The Best Cross Country Ski Boots

Many newcomers to the world of cross country skiing can be daunted by the logistics entailed in gathering the requisite gear for their forthcoming adventures. With so many specs, features, flaws, and failings to be accounted for before committing to a purchase, in fact, any would-be buyer who doesn’t happen to have the patience of a saint and spare time of a prison inmate could be forgiven for just plumping for the first pair of decent-looking boots that pop up on a Google search, or, alternatively, signing themselves up for a sport where the gear choices are altogether less confusing. The above frustrations are never more evident than when choosing the best boots for your cross country skiing outings. While the wrong choice of other gear items like gloves or poles might result in a touch of mild discomfort, the consequences of getting this one wrong are graver by far. In addition to the expense entailed in any trial-and-error-style purchasing practice, using a pair of ill-fitting, poorly made, or even simply imperfect boots could easily result in a serious injury.

In short, the stakes are high and ensuring your get your hands on (and feet into) the most suitable boots for your skill level and skiing style is nothing short of imperative for anyone unenthused by the prospect of hospital visits and/or an unnecessarily abbreviated bank balance. To save you any such inconveniences, we’ve decided to do the donkey work for you, sifting through the hundreds of worthy—and less worthy—options out there to bring you our shortlist of the 25 best cross country skiing boots on the market in 2019. And if you’re also in the market for new skis, we’ve reviewed the best cross-country skis in a separate post.

Top Pick
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Whitewoods XC Insulated Ski Boots

Warm, lightweight, and good to go wherever you’re willing to take them, these boots offer the perfect balance between performance, support, and insulation.

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$72.89 USD

After trawling through the scores of cross country ski boots currently on the market, we’ve found the hands-down winner to be the Whitewoods XC Insulated Ski Boots. These boots not only score exceptionally high in the comfort stakes, but are easy to use, reasonably priced, and offer as much in the way of support, performance, and warmth as any boot we’ve ever come across.

The 5 Top-Rated Cross Country Ski Boots

Best Cross Country Ski Boots

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallWhitewoods 301 XC Insulated Ski Boots4.6
Runner UpAlpina Sports T10 Cross Country Ski Boots5.0
Best Budget BuyBlazer 75mm Boot by Alpina3.5
Best for BeginnersAlpina BC Cross Country Ski Boots4.0
Best for ExpertsAlpina Alaska Backcountry Ski Boots4.9

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Whitewood XC Insulated Ski Boots

After careful consideration, our top pick of cross country ski boots are the Whitewood XC Insulated Ski Boots. The boots—which work with any 75mm, 3-pin binding system—have won our vote on account of a number of admirable features that place them above and beyond the best of their competitors. The most notable of these features are the highly waterproof and windproof King Tex fabric, the superbly comfortable and toasty Thinsulate insulation, and the perfect combination of support and cushioning provided by the quick-drying ankle padding.

Two of the biggest concerns for any prospective buyers of cross country ski boots relate to just how warm and supportive they will be when out of the box and faced with the task of carrying you over tough terrain in sub-zero temperatures. While the Whitewood XC excel in many other respects, it is in these two crucial factors that they truly impress. With a hearty 100g of durable and breathable High Tex insulation that stays dry and comfortable no matter what the conditions and sturdy ankle support that provides just the right amount of flex when getting your glide on, these boots offer the kind of versatility that makes them ideal for users of all levels of ability on varying terrain types.

To top it all off, these boots are far more favorably priced than other models in their performance range (you’ll get change from your $100!) and, as such, represent great value for money.

Whitewood XC Insulated Ski Boots Key Features:

  • Work with any 75mm, 3-pin binding system
  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Waterproof, windproof, and breathable King Tex fabric
  • Plenty of ankle support

Our Runner Up Pick: Alpina Sports T10 Touring Cross Country Nordic Ski Boots

Runner Up
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Alpina Sports T10 Touring Cross Country Nordic Ski Boots

Affordable, comfortable, warm, and superbly supportive, there’s a lot to love about these sleek and stylish boots.

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$41.80 USD

The Alpina Sports T10 Touring Cross Country Nordic Ski Boots are the type of cross country ski boots that endear from the moment you open the box. But there’s more to this refreshingly fetching and uncommonly fashionable boot than its looks alone…

What we really love about this boot is the emphasis it places on warmth and weather protection, with its healthy 100g of Thinsulate insulation complemented and contained by a low-profile, streamline, zippered neoprene cover that protects the lacing, forefoot, and ankle from ice, snow, and those chilly crosswinds that seem to drop ten degrees the closer they are to the ground!

But that’s not all…

The T10 also boast confidence-inspiring ankle support thanks to a burly plastic cuff that adds stability where you need it most, quick-lace closures to reduce the frustrations of tying laces with frozen fingers, and an anatomical footbed that’s as comfortable and cozy as any we’ve ever had the pleasure of plopping our feet onto.

Using a Rottefella NNN T4 touring sole, this boot is compatible with all other adult NNN bindings.

Alpina Sports T10 Touring Cross Country Nordic Ski Boots Key Features:

  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Quick-lace closures
  • Plastic ankle cuffs for added support and stability
  • Zippered neoprene cover

Best Budget Pick: Blazer 75mm Boot by Alpina

Best for Budget
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Blazer 75mm Boot by Alpina

A frill-free boot that may lack the bells and whistles of pricier competitors but gets the job done nicely.

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$42.00 USD
Those working on a tight budget could do a lot worse than add the Blazer 75mm Boot by Alpina to their shortlist of potential purchases.

While these boots may lack a little in the way of durability and fancy features compared to many of their pricier competitors, for those new to cross country skiing or who simply want a functional boot for a few outings per season, this nicely priced boot—which costs around $60—is a good option.

The Blazer Boot uses fleece lining in combination with a synthetic upper and speed lacing system to bring a nice blend of warmth, robustness, and convenience. They also feature a nicely cushioned and supportive collar around the ankle and have plenty in the way of “give” to allow for freedom of movement.

Blazer 75mm Boot by Alpina Key Features:

  • Compatible with all 75mm, 3-pin bindings
  • Fleece lining
  • Cushioned ankle

Best Cross-Country Ski Boots for Beginners: Alpina BC Cross-Country Ski Boots

Best Cross-Country Ski Boots for Beginners
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Alpina BC Cross Country Ski Boots

 A robust boot that gives you all the confidence you need on those first few outings.

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$159.95 USD
For newcomers to cross country skiing, the first few outings can be a little bit unnerving, particularly with regard to the welfare of our feet and ankles. Few boots out there work quite so well in quelling those fears and giving their user the confidence required to improve their technique as the Alpina BC Cross-Country Ski Boots.

Using a plastic cuff and superbly sturdy backcountry-specific sole for added stability and control and a supportive power strap around the ankle to improve the closure and reduce the risk of sprains, this a boot that offers more peace of mind on testy terrain than any we’ve ever come across.

On top of all that, the Alpina BC uses very warm Thinsulate insulation in combination with a burly, hard-wearing synthetic shell to ensure your feet stay toasty, dry, and comfortable throughout your days out on the white stuff—no matter how many tumbles you take!

Alpina BC Cross-Country Ski Boots Key Features:

  • Plastic cuff offers great stability and control
  • 75 mm Vibram sole
  • Power strap for additional ankle support
  • Thinsulate insulation

Best Cross-Country Ski Boots for Experts: Alpina Alaska Backcounty Ski Boots

Best Cross-Country Ski Boots for Experts
Buy Now
Alpina Alaska Backcountry Ski Boots

 A high-performing boot for those ready to take their cross country skiing to the next level.

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$249.99 USD
For cross country skiers who already have a few seasons under their belts and are looking for a boot that will allow them to up their game and take on new challenges, the Alpina Alaska Backcountry Ski Boot could well be the boot you’re looking for.

The Alpina Alaska is a boot that really means business and ticks every box a more advanced skier could possibly need ticking. Using a remarkably tough, durable, all-leather construction together with an Alpitex waterproof-breathable membrane and Thinsulate insulation, few boots are quite so well equipped to deal with extreme weather conditions and the harsh terrain of backcountry routes as this.

What we love most about the Alpina Alaska is that it is built like an out-and-out mountaineering boot but, in addition to the extra support and protection provided by that full leather upper, ankle cushioning, and the burly toe rand, it offers a great range of movement thanks to the suppleness of the leather and the medium-flex sole.

This may not be the cheapest cross country ski boot out there, granted, but if you’re serious about taking your cross country skiing adventures to the next level, you wouldn’t want to be doing it anything less.

Alpina Alaska Backcounty Ski Boots Key Features:

  • All-leather construction
  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Alpitex waterproof-breathable membrane
  • Rottefella NNN-BC sole

Who Should Buy Cross Country Ski Boots

There are many reasons why anyone should consider taking up cross country skiing and getting themselves the right gear to ensure their cross country skiing adventures are not only fun but also safe.

Most importantly, cross country skiing is a great way to get fit and in good shape whilst taking in all the wonders of nature in her winter garb. Beats the gym, right? So, if you think you like the idea of having calves, thighs, and glutes of steel, all while getting in some good cardio and seeing some incredible sights along the way, this is a pastime well worth considering.

And if you happen to decide that you want to give cross country skiing a go or are a beginner looking to try out new techniques or make the step up to the next level performance-wise, having the right kit is of the essence—never more so than when it comes to what you put on your feet. Having the right boots will not only reduce the risk of injury, but also allow you to enjoy your outings without any fear of frozen toes or blisters or any of the other ailments that might befall a pair of ill-clad feet.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Whitewoods XC Insulated Ski Boots

Warm, lightweight, and good to go wherever you’re willing to take them, these boots offer the perfect balance between performance, support, and insulation.

buy now
$72.89 USD

Important Features to Consider

A pair of cross country ski boots should have a few important features. Here are some to consider when choosing yours:

  • Size. The sizing of boots varies from brand to brand. Before buying, be sure to read user reviews to check if the boots run true to size.
  • Insulation. A pair of frozen feet can seriously undermine your enjoyment of your cross country skiing trips. When buying your boots, look for around 100 grams of fleece or other synthetic insulation (Thinsulate, for example) to ensure your toes stay toasty throughout your trip.
  • Support. Avoiding ankle injuries has to be one of the primary concerns for anyone pulling on a pair of cross country ski boots. To ensure your risk of injury is kept to a minimum, it’s wise to choose a pair of boots that feature more robust materials in the upper and use a protective ankle support strap (a.k.a. “power strap”) or hinged plastic or Polymer cuff.
  • Waterproofing. While many manufacturers choose to forego waterproofing on the assumption that users of their product will most likely be doing their skiing in fair weather, if you are more of an all-weather warrior or just don’t want to worry about ground snow making its way into your boots and saturating the fabric, look for a waterproof-breathable lining that will keep the wet stuff where it belongs—outside your boots.
  • Binding compatibility. Before committing to buying any pair of boots, be sure to check that they will be compatible with the bindings for your skis.
  • Cushioning. After a few hours on your skis, things can start to get a little nippy and achy around the ankles if your boots don’t have enough cushioning, so it’s always a good idea to check that your would-be boots have ample padding in the collar or “cuff” area before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cross-country ski boots?

Cross country ski boots are boots that attach to varying types of cross country skis by way of a binding mechanism that connects the toe of the boot to the ski. Unlike downhill ski boots, cross country ski boots are not attached at the heel because the motion required to propel yourself over the snow requires lifting the heel from the ski and pushing forward on the leading ski.

Do cross-country ski boots work with any binding?

No. Different types of boots can be used with different types of binding, so it’s important to check that your boots will be compatible with your binding before buying.

The most common bindings currently on the market include:

  • New Nordic Norm (NNN) bindings
  • New Nordic Norm Backcountry (NNN BC) bindings
  • 75mm, 3-pin bindings
  • SNS Pilot bindings
  • Salomon Nordic System (SNS) Profil bindings

How are cross-country ski boots measured?

Cross country ski boots are measured in European sizing, which can complicate matters ever so slightly for American buyers as the conversion between the two methods of sizing is not always exact. To check what European size of boot you’ll need, take a look at this handy reference chart from Skis.com.

How tight should cross-country ski boots fit?

The fit you should be aiming for when choosing your cross country ski boots is snug but not tight.

With boots that are too large, your foot will move around too much inside, thereby increasing the risk of blisters or sprains and reducing your control over your skis. If, on the other hand, the boots are too tight, then you increase the risk of suffering foot cramp and pain in both the toes and forefoot.

Generally speaking, boots with a tighter fit give you slightly better control over your skis, whereas looser-fitting boots will offer more in the way of comfort. If you are new to cross country skiing, we’d recommend opting for the latter until your feet get used to the slightly unfamiliar range of motion required for cross country skiing and wearing an extra pair of socks if you’re feet are shifting around too much while on the move.

Other Cross Country Ski Boots We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Whitewoods XC Insulated Ski Boots

Warm, lightweight, and good to go wherever you’re willing to take them, these boots offer the perfect balance between performance, support, and insulation.

buy now
$72.89 USD

We looked at 20 other cross country ski boots. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best cross country ski boots list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your cross country skiing adventures. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Cross Country Ski Boots for Experts

Fischer XC Pro Ski Boots

Fischer XC Pro Ski Boots

A lightweight, cross country touring boot that places a priority on performance with a handful of high-end features.

Key Features:

  • Internal molded heel cap
  • Zippered lace cover
  • Water-proof breathable lining

Cost: $100

Fischer Offtrack 3 Cross Country Ski Boot

Fischer Offtrack 3 Cross Country Ski Boot

A serious boot for those headed on more serious backcountry adventures, the Offtrack 3 is light, fast, and as tough as they come.

Key Features:

  • Sealed zipper closure
  • Integrated gaiter
  • External ankle support

Cost: $125

Fischer XC Comfort Pro Ski Boots

Fischer XC Comfort Pro Ski Boots

The “comfort” version of the “pro” model listed above, this boot offers the same high-performing features as its sibling but with a little more flex.

Key Features:

  • Fischer speed lock closure
  • Waterproof-breathable membrane
  • Stabilizing ankle strap

Cost: $120

Rossignol X-2 Ski Boots

Rossignol X-2 Ski Boots

A superbly tough, hard-wearing and high-performing boot that bridges the gap between more advanced beginner’s models and expert models.

Key Features:

  • Nylon and metal-reinforced midsole
  • Heel reinforced with lateral plastic insert
  • Cozy Thermotec insulation

Cost: $120

Rossignol BC XC Ski Boots

Rossignol BC XC Ski Boots

A boot that’s rich in features but does the basics of warmth, stability, support, and comfort wonderfully well too.

Key features:

  • Cordura Nylon lace covers
  • Inner boots adapt to the contours of your feet
  • Stabilizing plastic insert above heel

Cost: $140

Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots

Alpina Sports T30 Cross Country Ski Boots

A low-profile, technically advanced boot that’s at its best cruising through long miles of snow drifts and undulating backcountry terrain.

Key Features:

  • Zippered neoprene cover
  • Supportive plastic cuff
  • Thinsulate insulation

Cost: $150

Alpina Men’s RSK Skate Boot

Alpina Men's RSK Skate Boot

An elite-level racing boot for the skier looking to optimize performance with a dynamic, dialled-in fit and track-worthy features. One for the speedsters.

Key Features:

  • Plastic cuff and heel counter for enhanced stability
  • One-piece, waterproof overboot
  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Zippered closure

Cost: $220

Cross Country Ski Boots for Beginners

Salomon Prolink Escape 7 Boot

Salomon Prolink Escape 7 Boot

This incredibly well-made boot is a great choice for those at a beginner to intermediate level looking for improved performance on groomed tracks without compromising on comfort.

Key Features:

  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Custom-fit liner
  • Ergonomic touring cuff

Cost: $140

Alpina Snowfield Touring Boot

Alpina Snowfield Touring Boot

The ideal boot for light touring and easier backcountry outings, the Snowfield is a versatile option that’s great for beginners looking to mix things up in terms of terrain type.

Key Features:

  • Anatomic footbed
  • Stiff insole
  • Lightweight
  • Very warm Thinsulate insulation

Cost: $100

Whitewoods 302 NNN XC Insulated Ski Boots

Whitewoods 302 NNN XC Insulated Ski Boots

The NNN-binding-compatible version of our review’s top pick, the Whitewoods 302 is a boot that offers all the warmth, support, and fuss-free practicality you need for that first season on skis.

Key Features:

  • 100g of Thinsulate insulation
  • Waterproof-breathable upper
  • Quick-dry liner

Cost: $100

Rossignol X1 FW Touring Ski Boot

Rossignol X1 FW Touring Ski Boot

The ideal boot for beginners and intermediate-level cross country skiers looking to get off the manicured tracks and make their first ventures into the backcountry.

Key Features:

  • Water-resistant PVC upper
  • Touring-specific sole
  • Warm fleece insulation

Cost: $95

Rossignol X-3 XC Ski Boots

Rossignol X-3 XC Ski Boots

A very versatile boot that is as much at home on manicured trails as it is on freshly fallen powder, the X3 is the ideal touring boot for beginners and recreational skiers looking to have the best of both worlds.

Key Features:

  • Velcro “power” strap on cuff
  • Zippered closure
  • Thermo-moldable fit

Cost: $120

Fischer RC3 Combi XC Ski Boots

Fischer RC3 Combi XC Ski Boots

A great boot for those still in the process of perfecting both their classic and skate technique, the RC3 Combi is one of the most versatile boots for beginners out there.

Key Features:

  • Triple-F waterproof-breathable membrane
  • Easy-entry loops
  • Power strap on cuff
  • Injected exterior heel cap

Cost: $120

Cross Country Ski Boots for Backcountry, Off-Trail Outings

Whitewoods 306 Back Country Ski Boots

Whitewoods 306 Back Country Ski Boots

A favourably priced but well-made boot that offers all the stability, support, comfort, and warmth you need to make those first few trips into the backcountry with confidence.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with NNN BC bindings
  • Breathable synthetic mesh and leather upper
  • Stabilizing, reinforced heel counter

Cost: $70

Alpina Montana Touring Boot

Alpina Montana Touring Boot

A superbly robust, hard-wearing, and confidence-inspiring boot that’s built to go wherever you might choose to take it, the Alpina Montana is as reliable and ready for a bit of rough and tumble as just about any other boot out there.

Key Features:

  • Anatomic footbed
  • Padded collar
  • Synthetic leather upper
  • Thinsulate insulation

Cost: $180

Fischer BCX 5 Waterproof Backcountry Boot

Fischer BCX 5 Waterproof Backcountry Boot

When the weather’s doing its worst, the Fischer BCX 5 has you covered, offering “bombproof” weather protection in combination with breathable fabrics and beefy insulation.

Key Features:

  • Triple F waterproof membrane
  • Comfort Guard insulated liner
  • Internal molded heel cap
  • Fully leather upper

Cost: $135

FISCHER Offtrack 5 BC Ski Boots

FISCHER Offtrack 5 BC Ski Boots

Serious backcountry outings call for a serious boot, and the Fischer Offtrack 5 is just that, offering all the weather protection and warmth you need to tackle the testiest of terrain in the sketchiest conditions.

Key Features:

  • Injected exterior heel cap
  • Hinged, stabilizing Polymer cuff
  • Integrated gaiter
  • Thermo-moldable fit

Cost: $160

Fischer BCX 675

Fischer BCX 675

A beast of a boot that’s built for serious and demanding backcountry adventures in remote and challenging terrain.

Key Features: 

  • Compatible with 75mm, 3-pin bindings
  • Integrated gaiter
  • Waterproof-breathable membrane
  • Hinged, stabilizing Polymer cuff

Cost: $230

Rossignol Men’s BC X6 75 MM Ski Touring Boot

Rossignol Men's BC X6 75 MM Ski Touring Boot

An intermediate-level backcountry boot ideal for those all-weather warriors who want the best protection and support without compromising on performance.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with 75mm, 3-pin bindings
  • Cordura Nylon and PVC upper
  • Thermo-moldable foam liner
  • Quick-cinch closure

Cost: $160

Alpina Alaska Heat Boot

Alpina Alaska Heat Boot

As the name suggests, this boot is all about ensuring your toes and feet stay toasty no matter where you’re headed. A great choice for intrepid skiers looking to take their tours into the most extreme environments.

Key Features:

  • Thinsulate InTemp insulation
  • Burly toe rand
  • Alpitex membrane
  • Leather upper

Cost: $265

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