Ski Boots Vs Snow Boots (Compared)

Ski Boots Vs Snow Boots

Curious about how ski boots and snow boots compare? Apart from the obvious function of boots, there are a lot of other differences in terms of design and features.

In this post, I’ll break down the differences between ski boots vs snow boots and compare factors like warmth, insulation, comfort, design and construction materials and a whole lot more!

Plus, I’ll also talk about why you can’t wear snow boots for skiing and why you can’t wear ski boots casually.

Ski Boots Vs Snow Boots

The main difference between ski boots and snow boots is that ski boots are DESIGNED for skiing and are usually made with stiffer materials and have a tighter fit to provide support and control while you’re skiing. Plus, it also has a boot-binding system that allows the skier to attach their boots to their skis.

Snow boots on the other hand are general winter wear and made with softer materials. They are more comfortable and less constricting, with a looser fit. Snow boots are meant for walking in cold and snowy conditions, rather than for high-impact sports like skiing.

difference betweenSki Boots and Snow Boots

Also read our guide on Snow boots vs winter boots.

Purpose Of The Boots 

The main purpose of wearing snow boots is to keep your feet warm. These boots are generally worn for casual day-to-day activities during winter. 

Ski boots on the other hand are in fact one the most critical components in terms of your ski gear. As they are specially designed for skiing, the boots can be attached to your ski bindings. While giving your feet and ankles just the right amount of support, ski boots will also restrict movement from being transferred into your skis.

Warmth And Insulation

Ski boots are the winner when it comes to keeping our feet the warmest. They can keep our feet warm even in the coldest temperatures.

The liner of a ski boot is generally soft and is the component that provides the skier with the required level of comfort while keeping their feet warm. Do keep in mind that you have three options to choose from non-moldable, thermoformable and custom moldable.

Warmth And Insulation

On the other hand snow boots will also keep our feet warm enough and are usually designed using either soft fleece linings, xerotherm technology or thermoguard padding. Plus, they are water resistant and include a permeable isotex fabric that can keep your feet and boots dry despite the rain or snow.

Design And Features: Ski Boots

Ski boots are specially crafted based on the function and comfort required by skiers while making their way down the slopes. The rigid outer shell is the component that provides stability. Therefore, it is undoubtedly a critical part of staying safe while you ski. 

Your boots should also have an adjustable flex. As skiers would know, this allows you to adjust the front ‘flex’ of the boot. Simply put, you will be able to adjust the stiffness at the front of the boot based on your personal preference and the weather.

Speaking of adjustments, make sure you use the cuff alignments and power straps to tighten or loosen your boots till you get just the right fit!

Certain models come with micro-adjustable buckles, shock absorbers, boot boards, rear spoilers and footbeds! If your budget is quite flexible, definitely opt for boots with these features.

Features of Ski Boots

  • Shell
  • Read spoiler
  • Strap and Strap mount
  • Liner
  • Flex adjustment
  • Heel lip and Toe lip
  • Footbed.
  • Seal
  • Buckles, Buckles hooks and Buckle Protector
  • Cuff alignment

Design And Features: Snow Boots

Snow boots have what is called a ‘high side’. True to its title this refers to the tall side of the boot that is designed to keep snow out. Simply put, the taller the boot, the higher the level of protection and warmth. 

Padded with nylon, quilted nylon, suede and leather, snow boots have an adjustable collar on the upper part of the boot. This enables the wearer to tighten the top of the boot to an extent that feels just right.

As for midsoles and soles, the midsoles generally come with both shock absorption and increased cushioning (courtesy of padding!). While the soles are crafted to provide the stability, grip and flexibility you need to get through your day—even if it means waking in deep snow.

Features of Snow Boots

  • Insulated lining
  • Adjustable collar
  • Taped seams
  • Waterproof protection
  • Padded midsole


Ski boots are way more expensive than snow boots. They are feature packed and made with high quality materials and will cost around $200 to $500. The exact prices will vary significantly based on the materials used, the level of performance and features, and the brand.

Snow boots cost around $40 – $200. They are just general-purpose boots and they don’t offer the same level of performance and support as ski boots.

Can You Wear Snow Boots For Skiing?

No. Snow boots are a lot softer in comparison to ski boots— a factor that makes them far from suitable for an activity such as skiing (regardless of the kind of terrain you pick). Plus, they are not designed to be attached to ski bindings!

Can You Wear Snow Boots For Skiing

Therefore, attempting to ski while wearing snow boots will undoubtedly be accompanied by a range of safety risks.

Can Ski Boots Be Worn For Day-To-Day Activities?

While it is definitely possible to get your errands done or go for a walk in ski boots, it isn’t recommended. As ski boots are designed to restrict movement while skiing, it can be quite tough to walk in them; as the tightness is likely to cause discomfort.

That being said, recently designed ski boots have a new feature! They give you the option to switch from fixed ski mode to walk mode. Walk mode allows a greater range of movement. Therefore, if you own one of these, you could definitely go for it! Do keep in mind that this feature is most commonly available with crossover boots.

Bottom Line

Ski boots offer a more precise fit and better performance on the slopes, but they can be a bit pricier and not as comfortable for everyday wear. They are feature packed and you’ll always need one for skiing.

Snow boots are more affordable and comfortable and are a good option for casual winter wear. But you can’t ski in them.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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