A Beginners Guide to Ski & Snowboard Boots

Legs are doing most of the job when skiing or snowboarding. Therefore, the comfort of your feet should be well assured to make the most of any of your ski or snowboard experience. We prepared the short beginners to guide to Ski and Snowboard boots for those who are new to skiing and snowboarding. You will find the basic differences between alpine and cross-country skiing boots and what should you check before buying your first ski or snowboard boots.

The first what you need to know is the fact that boots for alpine (downhill) skiing and cross-country skiing are totally different. Then, you have ski-touring boots and snowboard boots. Let us go through each of them.

By the way, there are also other elements that help to keep your feet warm and comfortable during the skiing or snowboarding sessions. Check our guides to ski socks, heated ski socks or ski boot warmers.

Salomon X Alpine Ski Boot

Alpine (Downhill) Ski Boots

If you have never gone skiing then you should be aware that ski boots are made of a thick outer shell. They are hard from outside to protect your leg with the inner soft shoe that provides comfort to your feet.

It is not easy to walk in alpine ski boots as they are not flexible. They have to keep the form as they transfer the movement from your legs to skis. Alpine ski boots are interchangeable. All brands are working with the same standards so your boots will fit any alpine ski bindings. (e.g. you can use your Atomic ski boots to Salomon or Head bindings and vice versa).

The important factor is the flex of the ski boots. it shows how difficult it is to flex the boot forward.

 Beginner SkierIntermediate SkierAdvanced SkierExpert Skier
Flex Index MEN60 - 8085 - 100105 - 130130+
Flex Index WOMEN50 - 7065 - 9085 - 110110+

Medium flex boots are a good choice as well, however, they are usually for the more experienced skier. They are meant for sharp turns at high speeds and velocities, so if you are planning on doing a lot of cross-country skiing, then you may want to stick to the soft flex designs. If you are a beginner skier, then it may be best to go with a soft flex style of boot. While they are hard on the outside, they are usually known for being softer than the rest. With a softer pair of boots, you can focus more on how your coat is fitting on you.

Stiff flex boots are only for the advanced skiers, so if you are casual skier than do not buy these kinds. The recreational skier will not be able to stand in stiff flex boots for a long time. Just look at professional skiers who open their ski boots immediately after they finish the race.

Fischer My Cruzar 80 PBV Ski Boots WomensTecnica Ten.2 70 HVL Ski BootsRossignol Speed 80 Ski Boots Mens
Flex Index: 80Flex Index: 70Flex Index: 80
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Check also Top Atomic Downhill Ski Boots & Top Salomon Downhill Ski Boots

Ski-Touring Boots

Ski Touring is a type of skiing when you walk on the skis uphill and go down in a normal alpine skiing way. Alpine touring skis are slightly different from downhill skis. They have removable straps at the bottom of the ski to ease the climbing up the hill. Alpine touring binding is also special as it has a walk and ski mode for climbing and going down. The same applies also to ski-touring boots. They have a lock on the back of the boot to switch from walk to ski mode. Walk mode means you can flex the boot forward freely, in ski mode the boots are firm like usual alpine ski boots.

SCOTT Cosmos III Alpine Touring BootSCARPA Spirit 3 Alpine BootTecnica Zero G Tour Pro Alpine Touring Boot
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Cross-Country (Nordic) Skiing Boots

Boots for cross-country (nordic) skiing are totally different from alpine skiing boots. They are much smaller and made from soft fabric. Skiing boots are aimed at providing maximum comfort and temperature regulation. You need to work a lot with your feet during cross-country skiing. Boots should be made from a material that keeps the warm inside but also breathes.

Unfortunately, the cross-country skis manufacturers do not follow the same standard regarding the boots and bindings. Therefore, you need to double-check the bindings and its compatibility with respective ski boots. The difference between the NNN, SNS and Turnaminc Bindings systems and respective compatibility can be found here.

You also need to decide if you want to use mainly skate or classic cross-country ski style.

Rossignol X-1 FW XC Ski Boots WomensSALOMON Escape 7 Prolink XC Ski Boots MensFischer RC 3 Skate XC Ski Boots Mens
NNN bindings compatibleSNS Pilot bindings compatibleTurnamic bindings compatible
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Snowboard Boots

There are two basic snowboard boots types. One is similar to alpine skiing boots. Hard solid shell with inner soft shoes is aimed mainly at professional racers or snowboarders who prefer the aggressive style. The second type is soft boots that are preferred by many thanks to its comfortability. It is easy and comfortable to walk and they provide good insulation to keep your feet warm. These snowboard shoes are suitable for all types of snowboarders (beginners, intermediate and advanced).

Snowboard boots can be with traditional laces (as normal walk-in shoes) or laceless closure system. The second one is more comfortable and faster to use.

Avalanche Eclipse Snowboard Boots WomensBurton Moto Boa Snowboard Boot MensRide Mens Anthem Snowboard Boots
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Posted in Best Skis, Reviews, Ski & Snowboard Boots and tagged , , , .

Ski Pro Guru

Simon is the leading editor of SkiProGuru.com for almost 3 years. He started skiing in his teens and now he switches from Alpine to Cross-Country Skiing regularly. He tried also snowboard for a few years, but then returned to conventional skiing :) In his free time he follows soccer, tennis and reads a lot of contemporary proses and novels.

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