HOW TO BUY ALPINE TOURING SKI BOOTS
Also known as randonnée, alpine touring is increasing in popularity. If you’re a skier making the jump to backcountry or alpine touring your boots are as important as ever.
We’ll take you through the following information to help you choose the right alpine touring ski boot for you:
- Why AT ski boots?
- Uphill weight and downhill performance
- Choosing the right pair
- Alpine touring ski boot FAQs
Our stores have a wide range of alpine touring ski boots, so if in doubt, visit us in store and get expert advice from our knowledgeable staff.
Why AT Ski Boots?
Alpine touring ski boots are different from regular alpine ski boots as they’re designed for ascending the hill with the help of climbing skins as well as for downhill skiing. They will be lightweight and have a specific ski mode with support, and a flexible ‘walk’ mode that allows your ankle and calf to flex forward and backwards for skiing and hiking uphill. Finally, they will have a rockered (curved) and lugged rubber sole more like hiking boots for better grip on slippery surfaces letting you walk more naturally.
Uphill Weight and Downhill Performance
With strides in technology, AT boots easily match alpine boots for stiffness and downhill performance, along with the added walking hinge and lugged soles, and they have a similar weight to alpine boots. If you’re an experience skier who likes to ski fast or hit big jumps these kinds of boots are for you.
Lightweight boots however, are easy and effective uphill but with less performance downhill. Depending on you skiing ability and style these may be the preferred boot for you.
It’s important your alpine touring boots fit you comfortably as the added range of motion uphill creates more potential areas that could rub or chafe. Some skiers will skin up with their top buckles either undone or loosened for more movement so often experienced backcountry skiers fit their boots a little longer in length.
Many alpine touring ski boots will feature a heat-moulded liner for a warmer and more accurate fit. Find out more about customisable footbeds.
Not all alpine touring ski boots are compatible with all alpine touring bindings so always check before you buy and if in doubt, ask one of our knowledgeable and friendly store staff.
Tech bindings require a boot with moulded-in toe fittings and a slotted plate at the heel so if you have these bindings you need a boot with these fittings. Whereas most frame bindings will work with alpine touring and regular alpine ski boots.
Choosing The Right Pair
Finding the right alpine touring boot that allows you to ski comfortably and confidently in all terrain and conditions can be tricky, especially when you think about how you might feel on any given day. Many skiers, even the experts, are always changing their mind on what boot works best so don’t worry if it takes you a while to find the perfect pair.
If you’re not sure, choose a slightly heavier and more supportive boot as the added security will help you enjoy the ride down.
Alpine Touring Ski Boot FAQs
Can I Use Alpine Touring Boots for Lift-Served Skiing?
Yes, depending on the boot, many skiers do ski all areas in their AT boots.
Are Alpine Touring Boots as Durable as Alpine Boots?
Heavier AT boots can last for years, even if they’re worn every day. Light boots with thin shell walls and streamlined hardware may not last however. Similarly, rubber soles may wear down quickly if you scramble over rock or harder surfaces frequently.
Can I skin in my alpine boots instead of buying alpine touring boots?
You can, but for longer periods of time many skiers find it uncomfortable and clumpy.