Freeride skiing is an incredibly fun and exhilarating experience. There’s simply nothing like venturing off-piste and blazing your own trails. However, it is also a strenuous activity with a range of potential dangers, and you need to have the best equipment.
I’m Christine, an avid skier and founder of TheSkiGirl.com. I’ve been on many freeride skiing adventures over the years, and I know what to look for in the best ski boots to handle the demands of this style.
The Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR is my pick for the best freeride skiing boots of the year. These will have your back no matter where you want to ski and deliver quality downhill performance while also excelling during uphill ascents.
I’ll provide you with all of the best options in this post, so you can choose a model that best suits your freeriding needs. My goal is to show you the best of the best, and you can take it from there.
Let’s get rolling.
Who Should Get This
Every single freeride skier needs a pair of well-made boots. Not only will they stand up to the elements, but they also protect your skin and offer excellent insulation.
No matter what skill level you’re at or where you like to ski, the following models will give you great results if you freeride in any capacity.
As nice as these boots are for freeriding, they are not necessarily made for other disciplines. If you like to ride on groomed runs or hit the park, there are better options available. That does not mean these are only good for freeriding, but that more specialized models exist.
Top Picks of Best Freeride Ski Boots
Here are my picks for the best freeride ski boots currently available. All of the models below come recommended and give you solid performance where it counts.
1. Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Flexible, lightweight, versatile, 60-degree cuff flex, one buckle system, rubber sole
- Flex: 120
- Last: 102 mm
- Cost: $$$$
The Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR is at the top of the list for the best freeride skiing boots. These will give you everything you want in terms of excellent uphill and downhill performance.
This lightweight option utilizes a unique construction to give you plenty of power transfer and responsive control when you are bombing down big freeride lines in the backcountry or resort.
An Ultra-Lock 3.0 system gives you the ability to easily switch between hike and ski modes so you can stay ready for anything. They also have an impressive 60-degrees of flex, which comes in handy in the backcountry.
The boots also have a one-buckle adjustment system that makes it really easy to get a perfect fit that won’t loosen up when skiing all over the mountain. Grilamid construction ensures lasting durability as well.
These are expensive boots, so they aren’t a good option for any skier on a budget.
2. Dynafit Radical Pro
- Best for: Wide Feet
- Key features: 60-degree flex range, safety lock buckles, lightweight, excellent freeride performance, wide last
- Flex: 120
- Last: 103.5 mm
- Cost: $$$$
The Dynafit Radical Pro is a perfect option for any serious freeride skier with wide feet. These feature a 103.5 mm last to give you extra room that will let your feet spread out and stay comfortable.
The Radical Pro has many of the same features as the TLT described above. They have a 60-degree flex range to give you a lot of versatility for hiking and a Grilamid construction that is strong and durable.
They also come with a Hoji Lack system that helps you adjust to variable conditions on the mountain – a pretty sweet feature with freeriding in mind.
A Pro liner is heat-moldable to give you customized comfort, and the safety lock buckles ensure that your feet stay in place no matter what conditions or terrain your find yourself in.
This is another pretty expensive option, and the boots also are on the stiff side, so they are best suited for advanced skiers.
3. Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130
- Best for: Downhill Performance
- Key features: High performance, Memory fit, Platinum Light Liner, Prolite construction
- Flex: 130
- Last: 98 mm
- Cost: $$$
If you want the ultimate in downhill freeride performance, check out the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130.
This is a high-performance option that gives you solid response in a wide range of conditions thanks to a solid and sturdy Prolite construction.
A memory fit design gives you heat-moldable customization that translates into an exceptional fit that will improve your abilities on the mountain.
These have a narrow last, which makes them have a tight performance fit. They aren’t recommended for anyone with wide feet or comfort concerns.
4. Scarpa Maestrale
- Best for: Touring
- Key features: Lightweight, comfortable, outstanding touring performance, Intuition liner, 60-degree flex
- Flex: 110
- Last: 101 mm
- Cost: $$$
The Scarpa Maestrale is the best freeride boot if you are going to be doing any serious ski touring.
This lightweight but highly effective model gives you the ability to cruise easily uphill thanks to a 60-degree flex that provides an outstanding range of motion.
The boots also feature an Intuition Cross Fit Pro Flex touring liner built to enhance comfort while you work hard getting uphill.
The Maestrale also comes with a Vibram Cayman PRO sole that gives you extra grip on the snow or your skis.
These boots do have a slightly softer flex than some other freeride-focused models.
5. K2 BFC 85
- Best for: Women’s Option
- Key features: Affordable, women’s specific design, comfortable, Cushfit liner
- Flex: 85
- Last: 103 mm
- Cost: $$$
The K2 BFC 85 is my pick for the best freeride skiing boots for women.
These are a very comfortable option that still delivers solid performance in technical situations. You can expect good power transfer and control with these strapped on.
They have a Cushfit liner that helps reduce impact and provides lasting comfort for long days on the trail.
Gripwalk soles give you extra traction in the snow, and aluminum micro-adjustable buckles provide solid hold when demanding conditions arise.
An 85 flex rating isn’t super high-performance, but these boots will still get you through many freeride situations.
How to Choose the Best Freeride Ski Boots
Keep the following factors in mind when shopping for the best freeride ski boots to meet your needs as a skier.
When getting a ski boot, always pay attention to the flex. Flex measures a boot’s stiffness and denotes who should use it. Simply put, the higher the flex, the more advanced the boot.
A beginner should get a flex of 80 or lower, while an intermediate skier should look for a flex between 80 and 100. Advanced skiers should look for anything past 100. That is not a concrete rule, but it is a good place to start.
It doesn’t matter how many features or advancements your boot comes with if it isn’t comfortable. An uncomfortable shoe doesn’t just take away from your time on the mountain, it can cause lasting discomfort that stays with you for days at a time.
Always ensure you have the right size and do what you can to get shoes that come with special padding or quality liners. Heat-moldable liners can give you a customized fit that will help you ski better for longer.
It gets cold in the backcountry, and your gear needs to keep you warm at all times. Though many people overlook insulation when choosing their boots, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your feet nice and toasty.
Once you have a good fit and flex, prioritize boots that come with warm liners. Snug-fitting options also help keep the heat in, and material that keeps your body heat contained is recommended.
Useful Tips & Resources
When picking up solid ski boots, you need to make sure they fit. That may seem easy, but it’s much more involved than just matching your shoe size. If you want to learn more about sizing, check out the tips listed in this quick video below.
Freeride skiing is an extremely fun activity, but getting into it is not always an easy process. If you typically ski on groomed runs, the backcountry can seem quite intimidating. However, if you’re properly prepared, you’ll have no trouble braving the white, uncharted slopes.
The Dynafit TLT8 Expedition CR earns my pick for the best overall freeride ski boots for this year. These will give you outstanding freeride performance to help you stay in the driver’s seat when you experience versatile conditions and challenging terrain.
Every model mentioned here is well-suited to the needs of freeride skiers. If you want to excel in the backcountry or any other technical situation, you need the best equipment on your side. The boots in the post will have you covered.