“I love my ski boots,” said no one. Ever. Complaints are common in this category, but brands are determined to stop skiers’ moans. This year’s models solve virtually every gripe, from cold toes to slippery soles.
Fischer RC4 Curv 130 ($699)
Solved: Pinched feet.
Moldable liners are so 2005. Conformable shells are the new custom-fit frontier. The Fischer RC4 Curv 130 uses an exoskeleton made of a plastic that’s vacuum-molded at a specialty retailer to your unique foot shape.
Spyne 120 Heat ($900)
Solved: Frozen toes.
K2 plugged a furnace into its hard-charging Spyne 120 Heat that keeps the whole foot toasty. Six hours on a USB cable recharges the battery, and a stiff Y-shaped panel on the back of the cuff delivers enough muscle to drive burly boards.
Panterra 120 I.D. ($750 with moldable liner)
Solved: Parking-lot wipeouts.
Walking seems easy, until you try it in ski boots across a street coated in black ice. To spare skiers some humiliation, Dalbello put an aggressive rubber sole on the Panterra 120 I.D. Its big lugs provide the traction you want on slick sidewalks, while the add-on rockered heel (along with a walk mode) facilitates a smooth, natural stride.
Salomon X Max 120 ($725)
High-performance boots no longer need to be lead-heavy. Expert skiers: witness the Salomon X Max 120, which employs a razzle-dazzle new svelte Grilamid plastic shell that’s light (each boot weighs just 4.6 pounds) but authoritative. Our most aggressive ski testers loved the X Max’s predilection for speed as we mached down Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill.
Lange RS 130 ($850)
Solved: Blocky racers.
The Lange RS 130 delivers the precision and power you expect from a racer, but with a more nuanced fit. Anatomical shaping in the toe box and ankle improves comfort without compromising efficiency. And by pairing harder plastic in the shell’s spine, heel, and lower body (for optimal energy transmission) with a softer polymer in the leg and foot, the RS offers a better bump-absorbing flex than its competitors.
Tecnica Mach1 Pro W LV ($840)
Solved: Flimsy women’s models.
The Tecnica Mach1 Pro W LV gives a true women-specific fit informed by an exhaustive study of female foot shapes. It’s snug in the heel and low-volume throughout (with a 98-millimeter last). Lamb’s wool blended with heat-retentive Celliant fibers makes the liner outrageously warm. And with a 115 flex, it rips.