Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


High Performance Boots

2023 Salomon S/Pro Alpha 120 EL Review

If you liked the Salomon S/Max, wait till you step into this new boot

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and bundle up with Outside+.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

40% Off Holiday Sale, Ends Nov. 28
$4.99 $2.99 / month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.

  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Brand: Salomon

Model: S/Pro Alpha 120





Strong Intermediate, Advanced





Last Width (mm)

98-104 mm

It’s rare, in a time of knotted supply chains and economic uncertainties, for a brand to fully revamp a beloved product line. But in retiring the S/Max boot, and raising the S/Pro Alpha like a phoenix from the ashes, Salomon did something wholly unexpected. Perhaps we’re being a touch dramatic—we just really like this boot. On snow this boot felt very light and the best way to describe the flex pattern is snappy. It’s pretty stiff at the top of the flex and ramps up very quickly, then pops back upright the second you release the ski after the apex of the turn. This is a big difference from last year’s boot, which stiffened much later into the flex pattern, and makes it feel a little more able to control quick, slalom style turns.

Learn more: What is ski boot “flex” and why does it matter?

Much of the precision in the on-snow feel comes from the phenomenally tight calf-wrap of the new S/Pro Alpha 120 EL. The cuff feels remarkably narrower than the past year’s model and this delivers zero play and immediate response. The lightweight PU construction also lent to a quicker feeling pivot in the steep, slushy bumps characteristic of Mammoth’s late spring.

That said, the tradeoff of less mass meant that the boot felt a touch harsh in really manky snow, and transmitted more feedback to the skier than heavier boots we tested. The tradeoff is worth it if you’re after an all-mountain boot that can deliver slalom-style precision without being punishing or cold in soft, mid-winter snow. You can also soften or stiffen the cuff with a simple twist of a star key.

The old Salomon S/Max fit the feet of a dedicated group of skiers incredibly well, but turned off many more with its, shall we say, sleek instep height. That concave scaffo caused both immense pain for tall-footed skiers and mental anguish for boot fitters, as the instep height is tricky to adjust. Salomon’s new “3D Instep” is really just a switch to a more convex bulge over the problem area that will allow taller-but-still-narrow footed skiers to comfortably slither into the new S/Pro Alpha.

Related: How tight should new ski boots be?

The change we liked even more is the instep buckle, no longer superfluous in terms of fit. Salomon moved the buckle higher toward the break of the boot, allowing it to act more like the middle buckle in a cabrio-style boot, cinching the ankle and moving the heel deeper into the heel pocket. This design change allowed the more bulbous instep to not compromise the boot’s heel hold. More room, still snug. If you do need any widening, this boot is fully heat-moldable, both shell and liner. This works exceptionally well for spot expansions, as they can be done on your feet instead of a standard punch.

We were able to test Salomon’s new “Full Service” version of the S/Pro Alpha 120 EL (“EL” stands for “expert line” and separates this model from the standard Salomon S/Pro Alpha 120). The S/Pro Alpha 120 EL is the version that majorly impressed our testers, all of whom are full time bootfitters. The first thing we noticed was that all of the buckles fastened with screws instead of rivets (praise be!) This will allow for greater longevity of the boot because your boot fitter will never have to drill out your rivets to replace buckles if they break. We also loved the liner’s unstitched tongue, which will provide incredibly easy access for additional padding once the stock foam begins to pack out.

SKI’s testers were uniformly impressed by Salomon’s attention to customer feedback, improving the fit and features of their low-volume offering in new and surprising ways. This boot skied and fit better than the S/Max, and is a worthy heir to its lineage. Skiers who have narrow feet but felt clamped by previous Salomon’s should take note, and those who had no problems beforehand should consider the leaps and bounds that the cuff fit and feel provide.

Compare this boot to the other best alpine ski boots of the year

This post contains affiliate links, primarily provided by our priority partner We may earn a commission if you buy through these links. Read more about our policy.