Ski boots might seem like the supporting actress to your skis, but boots are the important connection between you and your skis by helping you communicate with them. Essentially, they are the star of your gear setup. If your boots are too big or too small, however, it’s like watching bad acting—painful. If you have a solid fit and the correct flex, you’ll be able to perform on the slopes all day long.
The first step is to understand what’s new and available this season by reading the following roundup. This 21/22 roundup features a wide range of boots in the All-mountain category. Women shopping for boots in this category are true all-mountain skiers, that is they ski groomers on the front side, cut up snow on the backside, and everything in between, so they need a boot that can handle a variety of snow conditions. More and more women are heading out of bounds, following the trend of backcountry skiing, and want boots to accommodate their adventures like hike/ski modes. Resort skiers can benefit from some of the same features. Some of the boots in this roundup lean toward the freeride side, with walk/hike modes, which offer freedom of movement in the cuff for occasional trips off-piste or out-of-bounds. Others have features that blend performance with comfort, including combinations of lightweight plastic strategically placed to offer power without adding weight.
The second step in the boot buying process is to visit a qualified boot fitter who studies your foot and specific physical needs and considers your skiing ability. Technological advances in ski boot design mean a new incentive to buy this season. Along with more options to truly “customize” the fit, comes an overall movement to save weight. “Ski boot manufacturers have been working hard to improve the out-of-the-box fit on women’s boots,” says Mike Callas, boot fitter and co-founder of Outdoor DIVAS women-specific ports store. “Better angles, higher quality liner materials, and designs that mitigate traditional problem areas, all mean your initial impression is much better.”
Qualified boot fitters help pair you with the best boot for your physiology and ability level. They will consider your ability level (don’t sell yourself short!), where you like to ski, and whether you have any injuries. After they identify which category of boots to work with, they will start by finding the correct size, or the inner shape of the boot that best fits your feet. Narrow fitting boots have lasts around 96mm to 98mm and are usually the choice for experts who favor a tight fit and stiff flex for power and precision. Medium or average fitting boots have lasts around 100mm and wide-volume boots for high-volume feet have lasts that are 102 mm or above. Some companies offer the same boot model in two different last sizes to cater to higher or lower foot volume. Bootfitters also look at the instep height, heel anatomy, and calf muscle position.
Once you purchase a pair of boots, you should continue your relationship with your boot fitter, who can customize your fit precisely, thanks to features provided by boot manufacturers. “Breakthroughs in shell and liner materials allow us to eliminate hot spots and make room when necessary,” says Callas. “Patterns on the liners and shells help us locate the perfect spot to punch or grind. Injectable liner technology allows us to improve a fit for a difficult foot or restore the fit of a packed-out boot. These features paired with a competent boot fitter can add a lot of value for the customer over the life of the product.”
Use this roundup as a guide for buying boots in the all-mountain category, but your boot fitter will put the spotlight on the best fit for you and your foot so that you can perform well, day after day, season after season.
Women’s All-mountain Ski Boot Roundup for 21/22
ATOMIC HAWX ULTRA 115 S W GW
“Your boots are your accelerator and your steering wheel, the connection between you and your skis,” says Jake Strassburger, Atomic commercial manager. “This connection should be intuitive and comfortable, a boot that provides performance through comfort. The new narrow-fit Hawx Ultra has a solution for every foot type.” The lightweight Atomic’s Hawx Ultra 1115 S W GW has a low-volume, 98mm fit and slim profile for advanced to expert female skiers. The boot featuring Prolite technology, which reduces weight while reinforcing and stabilizing power transfer zones. The Mimic Platinum 3M Thinsulate liner is customizable and can be formed to each individual foot shape. A tulip-shaped cuff comes with a removable spoiler, which can adjustable volume. Cantable GripWalk Pads make walking and hiking more comfortable.
DALBELLO Chakra Elevate 115 T.I. ID
The Dalbello Chakra Elevate 115 T.I. ID has a 3-piece cabrio wrap, which increases shock absorption, comfort, and lateral and rear support plus a short cuff height to accommodate lower calf muscles. A new thermoformable ID Max liner design in the 98mm lasted boot adds warmth and customization for a better fit. Tech inserts provide pin tech compatibility for AT skiers. “The Chakra Elevate 115 is the highest performing freeride boot in the Dalbello line,” says Geoff Curtis, VP/Marketing for Marker/Volkl/Dalbello. “We added tech inserts and GripWalk soles for easy boot packing or skinning, and for the way back down, Dalbello’s Krytpon architecture provides freeride performance.”
FISCHER RC4 the Curv GT 115
“The close shell fit of the RC4 the Curv GT 115 improves energy transmission for better ski performance and control,” says Mike Hattrup, US Alpine Product Manager. To achieve that “close shell fit,” Fischer compared data from foot scans to develop this narrow, all-mountain boot model for a low-volume fit. The Fischer RC4 the Curve GT 115 has a 115 flex and a 96mm last, with a lightweight shell, which is designed with thinner walls where it wraps the foot, and thicker walls where power and stability are needed. The shell, made from Fischer’s proprietary plastic, is designed to be heated in a shop and formed to the contours of each foot for a customizable fit.
HEAD Formula 105 W
A new series from HEAD, boots in the Formula are designed to offer race boot technical features with customization technology such as Form Fit and Liquid Fit liner, which inject liquid material into pockets in the boot lining to support the critical area around the ankle and heel. The new plastic is designed to give the boot a progressive flex and a smooth rebound feel. “This new plastic also allows for a very damp feel eliminating vibrations that can emanate from under the foot, traveling up the leg and fatiguing the leg muscles. The result is a super smooth ride that keeps the skier fresh and in the best position to tackle any type of terrain,” says Andrew Couperthwait, HEAD alpine product manager. The Formula 105 W has a mid-volume 100mm last and 115 flex for intermediate through advanced female skiers.
K2 Mindbender 110 Alliance
“The Mindbender 110 Alliance is built for women who need one boot to rule the resort and the backcountry,” says Matt Miller, global marketing manager for K2 Skis. “A 110 flex, heat-moldable Powerlite shell, tech fittings, and a walk mode guarantee you’ll be ready for whatever the mountain has in store, inbounds or out.” The Powerlite shell design is fully heat moldable with a strategic variation of thickness in the shell wall where power is needed combined with thinner areas for weight reduction. The freeride boot locks into ski mode with K2’s Powerlock Spyne, but when in walk mode, the boot has a 50-degree range of motion for ski touring or hiking. The low volume 98mm last provides a performance fit while the boot’s tech fittings give skiers binding choices.
LANGE RX 110 W
Lange’s RX 110 W has a new Shin Control Tongue, which has an asymmetric tongue designed to redistribute pressure along the shin, while also offering a smooth flex. As with all boots in the freeride-oriented RX line, the RX 110 W has a Dual Core-shell, which sandwiches softer plastic with more rigid plastic to increase power transmission in the 110-flex boot. The Dual 3D Liner and 100mm last offers a stabilizing and thermo-moldable customized mid-volume fit. “The RX W collection is designed as an everyday resort boot for skiers of all abilities who want to go bell-to-bell without being held back by discomfort,” says Matt Farness, alpine category Manager for Lange.
NORDICA Speedmachine 3 115 W
The Nordica Speedmachine 3 115 W has stiffness, support with a focus on reducing weight. Nordica’s plastic honeycomb construction called Force Shell has triple injected materials that combine a load-bearing, hard plastic with a less rigid soft plastic for support as well as weight reduction. The Force Liner has an asymmetrical design to improve lateral support, while thermoformable cork around the ankles and tongue allows for a precise fit in the 100mm-lasted boot. EVA ankle reinforcement helps customize the boot’s ankle pocket and Primaloft insulation in the liner adds warmth. “The all-mountain Speedmachine focuses on offering a new level of power and comfort,” says Sam Beck, Nordica’s director of marketing and communications.
ROSSIGNOL Alltrack W Elite 110 GW
“The Alltrack W Elite 110 GW is a women’s boot that has been designed and tested by women,” says Jake Stevens, Rossignol alpine category manager. “The balance between power, stability, and control is unmatched and the walk-mode feature allows for comfort and ease of use.” Rossignol designed the Alltrack W Elite 110 GW as part of the new All Mountain Free line, based on Rossignol’s women’s Skinny Fit last (98mm). For downhill performance, the boot has Dual Core molding technology, which allows for an injection of a thicker and thinner plastic at strategic places for both power ease-of-use. The PU shell has a tulip-shaped cuff, while the liner features Thinsulate Stretch for warmth and comfort.
SALOMON S/Pro 100 W
“The morphological cuff in the S/PRO 100 W is specifically shaped in a more open position to offer an adaptive hugging of the calf, providing comfort, and enhancing performance for women,” says Chris McKearin, Salomon alpine commercial manager. The newly-designed, anatomically correct liner, constructed without internal stitches, has cushy foam and an elastic toe box that adapts to extra space for an out-of-the-box fit. With a 100 flex and 100mm fit, the mid-volume boot is designed for a precise fit. Salomon’s Custom Shell HD allows for customization, while Gripwalk soles make walking a cinch.
TECNICA Mach1 MV 105 W
The Mach1 MV 105 W’s performance comes from Tecnica’s T-Ride technology, which regulates the boot’s flex to increase the consistency of shell material when the temperature rises or falls. The 100mm anatomically shaped last provides a mid-volume fit, while Tecnica’s C.A.S. fit system offers customization of the shell, liner, footboard, and tongue through heat molding, punching, and grinding—all favored methods of professional boot fitters. “The T-Drive makes it incredibly efficient, so less effort is required to make the boot do the same amount of work,” says Leslie Baker-Brown, Tecnica’s Women to Women Project Lead. “It also has a more precise feel, allowing the quicker edge-to-edge transitions and the feeling of being more connected to your skis, giving you more control and confidence.”
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