There are so many factors to consider when you’re purchasing a backcountry ski boot. What kind of skier are you? Do you want something uphill oriented or downhill performance oriented? What kind of buckling system do you prefer? The list can go on and on… We’re here to help you sift through some of those questions and share some of our favorite backcountry boots on the market. It’s important to remember that ultimately the most important part of this decision is how the boot fits on your foot. Regardless of flex, weight, price, or performance we always put comfort and fit above everything else. So if you can, stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports and let us fit you into your perfect backcountry ski boot!
Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro
Flex – 130
Last – 99 mm
Weight – 1320 g
We are so impressed with the upgrades to the Zero G Tour Pro this season. It’s way lighter than previous versions and has an improved uphill range of motion of 55 degrees. You have to get this boot on your foot to appreciate it. You’ll notice how light it is right away and how easily you can flex back and forth thanks to it’s large range of motion.
At 1320 g, the Zero G Tour Pro is really in a category of it’s own. You won’t find many other touring boots with a 130 flex weighing in just over 1300 g. This boot is both incredibly light and incredibly stiff. It’s perfect for folks who like to ski fast and aggressively in the backcountry. One major advantage this boot has going for it is that it’s compatible with the new Salmon/Atomic Shift binding.
Flex – 130
Last – 101 mm
Weight – 1490 g
The new Scarpa Maestrale XT toes the line between an uphill touring and downhill powerhouse. At 1490 g (size 27), it’s slightly heavier than the Scarpa Maestrale RS that you’ve come to know and love but that weight gain is worth the added performance benefits. This boot can charge. It’s designed for folks who may have owned the Scarpa Freedom and loved the resort-oriented, freeride performance of that hybrid boot. It is the stiffest boot in the Maestrale line (130 flex) and has a different buckle construction which helps the boot achieve a nice progressive flex. The Maestrale XT offers that same powerful, freeride performance as the older Freedom in a WAY lighter package that is designed to excel uphill as well as downhill. While it’s not the lightest in the lineup, this boot comes the closest to an ideal one boot quiver. It offers exceptional performance on the uphill and downhill without any major compromises.
Flex – 130
Last – 102 mm
Weight – 1500 g
The Hoji Free is another downhill oriented touring boot that we are excited about for the upcoming season. The updated Hoji has a greater forward lean, a modified heel, and a flex of 130. It’s designed for performance, from the downhill oriented updates to a new thermo-moldable liner from Sidas which cradles the foot on the up and down. A major advantage of this year’s Hoji is that it is now compatible with hybrid bindings like the Salomon Shift and Marker Kingpin. This is a game changer. Here is a charging one ski quiver that you can feel confident taking into the backcountry or out at the resort. At 1550 g, the Hoji Free belongs in the same category as the Scarpa Maestrale XT – downhill performance-oriented alpine touring boots.
Scott Cosmos III
Flex – 115
Last – 103.5 mm
Weight – 1425 g
If you have a wide, high volume foot, you’ll probably love this boot. With a 103.5 mm last, the Scott Cosmos III offers a roomy and accommodating fit for wide, high volume feet. It’s traditional four buckle system is familiar and feels just like strapping into your alpine boots. This boot has a 60 degree range of motion allowing you to walk freely and easily, especially in steep terrain. Transitions are easy in this boot with the external walk mechanism, a well received update from previous versions.
It’s 115 flex makes the Cosmos III is a great everyday touring boot. It’s not the stiffest, burliest boot on our list (see the Zero G Pro Tour or Dynafit Hoji for that) but it is a solid all around touring boot that performs well on the downhill and is exceptional on the uphill.
*The Cosmos III is available in a women’s version, the Celeste III.
Scarpa Maestrale RS
Flex – 125
Last – 101
Weight – 1410 g
The Maestrale RS is a staple on our wall at Tahoe Mountain Sports. It’s a stiff, aggressive boot that is right up there with the Hoji and Zero G Pro Tour for people that are skiing fast and aggressively, or driving bigger skis in the backcountry. One of my favorite features on this boot is the strap over the ankle which really helps draw your heel in and keep it secured. This is a medium volume boot and fits many different shapes and sizes of feet.
You’re not making sacrifices with this lightweight boot – it’s powerful and responsive on the downhill and comfortable and light for the uphill. A 60 degree range of motion gives you uphill comfort and efficiency. 60 degrees is a huge range of motion; that’s typically more than most people can flex their foot!
*The Maestrale RS is available in a women’s version, the Gea RS.
Tecnica Zero G Tour Scout – Women’s
Flex – 115
Last – 99 mm
Weight – 1360 g
Tecnica’s Zero G Tour Scout is an awesome choice for ladies looking for a comfortable, light boot for the uphill that can charge downhill. It uses a familiar four buckle system and has an external walk mechanism to keep transitions quick and simple. The 115 flex and overall stiffness puts this boot in a performance category. It’s a touring boot that you can drive aggressively but like the rest of the boots on our list, it doesn’t make uphill sacrifices along the way.
This boot has a 55 degree range of motion, which is a close to the maximum range of motion most people have in their ankles. It’s a medium volume boot with a 99 mm last. It’s light, comfortable, stiff, and easy to use. The bottom line with the Zero G Tour Scout is that it’s a fantastic all around touring boot that climbs well and skis better.
Are you building a backcountry touring setup?
If so, check out our list of the Best Backcountry Skis!
And the Best Avalanche Beacons!
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Former park ranger turned writer/marketer. Always down for a sufferfest, as long as it ends with ice cream. Favorite activities include backcountry skiing, trail running, and backpacking.