In the Sportmachine, Nordica promises “true performance in the 102-mm category.” That’d be a dream come true for XL experts who are too fat-footed for the typical 98-mm width of a typical high-performance boot. Testers say Nordica delivers. The Sportmachine rips: quick, supportive, responsive, and strong. No extra padding, no man fur—just the extra width that big hombres need. “Power, comfort, and precision in one boot,” said Favro. “A do-anything boot for the wider foot.” More info about the Nordica Sportmachine 130 here.
Flex: 130; Width: Wide (102 mm).
Given the ease and effectiveness of its bake-and-buckle shell-molding feature, Salomon can make the X Pro a little out-of-the-box snugger than others in the wide-fit class. So even at the 90-flex level, it offers the quickness and command of a tighter-fitting, more expensive boot. Too snug? Heat it up and buckle it on for a custom fit—it’s a quick process. Testers just liked the way the X Pro looks too. McCarthy: “Has the feel of a more expensive, higher-performing boot. And bonus points for its sleek, aerodynamic design.” Read more about the Salomon X Pro X90 here.
Flex: 90; Width: Medium (100-106 mm).
Tecnica doesn’t go in for easy-bake shell customization because it doesn’t trust the lower-melting-point plastics required. Instead, it uses tried and true polyurethane, but builds in lots of features that help boot fitters do their job. The Mach1 doesn’t try to be a high-rebound ripper, but offers solid support and predictable feedback fore and aft with a warm, roomy fit. “Not a hard charger, but a smooth controlled ride that builds confidence. A great boot to hone your skills in,” said Favro. More info about the Tecnica Mach1 120 MV here.
Flex: 120; Width: Medium (100 mm)
If it helps, think of built-in heat as a performance feature: No one skis his best with numb feet. Or just given what it takes to get to the mountains with job hours these days (we feel your pain), you’ll be damned if you’re going to suffer through another bitter-cold January. The heat system works, testers said; easy, effective, well integrated. And while the BFC is unapologetically “built for comfort,” it doesn’t suck at managing a ski. Slade: “Goldilocks fit throughout. Throw in the heat, you got a real winner.” McCarthy: “A home run for the vacation skier.” Read more about the K2 BFC 100 Heat here.
Flex: 100; Width: Wide (103 mm)
Cabrio design (where the shell has a tongue that opens forward for easy entry) is a natural fit for the comfort category. No other boot in the test was easier to slip on than the Panterra. An easy and effective walk mode plus extra-grippy soles gives it best-in-class, free-striding mobility for lodge stairs and icy lots. And on the hill? It’s not built to hammer, but it’s smooth and predictable, and it puts the ambitious skier in a position to succeed. “Easy on and off, very nice overall fit, skis well,” said Slade. “Delivered above and beyond my expectations.” Read more about the Dalbello Panterra 100 here.
Flex: 100; Width: Medium (100/102)