9 Best Ski Boots for Beginners in 2023 (My Top Pick)

by Simon Naylor | Updated: August 9th, 2023 |  Recommended Gear

Buying your first pair of ski boots is a right of passage for any new skier. If you've never skied or you've skied a few times and are ready for your own beautiful new pair of boots - then we're here to point you in the right direction.

From budget to premium - we've covered all angles with in-depth research to find the absolute best beginner ski boots for new and advancing skiers. Before you order - measure up your feet (instructions in the buyer's guide below).

ski boots

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Our Lineup of the Best Ski Boots for Beginners

1. Tecnica Mach Sport HV 80

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Dimensions: Flex - 80, Last - 103 mm
  • Pros: Great comfort, Insulated liner for warmth, Easy on and off, Wide fit accommodating for various foot shapes
  • Cons: Might be too soft for advanced skiers, Not suitable for slim feet

Our Experience

The Tecnica Mach Sport HV 80 Ski Boots offer the perfect mix of performance and comfort for advancing skiers. The wider fit, combined with the insulated liner made our skiing experience enjoyable and firmly in control. These boots are suited for average to wider, high-volume feet.

These boots are designed with a softer material at the instep, allowing easy entry and exit at all temperatures, a major plus when your boots are left unheated. While comfortably robust, skiers with narrower feet may find them oversized, and their limited stiffness may cause more advanced skiers to seek a stiffer, more responsive boot.

Key Features

  • Last: 103 mm ensuring a wide, comfortable fit for skiers with bigger feet.
  • Flex: 80, providing a softer flex ideal for beginners to intermediates.
  • Shell: C.A.S. Polyolefine shell for heat-induced shape adaptability.
  • Comfort Liner: Enhanced with Celliant Insulation that transforms body heat into infrared energy, boosting warmth, performance, and recovery.
  • 4 Aluminum Micro-Adjustable Buckles with Lift Lock for simplified use and secure fit.
  • GripWalk ISO 23223 Soles offers good traction for walking.

Final Verdict

The Tecnica Mach Sport HV 80 ski boots are an excellent entry point for beginners progressing from rental gear to owning their first pair of boots. In terms of price-quality ratio, the Mach Sport HV 80 are one of the best ski boots for beginners.

2. Rossignol Evo 70

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Dimensions: Flex - 70, Last - 104 mm
  • Pros: Comfortable fit for wide feet, Easy entry, and exit, Affordable, Beginner-friendly flex
  • Cons: Might not cater for intermediate to advanced skiers, Not suitable for narrow feet

Our Experience

In our experience, the Rossignol Evo 70 Ski Boots offer a great choice for beginners seeking to trade rental boots for their own pair. The boots provide generous space with a list of 104 mm making them an ideal fit for skiers with wider feet. Add to this the softer instep insert that allows easy entry and exit from the boots.

However, the softer flex rating of 70 provides a forgiving yet supportive feel for beginner skiers but can come up short for slightly more advanced skies. Similarly, skiers with narrower feet might find the fit too roomy for optimal comfort and control. But for the right foot shape and level of skill, Evo 70 certainly stands out as an ideal start.

Key Features

  • Last: 104 mm ensures a generous fit for those with a wider foot profile.
  • Flex: 70, a lower flex index ideal for beginners needing more forgiveness.
  • Custom T4 Liner: Offers impressive initial fit with a contoured, sock-like feel for improved comfort.
  • Shell: Polyolefine with Sensor Matrix Technology for better energy transmission.
  • 3 Micro-Adjust Aluminum Buckles for easy adjustability and secure fit.
  • Replaceable ISO 5355 Alpine Soles catering for skiers preferring the classic Alpine bindings.

Final Verdict

Concisely, Rossignol Evo 70 Ski Boots comes through as a comfortable, forgiving, and beginner-friendly ski boot. Its price point also makes it a good choice for those venturing into owning their own pair of boots. For the beginner with broader feet and on a budget, the Evo 70 ski boots come highly recommended.

3. Salomon QST Access 80

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Dimensions: Flex - 80, Last - 104 mm
  • Pros: Lightweight, Comfortable for wider feet, Adjustable buckling, Convenient walk mode feature
  • Cons: Soft flex may not be suitable for aggressive skiers, Could be roomy for those with slimmer feet

Our Experience

The Salomon QST Access 80 Ski Boots offer an attractive combination of comfort & performance for learning skiers. The 104mm relaxed last is particularly appealing for skiers with wider feet, offering a comfortable fit that minimizes pressure points and discomfort during long skiing days.

The soft flex of 80, expectedly, encourages gradual skill development for beginners while offering a smooth and forgiving ride. We particularly liked the the walk mode feature which made navigating through the resort a breeze. However, while the boots favor wider feet, for skiers with a narrower foot profile, the foothold may feel somewhat loose.

Key Features

  • Last: 104 mm offers comfort-focused generous space designed to accommodate wider feet.
  • Flex: 80, provides a soft flex suitable for newer or intermediate skiers.
  • My CustomFit Comfort Liner delivers a personalized, snug fit for enhanced comfort.
  • Polyolefin Cuff and Shell, delivering robustness in lightweight construction.
  • 2 Micro-Adjustable Aluminum Plus Ratchet Upper Strap for easy, precise, and secure buckle adjustment.
  • GripWalk ISO 23223 Walk Soles provide better walkability during non-ski moments.

Final Verdict

On the whole, the Salomon QST Access 80 Ski Boots come across as a solid choice for beginners transitioning into owning their first pair of boots, particularly those with wider feet. They offer commendable comfort, easy-to-adjust buckling, and practical features for a satisfying skiing experience. While their soft flex may limit their appeal to advanced skiers, for the novice skier, they hold up as an excellent investment toward their skiing journey.

4. Nordica Sportmachine 3 80

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Dimensions: Flex - 80, Last - 102 mm
  • Pros: Adjustable cuff for a better fit, Easy entry, and exit, Customizable cork liners for warmth and comfort
  • Cons: Might not be ideal for narrower feet, Softer flex may not suit advanced skiers

Our Experience

The Nordica Sportmachine 3 80 Ski Boots offer a great blend of comfort and performance specifically suited for new skiers. Better yet, their medium-wide last of 102mm sits in the sweet spot for the average foot profile.

We particularly liked the Tri-Fit technology which makes the boot-fitting process much more precise without risk of damaging the boot shell. Essentially a boot fitter can use infrared light to soften the materials so it molds to your foot. This means better energy transfer to your skis and improved maneuverability.

The Nordica Sportmachine 3 80 Ski Boots make a compelling choice for beginners and intermediate skiers. While not the best match for everyone, particularly those with slender feet or seeking stiffer boots, for beginners and intermediates with average to wider feet desiring warmth and comfort, these boots make a smart choice.

Key Features

  • Last: 102 mm, providing a medium-wide fit ideal for high volume or wider feet.
  • Flex: 80, offering a forgiving ride for beginner or lighter skiers.
  • 3D Cork Fit Primaloft Liner, adding inherent customization, enhanced warmth, and comfort.
  • Adjustable Cuff Profile allowing adjustments to accommodate various calf sizes.
  • Tri-Force Construction ensures durability while providing a comfortable wrap around the foot.
  • 4 Micro-Adjust Aluminum Alloy Buckles, or easy adjustment and secure fastening.

Final Verdict

Their comfort, personalized fit, and beginner-friendly flex make them perfect for those taking their second or third seasons into skiing.

5. K2 BFC 80

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Dimensions: Flex - 80, Last - 103 mm
  • Pros: Ample space for wider feet, Cushioned liners for maximum comfort, Reasonably priced
  • Cons: Might not be ideal for narrow feet, Lack of precision for advanced skiers, Absence of walk mode feature

Our Experience

The K2 BFC 80 ski boots promise improved comfort and in our testing they fit remarkably well - that is if you have wider feet than average. We particularly liked the CushFit Comfort Liner which adds a nice touch of luxury to the interior of the boot that is both supportive and comfortable.

Although the soft flex of 80 is a crowd-pleaser for beginners or lighter skiers, it may prove less effective for advanced skiing techniques with the boot lacking full responsiveness. The lack of a walk mode in the BFC 80 model might prove a little inconvenient for parking lot trudging or climbing stairs.

If you're feet a prone to feeling uncomfortable in rented boots, then these may well be a good choice for you.

Key Features

  • Last: 103 mm, wide and high volume fit for immediate comfort.
  • Flex: 80, providing a softer flex suitable for beginners or lighter skiers.
  • CushFit Comfort Liner creates a snug fit with a blend of open cell and EVA foam for enhanced comfort and support.
  • FastFIT Instep is made from softer TPU material for easy entry and exit.
  • Shell and Cuff made from durable Polypropylene.
  • 4 Aluminum Micro-Adjustable Lightweight Buckles allowing for precise adjustment.

Final Verdict

In summary, the K2 BFC 80 Ski Boots offer comfort on a platter for beginner to intermediate skiers with wider feet. The price point for this comfort is also reasonable, making the K2 BFC 80 an attractive proposition for beginner skiers prioritizing comfort.

6. Lange LX 90 HV

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Dimensions: Flex - 90, Last - 102 mm
  • Pros: High performance, Comfortable fit for wider feet, Quality construction
  • Cons: May be too stiff for complete beginners, Lacks a hike mode

Our Experience

The Lange LX 90 HV Ski Boots are where comfort meets performance for advancing skiers. The 102 mm last and the Dual 3D Comfort liner combine magnificently to provide immediate comfort out of the box. These boots cater to the often overlooked need for ankle support and heel retention that is vital in effectively maneuvering the ski.

We did however notice the absence of a walk-mode, so bear this in mind if this feature is important for you.

However, with a flex rating of 90, the LX 90 isn't typical of boots recommended for complete beginners. This added stiffness, unfamiliar to users accustomed to softer rental boots, makes this suited to a more advanced beginner skier or who are planning to progress rapidly.

Key Features

  • Last: 102 mm, designed to provide comfort for higher-volume feet.
  • Flex: 90, offering a medium flex best for progressing skiers.
  • Dual 3D Comfort Liner ensures immediate comfort and a custom-like fit.
  • Polyurethane Shell and LYFRAN Cuff, promising strength and durability.
  • Natural Stance provides a lower ramp angle and a more neutral, upright stance for efficient power transfer.
  • 4 Micro Aluminum Buckles for precise and secure fastenings.

Final Verdict

Despite lacking a hike mode, their comfort, performance, and quality build make them a worthy choice for progressing skiers ready to take on more challenges on the slopes.

7. Salomon S​/Pro MV 100

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Dimensions: Flex - 100, Last - 100 mm
  • Pros: Ambitious design, Heat-moldable for a custom fit, Excellent all-around performance
  • Cons: High cost for beginners, Possibly too stiff for absolute beginners

Our Experience

The Salomon S/Pro MV 100 Ski Boots are designed for confident beginners right through to more advanced intermediate. The 100 mm last, paired with Salomon's proven heat molding process, caters exceptionally well to a wide range of foot types, providing an almost custom fit. Comfort, performance, and durability are the hallmarks of this boot

However, the high flex rating makes the boots less forgiving and might prove challenging for absolute beginners. The boots retail at a premium price tag, which might be too hefty a commitment for those still dabbling with the sport. But for those determined to stick to skiing and who seek a boot that will last the Salomon S/Pro MV 100 boots would be a viable consideration.

Key Features

  • Last: 100 mm can potentially be expanded to accommodate wider feet.
  • Flex: 100, offers a medium flex ideal for progressing skiers.
  • My Custom Fit 3D Seamless Performance Liner for a comfortable and warm fit.
  • Polyurethane Shell with refinements like Sensifit and Custom Shell HD for enhanced fit and performance.
  • Four Micro-Adjustable Aluminum 3D Buckles for a precise fit.
  • GripWalk ISO 23223 Walk Soles helps transition between ski and walk mode.

Final Verdict

While their stiff flex and high price point may discourage an absolute beginner, the boots are perfect for the ambitious beginner, transitioning into advanced levels on the slope.

8. Nordica Sportmachine 3 100

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Dimensions: Flex - 100, Last - 102 mm
  • Pros: Wide range of flexes, Larger size for those with wider feet, Good step between beginner and advanced boots
  • Cons: You may be able to adjust to a more closely fitting boot with some modifications, the fairly high price point could deter beginners

Our Experience

The Nordica Sportmachine 3 100 Ski Boots offer advanced features for learning skiers ready to take their skiing to the next level. Just like the other Nordicao on this list, these feature the Tri-Fit Technology which essentially allows you to heat mold the boots to your foot shape. The boots offer an average last of 102 mm, which provides a comfortable space for larger feet or those with a higher volume.

However, the boots' medium flex rating of 100 can be a challenging leap from the typically softer boots beginners are accustomed to. Yet for those making quick advancements or possessing a naturally aggressive skiing style, these boots prove a worth contender. While the Sportmachine 3 100 is a mid-range boot, it comes with a fairly high price tag, which might be a considerable commitment for beginners. But for those ready to commit or seeking future-proof skiing boots, the high cost could be justified.

Key Features

  • Last: 102 mm, offering a roomy fit for wider feet.
  • Flex: 100, presents a medium flex suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers.
  • Adjustable Cuff for accommodating calves of various sizes.
  • The polyurethane Shell and Cuff ensure high durability while allowing for customization.
  • 4 Micro-Adjust Aluminum Alloy Buckles for secure and easy adjustment.
  • GripWalk Soles offer enhanced grip and stability.

Final Verdict

Though a significantly stiffer boot than the typical beginner ski boots and a higher-priced boot, these boots offer a smooth transition for an ambitious skier.

9. Rossignol Alltrack 90

At a Glance

  • Category: Ski Boots
  • Ability Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Dimensions: Flex - 90, Last - 102 mm
  • Pros: Beginner-friendly but with premium features, lightweight with a good walk mode
  • Cons: Not as impressive as other offerings from Rossignol

Our Experience

The Rossignol Alltrack 90 Ski Boots strike an impressive balance between entry-level comfort and performance. The boot's Generative Grid Design, incorporating a slimmed-down shell, favors a low-weight, high-performance ride that makes it suitable for energetic beginners and intermediate skiers.

The 102mm last ensures a snug fit for wider feet, and the moderate flex ranking of 90 is comfortable yet allows for decent responsiveness. We particularly enjoyed the Alltrack 90 is Hike Mode 2.0. This feature makes the boot easy to walk on slippery surfaces when navigating through the resort on your way to the slopes.

Key Features

  • Last: 102 mm, designed for wider feet and comfortable fit.
  • Flex: 90, offering a moderate flex ideal for beginners to intermediates.
  • Custom T4 Liner, providing an impressive out-of-the-box fit for optimized foot wrapping.
  • The shell features Polyurethane and Polyolefine materials for durability and performance.
  • Dual Core Technology for enhanced power transmission and shell wrapping.
  • Hike Mode 2.0, enables a hiking-friendly design with an optimized range of motion.
  • Replaceable ISO 5355 Alpine Soles for prolonged use.

Final Verdict

While not the flashiest offering from Rossignol, they exhibit a balancing act between comfort, versatility, and performance.

Ski Boot Buyer's Guide for Beginners

Understanding Ski Boots: A Beginner's Guide

When it comes to finding the perfect ski boots as a beginner, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, proper fitting is crucial. Pay attention to the angle and position of the bindings, as well as the choice of boot length.

One important aspect for beginners is to opt for soft boots because they allow for more ankle joint movement, which is important for your balance as you learn to ski. Beginner ski boots are also designed to provide more comfort and flexibility, helping you ease into the sport. While your learning to ski entry level boots will provide the necessary support and protection, without restricting your movements.

Ski boots are flexible so that as you ski you can bend your knees, ankles and joints to maintain control and balance on the slopes.

Ski Boots: Key Features to Look For

When buying your first pair of ski, we recommend getting boots with the following key features:

  • Comfortable Fit: Look for ski boots that fit snugly but not too tight. You want them to be comfortable and provide support, but not restrict your movement or cause discomfort.
  • Flexibility: Beginner ski boots should have a softer flex to allow for easier maneuverability and better balance control.
  • Reliable Protection: Look for ski boots with good insulation and padding to keep your feet warm and protected from the cold and impact.
  • Adjustability: Look for ski boots that allow for easy adjustment of the straps, buckles, and closures to ensure a secure fit.

Every boot we've reviewed and linked to in our list above has these features as a minimum.

What Flex Boot Should I Pick

To calculate the flex of your first ski boot. See our ski boot flex table below: Ski Boot Flex Chart:

  • Soft Flex (60-80): These boots have the highest degree of flexibility, ideally suited for beginners of any age who are lighter in weight or still getting comfortable on the slopes. They provide a forgiving experience that aids in mastering basic skiing techniques.
  • Medium Flex (80-100): These boots offer a balance between flexibility and responsiveness. They are recommended for beginners who are heavier or have a more athletic build, as they provide the necessary support and control needed to handle the additional weight. This added stiffness can also be beneficial for beginners who plan to progress quickly.
  • Stiff Flex (100+): These boots are the stiffest and most rigid, designed for advanced skiers who demand maximum responsiveness and control.(not for beginners)

If you've you are a confident skier, you may want to consider a boot with a medium flex. If you're heavy, strong and extremely fast on the slopes then you'll want to look at an intermediate or expert ski boot with a medium or stiff flex. For almost all beginners a soft or medium flex is the right choice.

person in black jacket and black pants riding on snowboard during daytime

Busting Myths

A common misconception that some new skiers might have is that they will ski better if they buy the best, most expensive skis and boots - the truth is that doing so will actually make learning to ski and progressing much more challenging. It takes time for your body to adapt to skiing and develop the necessary muscle memory and coordination that an advanced stiffer ski setup demands.

How to Determine the Correct Size in Ski Boots

Before you order a pair of ski boots, get the tape measure out so you can order the correct boot size. Ski boots are measured in centimeters and known as the "mondo point" size. To determine the correct size for your ski boots, follow these steps:

1. Measure at home

You can accurately measure the length of your foot from heel to toe by standing flat on a piece of paper without socks. Draw your outline and measure from the back of the heel to the tip of your longest toe. Also, measure the width at the forefoot. See the section below about skit boot width.

2. Measure at a ski shop

Or head into a local ski shop if you're lucky enough to live close to one. They will have the tools and expertise to accurately measure your foot and recommend the appropriate size ski boots for you.

A Breakdown of Ski Boot Brands for Beginners

The most popular ski brands in the industry are Salomon, Tecnica, Rossignol, Atomic, Dalbello, Nordica, Head, K2, Lange, Fischer. Some lesser known brands but equally reputable would be: Roxa, Full Tilt, Apex, Alpina, Scott.

When buying ski boots it's easy to get caught up in the look and style of the boot - but the key thing to remember is the fit is the most important aspect of any boot.

Do I need Narrow or Wide Ski Boots

If you have wider or narrow feet than an average person of you boot size, then it's worth seeking out a boot model that accommodates this.

The width of a ski boot, also known as the last, is typically categorized as follows:

- Narrow last: less than 98mm.

- Medium or standard last: 98-102mm.

- Wide last: 103mm and above.

These measurements are based on the width of the forefoot. So, if your foot width is less than 98mm, you would likely be looking at ski boots with a narrow last. If your foot width is 98-102mm, then a medium or standard last ski boot would likely fit. If your foot width is above 103mm, you may need a boot with a wide last.

man in orange jacket and black pants standing on snow covered ground

Renting or Buying Ski Boots

Owning your own pair of ski boots is a great milestone for new skiers, it allows you to get prepared for the slopes without waiting in line at a rental shop que. Not to mention, owning your own boots ensures a proper fit and comfort tailored to your feet.

Rental ski boots typically cost around $20 to $50 per day, depending on the quality and the resort. The fees can add up if you plan to ski for more than a few days. You will get a better rate if you pre-book or rent boots for a longer time-frame and as part of a package of gear.

Rental ski boots are designed to be worn by multiple people with multiple foot shapes and size so its harder to get a snug fit with a rental boot. The foam inside the boot is usually compacted in all directions, meaning the contact between your foot and the boot lining is sub-optimal. This means that when you ski your energy won't be transferred into the ski boots and skis movement as efficiently as it would with a properly fitted boot.

Buying Ski Boots: A Price Guide

Ski boots are an investment and if you plan to ski more than a week each year, it typicall makes sense to buy your own.

For price, expect to pay between $200 to $600 for a pair of beginner ski boots. You'll Pay more for boots that will last longer and are lighter and a bit more comfortable.

If you buy a pair of boots for $350, you ski on average 10 days per year and plan to keep them for 5 years, which would amount to a cost of $70 per year. If you compare that to renting boots you could spend a similar amount on rental fees.

If you have to pay for excess luggage when you fly then that needs to be taken into consideration too if your motive for owning a pair is purely financial.

Ski Boot Cost Calculator

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Deciding To Buy New Ski Boots

Usually, new skiers think about buying their own pair of ski boots after they've been skiing one or twice, they love it and they make a commitment to themselves to go regularly each year.

I decided to buy my ski boot instead of renting because I wanted a precise fit. It's allowed me to ski with more confidence and develop my skills faster.

See Next: Once you've picked your boots, head over to our Best Beginner Skis.