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Gear Guide 2020: Best in Test Ski Boots

With more flex, volume and price options in every category, it's time to upgrade to something that actually fits your foot and blends perfectly with your skiing style.

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We partnered with the ski boot pros at Park City Boot Room and The Lift House in Utah plus Northern Ski Works in Vermont for this year’s test. Matt Schiller, Luke Larsen, and Hal Karabots recruit testers with a variety of foot shapes and skiing styles willing to jam their toes into unfitted boots and go skiing. Need a boot fitter? We highly recommend these shops. 

Matt Schiller SKI test Taos
Park City Boot Room founder Matt Schiller at SKI Test in Taos, N.M.Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

Testers: Chris Allen, Alicia Applegate, Ben Attridge, Tracy Beers, Erin Bragg, Carrie Brock, Kevin Brower, Patrick Brower, Carlie Crosland, Tom Favro, Kelley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Humes, Marina Knight, Luke Larsen, Amy Larsen, Katherine MacLauchlan, Chris Nielsen, Greg Peruzzi, Brian Potempa, Clayton Russell, Ashley Russell, Mike Ruzek, Merisa Sherman, Chris Slade, Chris Smith, Justin Soine, Michael Strachan. 

Extra special thanks to Killington and Snowbird for helping with the on-hill testing.

Men’s All-Mountain Adventure Ski Boot: Head Kore

2020 Head Kore 1
The 2020 Head Kore 1.

Head’s improved Smart Frame technology adds more material to the lower shell to increase downhill performance with minimal weight gains. Throw in GripWalk, LiquidFit customization, and a simple-yet-effective walk mode, and the Kore can rule the mountain within resort boundaries and beyond. According to one tester, “Very responsive and stiff, I would ski this anywhere.”

Head Kore Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 130 (Kore 1), 120 (Kore 2)
  • LAST: 100MM
  • HEAD KORE 1 MSRP: $900 [BUY NOW]

Women’s All-Mountain Adventure Ski Boot: Rossignol AllTrack Pro W

2020 Rossignol AllTrack Pro W
The Rossignol AllTrack Pro W 110

The female testers were ecstatic about the AllTrack Pro W. The key ingredients are Dual Core PU in the lower shell to increase performance and Rossi’s Generative Design Grid to reduce weight. Add in a pre-shaped customizable liner and a 50-degree range of motion in walk mode, and this boot can handle everything. “A strong, stable alpine boot with walkability.”

Rossignol AllTrack Pro W Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 110, 100, 80
  • LAST: 100MM

Men’s High-Performance Alpine Ski Boot: Fischer RC4 Podium GT

2020 Fischer RC4 Podium GT
The 2020 Fischer RC4 Podium 130 GT.

Fischer took the performance of the RC4 Podium race boot and mated it with Vacuum Fit customization. The result knocked the socks off testers in Park City, who were enamored with the top-tier liner features, including smartly designed laces, great heel hold, and a grind-able tongue for instep variations. “Superb customization and solid on-hill performance.”

Fischer RC4 Podium GT Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 140, 130, 110
  • LAST: 96MM

Women’s High-Performance Alpine Ski Boot: Salomon S/MAX W

2020 Salomon S/Max 110 W
The 2020 Salomon S/MAX 110 W.Photo courtesy of Salomon

The all-new S/MAX W takes all the successful elements of the men’s version—Coreframe reinforcement, heat-moldable shell, top-tier seamless liner—and puts it into a women’s-specific package that testers were over the moon about. Its performance was so good that one of the Park City testers bought the test pair on the spot. “Yes! A category-defining boot.”

Salomon S/MAX 110 W Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 120, 110, 90, 70
  • LAST: 98MM
  • SALOMON S/MAX 110 W MSRP: $800 [BUY NOW]

Men’s Comfort Ski Boot: Nordica SpeedMachine

2020 Nordica SpeedMachine  110
The 2020 Nordica SpeedMachine 110.

Nordica SpeedMachine Factsheet

With a narrower last than its wider brother, the SportMachine, the SpeedMachine impressed testers with noticeably awesome downhill abilities, out-performing the rest of the category at Killington, Vt. And while its medium volume will fit most feet, Nordica’s Infrared fitting technology can accommodate the rest. “A great tool to improve skills.”

  • FLEXES: 130, 120, 110, 100, 90
  • LAST: 100MM

Women’s Comfort Ski Boot: Nordica SpeedMachine W 

Nordica SpeedMachine W 2020
The 2020 Nordica SpeedMachine 85 WPhoto courtesy of Nordica

With the narrowest last in the category, the Speedmachine’s downhill performance garnered tester praise, noting that it had a quick command of edges from the get-go. With a customizable PrimaLoft Precision Fit liner and Infrared customizability, this boot will work with anyone who wants uncompromised performance.

Nordica SpeedMachine W Factsheet 

  • FLEXES: 115, 105, 95, 85, 75
  • LAST: 100MM

Originally published in the 2020 Gear Guide. Don’t miss an issue and SUBSCRIBE NOW.