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Best for medium foot, high instep [Photo courtesy of Black Diamond]
Best for narrow foot, normal instep [Photo courtesy of Salomon]
Best for medium-wide foot, normal instep [Photo courtesy of Scarpa]
Best for medium-wide foot, high instep [Photo courtesy of Tecnica]
In the end, we rounded up four awesome ski boot options that you can likely find on steep discount this late in the season. Since these four models are the best of the best, we recommend picking one based on fit. Go to your local outfitter to try them on before pulling the trigger.
Black Diamond Factor MX
The stiffest boot (according to the manufacturer) in our test, the Factor MX does not compromise any downhill performance, despite its AT compatibility. The cuff angle is pretty aggressive, so don’t plan on sitting back on the groomers—this boot wants to straightline all the time. We noticed the toebox was shallower than most boots. $770; blackdiamondequipment.com
Salomon Quest MAX BC 120
This is the sidecountry specialist of the test: It’s a hard-charging downhill boot that can tour if it has to. It’s best in the test at fully locking in when in Ski Mode—no wiggling at all—which our testers appreciated when sending. The poofy, thick tongue and padding also give it a resort feel, but we could still skin comfortably. Not to mention, the standard tech sole on these boots (Salomon’s “Walk To Ride” system) is compatible in other Salomon DIN bindings, like the Warden, so you can use the same soles with your resort skis. Note: This is the narrowest boot in the lineup. $700; salomon.com
Scarpa Freedom SL
This boot is both a charger and the comfort king of the test. Scarpa claims 27 degrees of ankle articulation, but it felt like more when we cruised uphill, and the toebox is uber-roomy. It might be a little flexy inbounds for heavier chargers, but lighter skiers (less than 170 pounds or so) felt totally locked in when riding downhill. $769; scarpa.com
Tecnica Cochise Pro Light
The lightest boot in the lineup, the Cochise Pro Light is the Goldilocks of the test with solid performance both downhill and touring. The lack of a progressive lean makes it a little less sendy than a few of the other models in this test, but we appreciated the wide toebox and best-in-class Walk Mode switch (just grab the easy-to-pull fabric loop). But, lock it into Ski Mode and it’s ready to charge. $850; tecnicausa.com
*All values are as advertised by the manufacturer and not rated on a single, common scale.