The Resurgence of Rear-Entry Boots

Robert Hansen | | Gear ReviewGear ReviewIndustry NewsIndustry News
Rear Entry Atomic
The Atomic Savor 100

20 years since Salomon scrapped the project, rear-entry boots are making a comeback. Ski boot manufacturers are looking for ways to keep people skiing longer. A recent poll conducted by SIA has shown that alpine skiers from 45-65 have increased in number. Similarly, skiers around 70 make up 7% of the market. Since this group of older rippers has become a large piece of the market it makes sense that ski companies should want to cater to their needs. What do these old rippers need? A boot that is easier to put on, easier to walk around in, and involves less bending over fiddling with buckles. The answer? The re-introduction of rear-entry ski boots.

Nordica and Atomic both have unveiled new rear entry boots. These boots may be a blast from the past but they are loaded with new tech to make them more comfortable and keep dad and hopefully grandpa skiing longer. The Nordica boot offers a moldable shell and thermal heaters in a lightweight package. The boot also features GripWalk soles that should help to mitigate slipping while walking around the resort. The Atomic boot has a single lever that locks the boot down to the rider’s shin that can be operated with one hand.

Nordica HF
The rear entry buckle can be operated with a ski pole.

These manufacturers have hit the nail on the head here when it comes to reading the market. Retired or simply older skiers have more luxury time and the funds to splurge on a new boot. The boots are easy to get on and better yet are a throwback to the glory days when these guys were charging around the mountain. Not every innovation in skiing needs to be about going the biggest or fastest. Sometimes all we really need is to be more comfortable and to keep skiing!

Old Skier
George Jedenoff still skiing at 101

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17 thoughts on “The Resurgence of Rear-Entry Boots

  1. I skied with my yellow Hanson rear entry booths and they were the most comfortable boots, easy to put on and take off. time did them in as the lining wore off they started to hurt in some areas where by the joints rivets.

  2. Just came back to the warmth of SoCal. Spent 4 days at Powder Mtn,Utah. I’m 76 and with Covid restrictions, getting into and out of my 3 buckle boots in the parking lot at 25 degrees with a 15 mph wind blowing the snow falling at moderate rates was really miserable. I usually ski SoCal most of the winter and make ski trips for the spring skiing in Canada, Oregon, Utah and Colorado. This last trip convinced me that I need to find some quick rear-entry boots especially for weather like I just experienced. Hope to find some info describing if I need to go up or down a size.

  3. I’m 56 years old. Three years ago, I was on a ski trip with my 30 year old son and was telling him about my Solomon SX90 Equipe Ski Boots I had in the early 80s and how much more I liked them compared to the boots sold now days. After 5 days in Colorado, my legs and feet were hurting. I told him as we pulled into Salt Lake City that I’m going to find another pair of rear entry ski boots.

    I went to a thrift store, and found on the shelf, a pair of Salomon SX 80 Equipe, (firetruck RED) my size and in perfect condition (with the exception of the coating over the outside of the foam insert. It was flaking, but a stiff brush cleared off the coating in no time). Grand Total (with my military discount): $7.50 ….that’s seven dollars and fifty cents!!!!

    I made a minor adjustment to my bindings and off I went to Park City. Immediately my comfort level was raised and my skiing improved (since I wasn’t cringing and flinching every time I cranked into my turns or recoiling from the moguls. These boots were everything I remembered and now fully appreciated. My love for skiing was renewed.

    Immediately, people had comments and questions. After all, it’s not often you see red ski boots, so they drew a little attention.

    While having a beer at the fire pit, one young fella spoke up and said, “Those are the most futuristic or old school boot I’ve ever seen. What are they?” While sitting, I lifted my boot up about chest high and proudly announced the make and model of my “Iron Man” looking boots and shared that they’re 40 years old now.

    Another couple asked me if they’re real, and came over to check them out. Both remembered this model and said they had a pair in the 80’s and that they loved them and were surprised they no longer make boots like these.

    Discussion turned to nostalgia and skinny skis, but the boots made my day (and my trip). My boy thought the whole thing was amazing. But seriously, how did we let this technology die away for so long.

    There is a market for these. What an untapped potential. There are two generations that have no idea this type of boot even existed, so…this is some Tony Stark stuff. Salomon, get on it. Come on, man!

  4. I’d still be skiing in my old rear-entry boots (bought in 1979) if they hadn’t “died” on me. The lining was made of dense black rubber and it mysteriously turned to a material like TAR! (A very viscous and sticky liquid.) They were the last boots I really loved. They were REALLY comfortable and EASY to get into and out of.

  5. I ski 45 days a year in Winter Park, Colorado on SkiBoards with Nordica rear entry ski boots. The cost me $75.00 4 years ago and they are warm and comfortable with no pressure points. Ever notice all the people who un-buckle their $600+ ski boots on the lift or lodge because their feet hurt so much with cramps etc? I am not training for the olympics and I don’t race all I need is the have fun.

  6. I had my SX92 boots foamed around my feet some 40 years ago by a very good technician and skier. I need to make some repairs to the soles, but I think they will last several more seasons. There is still nothing that compares to them. I got them in an end of season bargain, and boy have they delivered.

  7. great its about time, after buying and selling 3 pairs of new $ 300. boots I always end up patching and duck taping my 40 year old salomon boots and praying they last another year. once i had to kick a mouse out vacuum out and clean but it was still worth it. lol

    Bill Hacker

  8. The last(shape) of a ski boot is better than it has ever been. Find a boot fitter who also understands how the foot works biomechanically in relationship to how the particular boot works mechanically. Many skiers suffer with bad fitting boots because this is never addressed. Search out a store that uses 3D imaging of your foot and has the boots scanned in 3D and is in the software. Expertise of the boot technician is critical here- do your homework. ALSO – if you have truly struggled, try Dahu http://www.skidahu.com
    Really exceptional skiing boot with unmatched comfort.

  9. Old dude here. Just went out skiing for the first time in years, and discovered I loved it, and actually didn’t suck. Only thing that did suck, was getting those goddam 4-buckle rental boots off. Sorry, but I don’t need the best, fastest race setup in the world – those days are behind me. But the best boot in the world is one that I’ll wear and actually get out skiing on. For a guy like myself, and there’s lots of us out there, that is a rear entry boot like we had when we were younger. Want something else? Great! but me, I’m going to go out and pick up a pair and get back on the slopes.

  10. I’m still using the Raichle RX7s I bought in the mid ’80s. Soooo easy to get on/off. Working just fine.

  11. I still have & use my Salomon Force 7 ski boots when I bought them new in 1992 in Mannheim, Germany, when I was in the U.S. Army. The bottom of my ski boots are almost like new, I have been faithfully been using Seirus Cat Tracks to protect the bottoms of my boots ever since I bought them new. All these years, I could not force myself to buy traditional front buckle ski boots. I always like the ease of getting in & out of my rear entry ski boots. In a way, I am a Linus from the Peanut character, when it comes to my rear entry ski boots, knowing that rear entry ski boots were extinct like Dodo bird. I am happy to hear, that rear entry ski boots are making a come back. Now only if Salomon would jump on the band wagon and start manufacturing rear entry ski boots again. FYI, anybody remember AERO ski poles from the 1980’s….??? I still have & use my AERO ski poles that I bought when I was 16 years old. Call me dated, but my out dated ski boots & poles still work great. What is old, is new again, even Raichle ski boots made a come back from the decade of decadence, the 1980’s, now called Full Tilt boots.

  12. Still using my SX91s, been dreading the day when they are done. Finally the manufacturers have listened, great news.

  13. Rear entry ski boots will keep me skiing. As for the traditional four buckle –I refuse to ever wear them again. I am not fiddling with balky buckles or clopping around in foot coffins anymore. I want to enjoy cruising and be on the mountain with my grandkids. Why were rear entry styles discontinued? Marketing I believe that sold us on the benefits of better fit/performane of the buckle crap. How gullible we were.

    1. My rear-entry Nordicas have performed perfectly for me since the day I got them 30+ years ago. What a feeling it was for me to learn they are available again. Yahoo!!!

    2. Wrong
      Just how do you define performance for a sku boot? A ski boot connects your foot and your shins to the ski. It’s not a vice for your foot. It should also keep your foot dry and warm.
      Conventional boots work for people with short narrow feet. For those with long wide feet they impossible to get on and off. Just geometry , but rear entry boots solve that issue.
      Precession is a bullshit opinion that doesn’t make any sense. Nobody has a precise foot so you can’t have a precise boot.
      It’s great to see them coming back, I can finally chuck my bloody buckle monsters away.

      1. I agree 100%. I am 74 years old and on 12/21/2000, I had decided that day skiing was my last day. I love to ski and have for over 40 years. I believed that I had lost the battle with ski boot. I HATE the continuous progression towards “performance” that leaves no place for just enjoying the experience.

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