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Cross-country skiing is a timeless sport that appeals to both recreational and competitive skiers alike. As with any snow sport, having a solid pair of boots will help you ski better as well as take care of your feet.

Whether you’re honing your skate skiing technique, trekking wild backcountry trails, or skiing traditional groomed runs, we’ve got a rundown of the top 10 best cross-country ski boots.

Be sure to review our “Things To Consider” section at the end of the article for more information on what specific style of boot you should buy and what bindings it can be paired with!

For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Ski Boots.

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Quick Answer - The Best Cross Country Ski Boots

  1. Alpina Alaska 75
  2. Alpina R Combi
  3. Rossignol X5 OT
  4. Rossignol X10 Skate
  5. Alpina Alaska BC
  6. Rossignol X2
  7. Salomon Escape Plus Prolink
  8. Fischer Offtrack 3 BC
  9. Salomon RS8 Prolink Skate
  10. Madshus Nordic

 

Comparison Table - Best Cross Country Ski Boots

PictureNameStyleWeightGenderBoot TypeCompatible BindingPriceRating
Alpina Alaska 75Backcountry4 lbs. 3 oz.Unisex75mm 3-pin75mm 3-pin$$4.9
Alpina R CombiClassic/Skate (Race & Performance)2 lbs. 11 oz.UnisexTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$$4.8
Rossignol X5 OTTouring (Groomed & Ungroomed)2 lbs. 13 oz.Men's, Women'sTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.7
Rossignol X10 SkateSkate (Race & Performance)2 lbs. 8 oz.UnisexTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$$$4.7
Alpina Alaska BCBackcountry4 lbs.UnisexNNN BCNNN BC$$4.6
Rossignol X2Touring2 lbs. 1.2 oz.Men's, Women'sTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.6
Salomon Escape Plus ProlinkTouring2 lbs. 4.7 oz.Men's, Women'sProlinkNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.5
Fischer Offtrack 3 BCBackcountry5 lbs.Men's, Women'sNNN BCNNN BC$4.4
Salomon RS8 Prolink SkateSkate (Race & Performance)2 lbs. 9.6 oz.Men's, Women'sProlinkNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$$4.3
Madshus NordicTouringN/AUnisexNNNNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.2
PictureNameStyleWeightGenderBoot TypeCompatible BindingPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Boots for Cross Country Skiing

Alpina Alaska 75

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Backcountry
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 3 oz.
  • Boot Type: 75mm 3-pin
  • Compatible Binding: 75mm 3-pin
Features
  • Easy Pull Laces Keeps You Locked In All Day Long
  • Features Vibram Rubber Soles Backed By Manufacturer
  • Medium Flex Maximizes Mobility While Providing All Day Support

BEST FOR: WET CONDITIONS

Nobody likes cold wet feet, especially when cross-country skiing through the backcountry. For a fully waterproof (and warm!) ski boot, consider the Alpina Alaska 75. 

No matter how extreme the weather is, your feet will stay covered and dry through slush and powder alike. The waterproof membrane is also breathable, meaning all the sweat you work up will have a place to escape rather than creating a humidifier effect inside your boots. 

The Alpina Alaska 75 also features an “Achilles flex zone”, ensuring you stay mobile even with an over-the-ankle boot. The result is a tough, high-top boot that never makes sacrifices.

Alpina R Combi

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Classic/Skate (Race & Performance)
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Boot Type: TURNAMIC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • Hard Plastic Exterior Cuffs Offer Extra Stability
  • Heel Fit Adjusters Add Another Level Of Customized Fitting
  • Soles Provide Excellent Grip Both In And Out Of Your Bindings

BEST FOR: PERFORMANCE VERSATILITY

If you’re all about the Race & Performance category of cross-country skiing, then these boots will provide you the versatility to perform both skate skiing and classic race skiing. 

Since the difference between the two styles really comes down to technique, it makes sense to buy a hybrid boot that can do both! Might as well save your money and invest in the top-of-the-line Alpina R Combi.

These sporty looking race boots feature elastic inserts so that you can customize the fit exactly to your liking. They’re also water-resistant and extremely lightweight, a must for anyone whose performance is on the line. 

Lastly, the Alpina Combi R’s have a soft flex that is perfectly suitable to classic race and performance skiing while the Combi style makes them ideal for skate skiing. It’s the best of both worlds!

Rossignol X5 OT


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Gender: Men's, Women's
  • Style: Touring (Groomed & Ungroomed)
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 13 oz.
  • Boot Type: TURNAMIC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • Ankle Straps Secure Your Fit
  • Integrated Gaiters Keep Snow Out Of Your Boots
  • Proprietary Thinsulate Linings Keep Your Feet Warm While Reducing Overall Weight

BEST FOR: OFF-TRACK VERSATILITY

Rossignol knows exactly what cross-country skiers need, which is why they’re one of the most popular brands among consumers. Offering innovative designs is where they excel and they hit it home with the X5 OT, a hybrid style boot that bridges the gap between groomed runs and full on backcountry skiing. 

Many backcountry boots use backcountry soles and bindings which tend to be very wide – too wide for traditional groomed tracks. If you’ve bought a pair of partial/full Metal-Edge Touring skis so that you can ski both groomed and ungroomed terrain, you need a crossover boot like these. 

The Rossignol X5 OT (Off-Track) features hinged cuffs that add stability to your skiing while also sporting TURNAMIC soles that are compatible with most bindings, including NNN, NIS, and Prolink. Check out the Things To Consider section below for more info on these bindings.

Rossignol X10 Skate

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Skate (Race & Performance)
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 8 oz.
  • Boot Type: TURNAMIC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • Upper Cuffs Keep Wind And Moisture Out
  • Hard Plastic Exterior Cuffs Offer Extra Stability
  • TURNAMIC Soles Are Compatible With A Wide Range Of Bindings

BEST FOR: COMPETITIVE SKATE SKIING

Whether you’re new to competitive skate skiing or a weathered veteran, the Rossignol X10 Skate ski boots are an absolute gem. With a design inspired by top-notch athletes that compete at the cross-country skiing World Cup, these premium boots are bound to serve you well.

Lightweight and incredibly responsive, the X10’s deliver unmatched precision and power transfer when utilizing the skate skiing technique. The low profile soles are not only sporty, but also assist your skating efficiency by helping you create a natural foot roll. 

Lastly, the X10’s will keep your feet warm and dry even when race day conditions are at their worst. Relying on a reflective foil built into the fabric, the liners inside the boot will keep your feet warm and dry, allowing you to perform your best.

Alpina Alaska BC

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Backcountry
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Boot Type: NNN BC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN BC
Features
  • High-Tech Footbeds Create More Stability
  • Insulated Liners Keep Feet Warm And Dry
  • Medium Flex Maximizes Mobility While Providing All Day Support

BEST FOR: RUGGED BACKCOUNTRY TERRAIN

When braving the harsh conditions that the backcountry often serves up, you need a rugged backcountry boot to match. The Alpina Alaska BC (backcountry) ski boots are just the right pair for intensely rugged expeditions. 

Sporting full leather uppers, these boots are constructed from quality, long-lasting materials. They also come with proprietary Thinsulate liners which will keep you warm and dry while lending you the support necessary to tackle backcountry terrain. 

The Alaska Alpina BC’s also feature full laces which will help you dial in the perfect fit. You can change lacing patterns to relieve pressure or tighten up specific areas for a fully customized fit.

Rossignol X2


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Gender: Men's, Women's
  • Style: Touring
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 1.2 oz.
  • Boot Type: TURNAMIC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • Lace Covers Keep Laces Out Of The Way
  • Speed Lace Locks Provide Easy Tightening And Support
  • High Quality Boots Will Grow With You As Your Skill Progress

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

True beginners who are new to the sport of cross-country skiing needn’t spring for the fanciest or most expensive boots, just a reliable and good quality pair. Rossignol is one of the most trusted and popular brands when it comes to ski apparel and the X2’s are just another amazing offering in their arsenal.

Perhaps the best reason for choosing the X2’s are for their TURNAMIC soles. Co-developed by Rossignol and Fischer, TURNAMIC boot soles are compatible with some of the most common bindings on the market including: New Nordic Norm (NNN), Nordic Integrated System (NIS), Prolink, and TURNAMIC bindings. With these soles, you can worry less about matching boots to bindings and spend more time focusing on getting the gear you want most. 

These classic boots are also extremely light for their class and won’t break the bank.

Salomon Escape Plus Prolink


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Gender: Men's, Women's
  • Style: Touring
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 4.7 oz.
  • Boot Type: Prolink
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • Great For Skiers With Wide Feet
  • Cuff Straps Provide Extra Layer Of Stability
  • Ergonomic Cuffs Are Both Supportive And Comfortable

BEST FOR: THE PERFECT FIT

Are you super particular about how things fit? Are you the type of person that wants complete control on customizing your fit? Then look no further than the Salomon Escape Plus ski boots. Featuring adjustable cuffs, ankle support, and streamlined insulation, these boots are packed with features that will make your feet extremely happy.

The Quicklace system is not only super simple to use, but it helps you tighten your boots in exactly the right places. The soles and liners feature thermoformable foam, which contours to your feet under heat and pressure which essentially creates a custom fit after a single day of use. 

The liners also feature Thinsulate, a super slim material that keeps your feet extremely warm during even the chilliest of days.

Fischer Offtrack 3 BC


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Gender: Men's, Women's
  • Style: Backcountry
  • Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Boot Type: NNN BC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN BC
Features
  • Easy Adjustable Velcro Strap Fastens Cuffs
  • Easy Entry Loops For Putting On/Taking Off
  • Integrated Gaiter Keeps Snow Out Of Your Socks And Covers Laces

BEST FOR: KEEPING SNOW OUT

Featuring built in gaiters (ankle coverings) to help keep snow out, the Fischer Offtrack 3 BC’s are a super nimble backcountry boot for the casual recreational skier. Even in the deepest snows and most unforgiving conditions, you can be assured that your feet will stay warm and dry. 

Sporting external support frames for extra stability, you’ll never have to worry about conditions being too rugged for these boots. The Offtrack 3 BC’s also have internally molded heel cups and thermoformable liners that provide supreme cushion and support, so after a hard day of hitting the snow, your feet won’t be absolutely dead.

Salomon RS8 Prolink Skate

Specs
  • Gender: Men's, Women's
  • Style: Skate (Race & Performance)
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 9.6 oz.
  • Boot Type: Prolink
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • Quicklace Technology Tightens Boots Quickly And Easily
  • Rigid Base Provides Support When Lateral Forces Are Applied
  • Skate Heel Is Designed Specifically For “Skate Skiing” Technique

BEST FOR: COMPETITION SKATE SKIING AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE

Looking to break into the competitive side of cross-country skiing without breaking the bank? The Salomon RS8 Prolinks are a premium quality skate skiing boot that will help take you to first place!

Featuring super stable support cuffs for your ankles, these ski boots help convert your power into speed, reducing muscle fatigue in the process and helping you keep a more stable stance. The adjustable heel straps also ensure you have a proper heel hold for the best results. 

Lastly, the RS8 Prolinks feature Prolink soles which are compatible with the most widely available bindings: New Nordic Norm (NNN), Nordic Integrated System (NIS), TURNAMIC, and Prolink bindings.

Madshus Nordic

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Touring
  • Weight: N/A
  • Boot Type: NNN
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
Features
  • New Design Improves Heel Hold
  • Laces Are Hidden Behind A Sleek Lace Covering
  • Quick Lacing System Is Intuitive And Easy To Use

BEST FOR: BUDGET-MINDED CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Cross-country skiing doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. If you’re relatively new to the sport or are just now investing in your own gear, consider the Madshus Nordic cross-country ski boots. They deliver great quality for classic touring with an entry-level price tag.

Perhaps the most enticing feature are the soles. Using the widely common New Nordic Norm (NNN), the Madshus Nordic boots are compatible with a wide array of bindings, making your life simpler and giving you many, many more options of bindings and skis with pre-fitted bindings to choose from.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING CROSS-COUNTRY SKI BOOTS

Buying boots for cross-country skiing is relatively straightforward. The two biggest considerations are choosing the right boot for your intended style of cross-country skiing and making sure that boot is compatible with your bindings. Since many, if not most, cross-country skis already come with bindings, you should check your skis and find boots to match.

Other than that, make sure that your boots fit snuggly when wearing wool socks, which tend to be a bit bulkier than thin, cotton socks.

STYLE

Touring

Classic touring boots are characterized by mobility/flexibility while also being rigid enough to stand up to the forces of stopping and turning. Some extra features to keep an eye on include covers to keep laces out of the way as well as rings where gaiters can be attached. Gaiters are coverings that prevent snow from going down into your boot when heading into ungroomed terrain.

Race & Performance Classic / Race & Performance Skate

These boots tend to be lighter than their touring counterparts and feature lower ankles to increase mobility when skiing.

Backcountry Touring

The stiffest of the bunch, backcountry touring boots are typically mated with Metal-Edge Touring skis and provide the most support for turning and stopping. They feature higher ankles and are warmer and more durable than traditional touring boots. Some models have a hard plastic exterior to provide even greater stability.

 

BINDINGS

Matching boots to bindings doesn’t have to be daunting. You’ve probably already bought your skis, which mostly likely include bindings already. Since boots must work with the bindings due to subtle traits in the soles, this makes it pretty easy to match them.

Bindings are broken down first by cross-country ski style, and then further diverge from there.

Touring Bindings and Race & Performance Classic/Skate Bindings

  • New Nordic Norm (NNN) and Nordic Integrated System (NIS)
  • NNN are by far the most common bindings available. NIS bindings also work with NNN boots, the only difference is in how the actual binding attaches to the ski.
  • Salomon Nordic System (SNS) Profil
  • Less common and less versatile, SNS Profil boots can only be matched with SNS Profil bindings.
  • Salomon Nordic System (SNS) Pilot
  • Providing superior stability, flex, and kick, SNS Pilot boots are also versatile in that they will fit into most SNS Profil bindings.

Backcountry Bindings

Due to the width and bulky nature of these bindings, they will not work on groomed (in-track) skiing. If you’ve purchased Metal-Edge Touring skis that are designed to ski both groomed and ungroomed terrain, double check the bindings. If they use the following two bindings, then they will not work in-track.

  • 75mm 3-pin
  • New Nordic Norm Backcountry (NNN BC)

Each of these bindings must have the appropriate matching boots to work properly.

Other Binding Systems

  • TURNAMIC
  • Co-developed by Rossignol and Fischer, TURNAMIC boots and bindings are compatible with NNN boots and bindings (that are made by either manufacturer). A NNN boot will fit into a TURNAMIC binding and a TURNAMIC boot will fit into a NNN binding.
  • However, it’s important to keep in mind that NNN bindings made by Rottefella will not accept a TURNAMIC boot.
  • TURNAMIC boots will also fit into Prolink bindings as well.
  • Universal
  • These bindings will accept any boot, regardless of style.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

GROOMED TERRAIN

Characterized by “tracks” that your skis fit into. Best type of terrain for beginners to learn on.

UNGROOMED TERRAIN

Any type of cross-country skiing that does not take place on groomed tracks.

BACKCOUNTRY TERRAIN

Ungroomed cross-country skiing that occurs in remote areas and may feature less predictable conditions and more rugged obstacles.

READ MORE

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