We have a quote in the shop here at Crow’s Feet Commons: “You date your skis but you marry your boots.” Equipment that comes in direct contact with your body is the first thing to ruin your day in the mountains. Clothing aside, boots are the only piece of equipment is specialized and controls your experience. As the industry has morphed to blending backcountry skiing and resort skiing, new categories have been created to fit the most discerning skier. Here is an overview to help you make an informed decision about your next boot purchase.
This image is of a standard, traditional alpine/all-mountain resort-oriented ski boot. This the most common boot and can be found at any ski shop. The soles are specific to interface with traditional bindings, have a fixed position in the cuff area and have no regard for weight management. Flex rating ranges from boot to boot and are built to accomodate all skiers. Most alpine and all-mountain boots have a traditional 4 buckle system, standard liner, slight forward ramp and a regular alpine sole. This boot would be ideal for the beginner to advanced skier who is exclusively skiing at the resort.
Freestyle ski boots are built to absorb impacts when hitting jumps, bumps and the park. These boots have a traditional flat sole to only accommodate alpine bindings and a lower cuff to dissipate strain to the knees when landing a jump. Because shock absorption is the most important factor for these boots, the flex is soft which compromises the ability to drive a ski. Other important features are a shorter cuff which allows for more flex and a typically flatter ramp angle which aids in rail and jib tricks. This style of boot would be best for the park rider or anyone looking to get a little extra rad.
Dynafit TLT7 Performance
Alpine Touring boots like the Dynafit TLT7 are designed to be lightest possible boot for climbing while being supportive enough to initiate a turn or hold an edge while descending . These boots have a walk mode and a ski mode which frees the cuff for greater range of motion and allows a comfortable walking stride. In the world of Alpine Touring, some folks want to move quickly in the mountains and will sacrifice ski performance in the name of uphill speed. These boots are designed to tackle more aggressive mountaineering objectives, have an aggressive rockered sole for walkability and a tremendous amount of range of motion in the walk mode. These boots are attached to skiers who make climbing priority over the control while skiing.
For the skier who aggressively skis in the backcountry environment, a new category of boot has emerged. The Free Touring Boot. These boots have all the features of Alpine Touring boot with its rockered sole, and walk mode while also offering a stiff cuff while in the ski mode. These boots are designed for the more aggressive skier who may spend as much time at the resort as in the backcountry and wants a boot to adequate perform well in both arenas. The trade offs for the resort skier is that it lacks the lateral stiffness to drive a pure carving ski. The trade-off for the backcountry skier is that the downhill performance comes at a weight penalty.
Free Tour boots will typically have a sole that accepts both a tech binding and can fit into a traditional alpine binding. Because of all the features, its the perfect option for a skier who earns their turns but also like to bang out laps at the resort….all with the same equipment.
Now that you’re armed with information, finding the proper boot fitter is your greatest asset in making your decision. Having a proper fitting and technically sound boot is one of the best tools in skiing and can make or break your day. We at Crows Feet are fortunate enough to carry the best brands in the business and have the best staff in town. We’re dedicated to making sure you have the right boots on your feet and ensuring you have the best possible time on the slopes. Come on in, say hello, grab a drink and spread the stoke.
See you at the mountains!