One of the most challenging parts of learning how to ski is finding the right pair of boots. Ski boots can be extremely uncomfortable if they’re not right for your feet or your experience level. Too many skiers have gotten turned off from the sport just because they didn’t like the pair of rental boots that the local ski shop gave them.
Buying your own pair of ski boots gives you a chance to get the perfect fit and break them in properly. In this guide, I’ll review 8 of the best ski boots for beginner skiers so you can learn to ski with comfort and control.
My Review Process
It’s been a while since I’ve considered myself a beginner skier, but I’ve taken a number of first-timers onto the slopes and helped them put together a set of ski equipment. I know how the ski boot buying process works, and I’m here to guide you through it.
After reading this guide, you’ll be able to find ski boots that work with you rather than against you when you’re going downhill.
I grew up skiing in Rossignol boots, and in my opinion there’s no better ski boots for beginners than the Evo 70. These boots are pretty affordable, but Rossignol still added a ton of thoughtful features that make them more comfortable and more adjustable than most other beginner ski boots on the market.
First, the Evo 70 comes with a custom T4 liner. The liner provides a contoured fit to your foot right out of the box, and it only gets better with time as you break in the boots. On top of that, Rossignol built these comfortable boots with a 104mm last. That creates a wider (read: more comfortable) toe box so you don’t end up with blisters at the end of a day of skiing.
The boots have a flex rating of 70, which is ideal for most skiers. It’s soft enough you’ll feel in control on the groomers but not so soft that you’re at risk of developing poort technique. Overall, I think the Evo 70 is a fantastic starter boot.
If you’re looking for a versatile boot with a little more stiffness than the Evo 70, check out the Tecnica Mach Sport HV 80. This has a flex rating of 80 for the men’s version or 75 for the women’s version. It provides a great balance between performance and comfort for many beginners who have already spent a season on the mountain using rental gear.
I really appreciate the thought that Tecnica put into the HV 80. It’s made with four aluminum buckles, a durable shell, and a liner that’s warm on cold days and breathable in the spring. Plus, both the liner and the shell can be heat molded to get the perfect fit.
Beginners on a tight budget will be hard-pressed to find a better value ski boot than the Dalbello DS MX 75. It features a flex rating of 75, which is right in the middle of the range that most beginners need. Plus, it has four adjustable buckles and a quality power strap to provide a good amount of adjustability.
Dalbello didn’t skimp on the liners that come with these boots. They’re comfortable and breathable, and you’ll be impressed at how fast they dry. For the price, there’s not much I can find to dislike about these cheap boots.
There are benefits and drawbacks to getting a downhill boot that’s a little above your current level. On the one hand, ambitious beginners can grow into it and keep the boot for years. On the other hand, you might find that the boot feels too stiff for comfort during your first season or two on the slopes.
If you want to try growing into a boot, I recommend the Salomon QST Access 80. These boots have a medium flex rating of 80. That’s on the stiff end for many beginners, but not crazy stiff.
I’m a big fan of Salomon’s QST line. These boots are built with durable shells, breathable liners, high-quality aluminum buckles, and a power strap that actually locks your calf into place. The walk mode is also a nice touch when you’re schlepping your skis to your car at the end of the day.
The Nordica Cruise 70 won’t win any awards for hard-charging performance. But if it’s comfort you want above all else, this is the boot I’d recommend.
The Cruise 70 features an ultra-wide 104mm last that leaves plenty of room in the toe box even for skiers with wider feet. In addition, the four-buckle closure system enables you to perfectly dial in the tension across the entire boot.
One extra touch is that the included liner can be heat molded. So, you can effectively break in these boots with a custom fit before you even take them out skiing for the first time.
The nominal flex rating of 70 on these boots is a little high. Expect them to ski more like a softer boot with a 60-65 flex rating. They’re best-suited for casual skiers.
The Lange LX 70 is an ideal ski boot for many women hitting the slopes for the first time. It features a flex rating of 70, whereas many women’s-specific boots opt for a softer flex rating of 60-65. Lighter skiers might find these boots too stiff, but most will appreciate the extra stiffness for learning how to carve turns.
The LX 70 is made with a durable shell and a 102mm last, which is just right for most feet that aren’t especially narrow or wide. The four-buckle closure system provides a wide range of adjustability.
The liners in these boots aren’t heat-moldable, so they will take some breaking in. However, they’re made with Thinsulate insulation, which does a great job keeping your feet warm on colder days.
The K2 BFC 100 are my top pick for novice skiers with wide feet. The BFC 80 feature a 103mm last and cozy liners that together provide plenty of room in the toe box. Even better, the removable liner and boot shell can be heat-molded to achieve the perfect fit.
The BFC 80 has a flex rating of 80, which is just right for beginners who are thinking about venturing into intermediate terrain for the first time. Notably, as your skills improve, you can switch to the 100-flex model of this boot and keep the same fit.
If you’re relatively new to skiing, you probably shouldn’t be heading into the backcountry just yet. Still, some skiers may want to invest in touring bots right from the start with the expectation of buying an AT ski setup down the line.
In that case, I’d suggest the K2 Mindbender Alliance 90. These aren’t necessarily the best backcountry ski boots out there, but they’re surprisingly affordable for alpine touring boots and work pretty well on downhill bindings.
They also have a flex rating of 90, which is about the lowest flex rating you’ll find for backcountry skiing these days.
My advice? Buy an affordable downhill ski boot to learn with, then invest in a pair of backcountry boots that fits your ability level when you’re ready.
Beginner Ski Boots Buying Guide
Most skiers in search of beginner ski boots are buying boots for the first time. While there’s a lot of marketing that goes into boots, there are only a few things you really need to worry about.
The first and most important thing to look at when choosing ski boots is the flex rating. This is a measure of how stiff a ski boot is. That is, when you push forward into the boot, how much it will flex forward with you versus stay rigid.
Beginner skiers generally want ski boots that have a low flex rating, indicating that the boots are softer or more likely to flex forward. That’s because lower flex boots are more comfortable. The downside is that boots with a forgiving flex won’t charge as hard as stiff boots—but if you’re just learning how to ski, that’s not much of an issue.
Most of the boots I reviewed have a flex rating of 70-80, which is the sweet spot for most beginner skiers. Women’s-specific boots typically have a slightly lower flex rating than the men’s version of the same boot since women don’t have as much weight to push into the boot.
Ski Boot Sizing
The other key thing you need to know when buying beginner ski boots is how ski boot sizing works. Most ski boots use a system called Mondopoint, which is completely different from the normal sizing system that most shoes use.
The good news is that if you know your shoe size, it’s pretty easy to figure out your boot size. This chart shows the conversion from US sizing to Mondopoint sizing.
Keep in mind that like for shoes, the same Mondo size can fit differently for different ski boots. It’s always a good idea to try on ski boots before you buy them, ideally with a professional boot fitter. Simply getting the right boot size can eliminate painful feet and improve your all-around performance.
One other thing to check is the last. Most ski boots use a last of 102-104mm. A slightly wider last will generally be more comfortable for wide feet, while a narrower last will be more comfortable for narrow feet.
How To Pick The Right Beginner Ski Boots
A big part of the decision around what boot flex and features you need comes down to how long you plan to use your ski boots for. If you’re buying ski boots, you’re probably determined to stick with skiing. But you may also be thinking ahead to whether your boots will still be good as your skills improve.
My advice is to get the best pair of ski boots for your skill level right now. You’ll be more comfortable on the slopes with a beginner boot, which means you can pay attention to improving your technique instead of thinking about how much your calves hurt.
Even if you improve quickly, your boots will last most growing skiers at least two seasons. You can always sell them to another beginner when you’re ready to graduate to a pair of ski boots for intermediate skiers.
I recommend the Rossignol Evo 70 as the best ski boots for most beginner skiers. They’re comfortable, durable, and affordable—the perfect combination for beginners. Skiers who are looking for a slightly stiffer boot should check out the Tecnica Mach Sport HV 80. Beginner skiers on a tight budget will get great value from the Dalbello DS MX 75.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.