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The 6 Best Men's High-Performance Ski Boots of the Year

Time to buzz the tower, Maverick? Note: SKI takes no responsibility for anyone who rides into The Danger Zone in these boots, no matter how many times Kenny Loggins insists on taking you there.

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Power. Precision. Pure control. For demanding experts, these boots unapologetically deliver the goods. OK with snug fits, stiff flexes and much of your comfort coming from the simple knowledge that you’re riding a high-performance machine? Here you go.

The following boots were tested in Utah by the staff and pro-level testers at Park City Boot Room, one of the premier boot shops in North America. 

BEST IN TEST: 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
  • 2020 GEAR GUIDE RANK: #1

Lange RS

2020 Lange RS
The 2020 Lange RS 130 LV.

The RS embodies everything a skier could want in a high-performance ski boot. The Dual Core shell—two different plastics simultaneously injected during creation—provides unparalleled performance. Combined with a new customizable liner, the RS had the best skiablity in the category. “The new liner is incredible, and on-snow performance is still top of the class.”

  • FLEXES: 130, 120, 100
  • LAST: 97MM, 100MM
  • 2020 GEAR GUIDE RANK: #2
  • LANGE RS 130 LV MSRP: $850 [BUY NOW]

BEST VALUE: Head Raptor RS

2020 Head Raptor RS
The 2020 Head Raptor 140 RS.Photo courtesy of Head

Head’s signature white race boot incorporates a wax-injected LiquidFit customizable liner this season, providing better ankle support in addition to a slew of other great customization features. The Raptor maintains its reputation as one of the stiffest, burliest boots in the category. “New liner provides a great mold and adds even more great potential to this classic boot.” 

Head Raptor RS Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 150, 140, 130
  • LAST: 96MM
  • 2020 GEAR GUIDE RANK: #3

Salomon S/MAX

2020 Salomon S/MAX
The 2020 Salomon S/MAX 130.

Looking for high performance, easy customization, and reduced weight? The S/MAX 130 Carbon version weighs a mere 3 pounds 10 ounces per boot, but punches well above its weight in downhill performance. With a fairly upright stance, this boot might not be for everyone, but if it fits, it’s hard to beat. “So light and responsive, this boot is the future.”

Salomon S/MAX Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 130 CARBON, 130, 120, 110, 100
  • LAST: 98MM
  • 2020 GEAR GUIDE RANK: #4

Nordica ProMachine

2020 Nordica ProMachine
The 2020 Nordica ProMachine 130.

The narrowest member of Nordica’s Machine line features some creature comforts, including GripWalk and easy entry. Don’t be fooled, however, as this boot rips (like most Nordicas). Testers found the ProMachine had a unique fit that felt boxy for some, but perfect for others. “The classic Nordica feel in a tight, high-performance package.”

Nordica ProMachine Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 130, 120, 110
  • LAST: 98MM
  • 2020 GEAR GUIDE RANK: #5

Atomic Redster Club Sport

2020 Atomic Redster Club Sport
The 2020 Atomic Redster Club Sport 130.

Perhaps the most race-oriented boot in the category, the Redster Club Sport features minimal volume—almost everyone will need to have fitting work done to get a proper fit. When fitted properly, this boot will turn the piste into your own personal racecourse and provide precise control all the way down. “A true race boot, both in terms of fit and performance.”

Atomic Redster Club Sport Factsheet

  • FLEXES: 130, 110, 100, 80
  • LAST: 95MM
  • 2020 GEAR GUIDE RANK: #6

The 6 Best Men’s High-Performance Boots of 2019

BEST IN TEST: Lange RS 130

The 2019 Lange RS 130.

This year the RS 130 squeaked into the top spot, most noticeably for its top-tier liner that fit perfectly snug in all the right places. The shell is composed of Lange’s Dual Core technology, where two durometers of polyether are simultaneously injected during construction, offering unparalleled responsiveness. All this with a perfectly neutral yet adjustable stance and two volume options convinced testers to give it the top spot. “Superb, high-performance flexing.” 

  • Last Width (in millimeters): 97
  • Flex 130
  • Number Of Buckles 4
  • MSRP: $850 (BUY NOW)

BEST VALUE: Head Raptor 140 RS

2019 Head Raptor 140 RS
The 2019 Head Raptor 140 RS.Photo courtesy of Head

This boot is designed for current and former racers, strong instructors, and aggressive recreational skiers who demand steep race angles and zero downhill performance compromise. Testers gave it high marks for a very secure ankle hold and overall fit, as well as its renown on-mountain performance. If you don’t already own a pair and think you need the most aggressive boot on the market, start here. “High-performance boot is an understatement.” 

  • Last Width (in millimeters): 96
  • Flex: 140
  • Number Of Buckles: 4
  • MSRP: $800

Salomon S/MAX 130 Carbon

2019 Salomon S/MAX Carbon 130
The Salomon S/MAX 130 Carbon for 2019.

Salomon’s brand-new high-performance frontside boot made testers do a double-take on what brand they were wearing. Every tester remarked on the S/MAX’s minimal weight and energetic responsiveness on snow. Salomon’s completely heat-moldable shell and liner setup is a touch more upright than others in the category, giving it potential to be an all-mountain option for strong skiers. “Super lightweight, yet very solid and receptive to energy input.”

  • Last Width (in millimeters): 98
  • Flex: 130
  • Number Of Buckles: 4
  • MSRP: $975 (BUY NOW)

Nordica ProMachine 130

2019 Nordica ProMachine 130
The 2019 Nordica ProMachine 130 ski boot.

Nordica’s new ProMachine takes the award-winning tech of the Speedmachine and bridges it with the Dobermann race line while trimming overall weight. The result is a low-volume, high-performance boot that testers were ecstatic about. With a top-of-the-line 3D custom cork liner, thorough shell customization options, and GripWalk, the ProMachine shows that comfort can be found in performance boots. “Snug, secure, and great at driving forward.” 

  • Last Width (in millimeters): 98
  • Flex: 130
  • Number Of Buckles: 4
  • MSRP: $849 (BUY NOW)

Tecnica Mach1 LV 130

Tecnica Mach1 HV 130 2019 ski boot review
The 2019 Tecnica Mach1 HV 130.Photo courtesy of Tecnica

Testers raved about the smooth flex of the Mach1 LV 130, and its appeal to former racers and big mountain enthusiasts. Featuring Tecnica’s C.A.S. liner and shell with point-heat modification in the usual trouble spots, this boot is a testament to Tecnica’s rock-solid ski boot legacy. Testers did note that the aggressive ramp angle (4.4 degrees) might be a turn-off, but will please enthusiasts of forward stances. “Good balance of power and aggressive stance.” 

  • Last Width (in millimeters): 98
  • Flex: 130
  • Number Of Buckles: 4
  • MSRP: $860 (BUY NOW)

Dalbello DRS 130

2019 Dalbello DRS 130
The 2019 Dalbello DRS 130.

While its cabrio boots might be the best in the industry, Dalbello’s four-buckle overlap boots are equally impressive. The DRS takes technologies from the brand’s World Cup race line and puts them into a strong all-mountain option. Testers felt the DRS had a slightly larger volume than the other boots in this category, which reduced overall performance except for those with larger feet. “Has a true race boot feel with a neutral stance and soft liner.” 

  • Last Width (in millimeters): 98
  • Flex: 130
  • Number Of Buckles: 4
  • MSRP: $850