Despite the surge in people switching to Alpine Touring (AT) equipment for backcountry access, many of us continue to find the unique pleasure in keeping our “heels free” and lunging into our turns. With new binding technologies, the options for telemark skiers to secure their feet into a pair of skis has increased in recent years and has given us some unique choices when deciding which boots to buy.
So, what are the best telemark ski boots to pair with your binding system? For traditionalists like myself who keep their 75 mm bindings, the Scarpa T2 Eco continues to be my go-to boot for both lift-access and backcountry skiing. Lightweight and secure, the T2 Eco is a versatile, all-around boot that works well for most skiers and in all conditions.
But as stated, the options for boots (and bindings) have significantly expanded recently. If you are looking to dive into a new pair of boots this season and pair them with a set of 75 mm, New Telemark Norm (NTN), or even the new 2-pin binding systems, read the reviews below to find out which boot may work best for you.
Last update on 2020-04-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews of the Best Telemark Ski Boots
1. Scarpa T2 Eco Telemark Boot
The Scarpa T2 Eco is the newest rendition of the classic boot that has been around for over 20 years. Consciously made from a plant-based plastic (hence the Eco designation), the T2’s triple injection construction, moldable liners, and Scarpa’s T-Race torsion bars make for an exceptionally torsional rigid boot that can turn any size of ski without sacrificing comfort or warmth.
The boot is easy to put on, adjust, and secure with three buckles and an active power strap for improved responsiveness.
The T2 also remains exceptionally light (a men’s size 27 weighs in at only 1685 g per boot) and, combined with a Vibram walking sole as well as a tour walking mode, is an excellent choice for touring off-piste or into the backcountry.
Having hiked and skied in different renditions of this boot for many years, the T2 Eco remains my top choice for both on-piste and off-piste telemark skiing. I have skied ultra-light and skinny backcountry skis all the way up to big powder boards with these boots and they have always proved capable of living up to the challenge while remaining comfy for long backcountry hikes or long days at the resort.
If you are keeping your 75 mm bindings, the T2 Eco might be the most versatile boot on the market.
- Excellent torsional rigidity yet still pliant and comfortable
- Walking function and Vibram sole for efficient hiking and touring
- Three buckles keep the boot light while providing enough power for any size ski or skier
- Plastic middle buckle reduces the overall quality
- Some users find the T2 Eco too soft
2. Scott Voodoo 75 mm Telemark Boot
With two 75 mm models in production, the Scott Voodoo proves to be the worthwhile competitor to Scarpa’s T2 Eco. With a similar three buckle design, the Voodoo is another boot that works fairly well both inbounds and outside the gates or ropes.
One main advantage of the Scott boot is its lateral stiffness while retaining a nice forward flex and some unique features that make hiking or walking in the boot easier for when you do decide to enter the backcountry.
Weighing a bit more than the T2 (1834 g at size 27.5), the Voodoo makes up for this weight with three full metal buckles with “lock catches” that keep the buckles in place when loosened for walking or hiking – definitely a nice addition I found helpful when trying to re-buckle after a skin up in less than ideal weather.
The result is a very secure fit that some may find too similar to a traditional ski boot, but others may appreciate the boot’s flex and rigidity that is able to handily drive big skis or may be more comfortable for heavier skiers.
Because of this, the Voodoo may, in the end, be a better inbounds choice than a primary boot for backcountry. Maybe a good breakdown might be along the lines of 70% resort skiing and 30% backcountry. Nevertheless, Scott’s Voodoo has some nice features that many may find appealing. The Voodoo also comes in an NTN version.
- Excellent lateral stiffness to drive bigger skis or for heavier skiers
- Innovative features such as full metal buckles with “lock catches”
- Secure fit
- Heavier and feels more like a traditional ski boot
- May not be the best choice for backcountry or hiking
3. Scarpa TX Pro Boot
About twelve years ago, the telemark world was introduced to the NTN binding and with this new technology, the NTN boot came with it. Today, telemark skiers remain divided on what system is better but there is no doubt that the NTN offers features (step-in capability for convenience and releasability for safety) that most of the traditional 75 mm bindings cannot.
Scarpa, Scott, and Crispi all offer telemark NTN choices but the clear winner in the NTN category is the Scarpa’s TX Pro boot.
Similar to the two 75 mm boots reviewed above, the TX Pro is a great all-around boot that performs well in a variety of circumstances and allows the user a lot of freedom to explore the resort or the backcountry.
With four buckles and the NTN binding setup, the TX Pro can handle any ski you strap to it as well as any size of a skier without adding weight (only 1750 g per boot in size 27) or foregoing backcountry capabilities.
Coupled with a Vibram sole and a very comfortable fit with the Intuition liner, the TX Pro shows that you can have a very “resort-like” boot that will still feel at home skinning up a mountain or hiking through the access gates.
In addition, the TX Pro sports tech inserts in the toe piece which allows the boot to work with the newer 2-pin NTN bindings, making it one of the most versatile boots for a person who may want to configure different setups for different skis or skiing conditions.
Unfortunately, the TX Pro does not have a heel piece for AT style bindings. Regardless, for people who may want to move forward with the newest telemark bindings, the TX Pro should meet the needs of any skier, but is best suited for a skier who likes both lift access pistes as well as ski touring.
- Great all-around, light-weight boot
- Comfortable fit with a four-buckle design for improved performance
Extremelyversatile boot that fits traditional NTN or 2-pin NTN bindings
- 2-pin setup does not fit AT bindings
- Requires investing in new bindings
Choosing the Right Telemark Boots – Buyer’s Guide
Like all skiing, buying telemark gear is a significant investment. Many would argue that your boots are the most important purchase as they will define how you control your skis and whether you will remain comfortable for long tours or multiple laps at your favorite resort.
Therefore, taking time to consider what type of skiing you primarily will be focused on pays dividends when choosing what boots to purchase, as well as the type of skis and bindings to go with them.
If you think of yourself as primarily a frontside, resort-oriented skier, any of the above-mentioned boots will work perfectly well for most intermediate and advanced/expert skiers.
However, stronger, harder charging skiers who ski race-style skis may want to move towards stiffer boots that have even more rigidity and buckles to lock themselves in.
Also, if you are looking to venture into the backcountry and combine touring with your inbounds adventures, choosing a more well-rounded boot that remains light, has great forward flex, walking functionality, and a good sole is necessary. All of the boots reviewed here fit this category and remain a very popular choice for this reason.
75 mm versus NTN bindings and boots
Although this debate has many nuances in the telemark world, the most basic consideration for most buyers comes down to cost as many telemark skiers continue to have or use 75 mm bindings.
Therefore, purchasing a 75 mm boot makes sense if you already have skis mounted with these bindings and do not plan to completely overhaul your collection.
However, if you have retired your 75 mm mounted skis and bindings, the NTN bindings and boots offer some significant advantages in performance, weight, safety, and convenience.
Finally, one of the most important considerations is ensuring that your boots fit correctly. Telemark boots need to be snug enough to prevent heel lift when you flex your rear foot when initiating a turn.
Most modern boots have buckles and straps in place to help with heel lift, but having a good fit is key to feeling confident in your boots when you make each turn.
Obviously, the best way to get a good fit is to visit a shop that carries the boots you have selected and have a boot technician help you select your size. The technician may also be able to mold the liners and this will also help your boots to fit your feet.
My Choice for the Best Telemark Ski Boots
Although many factors go into choosing a telemark boot (with bindings being a primary concern), the most versatile and economical choice for both new and old telemark skiers remains the near classic Scarpa T2 Eco boot.
Along with being the only ecologically made boot on the list, this 75 mm boot is light, has great torsional rigidity, and sports great walking/hiking features such as a Vibram sole.
While the other boots on this list have great features that many skiers will enjoy, the T2 Eco is the best all-around boot that will not force you to invest in a whole new binding system or sacrifice performance both on the piste and in the backcountry.
Top Rated Telemark Ski Boots
Last update on 2020-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2020-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API