Dynafit New And Improved – Part 2 – Dy.N.A. Race Boot


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Dynafit has several new 09/10 boots. My favorite of the lot is their new race shoe, the Dy.N.A. (Which we’ll tend to keyboard as “DNA” to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome). The other super interesting boot they’re touting is the Titan, a freeride PU touring boot that’s even stiffer than the ZZeus but is said to tour with good cuff articulation and very little weight. First, DNA, which I got my hands on and photographed while at the Dynafit FAM in Garmisch a few days ago.

Backcountry Skiing

Dynafit Dy.N.A. ski mountaineering race boot. Amazingly light with no mods. Breathable liner. Special articulation system. We want a pair.

DNA has a ton of truly innovative features, my favorite being the one buckle walk/tour mode that might be an easier one-step process than that of the Scarpa F1. This works similar to a common AT boot configuration, in that you buckle the boot then drive your leg forward to click into downhill mode. Only in this case, buckling the boot activates the mode latch so you can simply buckle and go. The reason why I like this is that it’s possibly applicable to regular ski touring, and appears to be more easy and positive than using the F1 system (though field use will have to bear that out.)

Backcountry Skiing

DNA boot, mode latch. Tab indicated by arrow simply jacks into slot, thus locking the outer cuff into an extension of the lower shell.

Weight of DNA: super light, 920 grams for size 27.5 (that’s at least 500 grams lighter than anything but specialized carbon race boots available in Europe). The boot is claimed to have the shortest lower shell on the market, this provides efficiency while in the binding as well as while use for walking or climbing. Much of the weight reduction comes from a very nicely molded carbon-fiber upper cuff. This ultra-stiff cuff combined with a fairly high pivot location provides a super rigid alpine mode. During my recent visit to a World Cup race, I was made aware that many races are won or lost on the downhill, so how a race boot skis is critical and cuff stiffness is a big part of that.

Perhaps the most interesting innovation in the DNA is how Dynafit produced their forefoot articulation. Using a bellows such as that of Scarpa F1 is problematic. Such can be comfortable and yield a good stride. But they tend to bend too much in many situations, thus requiring a shim on the ski under the ball of your foot, as well as draining quite a bit of energy in flexing. Yet due to much low angled skin climbing, ski mountaineering racers do need articulation. The question is, how much?

Backcountry Skiing

Forefoot articulation is accomplished with a simple cutaway section rather than a complex and difficult to tune bellows.

Dynafit’s answer is less articulation. They provide what they call “5 millimeters.” I’m not sure how they measure this, but it’s not much and the flex is stiff. In fact, the amount of forefoot bend is so small you don’t even need a shim under the ball of your foot for proper performance in Dynafit compatible bindings. Instead of using a bellows, articulation in the DNA is produced by simply cutting away a section of the lower shell then covering with a carbon piece/cover (easily seen in photos above). The carbon cover has a system that allows it to slide in a limited fashion as the boot flexes, thus providing an exact measure of movement. Entry of water and snow is prevented by a layer of flexible material over the cutaway.

What else? Dynafit’s “Quick Step-in” toe inserts are of course provided. These do help with binding entry, and might be very nice for racing as they’ll eliminate some of the dyna-fiddle that eats up time. Liner is said to be the lightest thermo on the market (150 grams), and it is breathable! Boot designer Federico says the plastic used in the boot is a special super-strong formulation that allows significant weight reduction by using less material. Sole is minimalist, I could see having a bit more rubber for day-to-day ski touring rather than racing. Interestingly, Federico also mentioned that certain parts of the boot are ready for race mods. We’ll see what evolves in that area, as boot modification is nothing less than a tradition in the race crowd.

We feel the Dy.N.A. will not only be a great racing boot, but see no reason why it couldn’t be an excellent ski touring shoe. Radical innovations and liberal use of carbon jack the price up to 1,000 euros so retail in the states will be stratospheric. But then, importing a Ferrari is expensive as well — but worth it if that’s what you prefer.

Comments

19 Responses to “Dynafit New And Improved – Part 2 – Dy.N.A. Race Boot”

  1. FrameNZ January 20th, 2009 6:25 am

    Lou, I imagine you would hate to have to visit another gear factory, La Sportiva are bringing out a new race boot also.

    Enjoy the new snow.

  2. randosteve January 20th, 2009 6:49 am

    No pictures of the Titan? Guess I’ll have to wait a couple more days to see it.

    Hope you’re having fun Lou!

  3. brian January 20th, 2009 7:18 am

    Nice looking. The only downside I can see is how far the cuff latch sticks out when in tour mode. Scarpa “fixed” this with the new F1′s making the latch sit very flush when disengaged. The old ones stuck straight out back and I tripped on it more than once. The DNA looks to stick out to the side(?) which could be problematic on booters. Is that an accurate observation?

    Thanks Lou,

    B

  4. Marc January 20th, 2009 7:33 am

    Lou-
    The DNA boot looks pretty trick! I’m reminded of all the aftermarket carbon goodies available to motorheads in the sportbike industry… To tell you the truth though, I’m curious about the Titan. I had a pair of the Zzero PU 4s and found them to be pathetically soft when the temps were freezing or above. I don’t believe Dynafit’s hype, claiming the PU boot is the most downhill oriented boot of the bunch, (prior to the release of the Zeus). I soon switched to the Carbon boot and found it to be stiffer all around, in all temps and conditions. So, I’m curious about the Titan. Is it made with the same PU that the other boots are made from? Weights? Price?
    Thanks, Marc.

  5. Lou January 20th, 2009 8:33 am

    Frame, I’m only good for a certain geek level, then I go skiing. So many boots, so little time…

  6. Lou January 20th, 2009 8:35 am

    Brian, from what I could tell the location of the buckle/latch is optional, in that it can be left as a wing out to the side, or tucked in. Didn’t look like a problem but only field testing will really tell so thanks for bringing that up.

  7. Greg Pfeil January 20th, 2009 8:38 am

    I’m curious about using racing boots in the backcountry in general … does the flex cause any issues with crampons while ice climbing? What other issues (beside price) make this DNA boot (or other race boots) not the best for the rest of us?

    And when are these new Dynafit models going to be available?

  8. Lou January 20th, 2009 8:41 am

    Greg, the World Cup race I was at a few days ago WAS in the backcountry. But yeah, how they work with crampons and stuff is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. As for why it’s not the best? Perhaps it is the best for some of us… The Scarpa F1 has certainly become a popular touring boot as well as race boot, for example.

  9. Lou January 20th, 2009 9:03 am

    Titan info is probably next post…

  10. Greg Pfeil January 20th, 2009 9:46 am

    But they DO work with crampons, great! I’ve been staring at the F1 every time I walk into a shop, maybe I should try it on. Of course, once I head down that road, the DNA won’t be far away.

    As for my “why aren’t they the best?”, what I really meant was: Are these boots the best in every category, and it’s just a matter of “can you afford them?”, or if not, what are the tradeoffs made in racing boots that those of us not racing should consider? The things that come to mind as likely tradeoffs are stiffness and comfort. But those are really just wild guesses on my part.

    And if the DNA no longer compromises (with its CF cuff and breathable liner), and yet shaves a pound … well, I’m just talking myself into a $1,500 pair of boots at this point. (And again, when will these new models hit the shelves?)

  11. Lou January 20th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Greg, most ski gear hits the shelves the autumn after it’s announced.

    As for compromises and what’s different about using, say, an F1 compared to a Garmont Radium? That’s probably a whole blog post…and a bunch of comments.

  12. Federico January 20th, 2009 1:51 pm

    You can use of course crampons, the connection is perfect the the 5mm flex doesn’t allow the atutomatic crampons to release as often happens on F1.
    You also don’t need any plate on the ski for preventing the binding release on downhill and the torsional rigidity is same as a “non flexible” toe boots thanks to the carbon fiber top cover and the materials used.
    Dy.N.A. is the perfect boot for racers but also for normal ski tourers with of coruse the ambtion to do very long ski tour with many thousdands of altitude meters of climbing. Downhill performance are much better than other race boots on the market and better also of what has been for many years the best sold ski touring boots in europe the Dynafit TLT4.
    The buckle doesn’t filp on the side, once opened in walk it auto lock on a special locking system and doesn’t filp and it’s much more compact and safe than a big buckle on the back.
    Bye

    Fede

  13. Lou January 20th, 2009 2:05 pm

    Thanks for dropping by Fede!

  14. brian January 20th, 2009 4:46 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Just to comment on the race boots in the BC question. I have been using my F1 Races in the BC on powder days with a pair of 170cm Trab Free Randos. Crazy light set up and I get sometimes twice the vert that the more traditionally clad get. My skins pull from the tip like a race set up and I do the transitions much like I would in a race. I dress lighter because I’m stopping for less time. If the temps are mild and I’m lapping a skin track I won’t even put on a shell for the descent. Some may argue that that may be a little sketchy if I get buried. True. The other downside is that most people don’t want to ski this way so I am often partnerless for some of the time. It is certainly a choice to be made with your eyes wide open.

    Even if you chose to stay with friends, you will be breathing through one nostril while they huff and puff and sweat their asses off in their Gortex jackets! Plus, you can tease them relentlessly for taking so long after you’ve been ready and they are still buckling their boots. I like it so much that I will probably step up and buy a pair of regular F1s to use most of the time next season.

  15. Thomas January 21st, 2009 11:18 am

    Heavy, pricy! Simply buy one of pure race boots.

  16. Michael Silitch January 23rd, 2009 7:09 am

    Hi Lou,

    You met my wife, Nina, at the world cup race and I wanted to say hi. Drop me an email if you get a chance.

    Thoughts on the Dyanfit race boot. Looks really awesome, especially for a light boot for all around touring. It looks pleanty robust which might be a problem with all carbon boots. However, it is still signicantly heavier ( 920 g, I assume that is one boot with liner and insole compared to my size 27 Pierre Gignoux all carbon boot at 750 g.)

    As the link above shows, there will be three all carbon boots out soon and two carbon cuffed (the F1 Carbon and the Dynafit); I would love to see Dynafit put out an all carbon boot eventually!

    Michael Silitch

  17. Michael Silitch January 23rd, 2009 1:08 pm

    On another note, someone mentioned this boot was ready for modification. An interesting note is that the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (www.ismf-ski.org) may not allow gear modifications starting in 2010. Currently, they dont allow mods on some gear or maybe they allow mods that are manufacturer authorized. It’s hard to tell, but it would be a bummer to not be allowed into a race if your boot or other gear was modified.

    Maybe Federico has some insight.

  18. Mark January 27th, 2009 6:33 pm

    Interesting race zapatos. A little flex sounds like a good idea. I balk at calling anything in this race class “heavy,” but I’m not a race freak and ski in boots light to the average tourer–Garmont Megalite.

  19. Nick September 23rd, 2009 1:55 am

    Lou,

    do you think it would be posstible to fit these boots to a rather wide foot, given the plastics they use in the shoe and with the forefoot articulation?

    /Nick

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