The 8 Best Women’s Ski Boots of 2023

The lightweight Nordica Promachine 95 W is comfortable without sacrificing stability and responsiveness.

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Best Women’s Ski Boots of 2023

Travel + Leisure / Brian Kopinski

Ski boots are the most important piece of ski equipment you’ll ever buy. “It’s your connection to the skis and to the snow,” explains Doug Stewart, a 20-plus-year veteran boot fitter, ski pro, and trainer at Stowe Mountain Resort and PSIA examiner. “It sends your energy to the snow, and the snow speaks back to the skier through their boots.” 

While all brands have great ski boots, all ski boots aren’t great for you. Sporting the wrong ones can wreak havoc on your feet and your skiing skills. That’s where a boot fitter comes in. An experienced one will assess and measure various aspects of your feet and legs as well as ask you questions about your skiing and aspirations, explains Jim Lindsay, owner and operator of BOOTech, Inc in Aspen, CO, which has been helping people ski better since the turn of the century. Fitters help identify what’s most important for you, from accommodating narrow or wide feet, extremely high insteps, stiff or flexible ankles, and whether you are bowlegged or knock-kneed. 

“Ski boots have angles and dimensions, and so do you,” says Lindsay. “And at some point, your skis need to be flat on the snow. There is a lot of geometry that can go into ensuring that this all happens correctly. The better you can match your angles and dimensions to those of the boot, the better they will perform, and the more comfortable you will be.”

While this guide is no replacement for being seen by a boot fitter, it does highlight some great picks for women’s ski boots currently on the market. Our top recommendation, the  all-mountain Nordica Promachine 95 W, complements a wide range of skiers with middle-of-the-road specs and a heat-moldable liner. There are seven more solid ski boots on our list that we think are worth considering. 

Best Overall

Nordica Promachine 95 W Boots

Nordica Promachine 95 W Ski Boots

Backcountry

Why We Love It: It’s lightweight, yet still high performing.

What to Consider: Large in stature? You may want a heavier boot.

Responsive, stable, and comfortable, the Nordica Promachine 95 W is basically everything you could ever want in a ski boot. It sports a nice amount of give without being overly soft, is super warm thanks to a cozy PrimaLoft liner, and keeps your foot locked in and secure through four micro aluminum buckles. The 95 flex is stiff enough for more advanced skiers to get the energy efficiency and control they need and gives intermediates room to grow into their technique without feeling overly constricted. Nordica’s tried-and-true GripWalk soles will keep you steady on slick terrain off the slopes. The best part: The combo of the heat-moldable 3D liner and the customizable polyurethane shell on this all-mountain (think groomed trails, plenty of powder, and riding over bumps) go a long way in helping you nail the perfect fit. Keep in mind that the Promachine 95 is a low-volume boot that’s on the narrower side, so if you have wider feet or high insteps, you should consider something with a roomier fit.

Price at time of publish: $550

Flex: 95 | Weight: Not listed | Last: 98 millimeters | Available sizes: 22.0-27.5

Most Comfortable

K2 FL3X Revolver Pro W Ski Boots

K2 FL3X Revolver Pro W Ski Boots

EVO

Why We Love It: They’ll mold easily to your feet, making them perfect for each individual.

What to Consider: They're not as warm as other boots.

While the K2 brand has longevity in the skiing game — it was founded in 1962 — the Revolver is technically a new suite of boots (Fl3X Revolver W, Fl3X Revolver Pro W, Fl3X Revolver TBL, and Revolver Team W).  Nonetheless, elite skiers like freestyler Ashley Caldwell, an Olympic gold medalist and member of the Oofos OOcrew, are loving them. The champion notes that the Fl3x Revolver Pro is lightweight yet durable, which is essential because “when you’re flipping through the air, every ounce matters.” Caldwell also highlights how comfortable they are, another essential considering she spends 8-10 hours in ski boots on competition day. “They are also super customizable,” she adds. The ability to change out parts — like tighter or looser cables and different tongue stiffnesses — makes them the perfect match for tons of skiers.  

Price at time of publish: $500

Flex: 100 | Weight: 3.7 pounds | Last: 99 millimeters | Available sizes: 22.5-27.5

Most Versatile

Tecnica Cochise 95 W DYN GW Ski Boots

Tecnica Cochise 95 W DYN GW Ski Boots

Backcountry

Why We Love It: Walk mode, which allows the cuff to hinge forward and backward, makes ambling around post ski feel more natural and less robotic.

What to Consider: Newbies might want a shoe with a more forgiving flex.

For those who spend just as much time skiing around the resort as they do exploring the backcountry but don’t want to shell out the cash for two pairs of boots, Tecnica Cochise is a great go-to brand thanks to their crossovers, which are designed to be compatible with both alpine and AT bindings, says Chris Kirkpatrick, lead boot fitter at Hoback Sports in Jackson, Wyoming. What makes the 95 W DYN GW ski boot, in particular, a standout? This mid-volume boot, which is a great option for intermediate to advanced skiers, boast an anatomical shape to match the foot, offers a reliable fit through its two-piece, four-buckle design, and when you aren’t actively skiing, the GripWalk sole puts you on solid footing (literally) as you navigate hard surfaces. 

Price at time of publish: $600

Flex: 95 | Weight: 3.6 pounds | Last: 99 | Available sizes: 22.4- 26.5

Best for Wide Calves

Dalbello Sports Panterra 95 W ID GW LS Ski Boot

Dalbello Sports Panterra 95 W ID GW LS Ski Boot

Backcountry

Why We Love It: They’re easy to get on and off so you can hit the slopes ASAP.

What to Consider: With a wider forefoot, this boot may not be ideal for those with narrower feet.

Women often have lower and larger calves than men, says Kirkpatrick, and often struggle with calf pain in ski boots.  If you’ve been gifted with more robust calves, an overly tight boot in that area can not only be uncomfortable but also hurt, too. The result: a not-so-thrilling day on the slopes. The all-mountain Dalbello Panterra 95 W ID GW solves for this issue with a handy removable cuff insert that can expand the top of the boot opening by about 5 centimeters, making extra room for a variety of meatier calves.

Price at time of publish: $600

Flex: 95 | Weight: 3.6 pounds | Last: 99-101 millimeters | Available Size: 22.5-27.5

Best for Wide Feet

Atomic Hawx Magna 85 W Ski Boots

Atomic Hawx Magna 85 W Ski Boots

REI

Why We Love It: The polyurethane shell can be heat-adapted for a truly custom fit.

What to Consider: Unless you are a beginner or an experienced skier with a smaller frame, you may want to consider the Hawx Magna boots with higher flexes.

Too-tight boots (even after you’ve broken them in) can cause foot pain and numbness. If your feet are on the wider side, the spacious Atomic Hawke accommodates them with a last width of 102 millimeters. This boot also takes into consideration skiers with bigger calves as it has a removable cuff spoiler that helps expand the cuff size even more. Large-scale calves aside, this boot is also accessible for novice skiers thanks to its softer flex, making it a less aggressive boot and better for a more relaxed skiing style. If you’re a more advanced skier with wide feet, consider Atomic’s Hawx Magna 95 or Hawx Magna 105 from the same line, as they have the same roomy fit but with a stiffer flex. 

Price at time of publish: $350

Flex: 85 | Weight: 4.1 pounds | Last: 102 millimeters | Available sizes: 22-26

Best for Beginners

Salomon QST Access 70

Salomon QST Access 70

Salomon

What we Love: This boot is basically a budget buy.

What to Consider: This wide boot may cause performance issues for those with narrow feet. 

New to the slopes? Boots that are a little softer with a more forgiving flex are a great option for beginner skiers that are still shoring up their skills and aren’t as accurate in their skiing yet. Here’s why: They are often more comfortable, offer easier movement of the upper and lower cuff, and aren’t as challenging to get in and out of. The Salomon QST, which boasts a super-soft 70 flex, is insulated to keep feet warm, has three buckles plus a velcro strap near the calf to ensure your foot is locked in, and it has a walk mode to make moving off the slopes hassle-free.

Price at time of publish: $350

Flex: 70 | Weight: 3.4 pounds | Last: 104 | Available sizes: 23.5-26.5

Best Backcountry

Lange XT3 Tour Pro W Ski Boot

Lange XT3 Tour Pro W Ski Boot

Bob Leisure

Why We Love It: The lightweight Grilamid shell can be customized for a perfect fit.

What to Consider: It’s on the pricier side of the spectrum.

Whether you are climbing uphill in fresh snow or making tracks in deep powder as you dance between the trees on the way down, the Lange XT3 Tour Pro W will meet your needs. It has a firm 115 flex, a lightweight shell anatomically shaped for women, shock absorbing properties, and a lugged Vibram (yep the ones you find on hiking boots) sole, all working together to provide a nice balance between both modalities. Bonus: This hybrid boot will also work for those who occasionally like to ski back in bounds to enjoy a few resort runs.

Price at time of publish: $900

Flex: 115 | Weight: 3.04 pounds | Last: 99 millimeters | Available sizes: 22-27.5 

Best for Speed

Rossignol Pure Elite 120 GW Ski Boot

Rossignol Pure Elite 120 GW Ski Boot

Next Adventure

Why We Love It: The liner cuff is ideal for women with muscular calves.

What to Consider: With a 120 flex, these stiff boots are built for expert skiers — beginners and intermediates should be wary.

For expert skiers who like to bomb down the mountain, the Rossignol Pure Elite 120 was made with you in mind. It has no problem handling high speeds, and the 120 flex, which can be altered by +/- five through a rear spine adjustment, provides a nice, stiff hold. It’s also a low-volume boot that’s snug yet contoured, so you won’t have to worry about your foot flopping around inside. And with the merino wool liner, feet stay warm and odor-free. Simply put, It’s the perfect mix of performance and comfort with a hue that will surely make you a standout in the snow.

Price at time of publish: $750

Flex: 120 | Weight: 3.8 pounds | Last: 98 millimeters | Available sizes: 22 -27

Tips for Buying Ski Boots

Find a boot fitter

Honestly, this should be your first step, because it’s not just about finding a great boot. Information gathered from a boot fitter also offers skiers insight into their feet and their skiing issues on the hill. “A proper change to someone’s ski boot is often the fastest way to improve their comfort, fun, and performance on the hill,” says Stewart. Just remember: “If the person you are working with for new boots doesn’t take a solid look at your foot and how it moves and take a few measurements, they don’t know what they are doing and can’t help you make a good choice.”

Find the right flex

Ski boots expect you to stand with your knees and ankles flexed and your shins in contact with the tongue of the boots, Lindsay explains. When in this position, the flex refers to the level of resistance the ski boot provides when you are “flexing” and pushing the boot forward. Softer flex boots are for smaller and more beginner skiers, while the more aggressive, taller, and heavier a skier is, the stiffer their boot should be.

Here’s a good general flex range guide for women’s ski boots, according to Salomon:

  • Flex from 60-90: beginner or occasional skier, recreational skier
  • Flex from 90-110: skis regularly and has a good ability level.
  • Flex from 110-120: expert skier with a very high ability
  • Flex of 130 and over: competitive skier

Understand the last

Many boots come in high, medium, and low volume for different width feet and various instep heights, says Kirkpatrick. The volume of a boot is referred to as the “last,” which is the width of the boot at its widest point. Typically, a low-volume boot ranges between 97-99 millimeters, a mid-volume boot runs between 99-101 millimeters, and high-volume boot is between 100-104 millimeters.

Consider replaceable insoles

Aftermarket liners or custom footbeds are often required to get a proper ski boot fit. A custom footbed is an insole shaped to a skier’s foot and built by a boot fitter to accommodate the skier’s specific needs. “Custom footbeds improve both comfort and performance in a ski boot and can solve a variety of different fit issues,” says Kirkpatrick, who notes that it’s extremely rare for someone’s foot to not benefit from replacing the stock insole with a footbed. “They are a crucial piece of a proper ski boot fit.”  

Shop women's -specific. . .sometimes

Women’s-specific ski boots tend to have a lower cuff height. According to Lindsay, the lower cuff height is advantageous to women of average or shorter stature. “Women who are long of lower leg or are over 5-feet, 8-inches or so are often better served by being in a unisex boot,” he advises.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What size ski boots do I need?

    The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, which is perhaps why more than 80 percent of skiers aren’t in the correct size ski boots, Stewart says. Ski boots are measured on the Mondopoint scale, which is the length of your foot measured in centimeters. To determine your size, though, you must also take into account things like your arch length, foot width, instep height, overall foot shape and how aggressively you ski. “We measure 40 different aspects of an individual's anatomy before selecting which boots are best suited to their needs,” says Lindsay.

  • How should ski boots fit?

    According Lindsay, most people, if left to their own devices, will select ski boots that are too big. “The fit of a boot should always be on the snug side, with uniform envelopment around the whole foot and leg. This is especially important when the boot is new because they only get bigger with use,” he says.


    Once the boot is buckled, your toes should be touching the front of the boot but not be curled or jammed into the front of the boot, says Kirkpatrick. “When you bend your knee and flex the boot forward, your toes should pull away from the front of the boot slightly and your heels should remain locked in place and not lift up in the boot. You shouldn’t be able to move your foot around in the boot at all.”


    Another key indicator of fit: how tightly your boot is buckled. A boot that fits well doesn't need to be buckled tightly. “This makes for a warmer, more comfortable boot that skis better,” says Lindsay. “When a boot is too big, it needs to be buckled excessively which causes big spikes in pressure and leads to a boot that is cold and uncomfortable and performs poorly.” Any wiggle room or pain in your foot is also a sign the boot is not right for you, adds Kirkpatrick.


    One of the biggest fit faux pas people make is mistaking looseness for comfort, says Lindsay, but when a boot is new, it should feel like it is just a little more snug than you wish it would be. Remember: “The right size will start tight and then be great for years,“ he says. “The too-big boot might feel good for three days and then be too big for the rest of its life.”


    According to Stewart, if you ski a lot, you can get a boot that is tight and will take four or more days to break in. If you only ski three days a year, you can get a boot that is a little more relaxed, but it should still be the correct size. Overall, though, when you’re in the right boot, it “should have pressure all around your foot and lower leg, but no pain,” says Stewart. “It’s like a firm hug.”

  • How do I put on ski boots?

    The cliff notes version: Undo all the buckles, open the boot wide, step in, making sure to bend your knees and flex your shins forward to get your foot in at the correct angle, pull up on everything and start buckling. (For a more in depth guide, REI has some great pointers here.) Pro tip: Buckling the boots top to bottom will help pull your foot back in the boot and secure your heel in the heel pocket of the boot, says Kirkpatrick. Also, according to Caldwell, you shouldn’t struggle with your ski boots. “If you have good boots, they are easy to get on and off,” she says, noting that after removing her boots, her recovery shoe of choice are Oofos

  • How long do ski boots last?

    Usually, the foam liner of a boot will need to be replaced before the plastic shell. How long they last depends on how much you ski. If you ski regularly, your boots will usually last about 120 ski days. Don’t ski very often? They can last for many years, provided that you take care of them, though Stewart says that at 10-12 years plastics can become compromised. To extend the life of your boots, Stewart says the number one thing you can do is keep them buckled at all times. Also key: how you store ski boots in the off season. Beware not to expose them to extreme heat (think a hot attic or garage). Instead, opt for a cool dry place with the buckles loosely buckled, says Kirkpatrick. Also make sure to store them in a boot bag to help prevent rodents, like mice, from taking up residence in your ski boots. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Rozalynn S. Frazier is an award-winning, multimedia journalist, NASM-certified personal trainer, and behavior change specialist living in New York City. A proud graduate of Spelman College and New York University, she has more than 20 years of experience creating and editing content for magazines, websites, newspapers, books, and brands. A 10-time marathoner, she’s passionate about health, wellness, and fitness, and works to expand access to these spaces, making them more diverse, inclusive and representative of the community in which we live. To curate this list of the best ski boots for women, she spoke with professional skier and Olympic Gold Medalist Ashley Caldwell, Jim Lindsay, owner and operator of BOOTech, Inc, Doug Stewart, boot fitter, Ski Pro, and trainer at Stowe Mountain Resort and PSIA examiner, and Chris Kirkpatrick, lead boot fitter at Hoback Sports.

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