All the mountain climbers surely have heard of the Alpine Tour Boots. So today in this article we will be talking about Alpine Touring Boots, also known as AT Boots. Alpine touring (AT) boots are different from regular ski boots because they can be used both downhill and uphill. Alpine Touring boots typically have a rigid, supportive ski mode, with a walking mode which unlocks the spine of the boot to let your ankle and lower leg flex forward and back for walking uphill and they often have a rockered rubber sole, which are mainly seen in a hiking boot that gives improved grip on slippery surfaces and lets you walk more easily with proper balance.
These boots are increasingly made with lightweight materials like Grilamid, Pebax, and carbon fiber to save weight without sacrificing performance and there are a wide variety available for all different kinds of uses, starting from long bearing-oriented adventures to hard-challenging descents. Here, we’ll explain a few important questions to ask yourself when choosing AT boots, and provide a few categories for you to consider.
Things to Consider When Choosing AT Boots
The following questions will help you determine what kind of touring boots are right for you, so you don’t have to spend lots of money on boots that aren’t appropriate.
- When you wear this boot, what type of skiing will you be doing? Will it be an aggressive big-mountain riding or just an outside of the resort, or week-long hut trips in the Alps?
- Are you planning to use this boot in the ski area, or only for touring?
- What kind of ski bindings are you planning to use with this boot?
- How supportive a boot do you need to ski all the conditions you may encounter in the backcountry, based on your ability level?
Even the experts are constantly updating their ideas of what boot works best for them, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t figure it out right away. Boots are more complicated than you think, and often depends on the individual and the conditions. Consider choosing an option that is heavier and more supportive if you’re unsure. While it may seem inconvenient on the way up, a sturdier boot will give you more security on the way down.
Uphill vs. Downhill Performance
To some extent, every Alpine Touring boot offers a compromise between uphill and downhill performance but unfortunately, a Alpine Touring boot can’t hike like your leather boots and descend like race boots. Touring boots have made great strides in recent years, giving skiers a huge selection of options that do both well. Using the above mentioned questions, It can give you an idea of where your priorities are and you can choose boots accordingly. Based on this uphill/downhill balance and their intended use, we’ve divided touring boots into a few categories.
Check out this video to known about different types of Alpine Touring Boots:
Mid-Range AT Boots
Some new Alpine Touring boots come close to alpine boots in stiffness and downhill performance while adding great walk modes and lugged soles and these mid-range AT boots are quite suitable for challenging skiers who don’t want to completely give up the power and support of their alpine boots, but still want something that helps us to tour easily. The walk modes on these boots do not provide as much range of motion as those in the fast and light category, but they will perform much better in normal resort conditions. In contrast, the super light boots gives us a much better range of motion for skinning and go uphill with less effort, but won’t ski well in challenging snow or drive wide skis with the same authority.
Most people find that a mid-range Alpine Touring boot in between 1400 and 1600 gram range approximately with 40 degrees of cuff movement is a good compromise and these types of alpine touring boots will be best for skiers that prioritize downhill performance over uphill performance but more aggressive skiers, heavier skiers, or those looking to ski primarily in the resort may want to look for something burlier still.
Here are certain recommendations:
- Lange XT3 Tour Pro Alpine Touring Ski Boots 2022 and the link is: https://www.evo.com/alpine-touring-ski-boots/lange-xt3-tour-pro
- Salomon S/Lab MTN Alpine Touring Ski Boots 2022 and the link is https://www.evo.com/alpine-touring-ski-boots/salomon-slab-mtn#image=197413/811258/salomon-s-lab-mtn-alpine-touring-ski-boots-2022-.jpg
- Rossignol Alltrack Pro 110 LT Alpine Touring Ski Boots 2021 and the link is https://www.evo.com/alpine-touring-ski-boots/rossignol-alltrack-pro-110-lt#image=189549/784708/rossignol-alltrack-pro-110-lt-alpine-touring-ski-boots-2021-.jpg
- Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Alpine Touring Ski Boots 2022. The link is https://www.evo.com/alpine-touring-ski-boots/tecnica-zero-g-tour-pro#image=182096/722042/tecnica-zero-g-tour-pro-alpine-touring-ski-boots-2022-.jpg
Fast & Light AT Boots
With a boot weight less than 1400 grams, Alpine Touring boots are a dream to skin uphill, but their performance downhill is often compromised. Depending on your ability level, skiing style, and fitness, you may be willing to give up some skiing performance. Ski mountaineering, multi-day traverses on skis, fast-and-light touring, and skiing with a mountaineering cuff are possible with these lightweight boots. Boots like Fast & Light AT Boots are not well suited for skiing inbounds, and even they may not have the power or stiffness to drive longer and wider skis.
Burly or Crossover AT Boots
Burly or crossover AT boots offer fantastic downhill performance with very decent walk modes ideal for short day tours, and typically weigh between 1600 and 2000 grams. They are quite suitable for resort skiing as well as light touring.
When choosing an AT boot for all of your skiing, both lift-served and touring, it helps to understand how much of each you intend to do. Almost every boot maker has developed models that enable you to use one boot for both lift skiing and touring, without sacrificing downhill performance. These boots are a great option for skiers looking for one boot to do it all, and people who don’t want to go on long tours and skin the whole day.
- Dalbello Panterra 120 ID GW Ski Boots 2022. The link is https://www.evo.com/alpine-ski-boots/dalbello-panterra-120-id-gw#image=208262/837422/clone.jpg
- Rossignol Alltrack 80 W Ski Boots – Women’s 2020.
AT Boot Fit
Comfort with AT boots is quite trouble some because you can’t go down to the lodge and take your boots off when you’re miles away from the trailhead and many people skin with their top buckles loosened, allowing more fore and after movement of the foot and an experienced backcountry skiers may fit their AT boots a little more generously than alpine boots in length.
There are fewer fit options in AT boots than in alpine boots and if you find an AT boot with the weight and features you like, then you may or may not be able to get it in a narrower or wider fit which means that you may have to seek out the services of a professional boot fitter with experience in modifying AT boot plastics to make the boot usable.
A thermo-formable liner is often found inside AT boots, which makes them warmer and more comfortable. Prepare for fit issues before you go – aching feet and blisters can be more than just a minor inconvenience in the backcountry.
Alpine Touring Boot & Binding Compatibility
Alpine touring bindings may not be compatible with every AT boot.
- Tech bindings require a boot with molded-in toe fittings and a slotted plate at the heel and if you wish to use these bindings, then you will need to have a boot with which completely fits.
- Most AT boots and alpine boots will work with almost any AT binding chassis such as Salomon Atomic, Marker, Tyrolia, and Fritschi, but always check the manufacturer’s recommendations as minimalist boots without ISO 9523 fittings will only work with tech bindings.
- Atomic Tracker and Pre-2014/15 Salomon Guardian bindings without sliding AFD’s are compatible only with WTR or Walk to Ride soled AT boots or ISO 5355 alpine boots, not with ISO 9523 boots.
- AT boots with rockered ISO 9523 Touring soles are not compatible with many Alpine bindings and even if they “fit”, release may not be consistent but there are only a few exceptions, namely the Tyrolia Attack AT models, Marker Sole.ID models, and Salomon/Atomic MNC models, which are all compatible with both types of soles.With Rosensignol bindings labeled with WTR (Walk-to-Ride), GripWalk and ISO 5355 soles, a pair of boots will fit.
- A number of AT boots designed for performance downhill skiing are designed to accommodate both alpine and technical bindings, allowing you to use the same boots with both types of bindings. As an aftermarket option, these soles are normally available.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What are alpine touring boots?
Alpine touring (AT) boots are different from regular ski boots because they can be used both downhill and uphill. Alpine Touring boots typically have a rigid, supportive ski mode, with a walking mode which unlocks the spine of the boot to let your ankle and lower leg flex forward and back for walking uphill and they often have a rockered rubber sole, which are mainly seen in a hiking boot that gives improved grip on slippery surfaces and lets you walk more easily with proper balance.
What is the best alpine touring boots?
Some best AT boots are:
Salomon Shift Pro 120
Atomic Backland Carbon
Rossignol Alltrack Elite 130 LT
Salomon S/Lab MTN
How should alpine touring boots fit?
Those that prefer a AT boot will want closer to 1 finger of space because this tightness provides a boost responsiveness on the downhill, but will also limit circulation and cause colder feet.
Can I use an AT boot for all my skiing, lift-served as well as touring?
Ski professionals are among those who do this successfully, but a one-boot quiver may compromise selection of bindings and downhill capability.
Do I need special boots for alpine tour binding?
Yes you do need a special tech-compatible alpine touring boots are required when using tech bindings, although tech bindings require special tech-compatible ski boots, but the uphill efficiency provided by their extremely lightweight design is hard to overlook.