Modern backcountry ski boots are getting better and better by the year. Still, boot manufacturers are falling short on three key features that are critical to ski boot performance.
Most stock boot liners are soft foam that feels great while trying on a boot at the ski shop, but performs poorly on snow. Many touring boot liners are also very thin to save weight, which can create fit and comfort issues.
Aftermarket, heat mold-able liners from companies like Intuition and Palau offer stiffer foam that will lock your foot in place, increasing comfort and performance.
A stiff, supportive footbed is another must have for any skier. That flat piece of foam in the bottom of your boots does not count. Without a supportive footbed, tightening your boots crushes your foot, leading to discomfort and the feeling like your boots are too small.
Aftermarket footbeds from brands like Superfeet and SOLE, or custom footbeds, will take your boot fit and comfort to the next level.
3. Power Straps
Hook and loop power straps have no place on backcountry ski boots. They're a pain to constantly adjust, always rubbing on your ski pants, and when they get snow on them, they don't work.
Skimo Strap is the first aftermarket alternative specifically for backcountry skiers. There are other options out there, but they're heavy or loosen the first time you flex forward. Skimo straps are ultra-light, won't slip, and eliminate all the headaches associated with hook an loop straps.