Welcome to our big ski boot test 2021. Here we present all the ski boots we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.
We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best ski boots for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy ski boots.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Ski Boots: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying ski boots
- 5 Decision: What types of ski boots are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5.1 When should I choose a comfort ski boot and what are its advantages?
- 5.2 When is a carving ski boot right for me?
- 5.3 Women's ski boot - Why not just use a men's boot?
- 5.4 When should I buy a racing ski boot?
- 5.5 Why should you use a freeride or freestyle ski boot?
- 5.6 What is special about a touring ski boot and when should I get one?
- 6 Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate ski boots
- 7 Facts worth knowing about ski boots
The most important facts
- To find your perfect ski boot, it is important to determine where you spend most of your time in winter. Each type of ski boot offers you different aspects that should make skiing easier and increase your enjoyment.
- Once you know which type of ski boot you need, it's time to choose the right size. Basically, it is important to know that your feet can get a little bigger during the day. To find the perfect balance, try on your boots in the morning if possible.
- If you notice any deficiencies during the annual check of your equipment, it is advisable to invest in a new ski boot. As a rule, it is advisable to replace ski boots after six or seven years.
The Best Ski Boots: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying ski boots
What is important in a ski boot?
Yet this old wives' tale is widespread, with experts estimating that around 90% of skiers wear shoes that are too big. So if you somehow have the opportunity to test your boots, you should definitely take it.
Of course, the rest of your ski equipment should also be up to date and fit well. A ski helmet, ski goggles, ski pants and ski gloves are essential for a winter sports trip.
What do you have to consider when buying ski boots?
It's best to try on your ski boots with the same socks you use for everyday skiing. However, you should not try them on with the thickest expedition socks - thin socks are generally recommended, as the boots will also widen somewhat. Once you are in the boots, the buckles should be gradually closed from the bottom to the top. Here it is important that no pressure points are created, but that the foot still has maximum support.
Especially the heel and the midfoot must be absolutely tight. If the heel slips upwards or the hold on the sides is not firm, this clearly speaks against the shoe. The best way to test the right fit is to bend your knees a little and lean in all directions several times. It also makes sense to walk around the shop with your favourite for up to 20 minutes. So better plan plenty of time for the purchase!
You should keep in mind that you slowly get used to unsuitable skis - painful feet because of unsuitable shoes, on the other hand, are not so easy to ignore.
How much do ski boots cost?
Low-priced but high-quality ski boots start at around 100 euros and go up to about 150 euros. You can't expect a high-tech boot for this price, but it's always enough for the occasional skier. If you're going to be on the slopes more often, it's a good idea to spend a little more. But don't worry, you can also get carving ski boots relatively cheaply from just under 200 euros.
The women's ski boots mentioned above with a little more comfort than a typical carving boot also fall into this price segment. These two variants usually don't cost much more than about 300 euros. From the race class upwards, of course, it gets a bit more expensive, but the boots are usually worth every euro. Good racing ski boots cost between 450 and 550 euros. That means you should only buy them if you really need them.
The (more stylish) freerideor freestyle boots, on the other hand, are less expensive. A good and above all "nice" ski boot will cost you around 300 to 350 euros.
If you don't just ski downhill, but also like to climb a mountain or two, then you need a touring ski boot. There are models in almost every price range, from around 300 euros to almost 600 euros.
|Ski boot type||price|
|Comfort ski boot||from €100|
|Carving ski boot||from around €200|
|Ladies ski boot||up to €300|
|Racing ski boot||from €450|
|Freeride and freestyle ski boot||up to around €350|
|Touring ski boot||€300 to €600|
In this case, the prices refer to manufacturer prices for new models before the start of the season. If you find a good time, you can save a lot of money. Towards the end of the season, the selection is usually no longer the greatest, but you can save up to 50%. Worth considering, isn't it?
How big should my ski boot be and how do I feel about it?
In a typical skiing position, your toes should not touch the front of the boot and you should be able to move. If you stand up and point your heel slightly forward, your toes should touch the boot slightly. If they do not when standing, it is a sign that the shoe is too big. A suitable ski boot is easy to close. It should not require excessive force to get a stable grip - this would also be an indication that the ski boots are too big.
However, a permanent "pressure feeling" is also not desirable. But not only the size plays a role, the degree of hardness should also be taken into account. In order for your ski boots to fit you even better and thus offer you even greater wearing comfort and perfect support, they can be individually adjusted. However, this should only be done by a professional or in a specialist shop.
There you can also adjust your boot to different "problem zones". So if you have a malposition, wide calves, narrow feet or overlegs, it is recommended that you go to an expert to make your boot as comfortable as possible.
What is the best way to store ski boots?
Unfortunately, inserting the inner boot usually causes quite a few problems. Fortunately, special ski boot heaters offer a real alternative.
You should dry the boots before storing them, otherwise they might not survive too many seasons. Only when they are properly dried can they go on a well-deserved summer holiday.
A well-tempered place is best for this. If it is too cold somewhere, humidity is not far away either, and humidity is our enemy. For storage, it is advisable to close the buckles tightly to prevent the shoe from warping. Wrinkles in the lining should also be avoided to ensure that the shoes still fit in winter.
Before the start of the next season, it is advisable to first carefully check all the equipment, including the shoes. After a successful check, nothing stands in the way of a new season.
Do ski boots get old or when should my boot be retired?
As a rule, ski boots should be replaced after six or seven years or 100 to 150 ski days at the most - whichever comes first.
The sole fulfils one of the most important tasks of the ski boot: its condition is crucial for the function of the binding. If the sole under the ski boot is worn, optimal power transmission between the boot and the binding can no longer take place.
Not least for this reason, skiers should replace the old model with a new one after eight years at the latest. Over the years, the plasticisers in the plastic also become hard, the ski boot becomes brittle and can break in extreme cases. In addition, new materials are being developed almost every year.
If you always want to be up to date, it is advisable to visit an expert every 3 - 4 years. If you are only a casual skier, it is of course sufficient to consider a new boot only after 6 - 7 years.
Decision: What types of ski boots are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, there are different types of ski boots that you have to distinguish:
- Comfort ski boots
- Carving ski boots
- Ladies' ski boots
- Racing ski boots
- Freeride or freestyle ski boots
- Touring ski boots
Each of these ski boots offers different aspects that should make skiing easier for you and increase your enjoyment. To find your perfect ski boot, it is important to determine where you will spend most of your time in winter. Depending on what you value in a successful ski day, you should also choose your ski boot. In the following, we want to help you make this decision as easy as possible.
To do this, we will first introduce you to all of the types mentioned above and give you an overview of their advantages and disadvantages.
When should I choose a comfort ski boot and what are its advantages?
A large proportion of skiers are in the comfort class. If you are a pleasure skier and speed is not your top priority, then a comfort ski boot is exactly the right thing for you. The comfort ski boot offers a lot of freedom of movement - so the most important thing is clearly your well-being.
After the last turn, your feet should not hurt and be ready for the evening. They are mainly soft and warm, but the power transmission to the ski takes a back seat with these ski boots. You won't become a racer with these models, but the one or other brisk ride should always be possible.
This makes them ideal for beginners who want to ski but don't want to spend a lot of money yet. But of course, advanced skiers can also opt for this category without having a guilty conscience.
When is a carving ski boot right for me?
Do you usually cruise the slopes in a sporty manner, sometimes for many hours a day? A boot should support you with perfect hold, but also offer comfort in the long run.
Carving ski boots are a perfect compromise between comfort and performance. The inner boot is comfortable, but the shell is slightly harder than the comfort model. The flex ( = stiffness of the boot) tends to be slightly higher. The stiffer shell transmits skiing commands sensitively and quickly to the ski. This means that a sportier style of skiing is also possible without any problems.
Women's ski boot - Why not just use a men's boot?
Women's feet are different - so are women's boots. These boots are better adapted to the anatomy of women's feet. A slightly narrower last is often combined with softer flex, and they are also slightly narrower at the heels to improve support.
The shaft is shorter because of the lower calf base to avoid pressure points. In addition, women's shoes are often particularly well padded and insulated so as not to give ladies aching and cold feet. Meanwhile, almost every men's model is also available in a women's version.
When should I buy a racing ski boot?
Perfect carving action, top speed on the slopes and maybe even a few racing turns are your daily routine? Then you need a close-cut, hard racing boot. To ensure the best possible power transmission, the race boot must fit perfectly. The tight cut often means compromising on comfort, but the handling is terrific.
It can transfer the smallest changes in posture directly to the ski and thus improve the skiing style even more. The corresponding ski swings as if by itself thanks to a suitable racing boot. Not exactly pure comfort, but only a racer transmits your commands to the ski instantaneously and 100%.
Why should you use a freeride or freestyle ski boot?
Normal slopes are just too boring for you and you're more likely to be found in the backcountry or on the kicker, then of course these two types are a must. With these boots, the flex is relatively low. The mobility and a cushioned shell are again in the foreground here.
Freestyle shoes are usually exposed to violent turning and jumping movements. Therefore, they have to cope well with these and restrict you as little as possible. This is achieved with an even lower flex value than with freeride ski boots. In addition, the design of a freestyle boot is in the foreground.
Freeride boots are resilient in the terrain and made for a wide variety of snow conditions. However, they also remain sporty to a certain degree to ensure fast, challenging descents. The inner padding should absorb hard impacts and shocks and protect your bones as much as possible.
What is special about a touring ski boot and when should I get one?
You are not one of those skiers who like to spend 50 euros and more on a day ticket and therefore prefer to use muscle power for the ascent? Then you need a good touring ski boot. The comfort of the ascent plays a decisive role here.
The aim is to restrict the stride length as little as possible in order to save energy. Touring ski boots are lighter and make walking easier. Their soles are usually covered with rubber to provide grip on icy and steep slopes.
Nevertheless, downhill performance must not be skimped on - the boots must provide optimum grip so that the skier can ski down safely in any type of snow. Touring boots are a compromise - and thus rarely an alternative for normal lift users.
Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate ski boots
In the following we would like to show you which criteria you can use to compare ski boots. This should make it easier for you to decide and choose your ski boot. Basically, these are:
- The performance level
- Women's or men's boot
- The weight
- The flex index
- The number of buckles
- And additional advantages
In the next few paragraphs, you will find out what the individual features are and how you should take them into account in your decision.
There are many different people on the slopes, from beginners to (almost) professionals. For this reason, there is a distinction between blue (easy), red (medium) and black (difficult) pistes. In order to make your skiing day as pleasant as possible, it is therefore important that you move within your personal ability level.
Of course, it is also helpful to choose the ski boot that suits your ability. Beginner's boots are usually the cheapest models, but you shouldn't expect technical milestones from them. If you haven't spent too many days on the slopes yet, a beginner's model might be just right for you. Such boots are usually characterised by a low flex value and allow you enough freedom of movement.
In addition, beginner boots are often very comfortable to make you as comfortable as possible. If you already have a few kilometres on the slopes in your bones, then it is advisable to at least switch to an advanced model. Beginners should also be able to cope with this model, but an advanced skier can of course make better use of their potential. These models are an intermediate step, so to speak.
They are not professional models that immediately transfer every movement to the ski, but they are just as good for speeding down the slopes. You should only buy a professional boot if you really need it. They are technically perfect for carving and racing, but of course they come at a price.
A professional model can quickly cost you upwards of €500. Also, professional models usually don't have too much comfort, because they focus entirely on performance. So you should think carefully about which model you want to buy.
Women's or men's boot?
As already mentioned with the different types of ski boots, it is recommended to choose a special women's ski boot. Women's ski boots fit women's feet better and are designed not to give them painful or cold feet. Of course, women can also wear men's ski boots, but it is even more important to try them on in the shop.
Basically, the men's cut is different from the women's cut.
A narrow last shape is often combined with a soft flex in women's shoes, and women's models are also slightly narrower at the heel to improve grip. The upper is shorter to avoid pressure points because of the lower calf. You can find women's models in every price range and performance level, so women can be sure of the best possible performance.
The weight of a ski boot is just as important for a successful day on the slopes as all the other criteria. After all, you'll be carrying them around with you for several hours.
The more weight a boot has, the more strenuous it will be to spend a whole day with it. If you only carve on the piste and are only walking a few metres, you can cope with a somewhat heavier boot.
However, if you are on foot for a long time, a lighter model is recommended. Tourers in particular should be careful to choose a boot that doesn't weigh too much.
Nowadays, most models are weight-optimised and hardly ever exceed 4 kilos per shoe.
It is therefore a criterion that can be important, but is normally only relevant for professionals or tourers.
As with your skis themselves, the stiffness of the ski boot is indicated by the flex value. This describes how difficult it will be for you to bend the ski boot forwards. Or rather, how much resistance your ski boot will offer you. The higher this number, the more force you will need to bend it.
Unfortunately, manufacturers do not use a uniform flex index. It can happen that one manufacturer gives a flex number from 50 to 130, while another gives a flex of 1 to 10. Especially with freestyle, freeride and touring ski boots, you may be confronted with values between 1 and 10.
The number says something about the stiffness of your boot. The higher it is, the more immobile the shaft of the ski boot is. This means that you have more support in the boot, but your freedom of movement and mobility are restricted. However, the flex should also offer enough resistance to enable a smooth transmission of power and to be able to control the ski optimally.
A restriction in the ankle joint should also be prevented. In this case, professional advice offers you a certain degree of security in choosing the right value. When choosing the right flex value for you, the following are important:
- your riding ability,
- your riding behaviour, your riding speed
- your height and body weight
Table for choosing your flex value
|Flex value||up to 80 (or 4)||85-100 (or 6)||105-125 (or 8)||130+ (or 10)|
|Skill||beginner to intermediate||beginner to advanced||intermediate to professional||advanced to professional|
|Hardness feeling||soft||medium||stiff||very stiff|
This table shows you which flex is recommended for which characteristics. Height and weight also play a significant role, because the taller you are, the longer your leverage. With longer levers and more weight, you will bend your ski boots more easily. That's why you should go for a stiffer flex. For women, it is also advisable to calculate the flex value minus 20 to find the ideal stiffness for them.
Number of buckles
The buckles are used to fasten your ski boot firmly. Together with the inner boot, the shell should fit your foot perfectly. Four buckles per boot are the most common, but some models only need two or three.
The distribution of the buckles on the outer shell allows the boot to be tightened and thus closed. Important here is the possible adjustment of the buckle system, which is done on the one hand by adjusting the buckle length. The more finely the buckles can be varied, the more precisely you can close the boot and set up your comfort zone.
In any case, make sure that you can get in comfortably and that the pull is evenly distributed over the shell. The buckle material also plays an important role, as they are attached to the most exposed parts of the ski boots.
For this reason, manufacturers usually use sturdy aluminium or resistant plastic to guarantee the necessary durability.
Of course, manufacturers always try to make their ski boots as comfortable as possible for you, and this includes other features of the individual boots. "Only" a good price, low weight and good insulation is usually no longer enough. The most common additional feature is whether the boot has removable toe or heel pads. These have the advantage that you can easily change the fit afterwards.
By removing these pads, you can also wash them and avoid stinky feet. Shoes that are exposed to a lot of impact often rely on a shock-absorbing system to protect your bones. Such inserts are especially important for shoes that are used in off-road terrain, e.g. freeride and touring ski boots, but they are also an advantage for freestyle ski boots. Some other advantages also relate to the inside of the boot, some boots rely on a thermoformable inner boot. This makes it relatively easy for you to adjust the inner boot to your foot.
There are also inner shoes that are especially comfortable, e.g. without noticeable inner seams. For women, there is a very special additional feature that almost no men's shoe will have - polar fleece. This material, or other similar materials, insulates even better and ensures warm feet, even in the iciest temperatures. But beware - in spring it is generally already warm, a very warm ski boot could then lead to unwanted sweaty feet.
Facts worth knowing about ski boots
How long have ski boots been used and what did they look like in the past?
Originally, ski boots were heavy, stiff mountain boots made of leather. Whether hiking in the mountains, going to church or skiing downhill in winter - the mountain boot was always there. So the great-grandfather of today's ski boot was nothing other than a shoe that had various functions. Strapped to the ski, it accompanied its wearer through the white landscape.
Between the two world wars, the mountain boot slowly became friends with the ski. It acquired grooves on the rear sole, which were used to fix it to the ski. Metal add-ons were nailed to the front sole to achieve more grip in the binding. It was still possible to lift the heel freely and was thus fixed to the ski without a safety binding. In 1950 Toni Sailer entered the new ski boot generation with perfect fixation. Now the ski boot was firmly connected to the ski by the long strap binding - also at the heel.
The leather boots grew in height and became harder to provide more stability in the ankle area. It was not until the now familiar safety binding replaced the old cable binding that the ski boot we know today was developed.
After a period of specialisation in the 80s/90s, ski boots and mountain boots are increasingly converging again. The main reason for this is the many new or re-emerging winter sports that require a relatively flexible boot.
Can I wear my ski boots always and everywhere?
If you like your boots so much that you don't want to take them off, we're happy about that. The only problem is that you can't wear them everywhere. Where - you ask? In the party ski resort of Ischgl. Ischgl is a small town in Tyrol that in recent years has become THE lifestyle ski resort in Austria, if not all of Europe.
For years, skiers and the tourist board lived in harmony, but since the winter season 16/17 everything has changed. Since 6 November 2016, it has not been permitted to wear ski boots on the streets from 8 pm to 6 am. The tourism association wants to get the noise level under control with this ban. In addition, it has set itself the goal of improving everyone's safety.
Some people see ski equipment as a source of danger, especially ski boots. With them, there is an increased risk of slipping in the narrow centre of the village. But skis and snowboards have also been targeted by the municipality. After 8 p.m., skis or snowboards are not allowed to be carried freely through the village. But what happens if you get bogged down in a pub and the 8 p.m. ski boot limit is exceeded?
In this case, the tourism association recommends calling a taxi. If you still get caught on the street, the municipality threatens you with a fine of up to 2,000 euros! But you can rest assured, except for Ischgl, you are allowed to wear your favourites in every ski resort whenever you want to.
Are there any alternatives to conventional ski boots?
Yes, in the meantime there has been a development towards soft boots - as we know them from snowboarding. However, this concept did not catch on. Now, however, one manufacturer has succeeded in combining the best of both. Freemotion has been selling the so-called #Feelgoodskiboot for several years. It is a symbiosis of a soft boot and the "normal" hard shell boot.
According to Freemotion, it is the only boot that leaves your ankle free so you can ski from the knee. In addition, it is much lighter than a normal ski boot. This is achieved, for example, by eliminating heavy buckles. Because you no longer have to carry so much weight around with you, you save as much as 40% of your energy. This allows for a few extra descents and, at the end of the day, a dance at the après-ski.
You can buy such a ski boot in selected sports shops, including Northland or directly in the Freemotion online shop. It is offered there for 499 euros.
Mondopoint - What is that?
Mondopoint or MP is a standardised boot size system that refers to the foot length in millimetres. It will help you choose your ski boot size. In order to find out your own Mondopoint size, it is best to follow the following scheme:
- Put your foot on a piece of paper with your normal ski socks.
- Go around your foot with a pencil held vertically.
- Now measure the length between toe and heel.
- Finally, add about five millimetres and/or round up to the nearest lunar size.
But be careful: Although Mondopoint is a standardised system, manufacturers transfer these numbers individually to their own lasts. This means that not every size is the same, even though it has the same Mondopoint. The following table gives you a rough theoretical basis for choosing your boat size.
However, we recommend that you try on your future ski boot in person and long enough in a shop to ensure the best possible fit.
Conversion table (from "normal" boot size to Mondopoint)
|Shoe size EU||Shoe size UK||Mondopoint|
Picture source: pixabay.com / Simon Steinberger