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Take our 2013 Editors’ Choice Award winner and give it some more oomph. The 27-degree range of motion propelled our testers uphill, no problem. The RS has the same resort-stiff, but touring-light Pebax/carbon construction (and 25-degree range of motion) as the SL, but it charges downhill better. The cuff is stiffer, the forward flex is bumped up to 130, and a new liner is thermo-moldable in the lower and race-inspired (rigid) in the upper. Note: They are on the heavier side at 1,990 grams per boot. (MSRP ~$850)
The burly MTN Lab, on the other hand, is all about the descent—yet it weighs considerably less than its freeride competition (1,576 grams per boot). Get beefy, 120 flex, 47-degree range of motion, and a new, horizontal (read: easy to flip with gloves on) walk mode switch with this downhill charger. (MSRP still TBA)
Featherlight (just 1,040 grams per boot) with a big range of motion (74 degrees), this boot was created with the ascent in mind. Add in the carbon spine for weight-saving strength and suddenly climbing doesn’t sound so bad. (MSRP will be ~$1,000)
This one is for all your chargers, bombers, and beasts. The Khiôn Carbon marries the nimbleness and adjustability of a touring boot with the rigidity and ruggedness of a freeride boot. Touring perks include the low-profile, streamlined shape, a Boa closure on the liner, and 40-degree range of motion, while a patented magnesium spoiler helps you to drive the ski downhill. A carbon fiber shell protects the boot while slicing ounces, but they’re still mid-range in weight at about 1,530 grams per boot. (MSRP ~$900)
Mountaineers’ pick: Two buckles and 68-degree range of motion, this streamlined boot is all about touring. A Cam Closure System allows for lightning-fast transition between ski and walk modes, and a removable PU Warmsole insole makes it one of the toastiest two-buckle boots we’ve seen. Oh yeah, and each one weighs 1,150 grams. (MSRP TBA)
K2’s Pinnacle and Minaret boots excel on-piste, but can crossover into the side- and backcountry. Pop on one of the new Vibram ISO 9523 rubber touring soles and the story switches: excel in the side- and backcountry, but can crossover into on-piste, downhill skiing. Upgrade! (MSRP TBA)
Tecnica isn’t releasing a new ski boot, but you’ll feel like you’re wearing a completely new one when you insert the C.A.S. Liner. Designed with a more precise anatomical foot shape than most liners (a squarer toebox, ankle and heel pockets, room for the navicular bone on the top of your foot), the liner provides out-of-the-box comfort. And now, new for this year, you can put it in your Cochise, the popular sidecountry ski boot. More comfort in a sidecountry boot? Sounds like a backcountry boot to us. (MSRP still TBA)