Ski boots are the foundation of any smooth downhill skiing experience. If you don't get a pair of boots that fit comfortably, the whole sport is ruined. Good downhill ski boots are designed to be a sturdy extension of your legs, transferring movement from your thighs to the skis. They do this by restricting movement in your ankles, keeping them safe yet rigid. Head ski boots are some of the most popular for professional and hobbyist skiers. They are high-quality boots, and many customers are rarely disappointed with how they perform.
The Head brand is so popular that a majority of World Cup skiers can be seen wearing the logo. This company has spent many years specializing in making the best of the best and it shows in their clientele. While Head ski boots encompass a wide range of different styles produced by the company, the fastest, and most frequently seen during World Cup ski races are Head Raptor boots, the number one boot of the whole Raptor lineup. Behind this come the Raptor 120s, boots you will find more frequently amongst amateur, yet passionate skiers.
For the sake of simplicity, this article will primarily focus on the Raptor line of Head ski boots, comparing price, functionality, and performance with other notable brands on the market. This review will help you determine whether or not this brand is worth investing in and what type of ski boot you should purchase for your budget and skiing goals.
What Are Head Ski Boots?
Head ski boots are a high-end boot designed for fast skiing. This is why they are so loved by the olympian world. The whole Raptor line is a wonderful combination of long-lasting quality and functionality, all while promoting fantastic posture and stance.
Amongst the Raptor line are the VECTOR RS 110 or the NEXO LYT 130, both of which are also designed for racing downhill.
Not only does Head specialize in producing high quality racing material, but it also sells swimming, snowboarding, and tennis gear alongside accessories. They also make sportswear such as insulating racing jackets, pants, equipment, and mid-layer clothing.
When it comes to the actual Raptor ski boots, there are a lot of great features that make them number one. The most recent edition of the Raptor 120, for instance, has a sculpted heel pocket. The medial wall is beyond vertical with a fair amount of varus built into the shells. This makes the medial support not only very strong but very precise as well.
The instep and forefoot is an average height of 98 mm. The toe box radius is far more spacious than the average ski boot, all encompassed in a clean, simple design that Head ski boots are known for.
The Raptor line also has four Head Spine Tech buckles, optional bolts that allow for flex tuning, and adjustment screws for bi-lateral cuff alignment.
The Raptor 120 does not come equipped with a replaceable heel and toe. So, it is advised that you be careful when you attempt to walk with these ski boots. Doing so will cause inevitable wear and tear that will degrade the integrity of the boot. While the shells can be lifted and planed, this is not always wanted or desired.
As mentioned, you end up investing a lot if you plan on going with Head ski boots. They produce the best of the best, and if you are into making your skiing competitive, then your best bet is to buy from Head.
For instance, any boot from the Raptor line is going to cost you around $$ to $$. They are built with phenomenal design, meaning they might be the only pair of ski boots you invest in your entire life.
Not all Head ski boots are this expensive, however. If you are going with the 110 ski boots or the Advant Edge 85 HT, you get a far lower price range of about $ to $.
It depends on how you are planning to ski. If you are expecting to turn your passionate hobby into professional racing, don't skimp on a proper investment with durable downhill skiing shoes. The Raptor line is designed to make the best racing experience possible while giving you optimal speed and ankle protection.
If you just want comfortable, durable, and high-quality ski boots, purchasing the Head Advant Edge 85 HT or the Hammer 110 ski boots will be a far wiser investment.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
EASY oF USE
These boots are designed for ease of use. Their flow and precision are phenomenal, making sharp turns easy and requiring nothing more than the most subtle movements of the feet.
According to professional racers, you can't go wrong with any of the boots from the Raptor line. Some caution against how precise the boots are, and for amateurs, this might provide you with quite a substantial learning curve. Once you get used to how the subtlest of movements can give you the sharpest turns, weaving up and down a treacherous mountainside will be easy.
With all of the added support, the Raptor line provides some of the best design, in both looks and practicality, of all of the ski boots on the market.
Head's warranty policy promises to replace items in the rare instance of manufacturer damage. No other warranty promised.
Alpine Touring ski boots are different from regular Alpine boots. They are designed for both downhill skiing and ascension using climbing skins with a flexible or unlocked walk mode. This allows for your ankle to flex back and forth, making walking uphill in between skiing easier.
You can choose between mid-range styles, which are designed for more aggressive skiers, and lightweight ski boots, which make it incredibly easy to walk uphill, but sacrifice some downhill performance.
We are taking the entire Alpine Touring ski boot line into consideration, so the price range is a little bit wider than the Head ski boots.
You can get the Dalbello Gaia 2.0 Girls ski boots for only $ off of amazon, while their most expensive model, the Salomon X-Pro 100 Ski Boots 2017, goes for anywhere from $$ to $$$.
EASY oF USE
These boots are relatively easy to use but don't offer the same finesse that Head racing boots provide. The flexibility Touring boots provide in functioning as both a downhill ski boot and a comfortable walking boot is a wonderful perk, however.
Nobody seemed disappointed in how these boots performed. Everyone loved the switch from skiing to walking, and the overall quality of the boot made for a fine, practical downhill ski.
These are not as aesthetically pleasing as the Head ski boots, but each Touring ski boot on Amazon received a full 5-star review. You pick the design based on the type of skiing you want to do. If you want to race, touring ski boots won't help you reach the same speed as Head ski boots will. While both are designed well, Touring style boots are the best for skiing casually in the mountains.
All products are guaranteed repair in any instance of a defect in workmanship with certain companies. They also offer free shipping and returns for all orders over 100 dollars.
Telemark skiing is a different type of ski sport. It combines elements from both Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing. It is named after the telemark region in Norway, and is incorporated into cross country, jumping, and ski races.
For telemark skiing, there are long pieces of synthetic fabric that are attached to the bottom of your skis that allow for uphill travel. The whole boot is not attached in this method of skiing. Only the toe is secured, with a free heel that can move up or down, controlling steering. Telemark skiing has begun to decline in popularity, however, due to the invention of lightweight Alpine Touring skis.
This means that finding telemark skiing goods is not only more difficult, but more expensive.
There is a wide range of price options when you are considering buying downhill telemark ski boots. You can get child size boots for $ or high end SCARPA T2 Eco Telemark boots for almost $$$ off of Amazon.
It all depends on the style of boot you are after. On average, most telemark boots will be cheaper than head racing boots.
EASY oF USE
These boots are declining in popularity, but they are still decent ski boots that are easy to use. They are a great support for making those quick turns in succession, making it easy on you and your ankle when weaving in between marks.
They have decent performance, and in spite of the sport declining in popularity, they are high quality boots that perform well in freeing your ankle for turns.
Free heel is a necessity in tele skiing, and these boots do a great job at allowing flexibility and providing function.
This all depends on the company through which you buy telemark skis. Some warranties will provide 3-5 years guaranteed, while others will only provide manufacturer repairs.
Cross country takes hills completely out of the equation. This is a sport designed for flat spaces and smaller hills. Taking cross country equipment out on a downhill adventure means disaster, as neither the ski nor the boot is built for velocity.
Cross country ski boots are far more simple than any touring, telemark, or racing ski boot. The toe fits securely into the ski while the heel is free for ease of movement.
Because the design of cross country ski boots is incredibly simple, the price tag takes a considerable drop. For any brand, no matter how highly rated, you end up paying a lot less than you would for any downhill boot.
You can get a pair of cross country ski boots for roughly $ to $$ on Amazon.
EASY oF USE
There is no extra support for your ankle, so these are roughly the same size as regular tennis shoes, meaning there are no extra straps or buckles needed to secure your joints. They are easy to wear and easy to hook to your skis.
In general, performance for cross country ski boots is very minimal. They are designed to fit to your ski and get you across flat spaces. There are no special performance boosts you get with cross country.
Very simple design with no extra flare.
Depending on the company, you can have a guaranteed manufacturer warranty or 1 year warranty.
While it depends on what type of skiing you want to do, there are clear winners when it comes to brand name and quality, particularly when it comes to downhill skiing.
If you are racing, Head ski boots are your best investment. If you are enjoying Alpine or downhill skiing, Alpine Touring ski boots are a far better investment than Telemark boots. Last but not least, cross country is great for those just wanting to get something simple out of their winter sport. The equipment is affordable, and you don't have to pay as much money to use local cross country trails compared to major downhill locales.