Better contoured to women, with a low cuff to accommodate the calf and a narrower heel cup for a tight fit. Built to fit a wider forefoot and leg. Supports leg well while carving down the slopes - something beginners in particular will appreciate.
Heel cup may be uncomfortably tight.
We love that these boots won't hurt your shins when stopping too quickly. Incredibly light and very warm. Worn by both beginner and regular skiers. Customers note they don't take long to break in.
Boot interior may overstretch after frequent use.
Noted for overall quality of fit and comfort. Customers appreciate the flexibility around the calves, which can run tight on other brands. We love the high-tech touches that keep snow and debris from entering the boot.
May run a bit larger than expected.
Amps up the fun you'll have on the slopes with flex technology that allows for better turns and maneuvers. Lightly insulated for all-day airflow. Features only buckles, which will enable you to ski more versus fussing with equipment.
The packaging could improve, given the product's price.
Features one of the most sophisticated heating systems using a three-tiered approach to keeping feet and calves warm during a long day on the slopes. One of the few boots that focuses on the form of the female foot.
An unfamiliar brand to some. A focus more on comfort than function.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
It's hard to beat the rush of mountain air filling your lungs whether you like to cut through powder or take on moguls. In the past, women had to wear men's ski boots, which were designed for larger, heavier frames and longer, leaner calves.
Today, manufacturers cater to a woman's unique needs so that you can find a ski boot that's both comfortable and responsive. With ski boot technology and designs changing every year, it can be hard to know where to start your search.
Our shopping guide has the information you need to narrow down your choices and find the perfect ski boot. We've also included our top picks with some boots that stand out from their competitors.
Not all ski boots are designed or made the same. Some cater to beginners while others are best used by more advanced skiers. Experienced skiers need and can handle stiffer, highly responsive boots so they can ski steep terrain at high speeds. Beginners who mostly ski on groomed runs are usually more comfortable in a boot with more flex even though softer boots reduce your control over the skis.
The heavier you are, the more your boots will flex while skiing. Essentially, if you’re a heavier beginner, you might need a stiffer boot for better control. Likewise, a lighter advanced skier may get excellent responsiveness in a ski boot with less flex.
No matter how good the reviews, if the boot doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Yes, you want a responsive boot to help you navigate the terrain of your dreams, but it won’t be worth it if your feet are cold and aching after an hour or two. Your foot width, toe length, and heel depth all affect how a boot feels. Ski boots should be snug. They have to be in order to provide control over your skis. But, they should never cut off your circulation, cause sores or blisters, or leave your feet freezing.
The cuffs of women’s ski boots are cut lower and wider due to women’s calves being proportionally larger than men’s. Some boots offer more adjustment in the calf area to get a customized fit.
Flex index rating
This rating indicates how easy it is to flex the boot forward, the same motion you use while skiing. Flex index ratings range from 50 (soft) to 130 (competition racer stiffness). The stiffer the boot, the more reactive it is and the better control it provides. The highest flex ratings are reserved for racing boots for skiers who need precise control on the toughest runs. Flex ratings can be divided as follows:
Soft: 50 to 60
Medium: 65 to 80
Stiff: 85 to 100
Very stiff: over 110
The flex ratings can also be broken down by skill level:
Beginners: 50 to 70
Intermediate: 80 to 90
Advanced/expert: 100 to 110+
While you need to take the flex rating into consideration when choosing a boot, there’s no industry standard. Each manufacturer has its own measure of flex. Some forgo the scale of 50 to 130 altogether and use 1 to 10 instead. Consequently, you do want to check the flex index as a guideline, but don’t base your decision solely on this number.
Some boots are designed with a flex adjustment feature. With these models, you can tighten or loosen the flex by turning a rear-cuff rivet located on the back of the boot. You might want this feature if you ski different types of terrain.
Ski boots use mondopoint, or mondo, sizing, which uses the length of the boot’s inner sole (in centimeters) to indicate size. Women’s sizes start at a 21.5, equivalent to a U.S. women’s size 5, and extend to 27.5, equivalent to a U.S. women’s size 10.5. Of course, if your feet are larger or smaller than average, you can look into children’s or men’s sizes, though the boots won’t be specifically designed for a woman’s frame.
Last (footbed) width
The last is the width of the forefoot/footbed. Most manufacturers make three lasts: narrow (97 to 98 millimeters), average (99 to 101 mm), and wide (102 to 106 mm). The wider the last, the more interior volume the boot has. Like the flex, there’s no industry standard for last width, and it can vary by model as well as manufacturer.
There are three basic types of boot liners: non-moldable, thermoformable, and custom moldable:
Non-moldable: As the name implies, these liners aren’t designed for an immediate adjustment to your foot. Instead, they have generic padding with average stability. However, given enough time, the forefoot of these liners will conform to your foot.
Thermoformable: Thermoformable liners use your body heat to conform to the shape of your foot. And after a day or two of wear, you’ll have a custom fit.
Custom moldable: These liners require an artificial heat source to warm the liner enough for molding. This can be done by a professional fitter or at home, although a professional will have the right equipment, making the job easier. Generally speaking, the more moldable the liner, the more expensive the boot.
If you’re the type of skier that hikes up the mountainside to reach uncharted terrain, you might want a boot with a walk/hike mode. The upper shell and lower boot can separate to provide more room and flexion in the ankle for walking ease. The boots then lock back in place when you’re ready to carve your way down the mountain.
Buckles and power straps
Ski boots come with two to four buckles, though four is the most common for adult boots. Models with a buckle ladder create more options for fitting. Traditionally, four buckles have been thought superior to any other design because of the ability to customize the fit. However, as long as the boot fits well, the number of buckles is less important. Fit can further be enhanced by power straps that tighten the cuff around the calf. A tighter cuff increases responsiveness.
If you’re looking for a quick way to fine-tune your fit, micro buckle adjustments are what you need. These enable you to tighten or loosen the tension of the buckle between settings.
Beginners can find a decent pair of ski boots for under $150. At this price, you should expect a soft boot with a non-moldable liner.
Once you start to get into the $150 to $350 range, you’ll see medium-flex models with thermoformable liners and a walk/hike mode. These boots may also have cuff adjustments that aren’t found on less-expensive boots.
The $350 to $500 range is where stiff boots with thermoformable liners and walk/hike modes are the norm. These are entry-level boots for advanced skiers. Prices for advanced boots can reach $1,000. As the price continues to rise, the boots come with adjustable cuffs, the highest flex ratings, custom-moldable liners, and hinge points designed to allow the boot to follow natural leg movements.
Liners can be customized by stretching or grinding them to better fit your feet.
Find the proper fit. A ski boot should always feel snug. However, snug does not mean cutting off your circulation or discomfort in the toes or ankle. You should be able to wiggle your toes slightly. Any pressure points on the ankle will likely need to be looked at by a professional. Remember that fit can also be affected by the time of day because feet tend to swell throughout the day.
Wiggle your toes and bend your knees when you try on boots. Your toes should brush the end of the boot when the boot is flexed, not be packed in tight. When you flex your knees, your heels should not lift. However, if after the liner packs down a bit, you have a little extra heel space, you can try a heel wedge.
Ski boot designs continue to improve, offering great new features and extra warmth every year. One design that’s fairly new to the scene is the Apex HP-L All-Mountain Ski Boot. These boots have a removable chassis that stays attached to your skis while you hike up the mountain. The walkable boots keep your feet warm and improve mobility when you’re not skiing. However, once they’re locked back into place, they still have incredible responsiveness. For those looking to enter on the budget end of the price spectrum, the Rossignol Evo 70 Ski Boot is worth taking a look at. Comfortable and true to size, these boots are perfect for the beginner who skis groomed runs. The power strap adds extra responsiveness and fit customization.
Q. Do I need a professional boot fitter to get a good fit?
A. Professional fitters know their stuff, and if your feet are hard to fit, you might want to buy your boots and head straight to the fitter to customize them. However, a professional fitting isn’t absolutely necessary for a good fit. For example, you can buy insoles or heel wedges to improve the fit. You can also use a heat gun or hair dryer to warm the shell and help mold it to your foot.
Q. How can I check the flex of my ski boot?
A. While wearing the boots, roll your ankles, pressing against the cuffs. If you experience absolutely no movement, the flex is too high. If you end up falling over the top of your toes, it’s too low. You want to be able to lean into the boots with some give but not enough that you lose your balance and topple forward.
Q. How do women’s ski boots differ from men’s?
A. Women’s boots are designed to meet the needs of a woman’s smaller, lighter frame with lower flex ratings. The cuffs are usually shorter to accommodate shorter legs with proportionally wider calves. The last noticeable difference is a narrower toe box. Of course, there are women who may not meet these norms, and they may find that a man’s boot fits better. The important thing is to find a boot that’s comfortable for all-day wear and provides the necessary responsiveness for your ski level.
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