This three-buckle boot looks like a hard-charging resort model and performs like one, too—except when hiking. That’s when the walk mode’s 44-degree range of motion let our tester enjoy comfortable strides during long tours that would’ve felt tortuous in anything but a true AT boot. Comfort also comes from the shell’s V-shaped Achilles cutout behind the calf, which permits a wide cuff opening during uphill efforts. The thin (but stiff) liner uses a lace-up tongue to secure the calf and help reduce blisters during tours, and interchangeable soles (included) for tech and step-in bindings allow the Quest to switch between backcountry touring and lift-served skiing.
Instead of using a plastic ski/walk lever (as many boots do), the Quest’s magnesium switch grips a metal bar in the shell for rock-solid power transmission in ski mode. “I felt no play at all when I flipped the lever down, just a nice, progressive forward flex that felt true to its 120 rating,” reports our tester. Beefy buckles paired with an unusually fat power strap apply ample leverage for locking down the foot and ankle, which our tester appreciated when cranking turns over challenging sastrugi in Colorado’s Park Range. The 98mm last and polyiolefin (a stiff plastic) lower shell wrap feet snugly for a performance fit, but the toebox is high and roomy. Gripe: The powerful buckles bit through the thin liner, resulting in pressure points during the downhills. $799; 7 lbs. 15 oz. (m’s 26.5); m’s 24.5-29.5; salomon.com