Gear

The Most Exciting New Ski Boots of 2021

SKI's top picks for those looking to upgrade their ski boots this season.


Like so many things in March and April of 2020, SKI was forced to cancel its annual boot test when our go-to test centers were shut down. In place of our usual boot testing process, we invited brands to submit their newest and most exciting entries, and the resulting coverage includes notes from our editors’ experiences whenever possible. Because the majority of these ski boots have brand-new technologies—and more than a few notable carry-over features from the prior season—there has never been a better time to go to a local shop or bootfitter and talk about which boots, fits, and features interest you. SKI recommends working with an expert to make an informed ski boot purchase that will fit your foot for years to come and improve your overall skiing experience.

GEAR OF THE YEAR: Lange XT3

2021 Lange XT3 130 Ski Boot
The Lange XT3 130 All-Mountain Ski BootPhoto courtesy of Lange
2021 Lange XT3 110 W women's all-mountain adventure ski boot
The Lange XT3 110 W All-Mountain Ski BootPhoto courtesy of Lange
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Adventure Ski Boots
  • FLEXES (Men): 140, 130 (pictured), 120, 100
  • FLEXES (Women): 110 (pictured), 90, 80
  • LAST: 97mm (LV), 100mm (MV)
  • VOLUME: Low (LV), Medium (MV)
  • MSRP: $900 (XT3 130), $800 (XT3 110 W)

The XT3 is the first boot that comes incredibly close to delivering true alpine performance while in ski mode but remains comfortable and easy to hike with while in walk mode. Built with an innovative metal-on-metal V-lock that effectively eliminates any play in downhill mode, as well as Lange’s Dual-Core Light shell construction that provides a near-perfect feel, the XT3 is virtually flawless when descending on hard and soft snow alike. The brand is so confident in the design and downhill capabilities, it also offers a no-nonsense, low-volume Pro model of the boot with a rigid 140 flex rating. All of the models within the XT3 family feature a 53-degree range of motion in walk mode, removableGripWalk soles, and tech inserts, meaning the XT3 is no slouch when it comes to backcountry tours or just general comfort when walking from your car to the lift. Speaking of comfort, the heat-customizable liners provide a supple feel right out of the box (or right out of the oven during the fitting process) and include different density foams to maximize performance on the uphill and—most importantly—the down. Add in a slew of options when it comes to flex and volume choices, and this boot is likely to be your one-and-only go-to boot for laps off the lift, backcountry tours, and everything in between.

Atomic Hawx Prime XTD

2021 Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 men's all mountain ski boot
The 2021 Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 men’s all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of Atomic
Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 115 W women's all-mountain ski boot
The 2021 Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 115 W women’s all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of Atomic
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Adventure
  • FLEXES (Men): 130 (pictured), 120
  • FLEXES (Women): 115 (pictured), 95
  • LAST: 100MM
  • VOLUME: Medium
  • PRICE: $975 (130), $850 (115 W)

Atomic has been putting out some incredible specific boots over the past few years, as well as solid specific all-mountain options. The brand’s combination of the two is found in the new Hawx Prime XTD. This boot hits all the right notes for the category, including trimming shell material thickness where it’s not needed—and, with it, weight—plus beefed-up spots where performance counts. With a 100-percent heat-moldable shell and Mimic liner, a stout walk/ski switch, and GripWalk soles with tech inserts, the Hawx Prime XTD can be made to fit just about any skier’s disposition and feet comfortably.

Head Kore 2 W

The 2021 Head Kore 2 W all mountain ski boot for women
The 2021 Head Kore 2 W all-mountain ski boot for womenPhoto courtesy of Head
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Adventure
  • FLEX (WOMENS): 110
  • LAST: 100 MM
  • VOLUME: MEDIUM
  • PRICE: $775 (Kore 2 W)

Last season’s Best in Test Kore boot line returns with a new women’s-specific addition, the Kore 2 W. Built with the same graphene-enhanced lightweight shell and a beefed-up power plate in the upper cuff, the Kore line provides a solid feel during descents, and a simple walk mode allows for stress-free touring or strolling through the resort village. Head’s unique Liquid Fit liner is especially welcome on the women’s model as it eliminates dead space in the critical areas above the heel and below the calf. The aluminum buckles and ladder-locks are simple, effective, and, most importantly, built to last.

Salomon Shift Pro

2021 Salomon Shift Pro 130 men's all-mountain ski boot
The 2021 Salomon Shift Pro 130 all-mountain ski boot.Photo courtesy of Salomon
The 2021 Salomon Shift Pro 11 w all-mountain ski boot.
The 2021 Salomon Shift Pro 110 W all-mountain ski boot.Photo courtesy of Salomon
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Adventure
  • FLEXES (Men): 130 (pictured), 120, 100
  • FLEXES (Women) 110 (pictured), 90
  • LAST: 100 MM
  • VOLUME: Medium
  • PRICE: $975 (130), $850 (110 W)

Salomon’s revolutionary CoreFrame system finally found its way into backcountry capable boots, and we’re stoked. These shell additions—which cradle the foot and back of the calf—place dense material where it’s needed most, improving feel and performance while allowing for weight reductions throughout the rest of the boot. The result is one of the lightest options in the category. With a simple-yet-proven walk mode mechanism, heat-moldable liner and shell, and super easy customization features, the Shift Pro is yet another great boot from Salomon that appeals to resort and backcountry skiers alike.

Tecnica Mach1 MV

2021 Tecnica Mach1 MV Men's All-Mountain Ski Boot
2021 Tecnica Mach1 MV Men’s All-Mountain Ski BootPhoto courtesy of Tecnica
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Resort
  • FLEXES: 140, 130, 120, 110
  • VOLUME: MEDIUM
  • LAST: 100MM
  • PRICE: $900 (130)

Tecnica took inspiration from the construction of its backcountry ski boots to invent a long, rigid, carbon lever arm—called the T-Drive— that connects the upper cuff of the Mach1 MV to the lower shell. It noticeably increases lateral energy transfer when getting a ski on edge and enables the boot’s other construction features, such as the asymmetrical use of softer and harder plastics in the shell, to function better. Expect the T-Drive to land in other Tecnica boots in future seasons.

Fischer RC4 The Curv GT

2021 Fischer RC4 The Curv GT 130 all mountain ski boot
The 2021 Fischer RC4 The Curv GT 130 all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of Fischer
2021 Fischer RC4 The Curv GT 115 all mountain ski boot
The 2021 Fischer RC4 The Curv GT 115 all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of Fischer
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Resort
  • FLEXES (MENS): 130 (pictured), 120, 110
  • FLEXES (WOMENS): 115 (pictured), 105, 95
  • LAST: 96MM
  • VOLUME: LOW
  • PRICE: $800 (130), $700 (115 W)

Taking note of last year’s race-ready Best in Test RC4 Podium GT, Fischer put a whole slew of easy-to-modify tech in a low-volume boot for recreational skiers. The RC4 The Curv GT line is a dream for hard-to-fit feet and bootfitters alike, with Velcro-attachable pads around the ankle, a removable tongue, and a Vacuum-fit shell system. Add in GripWalk soles, reduced weight, and great on-hill performance, and this is a complete all-mountain package.

WATCH: Shop Talk Vail Preview 2021 – Fischer RC4 The Curv Ski Boots

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Full Tilt First Chair 130

The 2021 Full Tilt First Chair 130 all-mountain ski boot
The 2021 Full Tilt First Chair 130 all-mountain ski boot.Photo courtesy of Full Tilt
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Resort
  • LAST: 99MM
  • VOLUME: LOW
  • PRICE: $850

This season, the brand that keeps the soul of three-piece ski boots alive swapped its single-number flex rating for standard flex indicators. Full Tilt also released a true 130-flex tongue—built using a proprietary combination of TPU and Grilamid—in the First Chair 130. In combination with a new Intuition liner, GripWalk soles, and that incomparable feel that only Full Tilt boots provide, the First Chair 130 gives cause for anyone who thinks FT only builds “soft” boots to reconsider.

Roxa R/Fit I.R.

The 2021 Roxa R/Fit I.R. 130 all-mountain ski boot
The 2021 Roxa R/Fit I.R. 130 all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of Roxa
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Resort
  • FLEXES: 130 (pictured), 120
  • LAST: 102MM
  • VOLUME: HIGH
  • PRICE: $750 (130)

The Roxa R/Fit I.R. turns the notion that wide boots are clunky and heavy on its head. These lightweight, high-volume beauties use injected Grilamid in key locations of the otherwise PU shell, which cuts weight without diminishing performance. With a wide 102mm last, the boots will need minimal fit modification for most, but can be heat-molded for more volume if needed. With easy entry and GripWalk, the R/Fit I.R. boots hold their own in both the comfort and performance departments. 

K2 Recon/Anthem Pro

The 2021 K2 Anthem Pro women's all-mountain ski boot
The 2021 K2 Recon Pro men’s all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of K2
The 2021 K2 Recon Pro men's all-mountain ski boot
The 2021 K2 Anthem Pro women’s all-mountain ski bootPhoto courtesy of K2
  • CATEGORY: All-Mountain Resort
  • FLEXES: 140 (Recon), 120 (Anthem)
  • LAST: 98MM
  • VOLUME: LOW
  • PRICE: $700

K2 took the original Recon design and injected more stiffness via a new liner, pebax cuff, and removable power plate to create the Recon Pro. The brand also steps up the women’s-specific Anthem line with a 120 flex, equally all-black Pro version. Both Pro models keep all of the features that make the Recon line great: 100-percent heat-moldable shell and liner, a terrific weight-to-performance ratio, bootfitter-friendly adjustment features, and super-easy entry and exit.

Nordica HF Elite Heat

The 2021 Nordica HF Elite Heat Men's Comfort Ski boot
The 2021 Nordica HF Elite Heat Men’s Comfort Ski bootPhoto courtesy of Nordica
  • CATEGORY: Comfort
  • FLEX: 110
  • LAST: 102MM
  • VOLUME: HIGH
  • PRICE: $900

Yes, this boot is strikingly reminiscent of rear entry boots, but it uses some very modern tech to provide comfort and performance. The HF Elite Heat has built-in THERM-IC heating elements in the liner that can be adjusted using a smartphone. That same liner uses Nordica’s proven 3D Custom Cork for superior skiing performance, as well as Infrared customization system to fit funky foot shapes. Plus, the rear buckle can be opened and closed using a ski pole or your other foot. No more bending over.

Rossignol AllSpeed/Pure Pro Heat

The 2021 Rossignol AllSpead Pro Heat Men's Comfort ski boot
The 2021 Rossignol AllSpead Pro Heat men’s comfort ski boot.Photo courtesy of Rossignol
The 2021 Rossignol Pure Pro Heat Women's Comfort ski boot
The 2021 Rossignol Pure Pro Heat Women’s Comfort ski bootPhoto courtesy of Rossignol
  • CATEGORY: Comfort
  • FLEX (MENS): 110 (Pictured below)
  • FLEX (WOMENS): 100 (Pictured above)
  • LAST: 100MM
  • VOLUME: MEDIUM
  • PRICE: $800 (AllSpeed Pro Heat), $750 (Pure Pro Heat)

With strong skiing capabilities and fancy toe warmers, Rossi’s Pro Heat models have quickly become the brand’s hottest items in the ski boot scene. The built-in THERM-IC heated liners can be controlled via Bluetooth with a smartphone. The simple four-buckle overlap shells have great on-hill performance and can hold their own all over the hill. These boots will keep your feet happy, warm, and in control no matter how low the temps drop.

Dalbello Panterra

The 2021 Dalbello Panterra 120 men's comfort ski boot
The 2021 Dalbello Panterra 120 men’s comfort ski bootPhoto courtesy of Dalbello
The 2021 Dalbello Panterra 105 W men's comfort ski boot
The 2021 Dalbello Panterra 105 W men’s comfort ski bootPhoto courtesy of Dalbello
  • CATEGORY: Comfort
  • FLEXES (MENS): 130, 120, 100, 90
  • FLEXES (WOMENS): 105, 95, 85, 75
  • LAST: 100MM
  • VOLUME: HIGH
  • PRICE: $750 (120), $750 (105 W)

Sometimes a ski boot can surprise users with the right blend of comfort and capabilities on the ski hill. The Dalbello Panterra does exactly that: A well-engineered cabrio three-piece shell features reinforcements where they matter most for on-hill duties, plus a super comfortable, heat-moldable liner and walk-mode for when boots are on, but skis are not. A roomy toe box and a uniquely placed buckle keep the heel locked in place. 

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