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We’re covering how to choose alpine touring boots. Alpine touring boots – or AT boots – are ski boots that allow you to walk uphill in backcountry terrain and ski down.
AT boots are designed to be used with touring bindings that separate your heel from the ski when walking utilizing special inserts at the toe and heel. Their other feature – called “walk mode” – allows a more natural range of motion when walking.
Picking an AT boot is personal. You’ll want to think about how much you intend to tour and whether you plan on using your boots in the resort. We split touring boots into 3 categories which offer a different balance of uphill vs downhill performance based on factors like weight, skiability, and hardware.
Fast and Light boots are designed only for use in the backcountry. They weigh less than 1400 grams and are a dream to skin on. They prioritize uphill efficiency over downhill performance, with a huge range of motion and lots of weight-saving features. These AT boots are not designed for skiing inbounds and lack power for aggressive skiing. If you plan on long tours, multi-day adventures, or objectives prioritizing weight, these are the boots for you.
Mid Range or “Freetour” boots offer greater versatility for use both in and out of bounds. Weighing around 1400 to 1600 grams they prioritize uphill and downhill performance equally. Many of these boots have a traditional 4 buckle overlap and perform well in the resort. They’re a great option if you’re after a more alpine boot feel, or you’re an advanced skier looking for better power transfer than a lightweight AT boot.
Hybrid boots prioritize downhill performance over uphill efficiency and weigh between 1600 to 2000 grams. These boots look identical to traditional alpine boots and ski better than lighter options. If you’re looking to ski everywhere, you aren’t sure how much you’re going to tour, or you want the best downhill performance, these are your boots.
Boot & binding compatibility chart:
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