Updated on January 18, 2024

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.


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. Salomon Escape Plus Prolink
  7. Salomon RS8 Prolink Skate
  8. Madshus Nordic


Comparison Table - Best Cross Country Ski Boots

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NameStyleWeightGenderBoot TypeCompatible BindingPriceRatingReview
Alpina Alaska 75Backcountry4 lbs. 3 oz.Unisex75mm 3-pin75mm 3-pin$$4.9Read Review
Alpina R CombiClassic/Skate (Race & Performance)2 lbs. 11 oz.UnisexTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$$4.8Read Review
Rossignol X5 OTTouring (Groomed & Ungroomed)2 lbs. 13 oz.Men's, Women'sTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.7Read Review
Rossignol X10 SkateSkate (Race & Performance)2 lbs. 8 oz.UnisexTURNAMICNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$$$4.7Read Review
Alpina Alaska BCBackcountry4 lbs.UnisexNNN BCNNN BC$$4.6Read Review
Salomon Escape Plus ProlinkTouring2 lbs. 4.7 oz.Men's, Women'sProlinkNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.5Read Review
Salomon RS8 Prolink SkateSkate (Race & Performance)2 lbs. 9.6 oz.Men's, Women'sProlinkNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$$4.3Read Review
Madshus NordicTouringN/AUnisexNNNNNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink$4.2Read Review
NameStyleWeightGenderBoot TypeCompatible BindingPriceRatingReview
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

  • Gender: Unisex
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 3 oz.
  • Style: Backcountry
  • Boot Type: 75mm 3-pin
  • Compatible Binding: 75mm 3-pin
  • 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


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

  • Gender: Unisex
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Style: Classic/Skate (Race & Performance)
  • Boot Type: TURNAMIC
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
  • 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


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


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

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


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

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


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.

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


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.

  • Gender: Men's, Women's
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 9.6 oz.
  • Style: Skate (Race & Performance)
  • Boot Type: Prolink
  • Compatible Binding: NNN, NIS, TURNAMIC, & Prolink
  • 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


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

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


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.




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.



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.



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

  • 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.





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


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


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


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