Hike and huck, slash and stomp – take your big mountain game to the next level with these Editors’ Choice winning freeride boots
WALK MODE: Y
Where the Hawx Ultra hunts on the frontside of the hill, the Prime loves to go under the ropes and poach fresh tracks. Locked down it will play on the groomed but its natural habitat is the quieter side of the hill.
It comes with touring soles ready for pin bindings, but they can be flipped for GripWalk pads if you prefer a more traditional binding setup.
Out of the box the Mimic platinum liner fits a wide range of feet, but the strategically placed mimic inserts can be re-heated a number of times to harden for an almost foam-like fit.
Unlike the alpine versions, this liner has a small degree of flex inbuilt for climbing. Of course, poaching means climbing and the Prime has a simple but seriously tough free-lock mechanism that when slipped open gives around 54° of cuff travel.
As you’d expect it’s a little more generous than the groomed-orientated Ultra and it skis just a little softer than its stated flex.
WALK MODE: Y
Salomon’s Shift Pro 130 doesn’t fall wholly into the full-on touring category, but it is a boot for skiers who prefer to earn their turns; and one you’re more likely to find covered in untracked snow than carving on ripplechip groomers.
The Surelock ski/walk mechanism, means you have plenty of cuff travel for the climb up. The Coreframe insert cradles the foot and allows the boot to be made light, without the risk of the shell deforming when your speed cranks up to 11 or you’re making crisp short-radius arcs.
The Shift Pro also uses the 3D Seamless Race liner, which is dense and when heated offers a close to foam quality of custom fit, without niggling from stitches around the toe box.
With 40° ROM in walk mode, this is a versatile light boot with an alpine feel.
WALK MODE: Y
The big dawg in the Cochise line-up, the Cochise 130 returns this winter with a total overhaul that puts it right back at the top of the freeride game.
This year’s shell is not only lighter, it combines two different thickness of plastic to provide a better fit.
The all-new T-Ride walk mechanism features a longer lever directly fixed into the boot’s shell for a more secure connection and responsive downhill ride, and there’s a new Power Lock strap with a special hook to keep things locked and loaded when you’re charging the white castle.
With 50° ROM in walk mode, tech inserts, a wickedly customisable shell and liner, and a new quick instep feature that makes it super easy to get on and off, the 2022 version of the Cochise is stronger, lighter and better than ever before.
WALK MODE: N
The new and improved women’s Chakra Elevate 115 starts at Mondo 21.5 (that’s a UK 3.5) and returns this winter with tech inserts and GripWalk soles, making it the ideal choice for tiny-footed, strong freeriders who like to hike ridge lines and tour with pin tech bindings.
The light, heat-mouldable ID Max liner is super cosy, the Centre Balance Rocker Stance provides excellent control, and Dalbello’s three-piece Cabrio design with progressive flex will suit those who dig a stiff flex with springy rebound.
A confident boot for in bounds rippin’, it’s worth noting that there’s no walk mode here so regular tourers will definitely want to check out the new Quantum Free 105 W.
WALK MODE: Y
Made using the wonder spacedust that is graphene, the Head Kore 2 W is a lightweight powerful freeride boot with a slightly more on-piste feel than some others in this category.
It feels precise and has a broad sweet spot that’s helped by the cuff design, which uses an integrated power plate, increasing its height, and combined with a 50mm power strap gives bucketloads of power in the middle and end of each arc.
The Kore uses Head’s trademark LiquidFit liner, a system where a gel can be injected, or removed, to fine-tune the fit after the liner and shell have been heated.
It’s as close as it is possible to get to a custom, aftermarket liner without shelling out for one.
A neat trick, borrowed from race boots, is the locking buckles, so that when you’re hiking up it’s impossible to catch and unintentionally open a buckle, leaving you with a nasty shock on the first turn.
WALK MODE: Y
It’s pink, get over it, there’s more to this boots than its looks. Ideal for strong female skiers who want to ski the frontside and the backside, it comes with 50° of cuff travel so you can hike for fresh knowing you’ve got a solid boot to charge on the descent.
The Alltrack uses Rossignol’s trademark spider’s web-like Generative Grid construction with material pared away in key areas to slash weight but not performance.
The cuff is low and the tulip-shaped rear spoiler easily accommodates a woman’s natural calf shape.
With a 98mm last and 110 flex this is a boot for someone serious about precision and more interested on the descent than the climb. It feels quick yet powerful and stable, a hard blend to find.