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How do I find the right ski touring boot?

The first snow has fallen in the mountains, and you can hardly wait to go ski touring again. Before you start planning your next tour, you should ask yourself a basic question: Do I have the right ski touring boots? You probably know from your own experience that the choice of a ski touring boot is of critical importance. Whether you’re climbing or descending, your boots can be decisive in terms of comfort, performance, and safety. To ensure the best possible experience on your next tour, we’ve put together a guide to help you find the ideal ski touring boot. Find out which type of ski tourer you are, and our product director for hardgoods Schorsch Nickaes will recommend which ski touring boots will work best for you.

All-rounders = TOUR

When you’re on a ski tour, the experience of being in the mountains is your focus. You and your ski buddies like to forge new routes far away from crowded ski resorts. You go at your own pace, regardless of whether it’s an easy tour after a long working day or a multi-day tour with several summits and hundreds of feet of vertical. And you love the climbs as much as the descents. If this sounds like you, you belong in the all-rounder category.


The most important criteria for ski touring boots from the “TOUR” category are: 

• Weight: 1,200 g – 1,600 g
• Material: Grilamid, polyurethane, Marfran
• Closure system: Three buckles for stability on descents and freedom of movement on ascents
• Cuff rotation 60˚ = Good freedom of movement of the cuff for natural walking movement while climbing
• Flex: 100 – 120 = High degree of cuff rigidity (stiffness) for better power transfer to the ski on descents

Free tourers = FREE

For you, “earn your turns” is more than a saying, it’s a mantra. You’re not satisfied until you have found the ideal line in fresh powder. Steep slopes and narrow chutes are where you feel at home, and you’re always searching for the perfect descent down to the valley. If this sounds like you, you’re a free tourer.


A recommendation from Schorsch: Making short work of the many hundreds of vertical feet you will climb requires a ski touring boot with as much freedom of movement in the cuff as possible. For no-compromise performance on the descent and the best power transfer to your skis, you should choose a stiff ski touring boot with a high degree of flex.


The most important criteria for ski touring boots from the “FREE” category are:

• Weight: around 1,550 g
• Material: Grilamid
• Closure system: Four buckles for optimum performance on descents
• Cuff rotation 70˚ = Greater freedom of movement of the cuff for unrestricted movement while climbing.
• Flex: 100 – 130 = Higher cuff rigidity (stiffness) to hold your foot firmly and provide maximum power transfer to the ski on descents
• Gripwalk outsole = Maximum grip when carrying your skis on rocky stretches and icy traverses, so you can drop in on the perfect line.
• Insulation

Ski mountaineers = SPEED

You constantly search for new alpine challenges in difficult terrain. You climb thousands of vertical feet quickly and easily, whether on your local mountain or a four-thousander. You count every single gram, and you move smoothly and efficiently in alpine environments. If this sounds like you, you are a ski mountaineer.


A recommendation from Schorsch: If you want to be the first to reach a summit, your ski touring boot must be light. Additionally, the boot should allow a high degree of freedom of movement to permit fast, dynamic ascents.


The most important criteria for ski touring boots from the “SPEED” category are:

• Weight: 900 g – 1,200 g
• Material: Grilamid, polyurethane, carbon fiber
• Closure system: One or two buckles for maximum freedom of movement on ascents
• Cuff rotation 60˚ = Excellent freedom of movement of the cuff for efficient climbing
• Sole with good grip for rocky traverses

Skimo racers = RACE

Competition is what drives you. You can be found at the starting line of skimo races like the Sellaronda or the Mezzalama. For you, every second counts so you can secure your place on the podium. If this sounds like you, you are a committed skimo racer.


The most important criteria for ski touring boots from the “RACE” category are:

• Weight: 500 g – 900 g
• Material: Grilamid, carbon fiber
• Closure system: One buckle that can be quickly opened or closed with one hand
• Cuff rotation 60˚ - 75 ˚ = Maximum freedom of movement of the cuff for fast, efficient climbing

Find the perfect fit

Fit is critical when you are purchasing a ski touring boot. If the boot doesn’t fit, you will be constantly plagued on a tour by blisters and pressure points. To prevent this from happening, here are some of the most important expert tips from Schorsch:


As a basic rule, the size of a ski touring boot will be given using the mondopoint system. This represents the length of the sole of your foot, measured from the tip of your big toe to your heel. It’s important to round up to the next largest mondopoint size. For example, if your foot measures 27.3 cm, choose a ski boot with the mondopoint size 27.5. Make sure that the liner wraps around your foot comfortably without feeling tight anywhere.


You should always purchase a ski touring boot in the afternoon or evening because your foot swells up during the day. This tip will help you avoid potential pressure points. Make sure to try on ski boots while wearing thin sport socks.


To configure your ski touring boots more exactly to your needs, we offer three different liners, that can be combined with each of our touring boots.

If the boot still does not fit perfectly, the liners can be molded using a thermo-forming process as part of a professional boot fit. Our Competence Centers are there to help you.


If you have particularly wide feet, we offer the best-selling TLT X from the SPEED category in an extra wide fit.


The right fit isn’t the only decisive factor in finding the perfect ski touring boot. It’s essential to make sure that the boot, binding and ski are compatible with each other, and that your set-up works as an integrated system. Using an ultralight race ski boot with a wide powder ski is not going to be much fun. You can find suggestions for choosing the perfect set-ups in our blog posts “How do I choose the perfect touring ski?” and “How do I choose the perfect touring ski binding?

Schorsch Nickaes

DYNAFIT Product Director Hardgoods

If you would like more tips on ski touring from Schorsch, check out our video series “How to ski tour.”