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I'm new to alpine touring and skiing in general. As such I (stupidly?) bought some beginners (cheap) alpine ski boots. They don't seem to have a lot of flex in them, even when they are in "hike" mode (with the little tabs at the back flipped up).

I've noticed that some people recommend not doing the main (top) boot strap up at all when touring and only doing it up for skiing downhill. However, these boots are a little uncomfortable anyways and rub a little in the heal.

I'm wondering, what's the best way to make alpine boots comfortable while touring on AT skis?

  • It might help to shave your legs below the top oft he boot. Hairs getting pulled out by the roots definitely adds to discomfort. – user5330 Dec 30 '17 at 19:58
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Correct but unsatisfying answer: There is no boiler-plate configuration, you just need to try it out yourself. Even with proper AT boots, there is no single correct way - some people tighten more, some less uphill depending both on boots and personal taste. Nevertheless here are some pointers:

Generally if you do tighten buckles uphill, do so as little as possible to get the desired effect - it is better for blood flow and thus preventing cold feet.

Upper buckles need not be tightened. For proper working AT boots it can be beneficial to tighten them moderately to reduce movement of the shin against the boot. For stiff alpine boots loosening those will help a lot by increasing forward flexibility. Again, there is no right way and just as a little illustration a not entirely uncommon problem when doing lots of ski touring are irritated to openly bleeding shins. A friend swears on shaving this area to prevent it :P

Ankle/lower buckles need to be tight enough that you don't have significant movement at your heels. If you heels move up and down while walking, chances of blisters are high.

Overall alpine boots are ok for trying out ski touring, if you actually get into it, there is no way around getting dedicated ski touring boots. In my opinion it is the most important piece of gear, vastly underrated compared to the skis. It is worth searching for a pair that fits your feet well and thermoform the liners (and even secondarily the shell if necessary).

  • Thank you very much for the well-typed answer! One "sub"-question: Do "Dynafit"/tech boots work at all in frame touring bindings? Or, will I have to get new tech bindings at the same time I purchase new touring boots? Sounds like the boots are the most important. – jonathanbell Dec 29 '17 at 21:33
  • Please ask a separate question for that, such that other people with the same question can find and thus benefit from the answer (and voting can take please, if my answer is rubbish :) ). The answer is fairly trivial, but I still think the question is valid. – imsodin Dec 30 '17 at 11:02
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    OK, cool - thanks for you help, again! Here is the question. – jonathanbell Dec 30 '17 at 15:51

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