This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.
“I design out of laziness. I want a ski boot that doesn’t require pulling my pants up and struggling with latches and buckles,” says Fritz Barthel as he stands on one leg like a ballet dancer (or, a stork?), hands free, and kicks down the lean-lock lever of his Hoji Pro boot. He smiles and says “Nice,” then glides a few meters away to check our descent route, leaving me enjoying the view of my unbuckled (insert brand-model here) ski boots.
As I found during my past year of testing the Hoji Pro, Barthel’s ideal can be realized.
Whoops, I almost forgot the eponymous Hoji, who designed the boot in partnership with Fritz. His goal was a touring boot that skied down better than most touring boots. Best of all worlds? The easily operated boot that’s light and skis downhill okay? In that we still have a winner.
First, fit. Dynafit claims Hoji has a 103.5 millimeter last. I’ll testify that the boot is indeed on the wide side — but only at the metatarsal. The heel pocket width is average to tight, and the instep is low. I’m a skinny-heeled guy with a skiing problem, and the Hoji holds my heels down like a little troll grabbing my calcaneus with his horny hands. Being fully weaponized with my heat gun and boot press, I forced the troll back to his lair. The wide toe box is fine for me. But those of you who like a boot that pinches your foot might need a careful evaluation as to whether Hoji is your destiny. Operative point: Most skiers will not need punches in the forefoot area — you might not need that $200.00 boot fitting contract.