Expert Review: K2 Mindbender 120 Ski Boots · 2022

Published on 09/24/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the ski boots, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2022.
Hayden Wright, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Hayden Wright

Carving during the Curated product testing. All photos courtesy of Hayden Wright

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the ski boots, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2022.

My take

The K2 Mindbender 120 Ski Boots are great for intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a boot for both the resort and backcountry. These aren’t the stiffest boots on the market, but if one prefers a slightly softer flex boot, these should be considered.

Waiting for fresh batteries during product testing 2022

About the boots I own

  • Model: 2022 K2 Mindbender 120
  • Size: 27.5

About me

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 179lbs
  • Street shoe size: 10.5
  • Experience: 29 years of skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: November 2021
  • Days used: 69
  • Skis: K2 Reckoner 102, K2 Reckoner 120, K2 Marksman 105 and Rossi Mono Ski
  • Bindings: Look Pivot 18’s and Cast system
  • Where I’ve used it: Alyeska, Turnagain Pass, Copper, Winter Park, Aspen, Jackson, Crested Butte, Snowbird, Alta, Arapahoe Basin, Jones Pass, and Steamboat
  • Terrain: Groomers, trees, bumps, park and backcountry

How they perform

Claimed Stiffness Accuracy
Heel Hold
Walk Mode

What I was looking for

I was on the hunt for one boot for both resort and touring. I wanted something that was compatible with my tech toe pin binding and still decent at the resorts. My old Full Tilts were great but didn’t have the pin points in the toe.

Resort set up

Why I chose this gear

I went with the K2 Mindbender 120s because I didn’t want a 130-stiff boot. I prefer a slightly softer boot when skiing at the resorts, specifically the park. I also liked these because I have a 98mm last, so they’re great for my narrow feet. These boots also focus on downhill performance. A lot of competitors' touring boots lack the downhill performance they have. Most touring boots are hyper focused on weight. When weight is cut, so is downhill performance—K2 has a nice balance between the two.

Mindbender 120 with the CAST touring system

What I love about them

  • Accuracy of Claimed Stiffness: I have found both the claimed stiffness and the claimed fit to be very accurate.
  • Comfort: Out of the box these fit great. I have no abnormalities and a pretty standard narrow foot. These still felt great on my feet after 6–9 days of riding. No hotspots for me or major boot modifications.
  • Flex: 120 is right for me: not too stiff and not too soft. As this is not just my big mountain boot, I plan on riding a little park with these as well. So the 120 flex was a perfect balance for me and my riding style.
  • Resort: These ski great inbounds and create a solid connection between the rider and the ski. I got to do some ski testing with Curated in these. I rode these boots on wider, pow-specific skis, skinnier groomer burners, and some 100mm all-mountain skis. These perform well on all types of skis.
  • Backcountry: Buckle adjustments for a loose boot on the way up are nice. Switching from uphill mode to downhill mode is standard and easy. They work great with my cast touring system.
  • Adjustability: These boots offer micro adjustable buckles.
  • Grip: The GripWalk soles are great for walking to and from the truck to lifts. Also, when the skis go on the pack and I’m scrambling over spring rocks, the added confidence with GripWalk is nice to have
  • Other: There are drawstrings on the liner for an even better fit.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Weight: This is not the lightest touring boot, but it's great for the 20 or so short tours I do. If one were going on some long approaches or hut trips, the weight would slow them down. I only noticed the weight on a long approach. Other than that, they’re great for short tours.
  • Ease of use: The lace system could be improved with some sort of draw string or BOA system.
  • Park: These are decent in the park but aren’t a park-specific boot. The walk mode can come unlocked, which makes landings interesting.
  • Walk mode: The walk mode pieces fell off and occasionally won’t lock. K2 has a great warranty and shipped new walk levers to me in Alaska, as well as hardware, two days before my trip up there.
  • Durability: I have noticed that since I’ve put my boots through the ringer they do show signs of wear and abuse.

Testing the Rustler skis butter capability

Favorite moment with these boots

When I turned 30, I went to Arapahoe Basin on my birthday and skied 30 runs under the pali lift in the steep bumps. It was a new tradition, and these boots helped me because they’re a downhill boot with touring features.

Value for the money vs. other options

These boots are priced fairly as far as other boots go with similar tech and features. The walk mode did stop working off after 15 days. But the K2 rep was awesome and got the problem solved fast. That being said, the value for these is excellent. Other comparable boots are more geared for the uphill aspect. Whereas K2s are more focused for the down. The Atomic Hawx Ultra 120s were on my radar, but the K2s are a better price point with similar features.

Final verdict

For those who don’t want both a resort boot and a touring boot, consider the K2 Mindbender 120s. K2’s approach is more geared towards the downhill part of the day. These are hard-charging boots that have touring capability.

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