Dynafit Titan Ultralight — Review

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

(Editor’s note: Hey Wildsnowers, we’re at the temple of gear (otherwise known as OR show). Not much backcountry skiing to do out here due to lack of snow, so we’ll probably just focus on gear a bit more, intermixed with a few reports I have from recent EU travels. But for this morning, here is a good boot review from Lee, for those of you shopping the later season opportunities… Lou)

Dynafit Titan Ultralight (“Titan UL”) is an evolution of Dynafit’s Titan boot which has previously been reviewed here at Wildsnow.

With the judicious application of carbon, tweaks to some parts of the shell/liner, as well as other sundry changes, Dynafit’s goal is to keep Titan UL at the forefront of the stiff AT boot wars.

Dynafit Titan boots comparo.

Titan UL (left) vs Titan (right).

I’ve now had a number of days testing the Titan UL, mostly backcountry skiing, but lift served as well (a good way to really work a boot such as this).

Your tester: I weigh 160 lbs and ski mainly in the Coast and Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. My skiing is usually in high moisture-content snow. Accordingly, my preference is for bigger skis and relatively stiff boots.

Titan UL in Duffy Pow, a secret location that we will never share.

Titan UL in the Duffy resort area, a secret location that we will never share.

Weight
I weighed the Titan UL on a calibrated digital scale. In size 27 configured as stock, Titan UL massed at 1820g (1750g weight claimed by Dynafit). That’s 180 grams lighter than the previous model — a noticeable difference in real world use.

Weight breakdown: 1516g; liner – 284g; footbed – 20g). Titan UL ships with a fiber “volumizer” which can be inserted in the boot to take up a bit of volume. I didn’t weigh the volumizer.

Weight comparables (all size 27 or 27.5):

2010-11; Dynafit Titan with TFX liner: 2000g
2010 -11; Dynafit ZZeus with TFX liner: 1950g
2008 – 09 -10 TFX liner: 400g
Intuition Luxury liner: 220g

Even after thermo-molding the TFX liner I’m decidedly happier touring in Titan UL with my personal Intuition liners (no footbeds) which drops my boot weight to 1740g (more on the decision to use Intuitions in the “Fit” discussion below). This is of course a personal preference and the stock liners may work fine for many if not most skiers. Nonetheless, my use of aftermarket liners does support our contention here at WildSnow.com that anyone who wants the most out of a stiffer beefier AT boot should consider experimenting with different liners, footbeds and so forth.

Titan UL saves weight but still provides beef.

Titan UL saves weight but still provides beef.

Construction
Titan UL is one of Dynafit’s overlap construction boots (Titan and ZZeus are the others). Construction methods are unchanged. Significant change is in the shell materials. Pebax plastic is used in replacement of PU, and the area around the heel portion of the boot is now replaced with carbon. This ostensibly stiffens an area which would otherwise have gone soft with the use of Pebax. The TFX liner has also been changed. All this results in weight savings without degrading performance (more on performance below).

More details
Alpine and AT sole blocks are included. The screws to attach the blocks still go into plastic with no backing steel. I always ski with the AT blocks and wonder how the plastic screw holes will stand up to repeated changing of soles (Lou relates that he sees most people pick one sole or the other, and don’t seem to do much swapping, so perhaps having the screws thread into plastic is a non issue).

Titan UL backcountry skiing boot soles.

Titan UL backcountry skiing boot soles.

The walk-mode lever is unchanged. Some people reported that the lever was a pain to use with gloves. Personally I haven’t had that issue.

Titan UL has no cuff alignment (cant) adjustment. While I don’t use this myself, it is a good feature that’s common across the ski industry. Scold to Dynafit for not including this on their boots.

Rivet holes in the boot interior are covered with tape; a nice touch!

All four buckles are magnesium, slightly cammed. The lowest buckle is flipped and recessed. I had previously wondered if the third buckle would be vulnerable to rock strikes when hiking but my experience has shown that this is not a concern.

The buckle paint scrapes easily. That’s purely cosmetic but the reason the paint abrades is because the 2nd and 3rd buckles hit each other if the boot is flexed forward. On the smaller boots, it looks like it’s fairly easy for buckles to hit (perhaps someone with smaller Titan Ultralights). This is somewhat disappointing as this flaw was pointed out in the Titan and ZZeus and seems to not have been fixed.

White boots look nice initially but get dirty easily. They are cooler on hot spring days when the sun might cook your feet, but conversely are not as warm in mid-winter due to less solar absorption.

If you like to slacken off power straps when in touring mode, you may find that the Titan power straps are a bit short. I’m one of those rare and disparaged individuals who don’t seem to receive much ‘power’ from power straps, so for me leaving them undone all the time works fine.

Regarding that thought, here at Wildsnow we’d suggest anyone experiment with not using power straps on your touring boots. You might be pleasantly surprised at how little power strips offer on the downhill with a well fitted boot — in comparison with the fiddling they entail when you’re changing modes. Saves weight as well. (Heresy, yes, so take this as you will.)

Titan UL backcountry skiing boot.

In tour mode with the boot buckles as loose as possible so the cuff floats, the top boot plastic part will catch on the part of the boot labeled 'contact point.' Eventually the plastic on the 'contact point' abrades then rips. However, this reduces the free-float of the Titan UL cuff. The fix is to not put the top buckle in the free floating hook but to buckle it a bit tighter. Another fix would be to use some cutters or trimmers to trim the plastic off the boot so they don't catch the the buckle tabs. This issue also exists with Titan and ZZeus -- it is a pity it hasn't been addressed.

Titan boot heel tab.

Titans have a 'tab' in the rear that's intended to protect the liner from the ski/walk machinery and such. As is common with other boots using this construction, it's easy for an unwary user to bend this tab down when re-inserting liners, and eventually break it. If you do so, the boots will still function but you may eventually see some liner wear. We mention this simply to point out that the ancient overlap boot form-factor continues to both impress and have limits.

Fit
I’ll replicate my observations from the Titan article since fit remains unchanged. I have a traditional Asian foot; meaning my forefoot is wider then most and I don’t have any arch to speak of. Dynafit factory lasted the Titan UL’s TFX liners with more room. Even so, when unmolded, the liner was narrow and pinched my foot at the arch. Molded with double toecaps, the TFX liner could still have given me more space, but did expand substantially. Given these were demo boots, I was reluctant to mold the liner more, and turned to my Intuition liners (size 27 liners for the size 27 Dynafit shell). As it’s turned out, I’ve not had fit issues after some 12 days of use (2 inbounds, 10 touring).

I’ll add that Titan UL has the same flat boot board as Titan and ZZeus (good for bootfitters as it’s easier to work with) and also reiterate that Titan Ultralight ships with the volumizer which can take up volume in the boot.

Titan UL TFX liner.

Titan UL TFX liner. As with just about any boot liner, some will find this to provide a good fit, while others will end up modifying or replacing with an aftermarket option.

Performance – downhill
Titan UL is still among the best performing alpine touring boots I’ve had the privilege of skiing. It’s so stiff that I’d put it in the same class as a somewhat soft alpine boot. Yet it doesn’t have the skiing-like-a-brick feel of some other stiff AT boots. Instead of inarticulately waxing rhapsodic as I embarrassingly tend to do when talking about all things Dynafit let me just conclude that a skier who’s looking for downhill performance out of a boot that has meaningful touring capabilities MUST consider the Titan UL.

As did Titan, Titan UL has two forward lean angles; 15 and 21 degrees and I set Titan UL at the 21 degree angle for skiing.

In terms of beef, I can’t quantify whether the UL version is stiffer than the PU Titan but it certainly feels at least as stiff. If you have questions as to how Titan UL compares to other boots please ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer comparisons.

Rear comparo.

Rear profile comparisons of Scarpa Shaka/Skookum, Dynafit Titan UL and Dynafit ZZeus. Titan UL/ZZeus's rear cuff are ever so slightly higher.

Performance – touring
Titan UL has the best touring performance of any stiff touring boots that I’ve tried. Titan UL has a walk mode that is useable which can lean back past upright (30 degrees of cuff movement). Unfortunately, as I pointed out above in my review of construction details, you can’t readily loosen Titan UL’s buckles all the way (in my opinion, proper methodology for testing touring performance), as the plastic catches. Even with this crippled attenuated touring mode, Titan’s walk mode permits a comfortable relaxed motion with relative ease in cuff movement permitting relatively long skinning strides.

A few quibbles
Dynafit is a premium brand and Titan UL is a premium boot. Accordingly, it is fair to our readers here at WildSnow.com that we be picky about this boot. Other consumers and I have pointed out design issues and possible ways to improve Titan UL (2nd and 3rd buckles hitting, inadequate powerstrap, plastic contact points that impede walk mode). Thus, we’d be be remiss if we didn’t raise these points again and urge Dynafit to consider changes and/or possible improvements. Make a good boot even better! Or, do you have something else up your sleeve? Is that why Lou is over in Europe?

Summary
Enough of our quibbles. Titan UL is still, in my opinion, king of the beef boot category. All alpine touring boots are compromises. Light weight, walk mode, downhill performance… all by their nature demand a balance of materials and comfort compromises — Titan UL Dynafit provides the balance that works.

Testing Titan Ultralight.

Testing Titan Ultralight, Chief Pascall.

Titan UL MSRP is $870. Sizes are 25 – 30.5. Shell sizes change on the full size (ie shell size 27 and 27.5 are the same sizes (boot sole length 312mm) but the liners are different). You can shop for Titan UL here.

(Guest blogger Lee Lau is an avid skier and outdoorsman embarking on many adventures with his loving, and sometimes concerned wife, Sharon. He has over fifteen years of experience backcountry skiing and dabbles in mountaineering. In the “off-season” he is occasionally found working in his day job as an intellectual property lawyer — when he’s not mountain biking. As a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Lee’s playground extends mainly to western Canada, including southwest B.C. and the Selkirks. Lee blogs here.)

Comments

77 Responses to “Dynafit Titan Ultralight — Review”

  1. naginalf January 18th, 2012 9:02 am

    Seeing a lot of boot and ski reviews of late. Perhaps it’s time for a goggle review:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/06/recon-details-next-gen-gps-goggle-technology-android-bluetooth/
    Having your stats, playlist, gps, and whatever else you need in the corner of your goggles sounds pretty darn cool. Sorry for the change in subject, just thought you should know about these.

  2. Lou January 18th, 2012 9:21 am

    But then, I’d have to always remember my goggles!

    Seriously, the dry winter we’re having at home has not helped produce voluminous trip reports, and my EU trip was short… but I’m sure well gradually shift to more stuff like that after we’re done with OR — as usually happens…

  3. DM January 18th, 2012 11:23 am

    The weight savings over the regular PU Titan seem somewhat modest, and I’d imagine the decision on which of the 2 models to go with could be determined by how much shell work you need done. If you’re like me and like a performance fit, the ability to punch the PU on the Titan is a significant advantage over the Pebax.

  4. Frank K January 18th, 2012 12:12 pm

    “Titan UL is still, in my opinion, king of the beef boot category.” What other boots in this category have you spent significant time in, Lee?

  5. Lee Lau January 18th, 2012 12:22 pm

    Hey there Frank. In retrospect, that line should be qualified “…. of the boots that I’ve tried”. I haven’t tried the Technica Cochise and I wrote that line after I finally found a pair in Whistler which I couldn’t make fit. That boot sounds like a pretty good boot but I’d have to try to tweak it to fit. I’ll try to find a demo pair where I can either put in my own liners or make more of an effort to fit it more as you and Marshall have piqued my curiosity about it.

    I’ve been in Titan, Factor, Mobe for significant amounts of time (15+, 3, 13 respectively). Spent the least time in Factor because it was an arkward fit. Ditto the Radium and the Dalbello Virus which I couldn’t fit. Not in Quest yet because I’m a bit nervous about that boot still. I think that covers off the big boot category – at least the ones I could fit?

  6. Patrick January 18th, 2012 3:39 pm

    Duffy resort? Book me a room! :wink:

  7. Frank K January 18th, 2012 3:47 pm

    Gotcha Lee. Pretty much impossible to test a boot that doesn’t fit. If you can get the Cochise to fit, you may very well amend your Titan “king” proclamation. I can only compare the Cochise to the zzeus I’ve used for the past 4 years, but so far I’ve found the Cochise to be on an entirely different and higher level than the zzeus.

  8. Marc January 18th, 2012 5:45 pm

    Nice review Lee. I’ve toured in the Titan UL 3 days now and find it a great compliment to the TLT5 – big skis = beefy boots, slim skis = light boots! I personally don’t find the need to use velcro straps on most AT boots. I removed them off my titan ULs and installed intuition power wraps – for me they are plenty stiff. On my TLT5s however, I found that the strap added quite a bit to the upper cuff and installed a proper Power Strap and they are skiing great. One trick I found that has worked for me with the Titan UL plastic catching in touring mode was to adjust the top two buckles to one position tighter in their adjustment holes. They come out of the box in their widest position and like you said, when in free float touring the plastic catches. But when I moved the buckle in one hole I could use the free float catch and not have the plastic hang up! Try it out and see if it works for you…

  9. Joshua January 19th, 2012 6:59 am

    Marc, I agree with you. I moved the buckles back one slot to get the best fit for my skinny legs and I have had no issues with the plastic catch either. I love these boots.

    Lou or Lee, unrelated to this post, but I’ve mounted up a pair of comfort tlt’s on my 192 voile drifters. I notice that if I am skinning up something that’s very firm that occasionally i will pop out of the ski on the skin track up. I think the lateral forces are just to great on those old bindings for such a wide ski. Also, I have to be careful if I’m skiing dust on crust with these as they’ll occasionally pre-release at the toe if I carve to hard on something hard. I don’t take these skis out when it’s hard, but I live in the PNW and you never know what you’re going to get.

    I have never had an issue with dynafit’s pre-releasing ever and I’ve skied them for a while and on some super sketchy, steep, no fall stuff without problems. However, I have never had dynafit’s on a ski this large. Any recommendations? Would upgrading to a pair of Radical FT 12′s help?

  10. brian h January 19th, 2012 7:03 am

    Flee the convention center! Alta’s got fresh! Run for the hills!

  11. Juergen January 19th, 2012 8:53 am

    Great review ! Thanks a lot Lee !
    I appreciate all pros lined out but even more your objective cons which puts it far beyond a product presentation. I’m so much waiting for someone around wildsnow to jump in and finalise the Movement Logic X review, being launched one year ago, so that I can better decide on my wide & light skis to come up this spring !

  12. Jonathan Shefftz January 19th, 2012 9:18 am

    ” I’m so much waiting for someone around wildsnow to jump in and finalise the Movement Logic X review, being launched one year ago, so that I can better decide on my wide & light skis to come up this spring !”
    - What isn’t final about it? (Granted it is a bit messy, since my subsequent feedback is reported in the comments, not in the original post.)
    - Also, if your main skiing was going to be the Logic-X, then pairing it with a boot as heavy as the Titan UL would be kind of pointless. Although if the Logic-X would be your spring & summer ski after spending the winter on some wider heavier ski for which the Titan UL is designed, then sure, that would make sense.

  13. Mark W January 19th, 2012 9:33 am

    Nice review. Sounds like a real contender if beef and somewhat lighter weight are sought. I’d like to try it.

  14. Marc January 19th, 2012 9:50 am

    Joshua- I had a similar problem last year with TLT5 mountains, vertical st and dps w105s. When skinning firm snow and trying to score a track I prereleased several times with one toe (locked out, no snow under binding or in fittings). I tried to describe it on TGR forums and everyone, Fedricko (from Dynafit) included, attributed it to user error. I’ve been skiing Dynafits for 8 years now, I know how to use them. I think it was the boot and something going on with the tech fitting – though no one would believe me. I have since sold those boots, got the TLT5 performances and have never had the problem again… If I were you, I’d take it to a respected Dynafit dealer, put your boot and ski on the bench and try several movements to release them. Then try different binding combos and boot combos and see if you can pin point whether its the boot or the binding. Just my $.02 based on personal experience. ;)

  15. Lee Lau January 19th, 2012 10:25 am

    Joshua – that’s puzzling. I’ve got TLT Comforts on Zenoxide (105 underfoot -thinner but not skinny by any means) and so far, no problem. Because you’re an old Dynafiddle hand it’s not inexperience. Maybe wear in the boot fitting sockets? Just throwing out something random and hope some others can help too

    Marc & J – I’ll try moving the buckles back one slot – thanks for the tip.

  16. Juergen January 19th, 2012 11:06 am

    Sorry Jonathan,
    As I usually follow wildsnow postings via mobile app I seemingly missed lots of additional infos following your opener since european end of season 2010/11. I did a search now on my pc and found the comments you were refering to in replying my recent post ! Thanks a lot ! I’m currently using Movement Random & Dynafit Vertical & TLT 5 and wonder if in a one-ski-quiver Random X would be my perfect choice rather than going e.g. Dynafit Baltoro. Apart from price difference, does additional weight of Baltoro pay off under bottom line ?

  17. Joshua January 19th, 2012 4:09 pm

    Marc & Lee – thanks for the input. Now that you mention it I think I have only had it happen with my left boot/left ski so it might well be related to the tech fitting. I’ll take it into a dynafit dealer next time I’m near one and see what we can come up with.

    If anyone else has had this problem, I’d love to hear about it.

  18. Nick January 20th, 2012 12:00 am

    I have one of the original pair of Titan boots (size 30.0/30.5), I always seem to have a problem with the top boot buckles not wanting to stay in tour mode, ie. in their free float catch mode. I have skinny calves too. They always seem to snap out of their free-float position but I never see them work loose. I was wondering if that is somehow related to the plastic “catching” as mentioned above; but the picture as shown doesn’t make sense. Where is this “catching” and exactly what is “catching” and abrading. It probably makes it a bit confusing too in that the arrow seems to be pointing the wrong way. Is there a better explanation somewhere? Thanks.

  19. Vincent January 20th, 2012 1:19 am

    I’ve got them since november and I’m also super happy with them. Skied them in combination with piste skis and +1500hm tours in the Alpes. All fine.

    You mention the 15° and 21° forward leans. This, I didn’t know. How to adjust this? I think I’m now in the 15° but I wouldn’t mind a bit more forward lean.

  20. Lee Lau January 20th, 2012 8:27 am

    Nick I’ll have to do a video. The buckles are black on black so its hard for it to show up in a picture.

    Vincent for the 15 deg lean engage the walk mode lever and then lean forward

    For the 21 deg lean first lean forward applying all your weigh then engage the walk mode lever

  21. Carl January 20th, 2012 11:14 am

    This is the wrong thread, but hopefully someone can help me out with this.

    I own a pair of tlt5 mountains, and I am doing my first rando race this weekend. I would like to temporarily remove the velcro strap to make transitions faster. It looks like the strap is rivited in, how do I remove the strap?
    Thanks, Carl

  22. Jonathan Shefftz January 20th, 2012 12:50 pm

    @Juergen, the new Baltoro certainly has some nice specs, and although not getting much attention (at least here in North America, where the emphasis is on much wider skis), the reviews I’ve read have been quite positive.
    As compared to the insanely light Logic-X, the Baltoro is merely very light, but then again that’s true of pretty much all skis (other than rando race models) compared to the Movement X series. The Baltoro is a bit narrower, but still in the same general category pretty much.
    I noticed the sidecut is much more pronounced on the Baltoro than on the Dynafit Mustagh Ata (which has been using the same sidecut that debuted a long time ago on the FT/FR 10.0, also used on the Guide XL). For me, I know that I would like the tighter sidecut as compared to the MA. (And I also like the tighter sidecut on the Logic-X.) But in general that’s a matter of personal preference.

  23. Lou January 20th, 2012 1:40 pm

    Carl, if the strap is riveted, you’ll have to drill out the rivets or grind the heads off with a small burr on a rotary grinder. When I do this, I usually spray with water as I work so excess heat doesn’t mess something. To replace, just get some screw rivets or even tiny nuts/bolts… Lou

  24. Jonathan Shefftz January 20th, 2012 1:52 pm

    The TLT5 Performance strap has easily removed screw rivets.
    The TLT5 Mountain has some other arrangement, but it too is easily removed (as well as reattached). I’m pretty sure that if you search the TGR TLT5 thread, you’ll find exactly such an inquiry and explanation. (I remember the exchange, but I can’t remember the exact details.)

  25. Philip Maynard January 21st, 2012 12:18 pm

    I just chopped the power straps off my Mountains. The easiest way to do this is:

    1) Remove the liner, and push the cuff back as far as it goes, to give working room.
    2) Slice the threads on the snow leopard logo on the power strap to expose the other side of the rivet.
    3) Grind the rivet head off with a Dremel or file – it’ll spin if you try to drill it.
    4) Push it through, and un-thread the strap.

    I did a fairly scientific test at the resort, running various combinations of power strap and tongue to see what worked best.

    What I discovered:

    * The tongue and power strap, when used alone, both help provide forward stiffness, and in similar amounts. However, the tongue provides a very smooth, progressive flex low on the shin, while the power strap provides a more abrupt flex, higher on the shin. I prefer tongue-only vs. strap only.

    * The strap used in conjunction with the tongue helps move the pressure higher, and adds stiffness. Despite the stiffer feeling when carpet-testing, I didn’t notice a huge difference in skiing performance with between tongue-only and tongue-plus-strap.

    * Flex is extremely soft without the tongue. The Mountain cuff folds right over when you try to drive the tip into a tight-radius turn, and it’s definitely harder to rip when running the boot nekkid. I assume the Performance suffers from this less.

    So, I decided to ditch the power strap for now. I’d use it if I was doing a big descent, with one transition during the day. But most of my skiing involves moderate descents and lots of up and down – so I’ll have the tongues in my pack just in case, but ski floppy for the most part.

    Thanks to Jonathan for the idea to try going without the strap. It was a surprise how little of the stiffness it added while standing still translated into ski-driving power.

  26. Vincent January 21st, 2012 12:36 pm

    Thanks Lee. Again that shitty system that I had on my Spirit 4′s… This system sounds nice, but it is impossible to get it work fine when you are changing from crampons to skiing or making a conversion a steep or exposed place. Is it possible to disable the 15deg lean angle so you’ll enter into the 21deg angle from walk mode? Any mods?

  27. Lee Lau January 21st, 2012 4:23 pm

    Phillip – glad I’m not the only one. The power straps on the Titan UL don’t seem very powerful. If they were my boots I’d take them off they do so little for me.

    Vincent – not sure how. I suppose you could cover up the 15 deg drill hole in the walk bar with some tape? I’ve never tried

  28. Philip Maynard January 21st, 2012 4:58 pm

    I bet you could fill the 15º hole with JB Weld.

  29. Lee Lau January 21st, 2012 5:00 pm

    Makes sense Phillip. Then if you wanted to change the lean lock again you could drill out the JB Weld. Thanks

  30. canwilf January 22nd, 2012 10:57 pm

    “Titan UL has a cant adjustment.”

    Not the ones I just bought. The Titan (previous model) does have it. If the Ultralight has it, then there is no way to do that from the outside of the shell.

  31. Lee Lau January 23rd, 2012 5:04 pm

    Wilf – I am sorry and that’s unforgiveably sloppy on my part. Not sure what I was thinking. Titan UL has no cant adjustment. The article will be edited accordingly.

  32. Lou January 23rd, 2012 5:11 pm

    Edit done. Lee does a terrific job — we’re all only human and mistakes will be made. Thanks Canwilf for catching that. Lou

  33. Bjorn Naylor January 23rd, 2012 8:06 pm

    looks like Heart Strings area to me Lee….Duffey aint no secret. just get the map!!!

  34. canwilf January 23rd, 2012 8:29 pm

    What – Lee Lau is not perfect? Then why does he get perfect lines in perfect powder? Huh. How come?

  35. Lou January 24th, 2012 6:08 am

    I’ve been trying to figure that out myself (grin)!

  36. canwilf January 29th, 2012 11:55 pm

    Took them out for their first day at Whistler Blackcomb. We did 11,000 vertical — all down. I love the stiffness and yet they walk like a breeze. I am impressed. Good job Dyanfit.

  37. Randy January 30th, 2012 1:16 pm

    Lee, In your Scarpa Skookum review you indicated you thought it was pretty stiff. Its a Flex index of 110. You love this boot which is a flex index of 130. Is it stiffer that the Skookum. Do you think these boots can be used at resorts with big skis?

    Thanks for your reviews. Since it is hard to demo boots this is very helpful.

    Randy

  38. canwilf January 30th, 2012 1:43 pm

    @Randy

    “Lee, In your Scarpa Skookum review you indicated you thought it was pretty stiff. Its a Flex index of 110. You love this boot which is a flex index of 130. Is it stiffer that the Skookum. Do you think these boots can be used at resorts with big skis?
    Thanks for your reviews. Since it is hard to demo boots this is very helpful.
    Randy”

    I am 6 foot, 210 pounds (dry) and ski them on traditional cambered 100mm wide Line Prophets. I ski hard, on groomers and off-piste. I enjoy the crud and bumps – that’s called fun :)

    They handle it all just fine – in my own experience. Stiffer than my previous Garmont Radium, and much better fit and similar stiffness to the Garmont Axon.

    So, in answer to your question to Lou, if I may, the answer is YES.

    They handle big skis and big skiers. As for flex values. They mean nothing. The flex can be dialled with a different tongue, different liner, tight versus loose buckles, etc.

  39. Lou January 30th, 2012 1:46 pm

    Canwilf, another keeping it real award, for your take on those stoopid flex ratings. There must be a better way. Lou

  40. Lee Lau January 30th, 2012 4:06 pm

    Randy – I’m going to be honest here because that’s just what I do. I have no idea from what orifice these flex ratings are pulled. They’re kind of useful when you’re comparing boots in the same line by the same company but otherwise they’re just monkey’s with a dartboard numbers if you know what I mean.

    I thought Titan UL is stiffer than Skookum. I thought Titan and Titan UL are pretty much tied. I thought ZZeus was about as stiff as Skookum. Nothing was as stiff as Mobe. I’ve been told (and am still trying to figure out) how to get into a Cochise which I am told is the biggest stiffest touring capable boot out there that still has a semblance of walk mode. No luck fitting it yet and even if I do, I’m not sure how useful my impressions would be because I found the Titan so stiff that I actually “downgraded” stiffness to ZZeus so that I’d have some feel for soft snow.

    There you have it. Basically agreeing with Lou and Canwilf but with more words

  41. Lou January 30th, 2012 4:32 pm

    And to continue, a stiffer boot will not necessarily ski better. Gad, let’s get away from using that as gospel truth! If stiff boots were always better, all boots would be made out of sheet metal (it’s been tried), with dense liners and foot heaters to keep your feet from turning black and falling off after a day of skiing.

    Regarding Cochise, the Cochise Pro 130, for next fall, might be one of the stiffer AT boots out there. But what makes the Cochise good for many skiers is the progressive alpine-like flex, not the numbers. And the Pro will also have a low volume last, another factor in making is ski differently, beyond the danged flex numbers.

    Commenters (Frank K and others) just how beefy of a boot do you need? When will you be happy? I’d actually like to know. Will you keep seeking stiffer AT boots till you have something like they use for World Cup downhill racing? If that’s what you want and need, speak up!

  42. Bar Barrique January 30th, 2012 10:51 pm

    I have used stiff boots, and, not so stiff boots. For me lateral stiffness is probably the most important for my backcountry skiing. However; I have a friend who is taller than average, and, weighs 230 lbs. or so, he make a convincing case that when it comes to boot stiffness; one size (or stiffness) does not fit all.
    It’s nice that we now have more choice than ever for AT boots.

  43. Lou January 31st, 2012 7:05 am

    Bar, exactly. That’s another bogosity about flex numbers. The bigger you are, the softer the boot is in real life. Basic physics. Meaning yes the numbers can compare boots, but they again really don’t mean all that much in terms of what boot is best for what person.

    It also occurred to me last night that if these flex numbers are really worth being numbers, they’d rate boots with more accuracy, such as 105, 122, that sort of thing. The fact that they’re usually rounded also indicates they’re no better than saying stiff, stiffer, stiffest. But again, no marketing person worth their espresso and smart phone would ever call a boot “soft!”

    Lou

  44. Frank K January 31st, 2012 9:46 am

    Uh oh, called out by Lou :)

    I think you have me confused with someone else. Flex, smex. It’d make for some great lines in a viral video entitled “S#*% BC skiers say”- “dude, what’s the flex on those”- “Are those the 130? 130?”

    What I’ve always wanted is an AT boot that skis like an alpine boot. A somewhat stiff forward flex is part of it, yes. But even my old Garmont Adrenalins had a forward flex that was within the realm of my alpine boots, to an extent. You mentioned a progressive, alpine-like flex in a comment above, and that certainly was lacking in the Adrenalins- there was nothing, then I’d hit the flex tab stoppers, then I’d flex right through those and the lower cuff would bellow outward and I was left with a sloppy boot mess.

    The zzeus was better, for sure, but it never ramped up enough in the end of the flex range, so it was pretty easy to blow through those, too.

    But the real kicker, and Bar mentioned it above, is that there’s more to flex than just the forward motion. In an alpine boot, the upper and lower cuffs work as one unit, and inputs from the leg are quickly and decisively transferred from the boot to the ski. AT boots, on the other hand, have to separate the upper and lower in order to achieve a range of motion while in walk mode. In general, the upper and lower are connected in three places- the two hinge points at the ankles, and usually with a metal bar or rod in the back of the boot. Just how much lateral stiffness does that provide? Even rearward in some cases? Not much, in my experience. That’s great if the latest greatest beef boot claims a forward flex of 200- if the lateral flex doesn’t match it, you might as well put some dynafit fittings in your street shoes and ski that way.

    Lou said “When will I be happy?”- I am now Lou. I now have the lateral stability and progressive flex that I had found lacking in previous AT boots. It never really had that much to do with the # on the side of the boot for me, Lou.

    One last thing. I’ve heard that some people ski without even putting tongues in their boots. More power to them, I say. I just can’t get myself to adjust my ski technique in that way. Different strokes for different folks, you know.

  45. Lou January 31st, 2012 9:57 am

    Thanks Frank! And you saw the trouble I had skiing those wimpy tongueless boots when some power and forward support was required… I actually riveted the stronger tongues in this fall and things have been much better. But in steep terrain with less than ideal snow, I’d rather be in something like my ZZeros…

    Super important point about the difference in how AT boot cuffs are attached vs alpine. Makes a huge difference when the boot is pushed.

  46. Lee Lau January 31st, 2012 10:38 am

    Totally agree with Frank. Quality not quantity. Too many boots ski like bricks in the name of stiffness; now I’m really curious to try the Technicas out

  47. Drew January 31st, 2012 6:26 pm

    Lou,

    First off, thank you for posting such indepth reviews! For past 5 years I skiied on Garmont Adrenalins with Fritches and this boot worked great, but it now time to replace … so after trying boots on in shop and reading your reviews I narrowed my next boot purchase down to Dynafit Titan Ultralight or Garmont Radium and wanted to see if you have any recommendation on one versus other.

    I have a low volume foot and with either boot the bottom two buckles (toe & instep buckles) are almost completely cranked down, but Radium is little less cranked than Titan. Thinking I can probably rectify this with either boot by using an Intuition liner and/or aftermarket insoles? Other few vitals; I plan to use my new boots with Dynafit bindings on a ski that is approx 100 underfoot (K2 Hardside maybe?) and plan to use as setup as 50/50 resort/bc day-touring rig. I am 6′-2″, 175lbs and ski aggressively.

    How that’s not too much info, but any throughts are much appreciated!

  48. Lee Lau January 31st, 2012 6:28 pm

    Drew

    Buy what fits. It sounds like the Radium fits a bit better so you should start with that assumption. Adding an Intuition liner right off the bat is going to make this a $ 1,000 purchase so lets not get hasty and rush this decision

  49. Lou January 31st, 2012 6:34 pm

    Drew, I’d agree with Lee, and add that when you find a brand that works, usually the lasting is somewhat endemic to that brand, so I’d think about the Radium first. But you should do a shell fitting with both if you’re really trying to decide.

  50. KR January 31st, 2012 6:58 pm

    The quest for stiffer took some of the fun out of telemark for me 10 years ago and was partially why I switched to AT. For awhile I was worried the beef boot / Duke craze was going to get out of hand and do the same to AT. But it seems like there will still be hope!

    I would like to like the Technica,or at least something in the Technica family. I also like big 6k-8k days and probably have a lower fitness level than someone like Frank, so dragging a lot of boot is a losing proposition for me. And my big feets eliminate Dynafit.

  51. Drew January 31st, 2012 7:05 pm

    Lee/Lou,

    Wow! Thanks for the quick response! Regarding shell fitting, I am a mondo 28, but do you mean getting last measurement on each boot too? I already have used Intuition Luxury liners from my old Adrenalins so thinking I’ll stop by the shop and try boots on again with the Intuitions, but agree on probably sticking with Garmont for fit, plus they cost less…

    And agreed on not getting hasty … if I buy the Titans I’ll end up having ski boots that are worth more than my car, yikes!! Already rummaged thru yard-sale on Turns-All-Year hoping to find used boots, but no luck yet …

  52. JakeP February 24th, 2012 10:46 am

    So I have a pair of normal Titans… I am 155 lbs 170 all geared up I suppose and I would say that the Titan I have now and even the BD Quadrant I skied last winter were plenty stiff regarding forward flex. But as many have mentioned and what drives me nuts about these boots is the lack of a progressive forward flex. My question is does removing the velcro strap and replacing it with an expert or WC level powerstrap help this feeling? My second idea and probably not a great one, but I see there are 2 tabs/shelves on each side of the shell that seem to prevent the upper shell from flexing beyond that point. Has anyone ever modified these tabs or the shell in hopes of achieving this more “alpine boot” like flex pattern?

  53. Lee Lau February 24th, 2012 11:47 am

    Jake – I have Scarpa style velcro powerstraps on my ZZeus boots and they work very well. So I think that would pretty well on the TItan UL also.

    As for the hard stops; I’ve not tried grinding them off so can’t really add data. It’s a permanent thing to do so of course be careful with that

  54. jake March 7th, 2012 6:15 pm

    Is there any mod out there to get rid of the upright lean lock on the Titan? I have the Titan “classic” and I really like them, but sometimes its difficult to get them into the more forward lean lock position (like when balancing in an icy “coolah” as one might say in new engalnd). And I hate the way the ski when upright.

  55. canwilf March 7th, 2012 6:39 pm

    After skiing hard on this boot for a few days I have this to say:

    - the tounge needs a little extra beef

    - the lateral stiffness (sideways at inner cuff) is a little too low down and flexible. As a result, I am over torquing my downhill foot to get an edge on my wider skis (100mm) and that is then contributing to a bit of an ankle bite.

    I will be looking at adding a plastic cuff extension to shore up the inside cuff on the boots (maybe add some plastic from another boot to the liner or the shell.And at a last resortn maybe a punch in the shells in the ankle area.

    Other than the lateral stiffness, the boot is quite suitable for use inbounds. It handles everything decently with exception to medium and high speed carving.

    It walks very nice.

    Impressions: a back country touring boot that also manages well (but not best) inbounds as a regular ski boot.

  56. Minier June 24th, 2012 3:09 pm

    I have had a couple pairs of regular Titans in which I have broken off the tabs that cover the ski walk mechanism. This is an ongoing problem – I just broke my 4th tab off. I have a boot dryer, and never take my liners out of my boots, so I think this is happening just due to the flex created while touring. I tour with my boots completely unbuckled, which allows me to lean back in the shells and glide on the flats. Could be part of the problem, but definitely not an excuse for the tabs breaking. Anybody else having this issue?

  57. Gari July 3rd, 2012 6:59 am

    this season I bought Dynafit Titan ultralight boots. I have gone to the mountains for practicing freeski around 30 times during this season, this means no more than 20 hours walking with the boots off snow, and however the deterioration of the boots sole is frankly excessive

    I have been practicing this sport for 15 years and I have changed material several times, never before the deterioration of my boots sole had been so quick. I always keep the boots in their proper bag, avoiding solar radiation and in a clean and dry place.

  58. Lou July 3rd, 2012 10:09 am

    Gari, Dynafit is always trying to use the lightest low-density sole material possible for their walking rubber soles. Getting that right is tough, and yes, many of their boots do wear quickly, especially at the toes. Lucky for you, your sole blocks are replaceable so all you have to do is try and score another set, or get yours resoled with more durable material.

    In the case of my TLT-5s, I chewed up the sole pretty badly on my last hike, and without replaceable soles I’m stuck with the messed up boot.

    This is all the result of boot makers attempting to stick to dimensions in the DIN/ISO ski touring boot standard, while still getting those steel tech fittings into the toe of the boot. Result is thin rubber below the tech fittings and elsewhere. Solution with TLT-5 would be to just throw the DIN/ISO standard out the window and make the sole slightly thicker, with slightly denser material. But your Titan boots have stick with DIN/ISO so they’ll work with frame bindings. That’s a tougher dilemma. Or, perhaps they could make a set of Titan sole blocks that were NOT DIN/ISO, but rather exclusively for use with tech bindings, and designed for durability while walking on rocks and dirt? Now that would be nice.

  59. Al August 1st, 2012 8:40 am

    Just got a pair from a discounter for under $300 and when they came in in new condition I started to wonder what was wrong with them. So in fact I was right, the price was too good to be true. One of the screws for the interchangeable sole piece was stripped (the one on the front of the boot, the forward most screw). So my question is, while I may have the chance of returning them because of this, is there anything that can be done to save them? Would it be feasible to use a bigger screw? Any thoughts?

  60. Phil Maynard August 1st, 2012 9:17 am

    You should be able to repair that. The most robust solution would be a helical thread insert (Helicoil is one brand name). McMaster-Carr is a good source for these. You drill the hole and re-tap to a bigger size, then insert the coil. It’s a very similar idea to binding inserts, like Quiver Killers, but they are a coil without a bottom to work in tighter space, and lock in place mechanically without epoxy.

  61. Tim January 26th, 2013 4:46 pm

    Little late to the party….. if you were able to pick either the regular titan or the UL, which would you take, and then compare it to a set of Mercury’s…. … Real world question… I bought the Mercury’s got them to fit.. really like them… a local retailer is closing out the other 2 boots for about 25% of list (yea, I bought the 2 pair for 400, total) … . (I’ve got a buddy thats taking the set I don;t keep ) … anyhow, my thought is the titan/ul for lift serve/side country and the mercury for BC ….. teh current ski’s are a set of Drifts, Tonics and Backlashes all in the 17? lenght with dynfit bindings … and a set of backlashes in 167 with a set of barrons on them ….

    which would you pick, and am I overlapping to much , or?

  62. Lee Lau January 26th, 2013 6:16 pm

    Unless you’re sled skiing a lot and going to wear out soles you’re overlapping too much.

  63. Tim January 26th, 2013 6:50 pm

    so the mercury and one of the titans fills the same BC/lift serve role? for the east coast

  64. Lee Lau January 26th, 2013 7:04 pm

    Tim,

    Earlier upthread I said that Titan and Titan UL are basically tied for stiffness. I’d say that Mercury is a tiny bit less stiff fore-aft but just as stiff laterally as Titan/TitanUL (when Mercury is skied with tongue). Mercury tours much better (w/o tongue). Doesn’t make sense IMO to have Titan and Mercury

  65. Tim January 26th, 2013 8:26 pm

    thanks Lee

    that makes sense…. very new to the BC thing, so I apologize if I’m asking less than informed questions..

    Is there a boot that I’d want as a cross over, or will the Mercury take care of most everything?

    have 30 years of lift serve experience, on mostly race type stuff, stiff boots, stiffer ski’s …

  66. Lou Dawson January 27th, 2013 6:34 am

    Tim, if you’re coming from stiff boots and skis and going to true rando tour gear, prepare yourself psychologically for gear that feels quite a bit different. One thing that helps with that is to picture about 3/4 of a million people all over the world enjoying the same gear (grin) and skiing just as good as you or better, especially in Austria (grin). On a more practical note, it’s not a bad idea to measure the ramp angle and cuff lean on your favorite alpine setup, and check how your rando setup relates to that. In many cases, it’s best to have all those specs close to being the same for both setups. Especially if the rando setup makes you feel “in the backseat” or “over the bars.” Some folks seem to switch effortlessly between their rando gear and their alpine gear, while others seem to have endless issues.

  67. Lee Lau January 27th, 2013 2:33 pm

    Tim

    What Lou said. Some people can adapt. Some people can’t. Not a disparagement of skill; just an observation.

    No AT boot I’ve tried yet has the same progressive feel of alpine gear. If you can adapt then perhaps you can have Titan/Titan UL or Mercury as one boot for all. But I have no way of knowing what kind of skier you are.

  68. Tim January 27th, 2013 5:54 pm

    thanks for all your help

  69. Lou Dawson January 27th, 2013 6:15 pm

    Lee and all, I’d venture to say that this new gen of boots, some may have alpine feel, such as the K2…

  70. Ben November 6th, 2013 5:16 pm

    Hey Lou — just got the Mercurys in and am headed to thermomold later this week. I will be pairing with TLT Radical STs on Volares.

    However, if I fall in love with these boots (over my 5+ year old Salomon race boots…), has there been any discussion or modder that has tried to fit the Titan alpine soles onto the Mercury for DIN binding use? Would be nice to ride my Kaestles on-piste with the family without dropping more $ on another boot.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  71. Lou Dawson November 6th, 2013 6:28 pm

    Ben, folks have been messing with using sole blocks on different boots, but it’s incredibly tough to get it to really work, due to the durability of fasteners etc. ‘best, Lou

  72. Robert February 18th, 2014 10:29 pm

    I’m been using Dynafit “One” boots for about a year. They are my first touring boot, and I’ve liked them all right, but of course they are very soft compared to my downhill boots. I have a lot of trouble in deep powder, especially chopped up powder, controlling where I’m going. Would a stiffer boot like the Titan UL help, or should I give the One’s more time? The Titan ULs can be found for $350 now that the Vulcan’s are out. I know the Vulcan’s are the latest and greatest, but are they $500 better than the Titan ULs? I’m 5.8″ and 180 lbs.

  73. XXX_er February 19th, 2014 7:31 am

    the mercury is stiffer than the ONE but cheaper than the vulcan, basicly a vulcan without the CF cuff, I find them plenty stiff for inbounds and I have taken to skiing the BC without the tongue, even a big ski like lotus 129

  74. Mike February 23rd, 2014 6:31 pm

    Has anyone else had problems with snow getting in between the shell and liner?? I’ve used my Titan UL’s inbounds (lift served) for the last two days in about boot deep powder. At the end of the day, if I pull the liners out, theres a substantial amount of snow build up.

    Any ideas on what I can do to fix this? Other than this the boots are great…

  75. Lee Lau February 23rd, 2014 7:10 pm

    @Robert. I don’t know how much money you got to throw at this. It’s better.

    @ Mike – try some tape – gorilla tape for looks – duct tape for fashion and style – on the front hinge of the overlap of the boot right by the toe box. Snow gets in there same as with old Langes.

  76. Mike February 23rd, 2014 7:31 pm

    I think it may also be getting in through the overlap on top of the foot. Has anyone tried putting a layer of silicone or black RTV in between the overlaps?

    Because of the way the shell moves when the buckles are done up, I think I would have to separate the layers and only apply the silicone or RTV to one side. This would allow the top layer to still move against the bottom when the buckles are done up.

    Or maybe I’m over-thinking this and just a piece of gorilla tape across the top of the boot is a simpler solution?

    Do you have any thoughts on this?

  77. Lee Lau February 23rd, 2014 8:59 pm

    You’re over-thinking this and a piece of gorilla tape across the top of the boot is a simpler solution

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