Cross-country boots are made of soft material and are half to about ankle high. The sole is stable (it has to be hooked into the binding) – but also flexible enough to allow the foot to unroll during classic cross-country skiing.
In contrast to alpine skiing, cross-country boots are only attached to the front of the binding. This is necessary so that the heel can come up when you push off.
There are several types of bindings that are not compatible with each other (NN – Nordic Norm, SNS – Salomon Nordic System, NNN – New Nordic Norm, SNS Pilot). Therefore, when buying or renting shoes, you must make sure that your shoes and binding are compatible.