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Alpine Touring Ski Boots

Alpine Touring Ski Boots

Alpine touring boots are designed for backcountry skiing. While they look superficially similar to alpine ski boots, having a plastic outer shell plus an insulated liner boot, AT boots have specific features to make backcountry travel practical:
1. A Vibram or rubber sole for grip.
2. A rockered sole for more efficient walking.
3. A Ski/Walk mechanism. This locks the upper cuff for skiing in Ski mode while the Walk mode allows forward and backward cuff rotation while walking.
4. The toe and heel have lugs compatible with standard AT bindings. Many AT boots have toe and heel inserts for use with Dynafit and other insert bindings.
Some lightweight models are designed only for use with insert bindings.
5. Weight is critical when touring and alpine touring boots are generally lighter than alpine ski boots.

Which boots are best for me?
We’ve divided our AT boots into three categories, Race, Efficient and Free-Tour to help you select the best model for your needs.

Race Boots
Race Boots are made for ski mountaineering competitors and for “ski running”, ski touring using the lightest possible gear. These boots give a moderate level of control and maximum cuff rotation so that the ankle is free to move. Race boots are designed for use with insert bindings only and cannot be used with the standard alpine touring bindings. The same applies to skis – these boots have enough power for race and lightweight narrow touring skis, but cannot drive wider and heavier skis.

Efficient Alpine Touring Boots
Efficient Alpine Touring Boots are designed for classic ski touring. Not too heavy, with typically 3 buckles plus a Velcro “power strap”, these boots offer the optimum compromise between comfort and weight for the way up, and performance for the descent. They generally have a medium volume shell since all-day or multi-day comfort is important when touring. Efficient touring boots are the most versatile and the best choice for tours where there is both height and distance to cover.

Free-Tour Boots
Free-Tour boots have a more descent orientated design. The shells are stiffer, often narrower and usually have four buckles. The cuff is higher and stiffer, but still has the ski/walk mechanism. Some models are supplied with a choice of interchangeable soles, for use in alpine or alpine touring bindings. These boots require more effort on the way up but many stronger skiers are willing to put in the extra work in exchange for their downhill performance.

Almost all ski touring boots now come with heat mouldable liners. These have improved dramatically in the last few years and offer an optimum combination of light weight, hold and comfort.
It’s essential to choose the correct boots for your needs. They should be comfortable and compatible with the skis and bindings you’ll be using.
We have over 19 years experience in selecting the right boots for your needs and if you’d like help selecting the best boots for your needs then contact us – we’re here to help.

 

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