Evolution of the Evo — New Dynafit Boot


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

While overall the world of ski boot making does seem a bit stagnated, when it comes to making individual products that compete in a given arena, it may only look boring on the surface. Consider the Dynafit Evo. While visiting Dynafit in Montebelluna Italy this past January, I was blindfolded then led to the inner scriptorium of their boot creation department. Not doubt they sterilized the place of models still in development (bloggers, we’re like vultures), but they had all the cool Evo and Zero series proto patterns laying around, and were willing to talk about boot making as long as my notebook paper lasted.

Dynafit Evo boot, Mario Sartor

Back in 2005 when parent company Salewa decided to launch Dynafit bigtime as a 'vertical' product line, they knew they needed boots that worked. Before then, it had been hit and miss, with a few winners (TLT), but losers such as Aero. So what they did was go out and find one of the best boot designers in Montebelluna, and hire him. Mario Sartor is his name, and he's been designing ski boots since working on various Garmont alpine models in the early 1970s. Yep, that book on display is a 1974 Garmont catalog, and Mario is responsible for nearly everything in it. What a contrast, on the left are developmental parts for the new 2011 Dynafit Evo boot, probably the most high-tech and lightest weight shoe they've ever produced.

Zeus backcountry skiing boot thicknesses.

When developing a boot, while computers may be involved, these guys do much of the work by building patterns made from wood wafers and resin (that's what the brown cuff shaped thing is in the photo above). After they get it close, they start working on the actual mold, then tuning the plastic thickness. In this photo, a developmental molding of the ZZeus is marked for necessary thicknesses in different areas..

Zero with detail dimensions.

ZZero provisional molding with detail dimensions for each square centimeter. Such attention to plastic thickness is essential to building a boot that flexes 'sweet' and is still light and supportive. It is more art than science.

1974 Garmont boot.

Mario designed this 1974 Garmont rental boot. I actually experimented with some of these for ski touring back during that era. What's interesting is that the concept of a boot molded from stiff plastic, with a minimal number of buckles, is the idea behind Evo -- but was being done back in 1974 with a rental boot. Cool to see this concept taken to the limit with Evo, but on the other hand, what was I saying before about boot development happening rather slow?

Dynafit boot crew

Dynafit brain trust responsible for development of all the new shoes. Left to right, Federico Sbrissa, Pierro Feneto, Mario Sartor with their last masterpiece. It was quite an honor to speak about ski boots with an icon such as Mario.

Dynafit boot fitting test.

This thing is cool. It's a hydraulic anvil they run all the boot toe tech fittings through to make sure they're plenty strong. In the photo, that's a tech fitting being slammed by the anvil. Like anything light and minimalist, tech fittings have to be carefully made and fully tested as the margin for error is low.

Last and drawing.

This is the interior shape of the boot, known as a 'last' but in this case more of a precursor to what the mold interior is going to look like. The hand drawings are pretty cool as well when you're used to seeing so much computer stuff. Those are Mario's work.

What fascinated me about this process is it’s mostly done in a fairly small lab/workshop, by just a couple of skilled craftsmen. Of course, after they have the shapes they want, the huge aluminum molds are made somewhere else — to the tune of around 100,000 euros per size! And before that, Mario and his guys have to figure out all the buckles and such, then extrapolate all the different sizes from their master design (which is usually a 27). In all, a stunning amount of work goes into those ski boots on your feet.

Dynafit Evo backcountry skiing ski mountaineering boot, racing.

And of course, what they've been working on, the Dynafit Evo. Out next season.

Comments

36 Responses to “Evolution of the Evo — New Dynafit Boot”

  1. Carla February 4th, 2011 6:16 pm

    Hi Lou,
    Can you tell me where I might be able to get a pair of ramer baskets? I love my ramer avalanche poles but the poles is so thick i can’t find baskets that fit.
    Thanks, Carla

  2. Eric Steig February 4th, 2011 8:03 pm

    Lou, the EVO is going to be pricy I guess.

    Are there plans to make changes to the TLT 5 and TLT 5 performance?
    Or are those pretty dialed at this point? I guess I’m wondering if they plan to get rid of the toe flex, which seems like something I might like (given my strong telemarking inclinations)

    Thanks!

  3. ffelix February 4th, 2011 11:58 pm

    How about plans for a women’s lasted version?

    These new shoes and liners are so minimal, thin and precise that there is not a lot of room to fiddle with typical liner fitting tricks. It would be nice to have another foot model to choose.

  4. David February 5th, 2011 12:42 am

    Cool to see their is some old school soul going into these newfangled plastic slippers.

  5. John February 5th, 2011 1:48 am

    Carla, I work at a cross country ski shop, and saw we had one set of Ramer baskets sitting around. They have the snap on blue hard plastic big powder basket over a normal size basket. That what you are looking for? Send me an email @ sccr0770(at) ho tm ail(dot)com in the next few days. I only am working there for three more.

  6. Lou February 5th, 2011 7:40 am

    Eric, a lot of this filters down from the race world, and the metatarsal flex is not considered to be a big deal anymore, so I’d expect to see it go away. That’s just my take, not official word. As it is, the flex in TLT 5 toe is so minimal as to be almost nothing. It’s actually somewhat funny, really, when you think about all the extra parts and money for a few degrees of flex in the TLT5. I have a pair I’m now testing, and while I like the light weight and cuff mobility, as well as the one-motion closure system, the toe flex really could go away and you’d never notice the difference. It’s not like the flex in a tele boot toe, way less.

  7. Chris Beh February 5th, 2011 11:35 am

    Lou, I fitted the TLT 5 but the shell is too narrow for my feet because of bunion issues. The flex mechanism is right where I would try to punch out the shell. Do you think the new EVO could be modified like that or is the shell wall too thin for punching?

  8. Jonathan Shefftz February 5th, 2011 4:00 pm

    Quit busting on my DyNA ActiveFlex the night before a rando race!

  9. Covert February 5th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Being a novice to all of this I would love a little insight. Is a full on carbon fiber boot available? What do you think the future of boot making will be in terms of materials? How light can they go while still being truly “skiiable”?

  10. Jim February 5th, 2011 9:20 pm

    Does someone make a custom fit Dynafit compatible ski boot. Some like those guys in SLC but for Dynafit folks.

  11. Matt Kinney February 5th, 2011 11:03 pm

    That was very informative. I had no idea what went in to making ski boots. I guess my only comment (or question) is how much more is added to the cost of a boot with all the extra decals, various colors, and whiz-bang graphics. They really do little if anything in regards to actual performance. Certainly eye catching colors is a marketing tool, but frankly I could care less and wish the boots were offered at cheaper price without the “glamour” look. Same goes with telemark boots.

  12. brian p. harder February 5th, 2011 11:51 pm

    Anyone interested in the “flex” in the toe of the current TLT 5 because of a telemark background should simply put that out of their mind. That little bit of wiggle is not even worth considering and is virtually unnoticeable in practice. Might as well get rid of it (like they have in next season’s race boot) and eliminate some plastic and (barely) moving parts. Telemark background or not, just get the boots and celebrate your good sense! They RULE!

  13. Greg Louie February 6th, 2011 2:03 am

    @Chris Beh: I had mine punched right on the seam between black and white plastics on both boots, but it’s a tricky job due to the thinness of the material.

    My bootfitter heated them VERY carefully with hydralics in place and had a sink full of cool water a few feet away.

  14. scottyb February 6th, 2011 7:32 am

    Having a bit of experience with kayak design through to production that is really “tip of the iceberg”. It is quite satisfying to finally see the fruits of ones labors come into reality. Nice to see a master at his craft.

  15. marc February 6th, 2011 11:12 am

    Lou- sorry, a little off topic but I couldn’t find anything while searching… I have the green machines and noticed cracked plastic around the toe fitting. This is the second one. The first cracked on the right boot. I sent both boots back to Dynafit and they only replaced the right one. Now the left one is cracked. How serious of a problem is this? Thanks, Marc

  16. Lou February 6th, 2011 6:34 pm

    Well, Fede at Dynafit says it’s cosmetic. I’m not so sure. As always, I recommend just sending cracked boot back and getting replaced. No other Dynafit compatible boot I’ve known of in the past 15 years has cracked at the toe fitting. Thus, if nothing else I’m saying that crack is something you guys who spend a ton of money on these boots should not accept.

  17. Lou February 6th, 2011 6:39 pm

    Matt, Fede told me how much the decals added to the boot production cost (which has to be extrapolated to retail). Then I forgot! Didn’t I mention that somewhere before? Fede?

  18. Silas Wild February 6th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Worth the wait to finally get a photo of Dr. Mario, glad he has not yet retired, already 37+ years in the business!

  19. Tom February 7th, 2011 10:57 am

    Hi Lou, after checking your “contact” section, it seemed that this is the appropriate place for my question. Basically I am wondering how long is it normal for one to wear ski boors while touring and skiing w/o any sort of foot pain? I am currently using Dynafit Zzeus boots that have been molded twice to my feet, along with insoles. Three weeks ago I did a 7hr tour and had to take my boots off 3 times. This past weekend I did a 6hr tour and didn’t have to take them off, but after 6hrs they were more than ready to come off. Is it normal to have to take your boots off during a ski tour? It seems my feet/boots seem to be getting better each time out, but am I just dreaming about the possibility of no foot pain during a day of skiing? I grew up with the “ski boots aren’t supposed to be comfortable” phrase thrown at me. I wanted to ask someone in a non-sales format, so I wouldn’t just be thrown sales pitches about the newest boots. Personally I am thinking that the alpine overlap of the Zzeus may be a bit much for me and have been playing with the idea of going over to a boot such as the Zzero-4. Being 5’9″ and 120lbs, I don’t think I need the beefiest boots out there. Any ideas or advice would me much appreciated. Thanks for the great blog!

  20. Lou February 7th, 2011 11:07 am

    Tom, with the correct boot that is properly fitted, most people should be able to tour all day (8 hours or so) with little to no foot pain though most people might have a bit of discomfort by then. Only evaluate this after having boots custom fitted, and skiing in them for at least 4 or 5 nice long tours to get your feet used to the boots, as well as to slightly mold the interior of the boot to the shape of your foot (to enhance custom heat molding). Even after that, a bit of discomfort is normal during a long tour. Heck, try walking in a pair of running shoes for 8 hours, something will feel a bit different than when you began. But having to take your boots off in the midst of a tour is not normal.

    As for your boot model, I’m indeed in a state of constant amazement at the huge boot/binding/ski combos I see while touring in North America. It’s nothing less than strange when you see someone touring up an easy skin track for a day of puffy powder skiing, and they’re wearing something something so stiff they could run gates, and weighs so much and causes such a weird frankenstride they’ll never sustain through the years without knee and hip damage. The young guys I see doing this are super fit, some hike uphill faster than I probably ever will again, but that doesn’t change the fact that their gear is 3 times overkill and elicits a chuckle about style victims and the amazing effectiveness of advertising.

    So, are you a style victim? If you need the big boots for launching cliffs and making moves for film shoots, great. Otherwise, you might consider a more tour friendly boot.

  21. Tom February 7th, 2011 11:26 am

    Thank you for the speedy response. I know it is near impossible to diagnose any sort of boot problems over the internet. I have very high arches and narrow feet (which is the reason why Dynafit boots work so well for me) and most of the pain is concentrated on the arch still after two moldings, but soon after spreads to the forefoot area. It is frustrating to spend so much money on boots and fittings just to have so many problems. My thought at least with the Zzero-4, beyond being a softer boot with a bit less weight would be for the ease of taking my feet out of the boot if there were any problems. Taking off and putting on alpine overlap boots in the backcountry in single digit temps is just about the opposite of fun. Do you know of any good bootfitters in or around the Durango, CO area?

  22. Lou February 7th, 2011 11:28 am

    If you have a high arch, it’s still possible the boot last and footbed combo has too high of an arch. As an experiment, you might try molding with the stock footbed. This assuming you have custom footbeds? If not, we need to go backwards with this conversation. As in, back to basics.

  23. Tom February 7th, 2011 11:33 am

    Ah I guess I probably should have included that. The first mold was done with the stock footbeds, and the second was done with the new footbeds. The footbeds helped a good amount with arch support and pain in the forefoot area, but the problem seems far from completely solved.

  24. Lou February 7th, 2011 11:41 am

    Tom, you can quickly reach the point of diminishing returns. Give it a few more goes then consider another boot model. Watch the shell size. Too big or too small of a shell can make a big difference.

  25. Chris February 7th, 2011 12:27 pm

    Re: Good bootfitters in or around Durango. I just got some intuition liners molded for my alpine boots in taos at the Bootdoctors. They seemed knowledgeable and did a good job. They have a store in telluride too, so you could check them out.

  26. Jason February 7th, 2011 3:55 pm

    ahhhh! That’s my kinda Lab!

  27. Cascade Alpinist February 7th, 2011 9:21 pm

    @Tom- if you are not far from Sun Valley, you might look up Brent at SkiTec – they did a phenom job of fitting me with custom insoles and getting my boots comfortable. I have the same issues, high arches narrow feet. I have Zzeros. They even got my climbing boots to feel like a dream, even after walking 20+ miles. Yeah, the body hurts but the feet don’t feel nearly as bad as they use to. Only thing I’ve found that helps me keep up with the faster, younger guys is not having to worry about the feet because they don’t hurt.

  28. aviator February 10th, 2011 7:58 am

    EVO >700 gram
    ALIEN 680 gram

    http://www.skimountaineering.org/ca/2011/02/07/2-new-boot-ispo-scarpa-alien-and-dynafit-evo-both-660-680g

    christian neiger 2011-02-10 09:03:
    “…the dyna-evo is NOT below 700g (it is close to 700g they mention)and the sample from the ispo has a superthin shell that will become thicker according to them. so, it won’t become lighter…
    the alien is exactly the one that has been used by martin anthamatten last saturday in tambre! it weighs 680g with liner in size 27…”

    best pic so far of scarpa alien?:
    http://www.skimountaineering.org/files/images/Alien%20i%20Evo.jpg
    and prices:
    EUR 1200 (carbon 680g)
    EUR 649 (not carbon 890g)
    http://www.tuttosportlongarone.com/

  29. Lou February 10th, 2011 8:05 am

    Thanks for the info Aviator.

  30. Federico February 11th, 2011 2:53 am

    Aviator, the actual weight of Dynafit EVO for a size 27 is 668gr on top of a digital scale, it was shown like that at ISPO. The weight increase of the modification done in these last few days are exactly 8-10gr so so it will be 676/678 +/- some grams, there is always some certain variation in the production which can’t be controlled ;-)
    Please consider also that on the EVO it’s used a quite comfortable liner which weights approx 110gr. It would have been easy to save 40/50 gr there but the decision taken was to give more comfort and protection.

  31. Lou February 11th, 2011 7:51 am

    Indeed Federico, I was having quite a bit of trouble fitting TLT5 with stock liner. Changed to an Intuition Pro Tour, and for 80 grams of added weight the boots now fit my feet, though I’m having problems with too much forward cuff lean due to thickness of liner behind leg… difficult but I’m getting it working.

  32. Federico February 11th, 2011 12:16 pm

    Lou, you know a boot can’t fit everybody! overall the TLT5 fits amazingly well at least 80% of the purcharser… which trust me it’s a huge number.

  33. Simon05 February 17th, 2011 11:36 am

    Sole lengths for the new scarpa alien are now available:

    http://www.tuttosportlongarone.com/

    and according to this site a 27 alien will come in at 287mm compared to the F1 carbon at 301mm, so re-drilling will be required :(

  34. aviator February 17th, 2011 1:59 pm

    @Simon05
    thanks for that,

    those numbers are about the same as the gignoux xp 500/444
    size 26.5 length 281
    size 27.5 length 292

    it’s like fede said, all boots will get shorter and shorter, soon we’ll get open toe, open heel. :D
    It’s all about maximum walkability

  35. Lou February 17th, 2011 2:15 pm

    Fede, you are preaching to the choir. :D

  36. aviator February 23rd, 2011 5:59 am

    Euro ISPO videos:

    Dyna evo demo video (in italian)
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ezsSOiK_wZo

    Scarpa alien demo video (in italian)
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=18ENDZ35njc

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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