Best AT Ski Boots of 2013-2014

Best AT Ski Boots of 2013-2014

Jackson, Wyoming ski patroller and writer Jeff Burke tested the best Alpine Touring (AT) boots of 2014 for several weeks last winter, rating them on walkability, compatibility, power, comfort, and value. Here is a summary of his reports.

Dynafit TLT 6

Dynafit-TLT-6

The TLT 6 is the updated version of Dynafit’s award winning TLT 5 light and fast touring boot. It’s surprisingly powerful and versatile, without compromising its deft nature. In short, Dynafit took their “game changer” boot and made it better. It’s got a wider last to accommodate a bigger range of foot types, they’ve improved the liners, the buckles, and still managed to keep them refreshingly ugly—all while enhancing the overall efficiency and power in a deft alpine touring package. The Good: Agile; improved two-buckle system; improved liner. The Bad: Pricey; micro-adjustment on buckles; walk mode dependent on top buckle. Retail Price: $750/$1000. Gear Institute Rating: 88

To read the full report, click here.

 

Scarpa Freedom SL

Scarpa-Freedom-SL

The Freedom SL is an all terrain freeride boot that balances bona fide downhill chops with serious tourability. It is a serious one-boot quiver if there ever was one. It can drive big skis in any condition, and it’ll tour as good as just about any dedicated alpine touring boot. The good: Very smooth, progressive flex index (120); walk mode provides maximum tourability; light and nimble for making quick work of bootpacks, or tackling long slogs; sold with your choice of tech fittings or alpine soles. The bad: Tongue liner can get jammed up when taking off boots; not quite as stiff as you’d think; buckles are a little clunky. 6 lbs, 14 oz. Retail Price: $769. Gear Institute Rating: 89

To read the full report, click here.

Black Diamond Factor Mx

Black-Diamond-Factor-MX

The Black Diamond Factor Mx is a solid utilitarian freeride boot with four buckles and your choice between tech fitting or alpine soles. The upgraded Factor Mx is a solid offering from BD, and outperformed its predecessor in skiing and touring. I think it’s best served for those who primarily want an ergonomic boot for rat packing around the resort, but don’t mind hiking or skinning for additional turns. The Good: Overlap construction has smooth progressive flex. The Bad: Buckles are a bit dainty; could have a little more walk in the walk mode. Retail Price: $769. Gear Institute Rating: 87

To read the full report, click here.

K2 Pinnacle 130 Boot

K2-Pinnicle-130

The Pinnacle is K2’s beefy, all mountain, three-buckle freeride boot, with an active powerstrap and tech fittings. K2’s foray into the freeride market is a solid one. And truth be told, if they’d come out with this boot five years ago, people would’ve had come to Jesus moments. As it is, the Pinnacle is a solid contender but there’s a lot of powerful and ergonomic boots these days. Nevertheless, the Pinnacle will deliver as a resort based tool. The Good: Comes in three lasts; full time tech fittings built into a DIN sole. The Bad: A bit heavy and pricey. Retail Price: $850. Gear Institute Rating: 86

To read the full report, click here.

Dalbello Panterra 120 ID

Dalbello-Panterra-120-ID

The Panterra is a robust four-buckle freeride boot that can hike to glory or simply charge downhill. This is another freeride boot that has a lot going for it: comfort, performance and ergonomics. Together these features make for a solid freeride boot with significant stiffness and resort-based enthusiasm. The Good: Alpine performance. The Bad: No tech fittings; a little heavy. Retail Price: $750. Gear Institute Rating: 85

To read the full report, click here.

Salomon Quest Max BC 120

Salomon-Quest-Max-BC-120

The new Salomon Quest Max BC is an upgraded robust three-buckle freeride boot. Salomon made good strides by returning their efforts to a freeride boot with tech fittings. The Quest BC 120’s best virtue is its versatility—built for resort-based adventure. The Good: Versatility; sold with DIN Soles AND tech fitting soles. The Bad: Liner could use some love; not that stiff for a 120 flex. Retail Price: $799. Gear Institute Rating: 83

To read the full report, click here.

La Sportiva Spectre

La-Sportiva-Spectre

The La Sportiva Spectre is a four-buckle Alpine Touring boot for dedicated backcountry and ski mountaineering use. This boot is definitely designed for the backcountry. Deft and good for covering lots of ground, I skinned a lot in the boot and enjoyed its ergonomics for snow travel. Not as powerful and stiff as other four buckle boots in this category. The Good: Very good walk mode; nimble for technical forays. The Bad: Not very stiff; buckles have a learning curve. Retail Price: $599. Gear Institute Rating: 83

To read the full report, click here.

Roxa X-Ride

Roxa-X-Ride-AT-Boot

A dark horse newcomer from Italy, the Roxa X-ride is a three-buckle AT boot with tech fittings and a worthy debut appearance. Most things about the Roxa X-ride were good, if not great. And with a fair price as well, the value is there if you want a decent boot with general goals. The Good: Buckle placement; price. The Bad: Weight. Retail Price: $635. Gear Institute Rating: 83

To read the full report, click here.

Atomic Waymaker Tour 110

Atomic-Waymaker-Tour-100-W

The Atomic Waymaker is a stout three-buckle alpine touring boot with tech fittings. The Waymaker has a bit of an identity crisis. It’s built more as a freeride boot, with bigger bodily features that belie its more ergonomic intentions. The voluminous boot is best for high volume feet and for those who ski a lot in bounds but like having tech capability at the ready. The Good: Buckle placement and power strap; tech fittings; Intuition tongue liner. The Bad: Walk mode; high volume; high foot platform. Retail Price: $775. Gear Institute Rating: 81

To read the full report, click here.