Cross Country Ski Boots: Buyer's Guide
Cross country ski boots can be divided into 4 main categories:
Each boot type is tailored to the specific category of nordic skiing. Differences include boot flex, weight, warmth, stability and binding type. Nordic ski boots are compatible with different nordic ski binding types - Nordic Integrated System (NIS), New Nordic Norm (NNN) and Salomon Nordic System (SNS). Salomon boots fit on SNS bindings only. Rossignol and Fischer boots fit only on NNN and NIS bindings. Backcountry boots fit only NNN BC bindings, but BC boots are also available that fit 75mm (3-Pin) bindings. See the Buyer's Guide to Cross Country Ski Bindings for more details on bindings.
Boot sizes are dependent upon the manufacturer. Salomon uses United Kingdom (UK) sizing. Rossignol and Fischer use European (EU) boot sizing. See our sizing charts to determine the conversion to US sizes.
Skate ski boots are designed to hug the foot, ankle and heel, and should fit like a running shoe. They are stiff, fit above the ankle and are reinforced at the heel. Skate boots are designed to maximize power transfer from the leg to the ski.
When selecting a skate ski boot consider the caliber of boot you want to use, as well as binding compatibility. A higher end boot will be lighter, stiffer and give you more stability and control than a less expensive model. It will also transfer power more effectively. A mid- to entry range skate ski boot exchanges performance for comfort.
A Combi Boot is also available, which is a balance between a skate boot and a classic boot. It is softer and less stiff than a skate boot, but stiffer and less flexible than a classic boot. A beginning skier may choose this option to avoid purchasing two sets of boots. A Combi Boot can also be used for touring and provides better control for the beginning skier.
Race/Performance Skate Boots include:
Mid- to Entry-Level Skate Boots include:
The classic ski boot is softer and more flexible than a skate boot. The boots provide less ankle support than a skate boot, but since the foot moves in a forward motion rather than side to side, less support is needed. Boots with a mid-ankle cuff provide a bit more support. Classic boots should fit like a running shoe.
When selecting a classic ski boot consider the caliber of boot you want to use, as well as binding compatibility. A higher end boot will provide a snugger fit, more support, slightly stiffer and is more performance oriented. A mid- to entry range classic ski boot will be softer, a bit warmer and more comfortable than a performance boot.
Performance Classic Boots include:
Mid- to Entry-Level Classic Boots include:
Touring ski boots are made for the recreational skier and are designed for comfort. A more expensive boot will provide more ankle and heel support and thus more stability and control on the downhill. For most recreational skiers and entry level boot will provide the ideal comfort and stability in a boot for the use. A front zipper will minimize snow accumulation on the laces and may be a bit warmer.
Our touring ski boots are also sold as ski packages, and the table below should get you started on choosing the right boot for you.
Touring Ski Boots include:
Backcountry ski boots are designed to have stiff lateral and ankle support for off-trail turning. Like a hiking boot, the sole is stiff and it rises above the ankle to provide support. These boots should fit like a hiking boot. These boots are used with metal edge skis.
Backcountry boots have two binding systems - the 75mm (3-Pin) and NNN BC. The 75mm binding system boots are stoutier and heavier than the NNN BC system. With the Rossignol BC boots, the higher the number on the boot name, the beefier and stiffer the boot (X9>X5).
Backcountry Ski Boots include: