One thing immediately noticeable about the Raptor series is the limited amount of flex these boots allow—less than 5 degrees of forward motion. (The average for a high-performance overlap boot is around 10 degrees.) This minimal flex makes these boots uncomfortable to walk in, but provides unmatched energy transfer. Add in a rock-solid Double Power Booster Strap, and it’s as if these boots become an extension of your body rather than something you merely wear. Don’t expect these boots to fit out of the box, but after taking them to a professional boot fitter, you might never ski in anything else. Both the men’s and the women’s earned Best in Test accolades this year, and if you’re after true high-performance machines that can drive any ski on the market, these need to be on your list. [Raptor 140 RS: $800; 110 RS W: $700. head.com]
Read our Gear Guide 2018 Reviews of the Raptor 140 RS and the Raptor 110 RS W.