Dynafit ZZeus — Guest Review from Bob Perlmutter


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Backcountry skiing boot reviews.

Boot Reviews

In Greek mythology Zeus is king of the gods; the boss of sky and thunder. His image is commonly depicted brandishing a lightning bolt.

Zeus is also known for his escapades with the ladies. To that extent, Dynafit missed out on a good marketing ploy. But this boot sells itself so they probably didn’t need to promote it as a male enhancement product, though it does do the job, at least in terms of skiing.

Backcountry Skiing

Dynafit ZZeus boot.

I paid homage to the Greek monarch by using the Dynafit burly overlap ZZeus boot for several months last winter. The idea was to try making a boot do it all — everything from a work shoe for my snowcat guiding job, to a ski mountaineering boot used during big tours in our nearby Elk Mountains.

Overall impression: With the ZZeus and other overlap AT boot offerings the dream of the alpine/AT/tech compatible one boot quiver is for real. Finally! Or as my 70 yr. old long time cat skiing buddy(1950′s US national slalom champ with 13 million+ vertical heli skiing) put it after buying a pair, “so why do I have these other boots?” Why indeed.

My first impressions of the ZZeus came from two extensive sessions at the local mountain shop trying on all of the latest backcountry skiing boots. I intended to verify what I wanted to believe, that the Garmont Radium (a fine boot) was the one for me. Instead I discovered that the lower volume ZZeus fit my narrow heel and ankle better while still leaving room in the toebox. Better fit out of the box is always a big factor in final choice.

The liner “blower” molding process was new to me as I have been oven baking various Intuition liners since their inception. At first I was skeptical that the blower style heater (lower heat, less time) could heat the liner adequately to take a mold around my foot versus the convection oven used with Intuition liners. In fact the Dynafit liner molds just fine as per their instructions.

The ZZeus liner is much heavier duty than I have had in many years and comes close to approximating an alpine ski boot liner. The outer material is both durable and lends structure to the liner. The inner material appears to be wool or something similar and is warm and comfortable. Only downside is this much beef and warmth comes at the cost of a heavier liner, but it certainly adds to the performance of the boot.

First day on the slopes with my new ZZeus was a bit of a shock. Initially I felt like I was standing on the outside edges of my skis with the cuff cant adjusted as it came out of the box. I changed the adjustment to the outside as much as possible and subsequently felt like I was standing on a flat ski in a neutral position. I mention this only because I have never felt that far off from a neutral stance with any boot out of the box.

ZZeus are noticeably stiffer every which way than my trusty Garmont Axon. The increased lateral stiffness is very responsive and feels rock solid. So much so that at first it felt like it was all or nothing with the ski on edge. Since then I have developed the subtlety to moderate the edge to slide, skid and smear the turn as desired for the terrain and snow conditions at hand. More to the point, the increased support of the stiffer boot allows one to use less energy and let the boot do more of the work.

Initially I also felt like I was in the back seat and couldn’t get over the tips of my skis. This was in part due to not being used to a stiffer boot. It also was due to the fact that it is very difficult to get the upper cuff of the ZZeus into the more forward of the two lean positions. After a couple of days of struggling I inserted a heel lift to accomplish the same goal from a different approach. It made a very noticeable difference for the better. As Lou and other reviewers have noted, a big improvement for this boot would be making the forward cuff lean easier to modify.

While all of this stiffness and overlap design makes for a high performance and very responsive boot I was curious to see how it would tour. I was very relieved to find out that the Zzeus has a surprising amount of range of motion in the tour mode for such a stiff upper cuff. I found this to be the case both for skinning or booting up. It would be nice if the tour/walk lever was a little longer as it is difficult to operate with a gloved hand.

I never switched from the lugged soles to the alpine soles because I always ski in the lugged sole regardless of the type of binding. I would have been inclined to try the alpine sole but for the fact that it does not have any rubber to aid with traction for booting as well in my case, constantly walking on snowcat tracks (which can be slippery and dangerous). One last minor point is the lack of a removable boot board to aid in the fitting process.

The ZZeus is a true departure from Dynafit’s emphasis on super-lightweight gear and represents a real foray into the alpine crossover category. They have made a bold statement in both performance and quality with the ZZeus. Dynafit is now a force to be reckoned with not just for androids in sausage skin race suits, but with guys (and girls) on burly skis in baggy pants dropping big lines and charging hard. Male enhancement, indeed.

Shop for Dynafit ZZeus Backcountry Skiing Boots

Comments

20 Responses to “Dynafit ZZeus — Guest Review from Bob Perlmutter”

  1. Steve June 5th, 2009 12:50 pm

    Although me comment does not relate to the post, it does relate to dynafit’s.

    I am interested in purchasing a pair of K2 anti piste’s and mounting them with dynafit’s. Unfortunately the anti piste’s are the ones with the telemark inserts. Will I still be able to mount the dynafit’s even though there are inserts on the skis?

    Thanks,

    Steve

  2. Lou June 5th, 2009 12:54 pm

    Steve, I didn’t have any problem mounting Dynafits on my Anti Pistes. If in doubt, you can always get some of the swap plates from B&D, see their banner to left.

  3. al June 5th, 2009 3:28 pm

    I was considering the BD Factor ,these look like another possibility for my low volume foot ,do they come in mondo 24 or is there a womens model or ??

  4. Mark B June 5th, 2009 3:44 pm

    Here’s a stupid question? In the review Bob alluded to the fact that he used the lugged soles on regular alpine bindings. I have always been under the impression that lug soled AT boots are incompatible with regular AT bindings due to the “rocker” in the boot to aid walking and the fact that the rubber sole interferes with the AFD of the binding? Is this just a case of the binding manf. covering their butt or am I just plain misguided?

  5. Lou June 5th, 2009 4:37 pm

    Bob? Perhaps my editing obfuscated?

  6. Bob Perlmutter June 5th, 2009 4:57 pm

    Hi Mark, not a stupid question at all. I honestly don’t know the facts but here is what I do know and surmise. Logic tells me that the coefficient of friction between the lugged sole and the AFD has to be higher than with an alpine sole. I make sure all of my alpine bindings have a mechanical AFD which moves laterally with the boot for what it’s worth. I can tell you that the shop where I mount my bindings will not do so for someone walking in off the street with lugged AT boots and an alpine binding. The same shop has tested lugged AT boots vs. an alpine boot in the same binding on their binding testing machine for a lateral release at the toe. The AT boot always tests at a higher release value which means it requires a lower binding setting to achieve the same release value as the alpine boot given that all the other factors are the same(height, weight, age, skier type and boot sole length). I’m operating on the principle of “better to be lucky than smart”.

  7. Lou June 5th, 2009 5:15 pm

    Also, a binding that allows height adjustment at the toe is sometimes key for using AT boot in alpine binding…

  8. altis June 6th, 2009 5:13 am

    Indeed: the toe height of an alpine boot should be 19mm +/- 1mm whilst for an AT boot it’s 28mm +/- 5mm. Quite a difference and most likely outside the adjustment range of many alpine bindings.

  9. Euro Rob June 6th, 2009 6:07 am

    My own experience is pretty much in line with this review. When my Scarpa Lasers warmed up they had so much give, regardless of how tight they were buckled. This boot in comparison has a super consistent flex that is very confidence inspiring (didn’t ski it in very cold conditions yet).

    Which skis did you drive with this boot, Bob?

  10. Bob Perlmutter June 6th, 2009 11:06 am

    Regarding toe height, I have two different bindings with automatic toe height adjustment. I have no idea if they adjust to a height sufficient to accommodate an AT boot as per the numbers mentioned above. Doing the math, 19mm+1mm=20mm and 28mm-5mm=23mm for a difference of 3mm. Again, I don’t know if the 3mm difference is enough to compromise a safe release.

    I have used numerous different skis with the ZZeus, too many to remember, including the K2 Coomba and Outlaw, Goode BC95, Salomon Sandstorm, Atomic Black Eye, G3 El Hombre and Spitfire, etc.

    I should also mention that the ZZeus does get stiffer as the temps drop. It is noticeable.

  11. Lou June 6th, 2009 5:19 pm

    Asking Bob what ski he drives is like asking Jeff Gordon what car he drives.

  12. LeeL June 6th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Al,

    The woman’s version is called the the Gaia (woman’s specific – ZZeus) and will be shipped in sizes of 23.0 in 27.0 in a silver color.

  13. Chuck June 6th, 2009 9:52 pm

    Bob,
    which ski does the Zzeus prefer?

  14. altis June 7th, 2009 3:15 am

    Funny math(s) Bob.

    The toe height of an AT boot, legally, could be anywhere between 23mm and 33mm whilst an alpine binding is expecting only 20mm maximum. That’s a 13mm maximum difference (or more than 1/2 of one of your Earth inches).

  15. Ben W June 7th, 2009 4:44 pm

    On an unrelated note, here is an amazing blog with photos of steep skiing and mountaineering around Chamonix. I have nothing to do with it. I’m not that awesome: http://www.tobiasgranath.com/group.asp?catID=311

  16. Federico June 12th, 2009 10:34 am

    Hi,
    I’vre read some comment’s about the fact that it’s hard to get in the more forward position of the zzeus, it’s mainly a matter of knowing how to do it… but anyway for the next season this will become easier on ZZeus + Titan + Gaia thanks to a little change on the ski walk mechanism. Some ZZeus from W2009-10 will still be on the market so they will still have it a little stiff.
    We decided to have it in that way as pressing cuff and shell makes it working like a spring giving a much more progressive forward flex.
    The updated version will still work that way but the effort to flex in the most forward position will be less… this was felt quite important after testing the Titan on very cold… they got so stiff that flexing to click the second position was quite hard…

    As regards Touring rockered rubber soles on ISO alpine ski binding…works but it’s not respecting the norms required for the binding. The reason is tha the rubber plus height and shape of the toe of “rubberized” sole will drastically penalize the lateral release in case of a fall. Definitively a solution would be to tune the lateral release setting softer… but just for your knowledge there is not warranty in case of injuries happening on alpine bindings if using rubber soles.

    Bye

    Federico

  17. Lou June 12th, 2009 11:44 am

    Thanks Fedi !

  18. joe July 8th, 2009 2:00 pm

    I Love these boots. Perfect for a washed up east coast racer turned CO powhound. I have some wear on the liners and the soles are trashed from much talus hopping. I was wondering if and where I can get replacement AT sole blocks or liners?

  19. Lou July 8th, 2009 2:34 pm
  20. Andi January 11th, 2012 4:47 am

    Thanks a lot for your comments.
    They helped me to decide wich boot could be the best in my case. I now bouhgt a k2 hardside with marker baron and i think that the zzeus would fit in this set very well.

    greets from the Allgäu
    Andi

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