What type of ski boot do you really need? Race, All Mountain, Touring or increasingly Hybrid.
The idea isn't new. A boot designed to allow efficient uphill motion without compromise in the downhill phase has been a Unicorn Boot on many skiers wish lists and Boot Designers CAD screens for time immemorial.
Have they managed it?
Well, if you had asked me that even just a few years ago I would have said nope, to much compromise in either phase of use to be truly useable in either. Too heavy or not enough articulation in the uphill phase or not stiff enough in flex due to the addition of the walk mode or with liner compromises leaving skiers with little heel hold. Lots of problems without solutions.
Boots like Lange's original XT range or Salomon Quest boots from around 10 years ago were just too compromised by design and materials limitations at the time. Great instructor boots for sure. Ski well with a limited walk mode for standing on nursery pistes for hours on end but not for true all mountain skiers.
BUT, is this still the same today. Has the advent of plastics like Grilamid, Pebax and other Polyamide's and modern design / manufacturing processes solved the issues that dogged early attempts?
To a great extent I would have to say YES. If my boot ranging is anything to go by anyway. When I have my crystal ball out to do my buying for the next season more and more of this type of ski boots are making their way onto my wall.
They have great ankle articulation (some over 60 degrees), are really light (some tipping the scales only a little heavier than true Touring Boots) for the uphill bit of your day, BUT still ski amazingly well when the skins come off and your tips are pointing down the hill.
You can also get awesome ski performance from out and out touring boots too but that's a story for another day. I'll let you see my Iceland Ski Touring trip hot tub review of the Dalbello Quantum one of these days! Seemed like a good idea at the time, you have been Warned.
I digress. Boots like Atomic's Hawx XTD's, Dalbello's Lupo, Lange's XT3 or Head's Kore mean you can go anywhere on the hill and have a boot on your foot that will cut it in any condition.
UNICORNS DO EXIST, They're on my feet and stock shelves!