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Cross country skiing is a popular sport as well as a great recreational activity. Whether you want to do cross country skiing as a competitive sport or to spend quality time with your friends and family, here the skier relies on his/ her locomotion to ski across the snow-covered and groomed trails, and for this reason, a good pair of cross country ski boots are of vital importance.
Although skiing involves many other important gears such as the ski gloves and poles, yet, focusing on good quality, proper fitting boots can save you from serious injuries. Also, no one wants to have snow inside their shoes and blisters on their feet after having to quickly finish off a long-awaited skiing experience. Do not compromise on getting the best cross country ski shoes for yourself, and this does not mean it has to be extremely pricey.
Best XC Ski Boots of 2023
For many skiers, the options for finding the perfect boots are not much. Some cross country ski boots may have great quality but you may not be able to find your size in them, while others may have your fit but you may find those shoes not as practical or warm as you would want them to be. So, how do you find “the one” that you are looking for without compromising on the quality, practicality, warmth, and comfort?
Here are our 5 most recommended cross country ski boots of 2023. You can find your perfect ones here, for sure, without compromising on anything.
1. Salomon Escape Plus Prolink Men’s XC Ski Boots
These ski boots are one of the best boots present in the market. They provide you with multiple benefits that ensure a relaxing experience for you to enjoy. They come with a slightly anatomical and wider fit that holds your foot properly with comfort to move it around.
The Quicklace TM system and the Custom Fit allows you to customize the shoe to fit the shape of your feet. The Quicklace system has a well-known one-pull lacing system that ensures a snug fit and precise fitness. The Kevlar laces on these shoes go through poly gliding hooks. The combination of thermo-moldable foam and comfort foam, along with lycra, provides you with the fit and comfort that your feet need.
The pair also has ankle support via an ergonomic touring cuff that gives you additional comfort and doesn’t compromise on lateral support. This ergonomic touring has a semi-rigid cuff around its ankles that provides you with both rear and lateral support. This allows good stability and control.
Furthermore, the Thinsulate insulation provides you with great protection in the cold. This allows your feet to be warm all day. For skiers who are looking for a comfortable boot with a good grip, this boot is the one you need. Escape Plus mixes anatomical fit with adjustability and improved ankle support. It also comes with excellent insulation to keep your feet comfy and warm all year long.
- It comes with Thinsulate insulation for water-resistant and thermal properties.
- The Kevlar Quicklace system allows you a snug fit with a single tug.
- Its cuff is shaped for rear and lateral support.
- The entire boot provides you with good control and stability on your ski experience.
- The thermo-formable heel customizes the fit for your heel area and makes it slip-free.
- It might rub on the ankle bone if you tighten it up very much.
2. Fischer 2020 Urban Sport Men’s XC Ski Boots
Urban Sport challenges tradition by mixing today’s feel and look together. It has the technical needs that athletic footwear requires in a Nordic boot. It has a casual style that users love with an insulated upper breathable liner that is waterproof and provides you with comfort all day long.
The lower wide-profile sole helps in improving stability and gives you better control on the skiboard. Fischer 2020 XC ski boots are perfect for passionate Nordic skiers who want a ski boot with a comfortable walk. Its waterproof construction with a balance between stability and flexibility makes these boots stand out. You can wear them all day without worrying about anything.
These nordic ski shoes have an internal molded heel cap that is very light and anatomically molded for your heels. The Sport-Fit Concept integrated into these boots is the perfect fit for your ski requirements. Whether it is for a female foot or for the feet of young skiers, these boots meet the requirements of comfort and stability.
Moreover, the pair has a comfort guard as well, which is a lightweight and water-repelling insulation material for better thermal protection in your toe area and forefoot. The Fischer Fresh ends all unpleasantness, giving you a long-lasting freshness with a good feeling inside. The triple-F membrane also ensures that the insides of your boots are warm, dry, and breathable. You can wear these boots all day long, even if you aren’t skiing.
- It comes with lasting freshness all the time.
- The design is very stylish and, at the same time, incredibly comfortable.
- The repelling insulation material adds thermal protection.
- The heel cap is molded anatomically for a better grip.
- The sport fit concept fits all the requirements for athletes and beginners.
- The boots can be slightly heavy for females.
3. Rossignol BC X 5 Cross Country Ski Boots
If you are looking for cross country ski boots that are great for recreational and adventure skiers, Rossignol 2020 BC X5 may be the one you are looking for. Sturdy, comfortable, and secure – all the qualities that a fabulous cross country ski boot should have, you will find in the Rossignol 2020 BC X5.
These boots are easy to put on and secure enough to keep your feet glued to the ski. They are specially designed with the latest trends and cutting-edge technology to give you the feel and thrill you are looking for when you head towards the mountains. Just slide your feet in, lace-up, and strap the Velcro. Step in on your ski (you will require an NNN BC binding due to its wider bar) and off you go! The wider bar of your boots provides the shoeware with power and grip when clicked onto the BC binding. This channels all your thrill and energy into the ski boot.
The Rossignol 2020 BC X5 has a secure ankle strap that safely snugs your feet in the most adventurous positions. The more tightly you snug up against your Velcro strap, the more grip, and control you will have on the ski. This is especially useful when you are skiing downhill as it provides the needed grip that keeps you safe and lets you enjoy your skiing trip to the max.
- Ankle-straps for a safe and secure fit.
- Integrated gaiters keep snow and ice out of your boots.
- Thinsulate brand linings keep your feet warm and cozy.
- It has an external 3D complex heel counter.
- These cross country ski-boots are slightly wide for the track and are not built for professional skiers. They are rather for skiers who take skiing as a recreational activity (from intermediate to advance level skiers).
4. Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots
Do you know what is better than a pair of good quality, highly practical, and super comfortable cross country ski boots? A ‘chic and fashionable’ good quality, highly practical, and super comfortable ski boots! And that’s exactly what Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots are. Designed to keep your comfort and style in mind, you will fall in love with these super chic ski boots the moment you open their box.
The Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots are specially designed keeping the harsh weather in mind. Each boot has 100 grams of Thinsulate insulation that ensures the inside remains as warm and cozy as possible. The cover is a zippered neoprene that protects the lace, forefoot, and your ankle from extreme external factors like snow, ice, dampness, and chilly crosswinds. Neoprene is a high quality resistant (synthetic) material that shows strong chemical stability by resisting degradation and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range – making it perfect for your cross-country adventures.
The ankle support in the Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots stands out from many other ski boots. It has a strong plastic cuff that provides additional stability to your feet that you need while you are skiing downhill. The easy and quick lace closures take care of the unnecessary frustrations that we come across while tying laces with ski gloves on (or worse, with frozen fingers). The anatomical footbed of these Alpina Sports T30 Boots are comfortable and your feet would be delighted to slide into them, for sure.
Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots use a Rotefella NNN T4 touring sole and are compatible with all other adult triple N bindings such as NNN/ NIS, Turnamic, and Prolink binding systems.
- 100 mg Thinsulate insulation.
- Ankle cuffs for additional support.
- Zippered neoprene cover to cover a wide temperature range.
- Quick lace closures are especially helpful when you have your cross country ski gloves on or have frozen fingers and want to lace up.
- Unisex ski boots that are beautifully and elegantly designed (using black, white, and red colors)
- The T30 ski boots are compatible with NNN/ NIS, Turnamic, and Prolink binding systems.
- No cons reported as such.
5. Fischer RC3 Classic Men’s XC Ski Boots
This incredibly light RC3 boot comes with excellent construction and great features. It supports convenience and has added comfort too. The Speed Lock lacing ensures a secure fit, and the breathable Triple-F membrane keeps moisture out.
These boots are dry, warm, and incredibly breathable. The membrane present on them is snow and waterproof and doesn’t let it enter the boot. However, at the same time, it lets moisture and heat escape. The climate in the boot stays dry and warm regardless of how the outside climate is. The weight of these boots makes it easy to ski and walk around and also provides you with good control over it.
The Lace Cover present on these boots provides extra protection against wet conditions, whereas the thermo fit gives outstanding insulation and is a perfect fit for every individual. Just like the previous Fischer Sport boots, this one is also integrated with the sport fit concept. It falls perfectly into the requirements needed by the user.
Whether you are buying these boots for a teenager, kid, or a woman, this boot will mold to the feet and meet all requirements needed for direct power transfer and skiing. Therefore, it answers to the different morphologies and needs of the consumer group.
The Fischer Speed Lock present on the boots help in pulling the laces tightly and keeps the boots safe and reliable throughout the time you use it.
- These boots are anatomically molded to fit your heel cap.
- The comfort guard feature adds extra thermal protection.
- Fischer Fresh helps in ending unpleasant smells and discomfort.
- The design of these boots is waterproof but let’s moisture escape easily.
- Lace cover allows the boots to stay put and snug.
- It doesn’t have many sizes available for smaller feet; the smallest size is 36.
6. Rossignol X-8 SC Cross-Country Ski Boots
With Rossignol, you can enjoy the versatility and feel powerful due to the sleek design it has. These ski boots come with excellent features, allowing you to enjoy your vacation adventures. The dual-density injection molds it for a long-lasting and strong boot that allows you to ski the entire winter.
It also comes with an adjustable strap that provides you with the right kind of fit. The speed lace lock system is what makes users love these cross-country ski boots, and this system keeps your boots comfy and snugly in place.
Furthermore, the precise boot flex and fit are made possible with the dual-core technology it is integrated with. This helps in targeting boot stiffness and provides you with a responsive feel without the weight dragging it down.
It also has a ski control and walkability feature that allows you to feel comfortable and provides you with control over the skiboard. This is made possible with the sport sole that these boots have and the Tech Grip incorporated in them.
Moreover, these cross-country ski shoes have WINTHERM present in them, which is a breathable micro-perforated membrane, and it helps in reflecting heat back to its source for better regulation of temperature. It provides you with warmth and comfort, whereas the thermo-adjustable liners allow heat to be molded around your feet for better comfort and a good fit.
Whether you want to train or race, these X8 SC combi ski boots are designed especially for dual-discipline racers and fitness-focused skiers. These boots come featured with a race-inspired build that increases precision and provides you with good power transfer.
The pair also has a low-profile sole that gives you a natural foot roll for better skiing. The thermo-moldable design and locked-in feel provide you with an enveloped and precise fit to give you both good control and comfort.
- It comes with a low-profile sole construction for good mobility.
- The active control heel support present in these boots cradle your heel for comfort.
- It is ideal for both casual and serious riders due to the excellent design.
- The mobile cuff and adjustable strap ensure a tight fit.
- Its speed lace lock system keeps the boots snug and in place.
- It doesn’t have many color and design options to choose from.
7. Whitewoods 302 Cross Country Ski Boots
Whitewoods 302 XC Cross Country Ski Boots are unisex boots that are compatible with the NNN binding system. They stand out when it comes to keeping those precious feet warm, dry, and fully supported. If you have just stepped into the amazing world of backcountry skiing, you cannot find anything better than these cross-country ski boots are they are very practical to put on and keep you protected from the outside forces that could ruin you experience – cold climate and snowy terrain.
The Whitewoods New Adult 302 Ski Boots have a snow-proof and waterproof synthetic upper that is breathable and makes sure your feet remain dry throughout your skiing experience. The 100 grams Thinsulate insulation along with the quick-dry liner keeps you warm, cozy, and comfortable.
Being lightweight yet durable, you can easily remove the padded footbed of the boots. The Whitewoods 302 cross-country ski shoes have aesthetically designed metal lace guides that balance the lace pressure to perfection thus preventing any kind of force to exert on your feet. It has a Gaitor D-ring along with a toe protector. The NNN sole is geared to work with the NNN style binding system. The boot has a great grip making sure your skiing trip is as secure as possible. This beautifully designed unisex boot is a must-have if you are looking for a pair of good quality boots.
- 100 grams Thinsulate lining ensuring a warm and dry experience.
- Great price (as compared to many competitors) for the excellent quality and functionality it offers.
- Unisex design, style, and color.
- Light in weight, sturdy, and durable.
- The upper part of the cross country ski boots is made from waterproof and breathable material.
- Some skiers found the size of these Whitewoods 302 XC Cross Country Ski Boots on the tight side with the ski socks on, so make sure to try them for a test-run before heading out to ski.
There are some key considerations that you need to keep in mind while choosing the perfect boots for you, and once you get your hands (or feet!) on them, nothing is stopping you from having fun.
You do not want to cut your trip short just because of boots, do you? Here are the key considerations you need to keep in mind while selecting your cross-country skiing boots. Remember that your ideal ski boots should tick all the boxes mentioned below, such as the fit of your boots for cross country skiing, the functionality, as well as the compatibility factor.
Like any other shoe, a good fit along with being comfortable is of vital importance when it comes to buying the right cross country ski boots. Therefore, when you go for shopping, try on different pairs of ski boots and check which one fits you the best and in which pair your feet are most comfortable in. But before you start sliding your feet in a variety of boots, make sure you have your socks on. Ski socks are thicker than regular socks and you must wear the kind of socks (wooly or synthetic ski socks) that you plan to wear with those boots in the future.
Once you try your first pair of boots, notice how your feet feel. A good boot should be snug without being constricting. In the front, you should have ample space to wiggle your toes without them touching the inside of the boot. Then, starting from the bottom of the shoelaces, lace up your boot and work your way to the top. Once the shoelace is tied, you are ready to have a catwalk around the store. But while you do, answer these questions: Do you feel any gap inside? Does the boot pinch you from any side? When you walk, does your heel lift? Does it fold-in and exert pressure on your toe when you lift your heel? How would you know if these cross country ski boots are ‘the one’?
Remember that you have a good fit if your cross country ski boots are comfortable and they hold your feet solidly in place without the feeling of squeezing them. Your feet may feel suffocated in boots that are tighter than they should be. A little movement of your feet inside the boot is okay, but you need to make sure there is no friction on your heel. Also, since one foot is normally a little different as compared to the other one, you need to make sure you have adjusted the lace accordingly.
Since you will be using your boots with your cross country skis, your selected cross country ski boots need to be compatible with the types of bindings on your skis. The good news is that manufacturers of cross country ski boots have started embracing the NNN (New Nordic Norm) binding platform to make sure that their boots are compatible with most of the bindings. Having said that, there are still many other binding systems that are being used in the skiing industry, so be sure to check the type of biding system your boots and cross country skis have.
If you are in doubt about whether your cross country ski boots are compatible with the ski bindings, test them together. There are countless binding systems in the skiing industry – check out below for some of the common compatibility in binding systems:
- NNN ski boots work with an NNN binding.
- SNS (Salomon Nordic System) Pilot boots work with a Pilot binding.
- NNN does not work with SNS Profil and vice versa.
- SNS Pilot boots work with some of the SNS Profil bindings, but you need to double-check by testing them together.
- Contrary to some people’s belief, NNN and NNN BC (New Nordic Norm Back Country) are different binding systems and the NNN BC does not work with NNN, and vice versa.
Function (or Intended Use)
When buying the right cross-country ski boots, finding the perfect fit of the boots and their compatibility with your ski bindings is a must (as mentioned in the above two points), however, there is one more important factor which needs to be considered – what is the intended purpose of your trip?
The good news is that you can use a classic ski boot for almost all your skiing trips unless you specifically plan to race (in such cases, boots with light and minimal approach are recommended) or you intend to carry out some hardcore backcountry skiing (in this case, you will need a stout boot with a better support and insulation).
If you plan to race, you need a pair of classic boots that are light in weight, have a minimal built, are as streamlined as possible, and require a basic binding system. These boots should be flexible and relatively softer so that when you perform diagonal striding, your feet and ankles flex naturally. If you intend to do heavy-duty backcountry skiing, you need high-top styled boots that provide better ankle support along with excellent insulation.
In short, your cross-country ski boots need to be a perfect fit and should be nicely insulated. Their outer cover should keep the ice, snow, dampness, as well as chilly winds away from reaching your feet. Also, your cross country ski boots should be cozy and comfortable, and practical to use. They should meet your skiing expectations so that you get the most out of your skiing trip.
Cross country skiing is a timeless sport around the globe. Whether you enjoy cross country skiing as a recreational activity that helps you spend quality time with your friends and family, or you have taken it to the next level as a competitive skier – one thing is of vital importance: your ski boots. If your cross country ski boots are not warm, comfortable, and practical, you may have to find your self cutting the ski trip short. Make sure you go through all our recommended cross country ski boots and choose the one that works best for you.
It is very important to try your ski boots at home and check if there is something that is bothering you before you try it on the slopes. Also, just because you wear a certain size of shoes does not mean you will have the same size in cross country ski boots as well. If you do not find your style or type in your favorite XC brand, go for another one in our list of best cross country ski shoes– there is one just perfect for you!
So what cross-country ski boots are you going to take with you on your next cross country ski tour?