These days, there’s no reason to sacrifice warmth and comfort for high-end performance.
As we say every ski season, the right boot is significantly more important to your overall experience than any ski. So if you’re stepping up to a new pair, congratulations, and here are some issues to keep in mind.
First, forget the bells and whistles; fit and flex are your primary concerns, so don’t get too wrapped up in things like dual-sided canting, alloy buckles, “fur” liners, etc.
Plan to spend lots of time looking, visiting different shops, trying on as many different brands and models as you can to assess fits. This process can be shorter—and your initial fit more snug—if you’re committed to having a bootfitter customize the shell. That costs about $150, usually money well spent.
Never buy a boot that’s too large, thinking it’ll be comfortable; you sacrifice control over the ski, and you even risk greater discomfort if your foot slides around inside.
Once you’ve found a good fit, look for an appropriate flex within the line. You should be able to bend your knees without being knocked off-balance to the rear. If one model is too stiff, try a softer one from the same line. You might trade off a couple of minor niceties, but you’ll save money, the fit will be the same, and more important, you’ll get a boot that lets you be the boss.