New To Ski

Are Better Skis More Important Than Better Ski Boots? (Which Should You Spend More On?)

by Anthony Schwabe | Updated: October 27th, 2022
skier in full white equipment

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In a perfect world, we’d all have the best ski gear available. Unfortunately, budgets get in the way leaving us wondering which gear we should prioritize. Some skiers need to make the decision about whether they should invest more in their boots or skis. So what should you do?

Ski boots play a more important role than skis. High-quality boots offer incredible comfort, as well as improved stability and performance. While good skis are important and can strongly affect skiing performance too, the benefits of good boots outweigh the benefits of skis. 

For many, the best compromise is buying your own boots, while renting skis. You get a boot that fits you well and you can try out the latest skis each year – without the added headache of transporting your skis to and from the resort.

Benefits of Great Skis

ski down slope

The quality of your skis plays a big part on your riding style. This becomes apparent if you change from a bog standard pair of skis to a much better quality pair. They feel much easier to control and they are more responsive on the snow.

Lower-quality skis are generally more manageable as they’re made to cater to beginners and rental groups. This means they offer lower performance in pretty much every way. However, beginners will be occupied with balance and making simple turns, rather than the performance of their skis.

Lower-quality skis are slower and less dynamically capable than high-end skis. Part of this is because it would be harder for beginners to learn on skis that are too advanced, the other part is manufacturers being able to save on production costs. 

You’ll typically find that low-quality skis are also quite unstable when cornering and at speed. High-end skis for advanced and expert skiers are very fast and extremely maneuverable. If you’ve ever seen an expert skier pulling off sharp turns at high speed, the quality of their skis are mostly responsible.

Top Picks for Skis

The choice of high-quality skis on the market today is vast. What’s more, manufacturers release new or updated models every year. Here are some of our favorites currently:

1. Völkl M6 Mantra 

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The Völkl M6 Mantra is possibly the best pair of skis out there at the moment. They excel in pretty much every aspect of alpine skiing,  

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The Tailored Titanal Frame makes the M6 Mantra cope exceptionally well on crud, without losing performance in thick powder.  The rigid construction makes for an incredibly maneuverable and fast pair of skis. 

2. Nordica Enforcer

Check Price on EVO.com

See Also:  5 Best Goggles for Night Skiing & Snowboarding

Nordica Enforcer is another top contender, although it might just come down to personal preference and styling when it comes to choosing between our top two picks. 

The Enforcer also features Titanal reinforcement, offering amazing performance and stability across all conditions. It also means the Enforcer’s garner some serious speed.  A fair warning – these aren’t beginner’s skis. 

3. Rossignol Blackops Sender

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The Blackops Sender is a great choice for powder with their additional width.  In spite of the wider profile of these skis, they perform well in all but the toughest conditions. They also offer great stability and a smooth ride.

4. Elan Ripstick Black Edition

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Just like the Rossignol, the Elan Ripstick Black Edition is an awesome pair of skis for softer snow and powder.  These skis feature structural carbon fiber, making them lighter than their regular Ripstick counterparts. 

Benefits of Great Ski Boots

Ski Boot

When it comes to ski boots, there are a number of ways they can affect your ride on the slopes. These factors might not be as significant to your riding style compared to skis, but they are still incredibly important. Cheap, low-quality boots often deteriorate quicker making them uncomfortable sooner, which can really make your time on the slopes miserable.

Key takeaway: The first, and arguably the most significant benefit of having great ski boots is comfort.

High-quality boots keep your feet comfortable, warm, and dry. This is achieved through clever waterproofing, insulation, and superior lining and quality construction. On the other hand, low-end ski boots might have one or two of these features, but nothing like the quality of a good pair of boots. 

Another important aspect of good boots is how they can change your skiing. A great pair of ski boots will give you much more control and response from your skis.

They can give a skier a much better sense of what’s going on under their skis, helping improve the ride. There is no better feeling than when your feet inside your boots connect together with your skis to feel like one cohesive unit.

ski boots

You have to be realistic though, your ski boots are only as good as the fit. You might find a great looking pair of boots, but if they don’t fit well, you’re going to miss out on a lot of the benefits. Poorly fitting boots can make your ride uncomfortable and cost you performance. 

Top Picks for Ski Boots

Just like modern skis, there are so many great boots out there to choose from. These are some of the best ski boots that we’ve come across lately: 

1. Atomic HAWX Ultra

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One of the best ski boots out there is the Atomic HAWX Ultra. If you browse through lists of gear, you’ll no doubt have seen these boots near the top of many lists, especially the best ski boots. 

See Also:  10 Best Ski Socks (2022) - My Ultimate Sock List

At the same time these boots are incredibly lightweight, while retaining very good rigidity and stability. They might not be in quite the same class as high-performance, dedicated racing boots, but they’re pretty close. 

2. Technica Cochise

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The Technica Cochise has been a staple of ski boots for over a decade now. Versatility is their strongest asset, which puts them head and shoulders above competitors. So, they are equally suited to both ski resorts and the backcountry. 

The Cochise is one tough boot, offering skiers real stability all over the mountain. 

3. Salomon S/Pro

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The Salomon S/Pro is one of the best-selling boots in North America and for good reason. 

Reliability, stability, and comfort are all part and parcel of the S/Pros thanks to years of design improvements. These boots are an excellent all-rounder for Alpine skiing. 

4. K2 Mindbender

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The K2 Mindbender is another lightweight pair of ski boots that are versatile enough for both resorts and the backcountry. Clean lines and detailing make them look the part too. 

The Mindbenders offer strong support for the heel and ankle, while still maintaining flexible upper construction. The Precisionfit Pro Tour liner also really helps boost comfort. 

If you need the lowdown on choosing your ski boots, be sure to check out this article, which gives you all angles on what you need to consider when choosing a pair of ski boots. You’re going to be wearing them for hours at a time, so best to get them right!

What’s More Important, Skis or Boots?

Ski equipment practicing balance exercise on a snowy mountain.

Key takeaway: A good pair of ski boots play a more significant role during your skiing day than a good pair of skis.

You can have the best skis in the world, but if your feet are in pain from uncomfortable boots soon after putting them on, your day is going to be spoilt. 

Most skiers have a ‘painful boot‘ story and would consequently take a good pair of boots over a good pair of skis anytime. Struggle through the day with a bad pair of boots and you will soon come round to this way of thinking!

Well fitting boots give you much more control on the snow. Your boots act as the interface between your foot and the ski, so it’s essential the boot fits snugly but naturally to the contours of your lower leg and foot.

Along with your eyes and ears, your sense of touch and awareness is a big part of navigating the slopes. It’s your feet that create movements in your boot, which are then transferred down into the skis.

Does Quality of Skis Matter?

skis-slides

In short yes, the quality of your skis makes a huge difference in how you ride. High-quality skis dramatically improve your dynamic ability. 

Just don’t expect the skis themselves to make you a better skier straight away. Skis are a tool and like all tools, they will only do what you make them do. 

The advantage of good skis is that they perform much better in technical skiing if you are a more advanced skier. A pro skier will be able to squeeze every last ounce of performance from his skis, while a beginner will most likely struggle with unforgiving racing skis. 

Key Takeaway: Good skis don’t make a good skier. It all comes down to skill and technique. 

Are Good Ski Boots Important?

Gray Ski Boots
Photo by Christer van der Meeren licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Having good ski boots can make a world of difference on the slopes. Once a good pair of ski boots have been broken in, a new level of comfort and ability is unlocked. This means skiers can ski for longer, with the knock-on advantage of making them better skiers. 

Anyone that’s broken in their own pair of high-quality ski boots after a lifetime of flabby-linered rentals, will understand how big a difference good ski boots can make. 

Final Thoughts

The quality of both your skis and your ski boots can make a huge difference to your skiing ability and comfort on the slopes.

Key takeaway: Thankfully, once you invest in the right pair of boots and skis, you’re pretty much set for years. 

Out of ski boots and skis, ski boots should definitely take priority for anyone trying to decide which to buy first. Having your own high-quality boots with a snug, supportive fit feet unlocks a litany of benefits compared to a good pair of skis.

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NewToSki.com is where over 1 million people a year come to learn more about skiing. I share everything I wish someone had told me when I was learning to ski. My name is Simon & I've been skiing since 2005. This winter, our family is taking a 3-month camper ski trip across the Alps. If you enjoy our articles, please join the free email club. We'd love to have you.
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