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post-title “They’re not like slippers”. Yes they bloody are – Apex boots changed my life.

“They’re not like slippers”. Yes they bloody are – Apex boots changed my life.

“They’re not like slippers”. Yes they bloody are – Apex boots changed my life.

“They’re not like slippers”. Yes they bloody are – Apex boots changed my life.

…and other first world problems.

If you love skiing and hate boots or simply need to do a lot of walking, read on.

In my late teens I bust my ankle badly. Not an unusual thing to do but without going into too much detail, all the soft tissue was annihilated and ultimately it was a career changing injury.

However, after fifteen years of rest (yes, I took the medical advice very seriously!) I recklessly undid all the hard work I’d done sitting on my ass, by slipping off a curb and we were almost back to square one. I’m resigned to the fact that I either take a considerable period of time out of normal active life to undergo reconstructive surgery or, I suck-it-up-buttercup. For now, I have opted for plan b.

What that does mean is living with a certain amount of background pain which is amplified when I do certain activities. Skiing is one.

I re-entered the world of skiing after a 17 year absence in January last year and vividly recall a teary phone call to an experienced (and equally battered) friend…“when is this going to stop? I can’t cope with this pain… seriously, I might have to chop my legs off if this continues”. The answer was as expected:

“ski boots always hurt. It’ll either wear off in a few days or you’ll get used to it”

Much, I am led to believe, like childbirth, the pain of wearing ski boots is forgotten because of the pure joy of bombing down the pistes; carving through the powder; and by the magic of mountain air, at that moment, there is no pain.

As I started my kit planning for this 6 month motorhome ski adventure, I thought that perhaps some shiny new boots with custom moulded inners and liners made from the fluffy aura of snowflakes would help. I went for a fitting. I went for two fittings actually, at two well respected ski boot fitters in the UK. Don’t get me wrong, they felt a damn sight better than the rentals I’d had in the past but they were by no means comfortable – particularly in my dodgy spots.

This concern actually started to preoccupy me a bit. I’ve only ever really done ski-in ski-out and I knew many of the places we’d be staying in the motorhome required a walk or bus ride to the slopes. Not only was I facing regular ski pain (that’s everywhere for those who haven’t skied before), but also the assault course that a leisurely stroll becomes when wearing ski boots.

A friend who I’d skied with in January reminded me of her boots – weird things with a shell and a soft boot like for snowboarding. They looked like a pain in the backside to get on and off. I messaged her. Are they all they’re hyped up to be? Yes. She very confidently replied. I didn’t believe her.

I went to my local Ellis Brigham to talk to Alex. The only real ski person I had managed to find who hadn’t poo-pooed Apex ski boots as a gimmick. He is actually a big fan and when I explained what our season-long road trip was going to look like, he was adamant that if they felt good in the fitting, they would be a brilliant solution to my myriad of challenges.

So these are the Apex XP-L top of the range ladies boots. Designed by bona fide ski experts who really know their stuff and with all the customer service and enthusiasm you’d expect from a US company. I know because I spent an hour on the phone to Brian at Apex HQ in Colorado. I instantly fell in love with the brand and was praying that the product lived up to the concept and its people. Brain was however keen to remind me, they’re not slippers. 

winterized review of apex boots

Here are my thoughts on the Apex XP-L ski boots after a months wear.

How are they lasting?

They look almost like new – despite me flinging them in and out of the motorhome and strapping the chassis to my backpack for walking.

Are they stiff enough?

For what exactly? I never really understood that question. I’m not a downhill racer and they have two of the latest Boa fastening systems on each boot which allows for fractional adjustments. The spine of the boot is as firm as any regular boot I can remember wearing. I’m pretty sure I’m not planning to enter any competitions, so for me and the vast majority of skiers, I think they’re plenty stiff enough.

How long did they take to break in?

A fitting tutorial, heal raisers and insoles (I have flat feet) and three full days wear.

They’re not cheap – are they worth it?

Are you kidding? First of all, they’re not expensive but they are a lot of money. The amount of work in these compared to a ski boot is considerable and as my Mum has always told me, “spend what you want on haircuts, glasses and shoes” – cost per wear is negligible if you get it right.

Why isn’t everyone wearing them?

Cost and distribution. They are a big investment if you only ski once a year however, once you break them in, you’ll never regret spending the cash.

What about distribution? We in Europe are somewhat set in our ways and not early adopters when it comes to advancements in snow sports tech. A lot of the the bonkers innovation seems to be coming from the US. What that means is that you’re not going to find them in every ski shop and fitter. In fact, in the UK, you can only get them in Ellis Brigham (London and MK), SnowTogs and Finches in the UK. I believe part of the problem is a preconceived idea about their capabilities. I spoke to six different fitters who all said they were really for casual skiers who wanted something a bit cosy (and words to that effect) … drill down and it turned out not one of them had tried the product. Go figure.

How do they ski?

Amazingly. Apart from the fact that I can actually walk about, take the chassis (or cage as some know it as) off and be a normal human – at lunch, a spot of après, in the supermarket etc, they are a really strong fit. I love the fact that I can tighten and loosen them by fractions using the Boa fittings which puts me in control and they have angle control which I haven’t played with because the fit I have suits me perfectly – thanks Alex.

Down sides:

  • The boys colours are better than the girls.
  • If you leave the chassis fitted in your binding, your skis try to escape because the stoppers are raised.
  • Everyone looks at you funny

Unexpected upsides:

  • Complete strangers quiz you on them
  • Inners are super soft
  • And you can, if you want, leave the cages at home and strap them onto one of those trays the kids are playing on.

Are they like slippers. Yes. Yes they are.

If you want to have a look into what Apex boots are (and aren’t) in more detail, you’ll find a lot of info here on their website. There are some competitors on the market – I didn’t try them all but I did a lot of research and tried a few. Have a look and see what you think and perhaps in time even the Euro-ski contingent might start taking notice of some of these innovations which are make skiing a more inclusive sport.

If you’re in the UK and you can’t get to any of the UK retailers, check out the boot fitting guide on the Apex website and you can buy online. We’d suggest taking them to a ski shop for a fitting – you might want a heal riser or an insole (I have both for flat feet) and they’ll be able to give you some advice on how to set them up properly.

Products from Amazon.co.uk

Products from Amazon.co.uk

Comments (11)

    1. Hi Dave,

      Usually, I just leave them in the bindings. We tend not to go to heaving bars with thousands of skits and boards left outside so they just get propped up. Obviously, they need tipping on the edge if you leave them on the floor. I also have straps so if I’m leaving any length of time, I hook them on my bag.

      They’re not nick-able – as yet, most people still stare at them weirdly (or ask about them) and if they’re in the bindings, nobody’s going to be bothered to try and remove them.

      I also sometimes just unclip the cage and release the Boa and not take the cage off at all… just depends… it’s whatever suits you. Some people aren’t bothered about the walking capabilities, they’re just looking for a more comfortable ride generally.

      Anything else, please fire away!


    2. I carry my chassis to and from the lifts, then to lunch and apres… The supplied carry strap makes it easy and my feet keep thanking me after a long weekend skiing. The whole boot system really is fantastic. I have been in them for 10 years (on my 2nd pair) and will be looking for my third in a season or two.

    3. I have the Apex MC/2 boots, which are my second pair of Apex boots in 10 years. The are fantastic, and all the things mentioned in this article are true. I usually take my chassis off and sling them over my shoulder with the supplied strap…they aren’t heavy and because they do draw attention, you’re going to be talking to a lot of people! Love my Apex and can’t conceive of ever skiing in anything else.

  1. My OH is currently in Chamonix on his first skiing holiday, and it seems like he’s hooked already. Might be something he’d like for future trips.

  2. Hi,
    I love my apex boots. Juist skied in them for a week and finally a good fitting boot! I might have to werk in my technique now, since I can’t blame my boots… Just one thing I was wondering about. I have the XP-L and find them a bit heavy. I usually carried the shells around my neck using the straps for longer walks. Getting skis and shells on my backpack was a pain in the ass. How do you (and other apex users) carry them most comfortably? I own a Simond 22 liter alpine backpack from Decathlon that is intended for ski carrying.
    One other gadget I find really useful, since the skis don’t lock anymore when the shells are in them, are the Black Diamond skistraps. Cheap and very handy!

    1. Hi! I don’t ever carry them with the chassis attached – just as you say, round my neck or over a shoulder. Or you have a sturdy backpack, you might be able to balance them across – James does that and it works really well.

      Ski straps are a godsend though! I saw some rubber ones this week in Chamonix and people strap all sorts inside those!


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