2016/17 Ski Boot Tests
If you're going to buy just one piece of equipment, it should be ski boots. Even if you ski only a few days per year, there's no substitute for a good pair of boots.
After a break of several seasons, the Ski Club’s comprehensive ski boot reviews return to the website for 2016/17. So if you’re in the market for the perfect pair of boots this season, then look no further than this guide and follow the links below to get detailed reviews of the best boots out there.
All of the reviews first appeared in Ski+board magazine, for which online issues can be found by clicking here. The men’s reviews were written by Chris Exall, kit expert and member of the governing body of the International Federation of Ski Instructors. The women’s models were tested by Janine Winter, the buyer for specialist fitter Profeet and veteran of 16 seasons fitting boots around the world.
Freeride - full reviews here
Freeride can be anything from ducking under the ropes to hiking a few hundred yards to earn your turns. Given this variety, many manufacturers stick to what they do best. For example Lange and Rossignol are very much shaped by their racing heritage, while Dalbello sees the category through a ski touring lens.
This season sees boot weight once again decreasing – but not at the loss of performance and there has been an even stronger focus on comfort. Hence more and more models are available with custom-fit liners that used to be the preserve of the professional skier. Many, though not all, also have a walk/hike mode, releasing the cuff for hiking to make it easier and more comfortable.
Click here to read Chris’ reviews of nine of the top men’s models for the season – six of which also have women specific options which Janine put through their paces.
Piste - full reviews here
There are two very different groups of skiers who buy piste boots. Some enjoy skiing fast and with precision, carving big race-like arcs on groomed runs. The others, who are probably responsible for 75 per cent of boot sales, are recreational skiers who spend the majority of their time on groomed runs.
Some piste performance boots come in flexes of 150 or higher. But most expert, non-race skiers will find their natural home in the 100 to 120 range, depending on their weight, speed and strength. At the recreational end of things, most skiers fall into the 80 to 100 flex range and expect the boots to have liners that are more comfy and better insulated for warmth, yet still give enough precision for most terrain.
With this in mind Chris and Janine put another nine pairs of boots through his rigorous testing regime and Janine assesses six of the best women-specific models on the market – click here.
Keep an eye out for All Mountain Boots in Issue 3 of Ski+board and Freetour in Issue 4.
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