We’re back from another Outdoor Retailer Trade-show and have New AT Touring Ski Boots for 2021. This year in the boot world the focus has been on four buckle touring boots withGripWalk and pin compatibility. We also saw more and more companies pushing for 130 flex and 98 to 100mm last in boots with an uphill mode. The biggest notable difference breaking out onto the AT Touring scene is the Lange XT3 130. Though we didn’t get to look at all AT boots for 2021 we did put our hands on a few. Salomon has a new Shift Boots collection and K2 and Rossignol have also improved upon their existing models.
New AT Touring Ski Boots for 2021: Lange XT3 130
Lange’s new XT3 130 has improved upon it’s patented V Lock hike to walk system. The updated V Lock system adds an additional 2 degrees of rearward motion and 11 degrees of forward motion. This results in 53 degrees of total range in motion of the cuff- pretty impressive! The redesigned shell sheds weight (though felt heaver than any other boot in it’s category), providing a balance of agility for the climb up without sacrificing performance on the downhill. The sole’s new construction, which sandwiches Grilamid between two layers of Polyurethane, was developed for durability. The Lange XT3 130 has (you guessed it) 130 flex so it’s stiff- and has GripWalk and pin compatibility. The boot is also available in 97mm and 100mm lasts.
- True 130 flex. This boot is stiff!
- Two Lasts Options
- 53 degrees of total range in motion
- It’s heavy. Though touted as a lighter upgrade than previous models, the XT3 is on the heavier side.
- Velcro cuff strap
If you are one of those people looking for the stiffest of stiff Alpine Touring boots, we’re not going to sway you away for the Lange XT3 130. With two layers of Poly and Grilamid, this boot is super stiff. It’s going to be warmer than a Atomic Hawx XTD 130 for sure, but it’s also going to take longer to warm up and longer to cool down. The strap is a standard Velcro strap which we suspect will wear out quickly. Other boot companies offer cinch straps so if we as a user were to purchase this we’d upgrade the strap to something aftermarket. Lastly, the weight of this boot was a big turnoff. Having skied in the Atomic Hawx XTD 120 this season, the XT3 felt like a brick by comparison.
New AT Touring Ski Boots for 2021: Salomon Shift Pro 130
The Salomon Shift Pro 130 is the newest backcountry compatible alpine touring boot. The Shift Pro draws inspiration from it’s S/Pro collection but with a 4 buckle design and more durability for everyday resort use. The 100mm last boot includes a Sensifit insert, new instep geometry, lightweight construction, a customizable shell, a 40 degree range of motion cuff, and a seamless liner. Salomon’s Coreframe construction provides the power transmission and performance of a traditional alpine boot. GripWalk and Pin Compatible- the Salomon Shift Pro is also available in a full range of flex options.
- Performance, The Shift Pro really defines what an all-terrain, alpine touring boot should be. This boot performs well for touring but also will hold it’s own for downhill only days.
- Seamless liner. No bunching our weird pressure points. Out the box the Salomon Shift Pro will feel good. Some of our employees who have tested this boot have yet to heat mold their liners- it’s just that good.
- Easy to use flip switch from alpine to walk mode.
- Wide range of flex options
- Price. This boot will put you back $970 (in-store may be cheaper) whereas other boots in it’s category are less.
- Velcro strap. Like the Lange boots, velcro wears out fast. We prefer cinch straps for touring and higher flex boots.
- Only comes in 100mm last. Most people fit in that category, but if you prefer 98mm last you’ll need to look at the S/Pro
The Salomon Shift Pro 130 is really filling in any loose ends that the QST and Shift collections had. We’re digging it because there’s a whole range of men’s and women’s options in flexes to choose from. You’re not just limited to a top tear option. The last is 100mm which is the most common footprint of skiers. We do wish they offered a 98mm last in the 130 flex but can settle for finding that last in the S/Pro line. The Coreframe construction is simple and easy to use, though may be cumbersome in sub-zero temps. The price is also a bit high, which would make us as a user consider other options. But if you’re deadset on salomon and want to be on a 100% Salomon Package, we’re not about to stop you. And if that price point really doesn’t bother you- we’re more than likely to convince you that this is the boot for you.
New AT Touring Ski Boots for 2021: Rossignol Alltrack Elite 130
The Rossignol Alltrack Elite 130 offer’s a no-compromise with with tech fitting and enhanced downhill performance for an all-in-one ski boot. The Thinsulate liner is 100% compatible and comes pre-articulated, so out of the box the boot should perform well. The heel cup is also well designed and like many other 98mm last boots will really hold your heel in place on ascents. The Alltrack also has Dynafit compatible touring lugs, offering a secure connection to tech bindings.
- Price. The Alltrack Elite 130 will put you back $699.95- Far cheaper than other 130 flex class boots.
- Great out of the box liner
- Easy and Efficent flip switch for walk to ski
- Dynafit Compatible tech lugs
- Higher quality Velcro strap
- Only uses Grilamid plastic. Not poly, Still a stiff boot- but in the softer side of 130
- Only comes in 98mm last
Many who traditionally ski in the AllTrack resort model will have a hard time switching to the Alltrack Elite. I say this because the Resort Alltrack 130 is 100mm last not 98mm. So this touring model will feel snugger than typical. Many boot companies make their all-mountain touring boots in 98mm last for a more secure fit, especially while touring uphill- where your foot is likely to move around a bit. The price on this boot is superb for a touring boot though, and clearly other companies are finding it hard to compete. If you had trouble fitting into an Alltrack before, definitely try this one out- the fit is going to be much different and with that great price point you can’t go wrong here.
New AT Touring Ski Boots for 2021: K2 Mindender Boots
Relativly unchanged from last year the Mindender is back and is one of our favorites. We love the big “mitten compatible” buckes, the cinched cuff strap and the spring loaded walk to ski mode. Available in men’s and women’s models, the Mindbender offers up a lot of options for both men and women. The women’s 98 flex, and men’s 100 flex boots will both have 100mm last on them- the rest of the line will be 98mm last.
Price wise, the Mindbender 130 will put you back $699.95. Still cheaper than the Lange or Salomon options. K2 uses TPU in it’s boots calling this their Powerlight core. TPU typically regains it’s flex in the cold versus polyurethane which will get stiffer the colder it gets (to a certain extent). This results in a true to flex feel and is lighter than most plastics used in ski boots.
- Price, A decent and competitive price point in the touring market at $699.
- Mitten friendly, spring loaded walk to ski switch.
- Big easy to use buckles
- Cinch cuff strap
- Color (can someone just make a straight up black boot already)
- Only TPU Plastic
- Buckles stick out and snag on stairs and other objects. You may need to replace them.
This boot was the lightest of all the boots I touched. The price is right and the fit is pretty decent out of the box. The buckles are mitten friendly and easy to use but be warned, if you unbuckle your boots in-bounds, these do stick out and we’ve already seen people coming in with bent or broken buckles. The Mindenders also come in a whole range of flexes so you don’t just have to get into a 130 flex. This boot was our favorite at the show, it checked all our boxes for weight, multi-use compatibility and easy to use buckles. The K2 Mindbender is our 2021 pick for favorite Alpine Touring Boots.