Reviewing the Best Ski Boots for Intermediates
It’s important to have the ski boots for intermediates if you want to. They have to fit perfectly – on your foot and for your needs!
Skiing is an activity done on the snow that is… well, quite the commitment. You’ll need the right type of equipment, you’ll need relatively frequent access to the slopes… not to mention the expenses of and at the resorts. But if you feel as though you really want to advance in this sport, you will most certainly need to invest in your equipment. Starting, of course, with your ski boots and skis. If you’re a former newbie feeling ready to advance to intermediate level skiing, the best ski boots for beginners are what you need.
Finding the right pair won’t always be easy, of course. How do you even choose? You need to get the right fit, you have to find a pair that suits your skill level… Not to mention you will also need to get a pair in the style appropriate to your needs.
In today’s article we have put together a buying guide to help you out. On top of that, we’ve even reviewed 5 of the best! Let’s not dilly dally… here are the 5 best in review:
1. Ultra 130 by Atomic Hawx
One of the best ski boots is here: the Ultra 130, by the company Atomic Hawx. It is a boot that is considered the best by many, considering its rather outstanding performance. This pair of shoes is best for those with narrower feet. However, if you feel as though you are comfortable enough despite the width of your feet, go right ahead and try this pair out. This particular boot can handle just about everything, from choppy conditions post powder-frenzy, to rallying down at mach speed.
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The Ultra 130 is rated at 130 flex. However, in testing, it felt more like a 120 flex. As a result, it may just feel like an ideal boot for transitioning between your first newbie pair into your more intermediate ones.
Ultra 130s are suited more for medium to narrow width feet. Therefore, if you have feet that are 98 millimeters in width or even wider, it might not be the best fit anymore. This pair has an overlap design that is quite rigid, which means if your foot is on the wider side it can be a bit harder to put on and take off.
- Great for narrower to average width feet
- Great performance downhill
- More lightweight
- In terms of warmth, does not perform that well
- May be difficult to remove due to the overlapping design
2. Freedom SL Ski Boots by SCARPA
If your budget is not that tight, then you can certainly take a look at this pair of boots by SCARPA. This pair sits well on the higher end of the budget spectrum. Now, whether it’s worth it or not… remains to be seen. Let’s take a look at its features, shall we?
This boot is constructed with a carbon core (patented), which is made for the purpose of improving your boot’s stiffness, as well as improving your power transfers. There are no attachments necessary, since all of these features are already included in the boots themselves. With this pair of boots, you’ll find that you’ll enjoy a powerful downhill run. Uphill, you will also get a range of motion that is frictionless, making getting up those slopes a much easier task.
- Dial in the comfort/Control by adjusting the spoiler up/down
- Intuition FR Speed Liner
These boots are designed to improve your strength and your power as you ski, allowing you to more easily transfer your power right into the skis themselves. The Freedom SLs are also perfect no matter the terrain, which means you can use them just about anywhere. They are great, durable, and lightweight enough to help you move around with ease.
Again, they aren’t cheap, but at least you can wait a bit and get a discount during the winter. The price can go down by a couple hundred dollars if you watch out for it.
- Great for just about any condition
- Offers you strong support
- Liner is cozy and warm
3. Apex Boots
The Apex boots are a good choice if you want to be able to have a “walking” mode whenever you please. Basically, this boot has an inner boot, which is more walkable if you need to walk around freely. The outsole provides full traction, and is made of Vibram (IceTrek). This outsole gives you that extra protection layer, which is great not just for skiing but also for getting from one slope to another.
- Last Width: 102
- Skill Level: Expert
The manufacturers of this boot stands behind their product. They proudly provide skiers like you with a pair of boots that feel more like snow shoes than actual ski boots. An advanced system for sizing is also available, since it makes it much easier for consumers to purchase the boots off the internet. The stiffness of this boot, its lateral stiffness that is, improves its performance overall. As a result, your skiing experience will undoubtedly improve.
- Outsole – Vibram IceTrek, it is full traction to make sure you do not slip
- Comfortable, feels more like shoes than boots
- Uses the Boa system (for lacing)
- Improves your skiing performance
- Very expensive
4. T2 Eco by Scarpa
A far more affordable option than the ones listed above comes in the T2 Eco. This pair of boots is also made by Scarpa, the same company behind the Freedom SLs. The T2 Ecos are rather well insulated, so you can rest assured that your feet will remain warm while you’re out on the slopes. Once you get past the learning curve, you’ll have a much easier time getting these boots on and off. You’ll probably be able to get them all buckled within a few seconds after enough practice.
- Active Power Strap for increased performance
- Intuition Performance Flex G liner offers incredible fit with incredible ski/touring performance
The best part about this boot is the fact that it is very stable. It features a 3x density design to help you laterally maintain your feet. They are also quite well constructed, with fantastic craftsmanship. It’s not cheap, but it’s certainly worth its price regardless. This is something you might not be able to say about a lot of other boots, to be honest!
These boots are just the right amount of stiff. They’re stiff enough so they can work quite well with your skis. But, they’re still soft enough to be comfy for wear. They are ideal for use on blue tracks and also black tracks as well.
- Easier entry, fast buckling past the learning curve
- Heavier duty
- Quite well insulated and warm
- Slight learning curve is present
5. QST Pro 120 by Salomon
If you are looking for a pair of boots that are high quality and high class, you have found them in the QST Pro 120. This is a boot made by the company Salomon. They are well designed and are tastefully classy in appearance. They will not only boost your confidence, but they’ll also make sure you improve on the slopes, too. This pair of boots has a tongue that is intuitive – and it flexes too. This tongue will be molding and combining with your shin, offering you the most comfortable cushion possible as you lean over to go downhill. The inner liner is heat-moldable, offering you a custom sole of rubber. No doubt your feet will be cozy every time you go for a ski.
The QST Pro 120 is a pair of boots that accommodates feet that are average in width. However, if your feet are a bit on the wider end of the spectrum, rest assured that your feet will fit perfectly here too. The rubber sole is 100 to 106 millimeter wide. It makes this boot versatile and able to accommodate just about any foot. In terms of flex, you will notice that it is stiff, allowing you the support you need as you go down slopes at higher speeds.
- Inner liner is moldable
- Tongue will mold to your shin
- Stiff enough for skiing at really high speeds
- Beautiful and tasteful design
- Needs a bit of practice before you get used to getting them on and taking them off
Choosing the Right Ski Boots: Your Buying Guide
When it comes to skiing, the boots that you’re wearing are one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll have. As a result, you will certainly need to put some thought into the next pair you purchase. The boots have to suit your exact needs. They have to be just the right amount of stiff for you as a beginner-intermediate skier. Also, you will have to consider things like the type of ski boot you want, and whether you want to be able to walk with the boots. Yes, there are indeed boots that have a “walk-mode”. This is just one of the things to consider, on top of say your budget, and more.
And so, to help you out, here’s a buying guide. Here we will tell you the things you need to consider when shopping for the best ski boots for intermediates. Let’s talk about them:
What are the Types of Boots for Skiing?
Knowing the type of skiing you intend to do will allow you to correctly choose the boots just for you. The types of boots and their function are right below:
- All-mountain – the first type of boot, all-mountains are versatile. They are usable in any condition, and on pretty much any terrain when you are at the mountain. If you are unsure what type of skiing you plan to do, and if you feel like you’ll probably be branching out and trying different things at some point, all-mountain boots are the best choice. All-mountains are made to be able to adapt to a big variety of conditions on the slopes.
- Free-ride all-mountain – next, we have the Freerides, which are also all-mountain boots. These versatile to a lesser degree, blurring the line in between a ski touring ski boot and a boot for the resort. They may also be called adventure boots. These boots tend to be on the heavier side, and are also quite lacking in terms of range of motion. Some, however, may offer good range, with enough stiffness to allow you to use it as your daily resort boot.
Stiffness of the Boots
Generally, the stiffness or flex rating of your boot of choice makes a large difference in your results and performance. The flex rating refers to the difficulty of flexing your boot in a forward direction. It will basically tell you how stiff it will feel to you. To choose the right flex rating, you need to consider a few things. For example, you’ll have to look at your size and your weight, your ability, your style of skiing, and also your personal preferences of course. Flex ratings are labeled by number, with men’s being rated around 50 to 130. Naturally, if the number is higher, it also means that the boot is harder to flex, and it feels much stiffer.
Beginners will usually do better with softer flexes, while intermediates and expert skiers will prefer harder flex on their boots.
Note that the stiffness level will still depend on your personal preference in the end. Even if you’re an expert skier, if you find your boot uncomfortable, to the point of you being unable to properly ski, then there’s no point.
It’s really needless to mention this at this point, since most everybody knows that they should wear appropriately sized shoes. The same applies for skiing boots. You will need to get a pair of boots to fit your feet perfectly. No doubt, the best way for you to do this is to seek a boot fitting with a professional. That way, you can get it in the right size, no matter what. The perfect fit will be snug, but not painful in any way. You should have the ability to wiggle toes inside the boot, but you should not have the ability to lift the heel. In the forefoot, there should be pretty much no lateral movement.
If you are unsure of the right fit for you, or if you don’t know how to shop the right-sized boots, know that most manufacturers will use one sizing system. This is the Mondo Point system, which measures your foot’s length in centimeters. Width, on the other hand, is measured using millimeters. You can measure your foot with a measuring tape and check a corresponding sizing chart online for assistance. If you remain unsure, you can then simply ask for assistance.
After everything we’ve just mentioned, there are a few things that you can take into consideration as well. These details are small and ‘nitpicky’, but they can make a world of difference in the quality of life. In terms of ease of use, that is. Nevertheless, you may want to consider them nevertheless. You can take a look at the fastening methods, such as the buckles. You can also look at whether they have a walk mode or not. And of course, you can check how easy or difficult it may be to put them on or take them off.
Having the ski boots for intermediates can make a huge difference in your enjoyment of your ski runs. It must not just fit you perfectly, but it should also suit your style of skiing. Furthermore, it should also be right in terms of its flex rating – don’t go for a boot that is too stiff if you are not confident enough in your skill just yet. The best pair will fit you and also be comfortable. Never settle for less, especially since they do also contribute well to your safety! Have fun on the slopes!