The Best Alpine Touring Ski Boots of 2018
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Backcountry boots are stiffer and more powerful than ever.
Salomon S/Lab X-Alp ($1,000)
The Arc’teryx Procline was the first boot with side-to-side flex in touring mode. Now there’s the X-Alp as well, which gets 23 degrees of inward flex and 13 degrees of outward, to help you skin across angled terrain. The biggest difference between this Salomon and the Arc’teryx is that the X-Alp is stiffer, better for driving a big ski. 2.9 lbs
Lange Women’s XT Freetour 110 LV ($750)
A 110 flex might sound a little soft, but all of our testers raved about the Freetour’s power. “Zero loss of energy laterally and forward,” one said. That power comes from a light but stiff Grilamid-injected shell. We also love the uphill-specific Dynafit insert and Ultra Grip sole. The gripe: not enough range in the 43-degree walk mode. 3.8 lbs
Scarpa Women’s Gea RS ($795)
The Gea, sister of the men’s Maestrale, has long been the bestselling AT boot for women. This year, Scarpa used a carbon-infused plastic closure system to create a stiffer 125 flex, and we dig it. Thankfully, Scarpa also significantly increased the walk-mode range of motion from a pathetic 27 degrees to an easy-striding 60 degrees. 2.8 lbs
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 ($950)
With the Hawx Ultra XTD 130, Atomic tried to create the perfect mash-up of a strong alpine boot and a flexy backcountry slipper. They came awfully close. Thanks to a 54-degree range of motion and a thinned-out but strategically reinforced polyurethane shell, the boot tours exceptionally well, considering how burly it is on the descents. 3.4 lbs
Tecnica Women’s Zero G Guide ($840)
New-boot pain, begone! Tecnica specifically designed the lower back cuff to fit around a woman’s calf, which is often wider and lower than a man’s. And 115 flex got high marks for being just powerful enough. The main downside: the 44-degree range of motion limited this boot’s capability for long tours. 3.3 lbs
Scott Cosmos III ($750)
The 125-flex Cosmos III is the least expensive four-buckle boot for men in this category. Some testers thought its flex might be oversold, but for 90 percent of our skiers, the Cosmos provided the performance they needed to run mid-width to fat skis, in- and out-of-bounds, with confidence. 3.4 lbs