the custom liners will likely be much heavier than light touring stock liners, and the added weight might not be worth the better fit, depending on how long your average tour is.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Author Justin Park is a lifelong skier based in Breckenridge, Colorado. He logs over 100 ski days each year between resorts and backcountry terrain that offer a wide range of conditions for testing boots. His current setup uses dedicated boots for backcountry and resort skiing and are both Tecnicas, but he urges you to find the brand and model that fits your feet and style best.

Was this page helpful?
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
Continue to 9 of 10 below.