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!
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 its 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 – 120
Last – 103.5 mm
Weight – 1400 g
The Dynafit Radical Pro features the Hoji Lock System we loved so much in the Hoji. In walk mode, the cuff and shell are separated from each other to be able to climb efficiently with a 60-degree cuff rotation for unrestricted, resistance-free mobility. With the patented Hoji Lock system you can transition to ski mode with “the flip of a switch”. With the freedom of movement you have on the ascent, you may be surprised by its rigidity on the descent. This boot is an overall powerhouse for touring and is also offered in a women’s model.
Flex – 100
Last – 100 mm
Weight – 990 g
The new Scarpa F1 LT is the lightest alpine touring boot that Scarpa offers. At 990 g (size 27), this boot is for those who crave high-mileage missions and technical ski mountaineering descents. By taking elements of a race boot and combining them with the versatility of a backcountry oriented boot, the new F1 LT gives you the feeling of a skimo boot while still providing lateral stability and downhill performance. With a Carbon Grilamid® LFT shell & cuff the F1 delivers incredible power to weight ratio. The patented Boa® Fit System consists of three integral parts: a micro-adjustable dial, super-strong lightweight laces, and low friction lace guides. Each unique configuration is engineered for effortless precision delivering a connected, fast, customized, and durable fit.
Flex – 125
Last – 102 mm
Weight – 1400 g
Introducing the Cosmos pro to the Scott Cosmos family this year. With a slightly smaller last and the BOA® inner liner the Cosmos Pro ensures a great fit, performance and comfort all day long. This boot is still a great choice if you have a wide, high-volume foot. With a stiffer flex than its predecessor and its three-buckle system, this boot is sure to give you the performance you want out of a downhill boot while offering great touring performance as well. This boot has a 60-degree range of motion allowing you to walk freely and easily, especially in steep terrain.
It’s 125 flex makes the Cosmos Pro is a great everyday touring boot. It’s not the stiffest, burliest boot on our list (see the Zero G Pro Tour for that) but it is a solid all-around touring boot that performs well on the downhill and is exceptional on the uphill.
Flex – 125
Last – 101
Weight – 1450 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 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 56 degree range of motion gives you uphill comfort and efficiency.
*The Maestrale RS is available in a women’s version, the Gea RS.
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 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.
During your bootfitting you can also get custom insoles made. If you don’t know if that is for you, no worries, it’s something you can discuss with your tech during the fitting. Check out this blog to learn more about the benefits of custom insoles and you can add that option to your appointment when scheduling.
Are you building a backcountry touring setup?
If so, check out our list of the Best Backcountry Skis!
And the Best Avalanche Beacons!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Tahoe Mountain Sports will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate commissions help fund the content for this blog.
Tarin is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, the TMS marketing director and overall outdoor enthusiast who’s dabbled in a little of everything. She spends winter snowboarding, splitboarding, and more recently, snowmobiling too. In the summer you can find her mountain biking and teaching paddleboard yoga and fitness on Lake Tahoe and Donner lake!