Alpine touring is a unique and exciting ski style that allows you to beat the long lift lines in favor of hard-earned runs in untouched terrain. While the rewards of this style are quite impressive, it takes a good amount of risk and hard work to get there.
If you are going to be doing any serious alpine touring, you need all of the proper equipment to make sure you are well prepared and able to ski to the best of your abilities. A good pair of alpine touring ski boots are essential in that pursuit. This article will take a look at some of the best options out there.
- The Scarpa Maestrale RS alpine touring boot is built for the rigors of alpine skiing. What makes it stand out is its ability to perform in both uphill and downhill situations. It has a strong, lightweight carbon fiber construction, and the 60 degrees of flex allows you to tackle anything on the mountain.
- The Arc’teryx Procline AR is another solid choice for alpine ski touring, and it is great for long-distance ski excursions. These boots may not appear like a ski boot at first glance, but they offer comfort while touring in addition to great performance on the slopes. This model also has a Vibram sole for extra traction and features a patented Cam-Lock power strap to provide you with the perfect fit.
- Another awesome alpine ski touring boot is the Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR. These boots are extremely lightweight, but are also supportive during the descent and are great for skiers who are seriously into mountaineering. The boots only have a few straps but are comfortable and secure enough to wear all day in any type of terrain.
Who Should Get This
Alpine touring ski boots are designed for one thing – alpine touring. If you are after long adventures in the backcountry that involve hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and even rock climbing, with a great ski run as the reward, then these are the boots for you. The shoes are very lightweight, but still provide enough support to give you control over your skis. They are also designed for long-distance adventures in the snow.
If you only plan on skiing at a resort or have mild backcountry aspirations, you probably don’t need alpine touring ski boots. While they are great to have in your arsenal if you are a serious backcountry adventurer, these boots are not geared towards the amateur or beginner skier.
Best Alpine Touring Ski Boots: What to Consider
Alpine touring ski boots should be light. You’re not going to want to hike or climb for miles upon miles in any regular pair of bulky ski boots. The boots listed here range from light to ultra-light. That can pay off in the long run because added weight can slow you down. If you plan on tackling some serious ski touring, you need to consider the weight of your gear. That starts with your boots.
When alpine touring, you need to keep your feet warm and dry. You’re sure to encounter many variable conditions out in the backcountry, including hiking through waist-deep snow, crossing frozen streams, or climbing up a rock face. If your feet or toes start to get cold, that can lead to a potentially dangerous situation such as frostbite. Make sure to find a boot that has ample warmth for your feet and also wear good socks.
The demands of alpine touring require you to use your feet more like normal boots than ski boots. This means that any touring boot needs to be flexible enough to perform under any circumstance that could occur out there.
Alpine ski tours can last hours, days, even weeks. You need a boot that you are comfortable wearing for extended periods of time. While the other factors listed here are very important, comfort is a definite concern while touring because you won’t have a warming hut or lodge to visit if your feet start to hurt.
Best Alpine Ski Touring Boots: Our Picks
The Scarpa Maestrale RS ski touring boots are specially designed for all of the needs and demands of alpine skiing. The carbon fiber design means that these boots are lightweight, but also sturdy and durable. In addition, the 60 degrees of flex is more than enough to allow for the full range of ankle motion. These boots excel both in uphill and downhill aspects of ski touring, which makes them an excellent choice for anyone pursuing the style.
What we like:
- Lightweight but durable
- Excellent performance, uphill and down
- Carbon fiber design
- Great flex
What we don’t like:
- Can be difficult to take on and off
The Arc’teryx Procline AR touring boots are another comfortable and high-performing model for the alpine world. These are an ultra-light design type of touring boot, which means they are able to handle many different aspects of full-on mountaineering while also enabling you to ski down afterward. The Cam-Lock Power Strap is an excellent feature that provides extra stability, and the Vibram sole offers extra traction.
What we like:
- Very light
- Excels in serious mountaineering
- Looks great
- Cam-Lock Power Strap is a great feature
- Vibram sole adds traction
What we don’t like:
- Can get scuffed up easily.
These boots are another lightweight option that also offers the support and performance you need to enjoy your turns. The Dynafit TLT8 has a carbon fused Lamda frame and a Grilamid shell. Those enable you the flexibility needed in alpine touring conditions without sacrificing the strength and support needed to ski with ease. You only need to adjust one of the two built-in buckles to switch from ski to walk mode.
What we like:
- Lightweight design but still supportive
- Great look
- Flexible and functional
What we don’t like:
- Not that warm
- Won’t perform well at extremely high speeds.
Useful Tips & Resources
Alpine ski touring is a great experience that I would recommend to anyone who loves skiing, hiking, and nature. That being said, it is not for the faint of heart. Serious safety precautions should be adhered to during the course of any tour.
If you want to learn a bit about the essential equipment required for touring, check out this video. For some other general tips to ski touring in general, take a look at this.
I have only done a handful of serious ski touring adventures in my life, but I remember all of them very well. It is a surreal experience to have to work so hard for a ski run, and it is a surefire way to get your blood pumping and adrenaline racing.
If you live for thrills and one-of-a-kind experiences, you should consider an alpine ski tour at some point in your life.
Have you ever been on a serious ski tour? Where did you go? Let us know in the comments below.