Best Ski Boots 2014-2015

Best Ski Boots 2014-2015

Boots may be the most important piece of ski gear you own. Nothing ruins a good powder day faster than cold or painful feet, and ill-fitting boots also run the risk of not properly transferring energy to your skis and harming your performance. Amid this doom and gloom, however, is the welcome news that ski boots have never been more foot-friendly than they are today. Most new boots have customizable liners and some even come with heat-customizable shells. Below are our picks for the best ski boots of 2014-2015, with a focus on higher-performance models. If a boot interests you, but you are more of an intermediate or beginning skier, when available we’ve included a link to a similar boot with softer flex, fewer bells-and-whistles, and a lower price tag (true novices should see our picks of the best ski boots for beginners). It’s important to remember that some boots just won’t work with some feet, so keep on eye on the last relative to the width of your feet.
 
 

Men’s Ski Boots

Introduced last season, the Atomic Waymaker Carbon 130 has been praised for its excellent out-of-the-box fit and comfort. It returns for 2014-2015 with a new liner, featuring Thinsulate technology that is warmer and even more comfortable. The Waymaker 130 has a tight heel pocket for those that struggle with heel retention, but is moderately wide in the toebox with a 101mm last width. In addition, it has a unique zone of stretchable material built into the shell where lots of people have “sixth toe” issues, which basically negates the need to have a bootfitter stretch the shell manually. The Waymaker feels like it flexes softer than its 130 rating, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A walk/tour mode gives it 35 degrees of movement: just enough for skiers who primarily ski in the resort, but want to tour to the goods beyond the ropes every once in a while. 
Last: 101mm
Flex: 130
What we like: Great heel retention and out-of-the-box fit. 
What we don’t: A tad heavier than some close competitors.
Intermediate model: Atomic Waymaker Carbon 100
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If you spend time touring in the backcountry but still want a boot to bang laps in the resort, the all-new Radical deserves a serious look. With an all-polyurethane shell, it’s heavier than the popular Dynafit Vulcan, but also at least $300 less expensive. There’s no tour-ability trade-off, however, with an impressive 60 degree range-of-motion. The Radical does lose some stiffness over the Vulcan, but the 120-flex rating is enough for all but the heaviest of aggressive skiers. Dynafit pro Eric Hjorleifson designed the unique cam power strap: it has a convenient pull to loosen quickly when switching to tour mode. 
Last: 104mm
Flex: 120
What we like: Lots of technology for a bargain price. 
What we don’t: Wide last will be too roomy for skiers with narrower feet.
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Full Tilt Seth Morrison Pro ski bootsSeth Morrison scoured eBay for a time when the Raichle Flexon, the boot that would become Full Tilt in 2006, was out of production. It’s been back for nearly a decade and has a cult-like following of users for 35 years and counting. The Seth Morrison Pro is Full Tilt’s top end model—the three-piece shell design is famous for smooth forward flex, and the Morrison Pro come with Full Tilt’s stiffest tongue (rated by them as a “10”). It can be swapped for a softer flexing tongue, or you could step down to the Full Tilt Konflict that is a touch softer and a bit cheaper. We like the Morrison Pro for its cam power strap and rubber sole for hiking, and the included Intuition liner is fully heat-moldable. This is great all-mountain boot for aggressive skiers. 
Last: 99mm
Flex: “10” is about 130
What we like: Light weight and time-tested. 
What we don’t: No walk mode limits touring abilities.
Intermediate model: Full Tilt Classic
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Salomon set out to fit any foot with the Quest Max 130 and it seems like they achieved their goal. The Quest Max 130 comes in a 98mm or 104mm last width for very narrow or very wide feet and the entire outer shell is then heated to mold to the shape of the skiers foot. Out of the box, it has Salomon’s classic tight heel pocket to keep things locked down when skiing aggressively. A three-buckle design lends simplicity when switching in and out of the walk/tour mode featuring a respectable 35-degrees of motion. When locked down, the Quest Max 130 is a high-performance alpine boot ready for a downhill beating. 
Last: 98 or 104mm
Flex: 130
What we like: Heat-moldable shell avoids potentially expensive bootfitting. 
What we don’t: Could be too stiff for lighter skiers.
Intermediate model: Salomon Quest Max 110
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Scarpa is well known in the realm of backcountry-specific boots, but they are bringing things to the frontside in 2014-2015 with the Freedom SL. It has the stiffness and power transmission of a traditional four-buckle boot, but still retains a walk/tour mode with a respectable 27-degrees of smooth motion. At 101mm, the last is medium width fitting a wide range of users. With tech-binding fittings and a lugged sole, the Freedom SL is still thoroughly meant to reside beyond the ropes, but a 120 flex rating and available alpine sole blocks can transform it into a capable resort boot as well.
Last: 101mm
Flex: 120
What we like: A very versatile boot with a stock Intuition liner. 
What we don’t: Alpine sole blocks not included.
Intermediate model: Scarpa Freedom
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Women’s Ski Boots

Like the men’s version, the Waymaker 80 has a medium-wide last to accommodate wider feet and provide all-day comfort. It also has a zone of stretchy material built into the shell to further accommodate irregularities around the “sixth toe” that usually require shell punching at a shop. The three-buckle design is simple to get in and out of, and to adjust. With a flex rating of 80 (also available in a carbon 90 and 100 flex version), this boot will be great for lighter skiers or bigger skiers with intermediate abilities. With 35-degrees of cuff mobility in the walk mode, the Waymaker 80 also will be a good friend on short tours or hikes from the parking lot. 
Last: 101mm
Flex: 80
What we like: Great price and the Thinsulate liners are very warm. 
What we don’t: Expert skiers might find it too soft.
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The Krypton Kryzma offers lots of customization in a high-performance package. The three-buckle, three-piece shell design is known for a smooth forward fle  and includes different tongues to dial in stiffness. The Kryzma also comes with two sets of footboards: a stiffer set for power transmission and a shock-absorbing set for skiers who like to hit jumps. Last in the customization department is a fully heat-moldable Intuition liner that is famous for fit comfort and warmth. The Krypton Kryzma will work with hybrid alpine/touring bindings, but with no walk/tour mode you’d want to keep it to quick sidecountry missions. 
Last: 98mm
Flex: 115
What we like: Badass black color scheme.  
What we don’t: The absence of a walk mode limits functionality. 
Intermediate model: Dalbello KR2 Chakra ID
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Last year K2 turned heads with an all-new boot line, and for 2015 they bring their unique offerings to female skiers. The Minaret 100 is their flagship women’s-specific boot and it brings a lot to the table. Most notably, the Minaret is compatible with both normal alpine bindings and Dynafit-style tech bindings without having to change sole blocks, making it a logical choice for skiers who plan to tour into the backcountry on a regular basis. A unique rivetless shell design allows for great range and smooth movement in walk/tour mode. Lastly, the Minaret comes stock with an Intuition liner that is completely heat moldable and known as being very warm. 
Last: 100mm
Flex: 100
What we like: Included Intuition liner is a $200 value. 
What we don’t: Heavy for those who plan on using for all-day tours.
Intermediate: K2 Minaret 80
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The XT 110 W is a high-performance boot that aggressive skiers will appreciate. The 97mm last (the “LV” in the name is “low-volume”) is classically narrow, which is great for skiers who want optimal power transmission. Additionally, the 110 flex provides great support when going fast. The walk mode offers a generous range of motion if a short tour is on the menu, but also functions well with its rubberized soles when navigating a ridge or parking lot hike. Known for solid out-of-box fit, Lange also includes a heat-customizable liner on the XT 110 W for further dialing it in. 
Last: 97mm
Flex: 110
What we like: Classic Lange comfort performance. 
What we don’t: Not for skiers with wider feet. 
Intermediate: Lange XT 90
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Tecnica Cochise Pro W ski bootsLike the men’s version, the Cochise Pro W is a high-performance boot prized by bootfitters for being both comfortable and customizable. A fairly stiff boot with a flex rating of 105, it’s designed to be used both in-bounds and in the backcountry. Indeed, the Cochise Pro W has a walk/tour mode and come with both standard alpine soles and swappable tech binding soles. A beefy powerstrap functions as the forth buckle up top, a feature intended for added mobility when touring. A heat-moldable liner is paired with an anatomically molded, women’s-specific heel pocket for a good fit right out of the box. 
Last: 98mm
Flex: 105
What we like: Both swappable sole sets included. 
What we don’t: Power strap can be a bit tough to dial in. 
Intermediate: Tecnica Cochise 95
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