SALOMON S/ LAB X-ALP
OUR TAKE Plenty of boots promise do-itall performance, but this one really delivers: The new X-Alp has more flexibility than a plastic mountaineering boot (72 degrees of ankle articulation and 35 degrees of lateral motion), but can still drive 95mm-waisted skis. It’s Salomon’s first ultralight touring boot, and it builds off the successful Procline—a dual-use climbing and ski boot— from sister brand Arc’teryx. The X-Alp uses the same two-piece carbon-fiber cuff system as the Procline, with a reinforced shell at the pivot point and no rubber rand or beefy sole. The result is a boot that climbs nearly as well as the Procline (an Editors’ Choice winner last year), but skis better.
THE DETAILS There are two buckles and a latching power strap, which you can dial in for the downhill at home. Pop them open for touring, then, at the top, just close the glovefriendly buckles and flip into ski mode, and you’re primed for the descent.
TRAIL CRED “The carbon cuff and stiff shell around the ankle and heel make it rigid enough that I could lay into turns and power through crud on the 20- to 25-degree Andrews Glacier,” our tester said after a tour in Rocky Mountain National Park. “It’s surprisingly stiff for a tongue boot (no overlap construction).” Caveat: The flex pattern of tongue boots takes getting used to if you’re accustomed to resort boots. $1,000; 5 lbs. 1 oz. (27.5); 24.5-30.5; salomon.com