When you’re getting your bearings in a new sport, it can be extremely advantageous to invest in gear to tailor the experience to your specific needs. Ski shop rentals can be both pricey and ill-fitting, and there’s no better way to overcome this than by snagging your own pair of ski boots.
Beginners in skiing, ranging from absolute newbies to once-a-year skiers, especially need to focus on selecting the right boots as it can make or break your experience. Finding beginner boots can be tough, and figuring out how to match them to the proper bindings can be even tougher! But alas, the Adventure Junkies have simplified the process to bring you the best ski boots for beginners.
Not sure what kind of beginner you are? Check out the “Things To Consider” section below for our lowdown on how we qualify your skill level.
For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Ski Boots.
Quick Answer –The Best Ski Boots for Beginners
Rossignol Pure Elite 70View at REIRossignol Alltrack 90View at REIDalbello Panterra 90 GWView at REISalomon QST Access 90 CHView at REISalomon S/PRO 100 WView at REIRossignol Alltrack Pro 100View at REISalomon QST Pro 100 TRView at REIK2 Mindbender 100View at REI
Comparison Table– Best Ski Boots for Beginners
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Rossignol Pure Elite 70
Rossignol Alltrack 90
Downhill & Backcountry
Dalbello Panterra 90 GW
Salomon QST Access 90 CH
Downhill & Backcountry
Salomon S/PRO 100 W
Intermediate Beginner – Advanced Beginner
Rossignol Alltrack Pro 100
Intermediate Beginner – Advanced Beginner
Downhill & Backcountry
Salomon QST Pro 100 TR
Downhill & Backcountry
K2 Mindbender 100
Downhill & Backcountry
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.
Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.
Available In 2 Colors Designed With Comfort And Control In MindAdjustable Buckle System Helps You Dial In The Right Fit
BEST FOR: BUDGET-CONSCIOUS BEGINNERS
At just about $200, the Rossignol Evo 70’s are an absolute steal when it comes to ski boots. In fact, these boots aren’t just for budget-conscious beginners attempting to stop their wallet from hemorrhaging, they’re for any true beginner.
If you’ve never set foot on a pair of skis, these boots are for you. The soft flex is both comfortable and forgiving, allowing you to ease into the sport. They feature a wide “last width” (widest part of the boot) of 104mm which aids circulation and comfort.
These Evo 70’s are an outstanding downhill ski boot worthy of attention.
Freedom To Ski Any Type Of SnowReduced Weight And Thickness Translates Into Performance Gains50° Degree Range Of Motion When Using “Walk Mode” For Uphill Ascents
BEST FOR: EARLY INTRO TO BACKCOUNTRY SKIING
You may be thinking, “Backcountry?! But I’m a beginner!”
It’s never too early to begin practicing your uphill skills or getting the conditioning in to tackle backcountry skiing. As you’re hitting Green runs and making your way into Blues, you can forgo the line at the lift and ascend the mountain with the Rossignol Alltrack 90’s.
You’ll need to pair these boots with backcountry bindings to help you go uphill, but this is a great way to get you familiar with off-piste ascents while honing your descents on groomed runs. Once you’ve hit the advanced beginner stage, you’ll be glad you put in the practice.
Best part about these boots is that they have a “walk mode” that allows you to feel as if you’re hiking normally up a mountain. The range of motion is 50° degrees for maximum comfort and power.
Mostly Black With Red AccentsFeatures A “Power Strap” Ankle Wraparound For Extra Support50° Degree Range Of Motion When Using “Walk Mode” Around The Ski Resort
BEST FOR: VERSATILITY
If you desire the hybridization of comfort and versatility, look no further than Dalbello’s Panterra 90 GW ski boots.
One feature of notable importance is that these boots comes pre-equipped with GripWalk soles. Rather than having the slick, hard plastic bottoms of most traditional Alpine ski boots, the Panterra GW’s have textured, rubber soles that perform more like a hiking boot when walking around the ski resort.
It’s also worth pointing out that the liners inside the boots are thermoformable, meaning that they will form to your foot with heat and pressure. They typically only take about one full day of skiing to form to your feet and break in comfortably.
Lightweight Materials Reduce Weight For Increased Performance45mm Strap Adds Extra Support For Custom Flex Increase/DecreaseSpring-Loaded Release Allows “Walk Mode” For Hiking And Resort Walking
BEST FOR: STAYING WARM
The second worst time to have cold feet (other than right before your vows) is on the mountain*, but now you don’t have to wait for that cozy fire at the lodge to warm up! The Salomon QST Access 90 CH (Custom Heat) ski boots will keep your feet toasty and performing well.
It does this by adding a liner inside the boot that’s able to deliver up to 18 hours of continuous heat to your feet. This can be especially helpful when ditching the comforts of a ski resort to trek into the backcountry where cold temps abound.
In addition to keeping you warm, you have the option to engage “walk mode” to free your ankles for increased range of motion. Not only will this help you walking around off your skis but will help you trek uphill when in back country environments. These boots also feature 45mm thick straps for extra support when hitting big runs.
Available In 2 Different ColorsFully Customizable Liners, Cuffs, And Shell For Truly Personal FitThin Design Enhances Real Time Feedback For Improved Performance
BEST FOR: DOWNHILL COMFORT
If downhill skiing at resorts is your jam, then the Salomon S/PRO 100’s are a fantastic choice for shredding comfortably.
Not only are the boot liners custom moldable, but so are the cuffs and exterior hardshell. This type of customization is groundbreaking and makes for a supremely comfortable ski boot. Even better, it only takes 10 minutes to custom fit! Sore feet are sooooo last ski season.
Along with increased comfort, the S/PRO 100’s feature a thinner exterior shell which sheds weight and provides increased feedback so you can feel the snow as you enter each turn. This translates into increased performance gains through every run. These boots also sport an ankle strap that provides extra support for downhill speed and mobility.
Lightweight Construction Never Sacrifices PerformanceCompatible With GripWalk Soles For Safer & Easier Walking“Walk Mode” Allows Easy Trekking For Off-Piste Hiking And Walking Around The Lodge
BEST FOR: OFF-PISTE EXPLORATION
Perfect for the adventurous beginner, the Rossignol Alltrack Pro 100’s are All-Mountain ski boots that have the design capabilities to perform well on both groomed runs as well as off-piste (ungroomed terrain). Use them with traditional Alpine bindings for downhill skiing or mate them with a backcountry binding for backcountry skiing.
The Alltrack Pro 100’s come with a “walk mode” with a 50° degree range of movement that not only makes it easier to walk around the resort but gives you the necessary freedom to tackle uphill ascents. They are also compatible with GripWalk soles (not included) that make walking and hiking much easier and safer.
These boots are also super comfortable and mold to your feet after a single day of skiing. The heat and pressure that occurs from wearing them will thermally mold the liners to your feet for a custom fit.
Fully Customizable Liners, Cuffs, And Shell For Truly Personal FitThin Design Enhances Real Time Feedback For Improved PerformanceFeatures Both Tech And Alpine Fittings For Compatibility With Most Bindings
BEST FOR: BACKCOUNTRY PERFORMANCE
Advanced beginners that are hungry to push their limits will love the Salomon QST Pro 100 TR ski boots. They are the perfect match performance-wise to give you that extra edge when hitting backcountry trails.
The medium flex of these boots mated with a “power strap” for custom ankle adjustments gives you the support necessary to handle backcountry conditions but can also be loosened for more casual groomed runs. They also have GripWalk soles for enhanced hiking performance on ascents.
The QST Pro 100 TR’s feature tech fittings for backcountry specific bindings but are also compatible with Multi-Norm Compatible (MNC) bindings that Salomon also makes.
Forward Lean Adjustment Let’s You Change Your StanceFeatures Both Tech And Alpine Fittings For Compatibility With Most BindingsFlip-To-Walk Mechanism Offers 50° Degree Range Of Motion For Hiking And Walking
BEST FOR: BACKCOUNTRY TOURING
The K2 Mindbender 100’s are an outstanding choice when it comes to touring in the backcountry. Focusing more on the hiking/backpacking aspect, touring involves both uphill ascents as well as downhill skiing.
As a beginner, it’s never too early to begin learning your backcountry skills. You can start by practicing off-piste (ungroomed trails) at resorts and taking day hikes on snow packed trails in national parks before moving up to more advanced overnight/multi-day trips.
These boots are also highly versatile and will match with a wide range of bindings, both Alpine (for downhill skiing) and Backcountry. They also feature custom moldable liners for a precise fit.
View at REI
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SKI BOOTS
HOW WE QUALIFY SKILL LEVEL
A person who has no experience skiing whatsoever.
Someone who has skied a handful of times and has a growing confidence as they begin to master Green runs.
Skiers who have a confident ability to exercise basic skills including accelerating, stopping, carving, and riding with safety and awareness of others. Advanced beginners may have dabbled with stunts like rail grinds or small jumps. Most Blue runs are handled with a growing confidence though more difficult Blues may still be difficult to manage.
A skier who confidently commands their skis with ease down any and all Blue runs. They may have begun to push themselves by taking on the occasional Black Diamond run, though success there is still difficult.
Those with several years of experience skiing and who regularly handle Black Diamond runs without problem are considered Expert level. They may have even dabbled with Double Black Diamond runs.
One of the most important aspects of choosing the right ski boot is how much flexibility it has. Ski boots are rated for their flexibility on a “flex index” where low numbers mean softer boots and higher numbers correlate to stiffer boots.
So what’s the difference? The stiffer the boot, the more energy there is going into each turn. Generally speaking, stiffer boots are suited for more advanced skiers while softer boots are aimed more for beginners. However, there is a range of progression at each level. Check out the descriptions below for a more detailed look at each.**
Best for True and Intermediate BeginnersFlex Index: Men < 80 / Women < 70Ski boots with a soft flex are best for True Beginners with zero experience skiing as well as for Intermediate/Advanced Beginners who enjoy casual skiing on groomed runs. If you’re the type that picks up new sports pretty easily (or if you’re a snowboarder making the switch to skiing), you may want to bypass soft flex boots and choose a low rated medium flex instead.
Best for Intermediate to Advanced Beginners, and Experienced SkiersFlex Index: Men: 85 – 105 / Women: 70 – 80While medium flex ski boots are aimed mostly at serving Experienced Skiers, Intermediate and Advanced Beginners may want to choose a medium flex on the lower end of the range so that they deliver more power through turns and stability at higher speeds. Additionally, skilled snowboarders making the switch to skiing (or those with a knack for picking up sports easily), will bypass the “beginner” stage fairly quickly and as such, should choose medium flex ski boots to avoid outgrowing their beginner boots too quickly.
Best for Expert SkiersFlex Index: Men > 110 / Women > 85Ski boots with a stiff flex are reserved for Expert Skiers. Beginners of all types should avoid these boots.
**It’s important to note that each manufacturer uses their own internal “flex index” to rate their boots. There is no standardized scale. Keep this in mind when comparing boots between different makers as one manufacturer’s flex rating of 70 may be another manufacturer’s 80.
A liner is the cushy part inside your ski boots and come in 3 types:
Least ExpensiveOffering generic padding and support, these are the most common and basic types of liners for ski boots. Like any type of regular shoe, they will break-in over the course of several weeks of use and become more comfortable with time.
More ExpensiveThermoformable boots will typically form to your foot after a single day of use. They use a special material that molds to your feet under heat and pressure to create a custom fit.
Most ExpensiveCustom moldable liners are fitted before your first use and can either be fitted at home or by a professional at a ski shop (recommended).
TOE & HEEL TYPES
By far the most common type of sole, Alpine boots feature a hard plastic toe that is clamped into the binding. It releases when put under pressure to free your foot in the event of a fall.
Designed for backcountry use, tech fit toes feature 2 pin holes that can be pinched by a backcountry binding. This is designed so that the toe can stay locked into place while the heel can move freely up and down when hiking uphill on your skis.
Alpine (ISO 5355)
Boots with an Alpine heel will have matching Alpine toes. The heel, like the toe, is made of hard plastic and clamps into the binding. The potential downside of traditional Alpine soles is that the hard plastic makes it difficult (and somewhat unsafe) to walk around the ski resort.
Alpine Touring (ISO 9523)
Ski boots with Alpine Touring (AT) heels are characterized by having rubber grips on the soles (both toe and heel) to make hiking and walking easier. They also work with backcountry bindings which allow the heel free range of movement when ascending up a mountain.
Ski boots use a scale known as Mondo Sizing that uses centimeters to measure the length of the boot’s inner sole. Use the chart below for a general idea of how to match your shoe size to the correct Mondo Size.
LAST OR LAST SIZE
Last is the measure of the width of a ski boot at its widest point (typically around the ball of your foot).
For more of our top skiing gear recommendations, check out these popular buyer’s guides: