AT backcountry Boots
What are backcountry ski boots?
Alpine touring (AT) boots are different from alpine ski boots. AT boots are designed for both downhill skiing and ascension using climbing skins, while alpine boots are primarily downhill-oriented. AT boots have a supportive ski mode for skiing downhill, plus a flexible unlocked or "walk" mode that lets your ankle and lower leg flex forward and back for skinning and bootpacking uphill.
Tech bindings require a boot with molded-in toe fittings and a slotted plate at the heel. If you wish to use these bindings, you will need to have a boot with these fittings.
Most AT boots and alpine boots will work with most frame AT bindings (Marker, Salomon/Atomic, Tyrolia, Fritschi), but be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Boots with minimalist soles that do not conform to ISO 9523 specifications are compatible only with tech bindings.
Can't I just skin in my alpine boots?
Yes but most people find skinning for any length of time in alpine boots that don’t have a walk mode quite uncomfortable.
Can I use AT boots with my alpine bindings?
It depends. Most crossover AT/alpine boots are designed to be compatible with alpine bindings. Although some alpine bindings will adjust to accommodate the higher AT boot toes and it may physically fit in, manufacturers warn against using true AT boots in alpine DIN bindings because the added grip of rubber soles can prevent the boot from properly releasing during a fall.