Dynafit ‘One’ Boots – Review

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Editor’s note: Due to the difficulty of using the word ‘One’ as a product model name, we took the liberty of writing it all caps in this review. Please know we’re not shouting the boot name in your left ear, we’re simply trying to make our writing easier to read.

One in hike mode, Scott Nelson in control.

ONE in hike mode, Scott Nelson in control. Click all photos to enlarge.

Yeah, it’s a weird name for a boot, but the moniker makes sense eventually. The idea: this is the “one” boot you need, and closes with “one” upper buckle that also latches the cuff in “one” motion. Ok, ok, enough with the PR hype.

One combines a fairly conventional 'shoe' with Dynafit attempt to disrupt the way uppers are usually constructed.

ONE combines a fairly conventional 'shoe' with Dynafit's attempt to disrupt the way backcountry skiing boot uppers are usually constructed. Click images to enlarge.

Getting real:
(Or as real as one can get with a pre-production sample, anyway…) The ONE boot model from Dynafit is an attempt to mate a more conventional lower shell (meaning it has the DIN standard ski touring boot dimensions) with the cuff and latch system of the now legendary TLT5 models. We found the cuff/latch system to work as promised, so ditch the power strap and you can switch these guys between alpine and tour mode with little more than a flick of your ever supple wrist. More, due to the pivoting spoiler (‘Driving Spoiler’) that’s part of the latch system, rearward articulation continues to be superb.

Ditching the power strap? More outlier blasphemy from WildSnow.com? Well, the ONE boot cuff is high and stiff, so perhaps. Give it a shot. Power strap dependency is like meth addiction; you may never really get over it — but remission is liberating — especially as you nail first tracks while everyone else is trying to untangle the velcro from their pants cuffs.

When I saw this, I think I heard angels singing on high.

When I saw this, I heard angels singing on high. An instep buckle that actually holds your instep instead of crushing down on your arch. But we do question the location of the buckle, as we wonder if it'll have problems with opening up while snow climbing.

Cuff latch is the 'Ultra-Lock' super simple but super effective.

Cuff latch is the now legendary Dynafit 'Ultra-Lock' super simple but super effective. One motion to close and latch the cuff, hence the 'ONE' boot (that is if you assign the power strap to your junk bin.)

By virtue of a double hinge, the cuff buckle lies relatively flat.

By virtue of a double hinge, the cuff buckle lies relatively flat. We wouldn't be surprised to see this buckle on next season's TLT-5 models.

This radical heel pocket combined with the ergonomic instep buckle.

This radical heel pocket combined with the ergonomic instep buckle results in tenacious heel hold-down. Combine with a lace liner and blister problems could be a thing of the past.

Spoiler is high and stiff, easily removed for tuning by grinding heads of three rivets.

ONE spoiler is high and stiff, easily removed for tuning by grinding heads off three rivets. We have no idea why the spoiler can't simply be molded as part of the main boot cuff. Perhaps something to do with the size of boot molds, or yes allowing more mod options, or an attempt at shelf appeal?

One cuff is tall and wraps aggressively.. We felt the springy front flaps could have allowed a bit more room when in their natural open position.

ONE cuff is tall and wraps your leg like a pro wrestler bear hug. We felt the springy front flaps could have allowed a bit more room when in their natural open position, to assist with boot entry and exit. This could easily be tuned by a boot fitter by heating the flaps and holding in desired position while they cooled.

Cuff height makes a boot feel stiffer and more responsive, ONE provides plenty. TLT-5 to right, ONE to left.

Cuff height makes a boot feel stiffer and more responsive, ONE provides plenty. TLT-5 to right, ONE to left. More cuff also adds weight and may make the boot slightly less comfortable while touring. Everything is a tradeoff.

As is usually the case, I didn't swing from the chandeliers singing the liner's praises. But they do lace down to the instep, meaning you can actually lace these in a way that prevents some of your up-down foot movement while touring.

As is usually the case with my boot evals, I didn't swing from an ice tool with one arm while singing the liner's praises with a four octave range. But they do lace down to the instep, meaning you can actually tie these in a way that prevents some of your up-down foot movement while touring. As always, I'd advise aggressive skiers to consider the non-thermo liner option as it'll be the stiffest, and those of you after the best compromise between touring and downhill to consider any thermo liner option -- OEM or custom. One point, the liner these pre-production samps were provided with lacked a rear pull loop. This was desperately needed, if they don't include in production version you'll notice it right away while carpet testing.

In my view, main point of the ONE boot is it utilizes Dynafit’s brilliant Ultra-Lock cuff latch system in a boot with no metatarsal flex. Beyond that, the ONE sole shape abides by DIN standard touring sole dimensions, so you can use it in any frame binding. I find that to be odd, as why does Dynafit feel they have to rope in the 200 extra customers who will buy this boot to use in a Fritschi binding? But whatever, perhaps it’s 250 instead of 200. Downside of the DIN sole is it may be longer for a given size boot, which is less ergonomic in the touring stride, as well as less comfortable while hiking sans skis. Solution: if you want the ONE and are using with tech bindings, be sure not to fit too big a shell, and grind as much material as you can off the front of the sole. Beyond that, beg Dynafit to make a boot other than the Dy.N.A. models that uses TLT-5 sole configuration, without the metatarsal flex. The Dy.N.A. are cool, but definitely not the downhill skiing machine that the ONE is. In other words, how about a ONE TLT?

Aside from the constant yodeling (make it stop!!!), one cry I constantly hear when I’m in the Alps is something like “arrrrrrgggggt @!#$%^&**, the buckle opened again on my TLT-5 boot!” The TLT buckles seem to work reasonably well when you’re skiing, but do any serious snow climbing with a bit of post holing and your boots may open up. The question is, did they fix this problem with the ONE? Yes, the lower buckle is located on top of the boot, but the side buckle for the instep appears to be in a vulnerable position. Word is the attempted solution will be including a sort of dual action spring in the buckle, so when it’s closed it tends to re-close when partially opened. I suppose locating the instep buckle up on top of the boot is too much to ask, or perhaps the cuff hits such as buckle during heavy flexion? Whatever the case, we wait for testing of the production model to see if the buckle stays closed and climbers in the Alps can stop cursing and get back to their yodeling. (Boot modder alert, possible need for your services.)

So, along with Lou skiing the ONE a few days, we got WildSnow part time staffer Scott Nelson to give them a good go. Here is his take:

“Since I mainly ski in lightweight skimo race boots, the ONE was a welcome change to a still light, but much more skiable boot in a greater variety of conditions. They drove my 90mm waist skis easily in a mix of backcountry frozen, to crust, a bit of powder and finally, corn. They climb well, though I wonder if an articulated type tongue at the ankle would make them a better climber?

Scott skiing the One. Lou rode them as well.

Scott skiing the ONE just a few days ago in Colorado. Lou rode them as well.

Since the WildSnow test boots were about 1/2 to 1 size too big for me, the fit was somewhat hard to judge, but I would still say they were a bit on the narrow side, yet not as narrow as the TLT-5′s I tried on. Heel fit was good, even with the larger size I was totally locked in, which on the flip side made it super difficult for me to get out of the boots at the end of the day — my biggest gripe about the ONE.

Buckles were fine other than the middle one not closing down flat, which we have no doubt will be taken care of in production version. Top cuff buckle closure worked well, and the buckle does indeed lie flat when open, as opposed to sticking out to the side like the TLT models do. I didn’t really feel that I needed the bottom buckle. It came undone constantly, and I couldn’t crank it closed as that would have caused numbness for me. Not sure about the flexy wire type buckles though. Seemed kind of tedious to latch, but once latched, who cares? Also, it seems the sole material, at least around the toe area is really soft. We climbed about 150′ vertical of talus and the boot sole around the toes got heavily chewed, after just one climb.

Overall, a nice versatile, mostly comfortable (a custom liner and maybe a little punching would help my wider forefoot), and lightweight boot that skis and climbs really well. If the ‘ONE’ name stands for having one boot only, this could be it.”

So why buy the ONE? We’re talking 40 ounces per shell* for size 27.5 (BSL 304 mm), as opposed to similar size TLT-5 at 35 ounces (size 28, BSL 307, weighed with optional tongue) or Dynafit ZZero size 28 shell at 49 ounces (much heavier). These are noticeable weight differences. So do they ski downhill 5 ounces better than a TLT-5, and close enough to a ZZero to make the weight savings worth it?

I wouldn’t call these boots overall ‘better,’ as my smile factor with my TLT-5 pegs the meter, and if you’re like thousands of other TLT-5 skiers out there, I bet yours does as well. But, the ONE did ski stronger. The higher cuff and stiffer overall construction was noticeable, and the lack of metatarsal sag and bounce is a true joy for anyone with sensitivity to the technical side of skiing. I was also delighted at the better placement for the instep buckle, and noted that the lower buckle could possibly be removed for many skiers thus eliminating fiddle factor as well as weight. As for comparison to how a ZZero skis, the ZZero has a bit more progressive flex and a slightly stiffer feel due to the carbon stringers, but overall I’d rate both boots nearly the same in how they perform on the downhill. Thus, what you get here is a boot that tours fantastically well due to cuff articulation, one-motion latching, and excellent weight — and skis downhill sweetly as well. The sacred combo of the backcountry skiing world, and will-you-please-stop-that YODELING?

To cut confusion, here is a list of permutations the ONE backcountry skiing boot will be sold in:

- ONE PX – TF (The model reviewed here, Pebax plastic upper and lower, thermo form liner.)
- ONE Women’s PX – TF (Same as above, with slightly different cuff shape for women’s calf shape.)
- ONE U – MF (Polyurethane upper and lower, non thermo liner.)
- ONE Women’s U – MF (Same as above, with slightly different fit for women.)

(*Note, in this case were not quoting boot weights including liners, as these boots will be sold with liner options of different weights, and it’s common to use aftermarket liners. More, the ONE boots tested were not a production version, so we feel weighing with the liner would only add to any variation in final retail weight as opposed to the weight we quote here.)

Shop for Dynafit One backcountry skiing boot (available this fall).

Comments

65 Responses to “Dynafit ‘One’ Boots – Review”

  1. Tony May 8th, 2012 10:16 am

    Is there an actual tongue on the boot, or is it just a keep-the-snow-out flap like in the tongue-less tlt5 pictured? Seems like Scott alluded to the tongue interfering with climbing performance, so maybe it is a little more substantial than the tlt 5 flap. If so, this contradicts previous reports that this boot has no tongue.

    When you compare ski performance to the tlt5, is that a comparison to the tlt5 with or without tongue? Many follks go without the tongue, but I notice a less progressive flex – the extra hassle of the tongue is worth it.

  2. Scott Nelson May 8th, 2012 10:19 am

    Ha, I only appear to be “in control”…. that part must have been photoshop-ed in (grin). Still really liked these boots. My only real complaint, as mentioned, is that it was really hard to get in and out of these guys. I have a medium volume foot: wide in the forefoot, narrow in the heel and medium high arch. So not sure why it was so difficult, but maybe that’ll get fixed in the final version. But, that also resulted in my feet being totally locked in the boot on the up and the down, which was my favorite part of the boot.

  3. Lou May 8th, 2012 10:28 am

    It has a tongue, as seen in the photos above, slightly more beefy than the fixed one in the TLT-5, but it’s not a full-on tongue like that in most boot shells, instead the role of the upper tongue is taken over by the wrap of the high cuff. Works. Idea is that by having less of a tongue the touring mode is not compromised. Don’t know why someone would say the ONE has no tongue… that’s ridiculous. Put another way, to get the current range of touring motion people are starting to expect in a backcountry skiing boot, you have to get the shell tongue out of the way, that’s done in the case of TLT-5 and ONE by using a fixed tongue that’s minimal at the top and flexes easily without the reinforcement of the buckled cuff. It’s a concept that works, though the ultimate beef boot would still have a stiff full-on tongue (and not tour as well).

  4. Lou May 8th, 2012 10:36 am

    Tony, to compare ski performance between TLT-5 and One, I’d say ONE has more beef whether the TLT-5 add-on tongue is used or not, just to a different degree. Whether you need that extra beef is the question. I don’t. Others might, and should look at the ONE as it’s definitely a brilliant option that’ll tour like crazy. Another point of the ONE is that it’ll work correctly in frame bindings. If you don’t need that option, then I’d say it’s valid to consider using TLT-5 with add-in tounge, though the metatarsal sag of the TLT will always cause it to have less downhill performance than something like the ONE or other boots on the market that downhill well. If you rivet out the metatarsal sag of the TLT-5, then you get much closer to the downhill performance of the ONE. I’ve skied both boots in all those permutations, so am speaking from experience. Lou

  5. Jesse May 8th, 2012 11:38 am

    Interesting that you describe the as low-volume or narrow? I’ve got fat, wide feet and huge bunions, and I’m lucky enough to be a 27.5 so I skied a pair all winter in the Northeast and then a month in the Canadian Rockies and Rogers’s Pass and I found quite the opposite. For years I watched my bro dudes drive around in their TLT5s. They’d jump out of their cars at dawn patrol, ready to go! I wanted that articulated cuff, but I could never fit into a TLT5, so I had stuck with the Zzero 4s. So I would say – having climbed (sometimes water ice) and skied ( sometimes also water ice, but also thigh-deep pow) them all winter- they are fit like a Zzero-4, but built with three buckles and TLT5 technology, and will also fit a higher-volume footed skier. At least, that has been my experience with the Ones, but everyone’s feet are different!

  6. Lou May 8th, 2012 12:36 pm

    Jesse, quite a bit of how a boot feels in width has to do with which side of a shell break you end up on and just how wide your wide feet are, so yeah, mileage varies when it comes to this issue. Lou

  7. Mark W May 8th, 2012 6:04 pm

    This boot appears to address some of my misgivings about the TLT boots like metatarsal flex and top buckle hanging out too far. Nice review.

  8. Eric Schneider May 8th, 2012 6:32 pm

    Lou-always great beta. Thanks. Do you have a solution to the snowclimbing buckle opening on the TLT5?

  9. Lou May 8th, 2012 6:59 pm

    Eric, thanks, my plan is to do a complete buckle relocate/swap so the buckle is located on top instead of on the side. I may use a buckle from a different boot. It’s a summer project and will definitely make a good blog post.

  10. Rob Mullins May 8th, 2012 10:05 pm

    Hmm, underwhelming. I skitour Zzero3C most of the time, with some use of the Zzero4C on the Stoke ski. ONE sounds like a similar weight to the Zzero3C with the power of the Zzero4C. Zzero3 has better walking comfort for my big legs, and all the power that I need for Manaslu and Seven Summits- my favorite touring skis. My dream would be a TLT5 without the metatarsal flex and without the problems described online.With my advancing age and preferences, the superlight DyNA becomes more interesting- light, and no metatarsal flex…hmm.

  11. brendan madigan May 8th, 2012 10:14 pm

    Also of note is the price of the One versus both the TLT 5 AND Vulcan. The One PX-TF comes in at $650, a massive savings priced more comparably to a Scarpa Maestrale (orange not RS). That factor should be included in the “one” moniker, without a doubt.

  12. Matt Kinney May 8th, 2012 11:00 pm

    Its about time AT following the lead of gulp….a telemark boot..ie Garmont Kenai. :wink: I came to that dark side awhile ago.

    The minuscule loss in performance and power of the boot is hardly noticeably and is easily compensated for with the latest rockered skis or not.

    The best thing about two buckles is the fiddle factor at transition in cold temps. Tighening and loosening boots quickly and efficiently is really a big deal and a nice thing. I suspect 2 buckle boots will soon be the norm.

  13. Steven May 8th, 2012 11:13 pm

    Any specific thoughts on the differences between the One and the Vulcan/Mercury boots? I’ve watched all video reviews and read quite a bit about eachso I have the basic concepts of each of them. Downhill performance (i.e. forward flex, lateral stiffness, etc.) to weight ratio is where I’m still trying to figure out the pros and cons. It seems like the Vulcan/Mercury will really increase the ability of a “hard charging” boot to tour not only well, but actually excel at it. Or is that all possible with the ONE? Thoughts anyone?

  14. Christian May 9th, 2012 1:09 am

    Matt – two buckles is the norm already as that is exactly what the TLT5 has…check it out: “it is not your father’s AT boot”.

  15. Lou May 9th, 2012 6:17 am

    Steven, Vulcan is incredibly stiff, while ONE is similar to other good downhill performing AT boots in stiffness. Vulcan is actually too stiff for me. I’ll test them, but I’d never need them as my daily driver. What Dynafit did with Vulcan is to respond to a very vocal (yet valid) subset of the market; those of you who continue to want stiffer and stiffer AT boots and won’t be happy till you have the stiffness of an alpine racing boot.

    Vulcan might have the best stiffness to weight ratio of any nylon AT ski boot made. This is done by using stiff grilamid plastic for the lower, an add-in tongue like TLT-5, carbon fiber cuff, and the Dynafit Ultra Lock upper buckle. Main thing is all the composite parts are stiff without much compromise.

    Of course a full carbon boot could easily be made stiffer and lighter than any nylon offering, but that’s another arena of very expensive product with its own set of issues.

    The question anyone should ask themselves is just how stiff do your ski boots need to be? Some of you guys no doubt need something with a lot of beef, but not everyone.

    In terms of actual design differences, main points between ONE and Vulcan is that Vulcan has the TLT-5 type option tongue, with grilamid lower and carbon cuff. It’s kind of a souped up TLT-5 without the metatarsal flex. Vulcan design also comes as the Mercury model, without the carbon cuff. This might be quite the nice boot, a bit more of average stiffness than the Vulcan.

    Both Vulcan and Mercury come close to being the much desired “TLT-5 without the metatarsal flex” that many of us want, but fall short in that they don’t have the nice short sole, and don’t have as much weight trimming in comparison (lower volume, etc.).

    Both are super nice boots and worth considering if you’re shopping.

    If you want the short version of what’s different about the ONE from the Mercury: ONE has a minimal tongue similar to the fixed one in the TLT-5 and doesn’t have the swap-in tongue, instead it attempts to use the shape of the cuff to substitute. Vulcan steps it up with carbon cuff and what I gather is stiffer plastic here and there, but same concept.

    Lou

  16. Lou May 9th, 2012 6:36 am

    Matt, the other thing boot makers are working on is to get the two and three buckle boots to the point where you leave the buckle settings the same for up and down, and possibly only latch/unlatch one buckle for the transition. I do this with my TLT-5s, it’s a joy. And yeah, the fad cycle of the 4-buckle boot as a “category” is finally running out. Can’t happen too soon. What a ridiculous way of evaluating or stating the performance of a boot, by counting the buckles. It surprised me that during the height of the silliness someone didn’t come out with a 5 buckle boot. Would have been hilarious. Or did they?

  17. steve May 9th, 2012 7:31 am

    I’m afraid the full production version will have a wider heel pocket! ballix we know, but Dynafit have had so many people complain it feels too tight, we’re gutted.

  18. Lou May 9th, 2012 8:10 am

    Shucks Steve, that could be true. On the other hand, it costs a fortune to change those molds, so no way to be sure till they get the production boots kicked out. If they do change it, annoying, as a boot fitter with a heat gun can widen the heel pocket in ten minutes. But making it tighter is much harder.

    Continuing that thought, all boots should have user removable fasteners at both cuff pivots, so cuff can easily be removed by boot fitter while working on lower shoe. So far, only maker I know who’s ever done that is Scarpa, kudos to them but not sure if they still provide. Arrrrrgh, this whole thing is like 10 steps forward and 9 back, year-after-year-after-year. I have boots in my attic from 20 years ago that are not that different from what’s on the market today…. Lou

  19. steve May 9th, 2012 9:23 am

    Lou, would normally have to agree with you regarding mold modifications, we we’re first told this would happen at ISPO and then again when we placed our orders last week. I like you believe that we are more likely to see a modification to the liner rather than a a drastic plastic mod’, either way i’m sure we can adapt. Just felt that as the heel hold was mentioned it might be worth mentioning, we were apparently alone when we showed or feelings when being told this would be modified, like to, widening the heel pocket is not drama.

  20. Lou May 9th, 2012 9:49 am

    Steve, indeed, it was most certainly worth mentioning especially since that’s one of the things both Scott and I LIKED about the ONE.

    As always, the big battle in boot marketing is to make a boot that feels good when a consumer grabs one off the shelf in a shop and tries it on without professional help, and make the same boot work best for tuning and fitting. The latter is of course how most people will get the best fit, but unfortunately quite a few people never go that route. In the ideal world, all ski boots would be on the shelf without a liner. You’d have to work with a pro or know what you were doing to get the boot to the point of fitting your foot.

  21. Lou May 9th, 2012 9:52 am

    P.S., I am constantly conflicted about doing these pre-production reviews. Not sure I’ll ever find a solution, but we definitely need to be careful about singing praises of features that could be changed — or criticizing things that’ll be fixed. Constant battle.

  22. steve May 9th, 2012 11:15 am

    agreed, we’ve had a similar issue this winter with the new Quest boots, some minor bugs bit are assured they’ll be fixed by production and delivery.
    Too we order perhaps 30% shell only, there are more available, however the price difference is often less than 20euros shell only vs thermo option, which never translates to retail, but at the end of each year we have an unforcastable mix of liners, swings and roundabouts.

  23. Lou May 9th, 2012 11:21 am

    Steve, yeah, you wouldn’t believe the number of liners I’ve got here at WildSnow HQ, from years of boot fitting and customization. I could open a store! I’d have quite a few less if the boots were simply sold without, as many of our boots, the first thing we do is yank out the stock liners and go with an Intuition…

  24. SB May 9th, 2012 11:44 am

    I too, wish dynafit would change the sole over to an optimized for tech binding like the TLT. Who wants to use these boots with Fritschis? I wonder what the most recent sales of Fritschi vs Dynafit bindins is?

  25. steve May 9th, 2012 11:51 am

    Regarding the Dynafit vs Fritchi issue, we’re based in Cham, I reckon in 2002 we sold around 200 pairs of Fritchi vs probably 3 pairs of Dynafit.
    I remember at the time Fritchi told us that we sent them more repairs/warranty as one store than the rest of the world put together!!!!!
    Right now we practically refuse to mount or deal with any fritchi bindings and sell around 60 pairs of Dynafit (mixed range) per year.

  26. Lou May 9th, 2012 12:22 pm

    Steve, that’s about the ratio I figure it’s changed to in ten years, from 2001 to 2012. Using the word “tech” bindings, the ratio is definitely pretty extreme. But you do see frame bindings quite a bit still… the point I was making with joking about it is valid, like, why would they bother making the ONE boot with a DIN sole? I can see it with the Vulcan, as perhaps folks would use it with a Duke or Fritschi type binding, but the ONE? Seems like that boot would have been much cooler with a TLT-5 type “bandit” (non standard) sole. Lou

  27. Richard May 9th, 2012 2:24 pm

    A quick observation from weeks of touring in Switzerland and Austria in recent years is that there are tons of Fritschi’s (clear cut market leader by a long shot)out there but Dynafit is definitely becoming more common. The skinny ski uberlight freaks area all about tec, but the average, weekend warrior Euro tourer is very happy on Fritschi’s for now. Since most Euros tour on narrower skis, they don’t have to offset the added weight of a fatter ski by going to a significantly lighter binding. There’s a lot more middle and lower end touring product in evidence in Europe.

  28. Lou May 9th, 2012 5:55 pm

    Richard, the mix has changed. Many more tech bindings, but you do see more Fritschi in Switzerland… Still, when we were in Switzerland this time, I noticed a distinct increase in the tech binding ratio…

  29. Peter May 9th, 2012 6:14 pm

    Lou, a little off topic, but I’ve noticed in several pictures from your Austria trip and in this boot review that several skiers have little pouches attached to their pack’s shoulder straps. What’s in there? Sat/cell phone? GPS? Strudel?

  30. Lou May 9th, 2012 6:56 pm

    Hi Peter, I’m a big advocate of using at least one of those. Two are a bit geeky but can come in handy as well. I use mine for a small P&S camera or my GPS, and sometimes for the 2-way radio. I’ve been known to put strudel in there as well, but that’s usually been all eaten up by the time I’m out the door.

    I’m not quite sure where I’d carry my GPS if I didn’t have the shoulder pouch. I like having it out where the antenna can get the best reception, and if I’m actually using the thing, I need it super handy, not in a pocket where I have to dig for it. In Europe I was doing some serious GPS work this last trip, and the shoulder pouch worked perfect. The pouch I used is a construction worker’s cell phone pouch I got at the hardware store, stripped down. The Garmin slips in there just perfect, and can be secured against loss by girth hitching a lanyard, though I usually don’t do that.

    Lou

  31. Matt Kinney May 9th, 2012 6:56 pm

    The buckles on the Garmont Kenai may be what your looking for. The they don”t fully release. They have another push tab that fully releases the buckle. Probably a buckle design thats been around awhile but my first exposure to it.

  32. Mike May 9th, 2012 10:32 pm

    From what I’ve been reading thus far dynafit is making some great moves. A better bridge needs to be built for dynafit bindings. After many years of naxo binding touring I made the LEAP to dynafit, many of you probably forgot how scary it is/was to take your first run on dynafits. I was very skeptical about the binding, it took my local shops persistence for me to see the light. Now I am a true believer (unless I break a leg). I would never have considered dynafits if I hadn’t bought a pair of BD quadrant boots. I had planned on using them with fritschi bindings. If the quadrant didn’t have that toe piece I would be using fritschi instead. That toe piece on the quadrant built a bridge for me. I wish I had switched sooner but mindsets are hard to break. I think it’s impairitive that the ONE and the Vulcan be compatible with fritschi. Hopefully people will buy these boots and then someone will say “why bother click clacking around with heavy fritschis when you can use a dynafit binding”. The TLT 5 is for the hardcore, the Vulcan is for the guys sitting on the fence, and the ONE is the one in between. Just my opinion. I just hope they reevaluate the forward lean on these boots. I was very happy that my quadrants have a more neutral stance.

  33. Lou May 10th, 2012 4:27 am

    Good point Mike, boots with tech fittings = tech eventually ruling the world (grin)!

  34. Steven May 10th, 2012 11:17 pm

    Thanks for the the breakdown on the Vulcan/Mercury, Lou. I agree that increased stiffness isn’t necessarily better. It is cool that technology is getting so advanced that preference and opinion are most of the deciding factor and not what the boot can actually do. All three of these boots seem fully capable in the simplest terms of the word. I’m looking forward to trying out the Mercury as something that incorporates many different features and materials at a good price point.

  35. Pablo Nogue May 11th, 2012 3:10 am

    Hi to all!
    Talking about Dynafit/fritschi ratio, I can tell you about it’s evolution here in Spain.
    I Work in a Mountain shop and Our ratios last years are:
    W11: Dyna 54% Frit 24,5% Marker 17,2%
    W10: Dyna 45% Frit 36% Marker 16.8%
    W09: Dyna 38.3% Frit 39% Marker 3.1%
    W08: Dyna 33% Frit 56,5% Marker 1,7%
    W07. Dyna 35% Frit 54%
    W06: Dyna 31% Frit 68%

    is clear the rise of Dynafit and the descent of Fritchi wich is also changed in favour of Marker… See next year with the irruption of Salomon Guardian…

    Pablo

  36. Lou May 11th, 2012 7:52 am

    Pablo, that’s like having access to government secrets, thanks!

  37. Pablo Nogue May 17th, 2012 9:00 am

    Well.
    Even withthe evident rise of Dynafit/Tech systems, I think in the next years they will not rise much more.

    We Euros are now covering the inverse track than Americans.
    We have more tradition in pure ski mountaineriing, but much less in freeride, sidecountry, etc…
    So, with the explosion of freeride and Sidecountry skiing I can predict the rising of bindigs “Duke Style”

    Some years ago we Euros were only piste skiers or only skimo skiers.
    New gererations are becoming allmountain skiers so the tranference of Piste Bindings to Freeride Bindings will be important next years in Europe.

    All my only piste skier friends will change them bindings to become allmountain players, and most of them doesn’t think about any similar to Dynas but Dukes, because they want to use piste or freeride boots more than skimo boots.

    They doesn’t know the power of the dark TLT5 side!! hahaha

    off-topic: Last weekend we did a little “summer” tour with the new La Sportiva Sideral boot and La Sportiva Lo 5 ski. If you want I can make you a little review.

    Pablo

  38. Rob Comey November 13th, 2012 10:17 am

    Remarkable to be singing praises to the “new boots” so early in the season, but here goes after one day in the Crystal River backcountry:
    1. “tenacious heel pocket” – I second that emotion; absolutely stunning how this boot holds you in the pilot’s seat regardless of conditions. This is a feature that will not disappear comes March when the liners are all packed out. A race fit without the pain of a race fit.
    2. If you shell fit this boot and/or size with the stock footbeds in the factory liners you may conclude that this boot is too narrow to accommodate many flipper footed norte americanos. Do not despair: instead, stick your custom footbeds in the liner to fit and be amazed by the difference. This boot has a narrow “bathtub” last which permits wider feet to be accommodated by moving the foot up and out of the bottom of the “tub”. To borrow a boating analogy, you hang out on deck and not in the bilge as that is where the fun is…
    3. The tour mode is so blessedly simple that I wondered if I was buying into an “air-cooled” solution – to borrow a VW analogy – in other words, functional but eclectic/esoteric. Not so; this solution works – and does not freeze up since the “hole” is close up under one’s ski cuff.
    4. As for cold, these boots are chilly. My thermoliners haven’t yet been cooked but I was a little taken aback by how much colder these been cooked but I was surprised by how much cooler these were compared to the Intuition liners in my old Scarpa Matrix boots that these replace. Temps were in the mid-teens and typical low sun angle.
    5. sweet conditions at Marble on Sunday with two feet of fresh in the upper bowl… oh, right, that’s irrelevant…

  39. Chris Simmons November 18th, 2012 11:54 pm

    Lou, I’m coming around to lighter boots and I’m considering replacing a pair of BD Quadrants with either the One or the Mercury. I really like One for not having a removable tongue – but the guys in the shop are strongly suggesting I’d like the Mercury a bit more. Since this review, I imagine that you’ve gotten your hands on the production models of both. What’s your take? Is it worth futzing around with the removable tongue in the Mercury, or is the One plenty stiff enough?

  40. Lou Dawson November 19th, 2012 6:58 am

    Chris, the One was stiff enough for myself and Scott. I don’t like the removable tongues and don’t use them even on the boots that come with them… Lou

  41. James November 20th, 2012 6:11 pm

    Dynafit One PX are still only available in limited sizes. Both Backcountry.com in SLC and MEC in Canada only offer sizes 25-28 as of today. Does anybody know when North America is due to get full stock (I’m a 30.0)?

  42. Matt November 24th, 2012 10:51 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I’ve been scouring the web for reviews of the Vulcan, Mercury and One and am almost certain that the One fits my needs, but wonder (along with many others I’m sure) if it’s stiff enough. I’m sold on the weight savings and efficient design, but am curious about how it might stack up against my current (or should I say, aging) Spirit 4′s. Would you say that the One is about as stiff or stiffer than the 4′s? If so, I’m ready to pull the trigger.

    Thanks for any feedback you can provide.

  43. Lou Dawson November 25th, 2012 6:22 am

    Stiffer

  44. Jesse Williams November 25th, 2012 8:33 am

    The premise behind using One tool- is not that you modify a different tool for every application, but that you modify how you use the same tool :-)

    With that mentality, you could do about anything in these boots.

    I actually tooled around in a pair of Ones all of last winter and spring- from skiing (and climbing) Northeast water-ice and rolling backcountry approaches to BC pow and high glaciers in the Canadian Rockies- so lots of mileage and different applications. For what it is worth, I have appreciated their lightness, flexibility, versatility, and (so far) durability.

  45. enid higham December 28th, 2012 1:30 pm

    WRT the ONE PX – What about the battle getting the liners back in the shells? Is it just problem when they are new? Is there a trick to this? So far it has been a serious battle – not fun!

  46. mark January 20th, 2013 12:27 pm

    We actually rent these boots out in Verbier and the easiest way to put the liner in/out is to lock the boot into the downhill mode but not have the wire hooked around the latch on the other side so all the buckles are undone but the top buckle is locked into the cuff. Then it’s just the same as putting the liner in any other alpine boot!

  47. James B January 23rd, 2013 4:24 pm

    I am normally a Scarpa guy, I own pairs of Spirit 3, Rush, and Mobe. I just completed a week at Rogers Pass in the DYNAFIT ONE TF. For those of you who are interested in a comparison between the Scarpa and the Dynafit, here are my (entirely subjective) opinions:

    1. Dynafits are way colder. I’m going to try switching out the stock Dynafit liner for an Intuition liner and see if that will keep my tootsies from freezing.

    2. Dynafits walk far better, as the cuff in walk mode has a much larger range of motion than any of my Scarpas. The Rushes walk well, but the Dynafits walk like a dream.

    3. Dynafits are much larger volume than Scarpa. Despite using three volume reducers and the thickest insoles I could find, I was still swimming in them vertically. Consequently, I like any of my Scarpas better for skiing than the Dynafits because they fit me better when buckled. As long as the snow was smooth and I could stay firmly forward, the Dynafits skied beautifully. But in crud, if I got into the back seat, the extremely spacious top-to-bottom toe box on the Dynafits wasn’t optimal, at least for me.

    I wear the same size in both brands. I couldn’t go down one shell size in Dynafit to try to address the over-spacious toe box problem, as one shell down was too short.

    4. Not having a cuff switch on the Dynafit is a big change. I liked it. The cuff switches on my Scarpas flip by themselves quite often, much to my annoyance. However, using the top buckle as the switch on the Dynafit takes some getting used to. For example, when skinning DOWN a run-out trail, I had to either fasten the top buckle without the hoop attached (ie no closure tension) or else fasten the top buckle very loosely to lock the cuff.

    If you hit a downhill section while skinning in the Dynafits and you’ve got them in walk mode, it’s like skiing in a pair of bedroom slippers. No support forward or backward, as the cuff in walk mode has such a huge, effortless range of motion. Took me a couple of tumbling faceplants before I worked out the trick of closing the top buckle without the hoop attached to lock the cuff.

    5. Subjectively, in ski mode I think the Dynafits are slightly stiffer than the Rush but not quite as stiff as the Mobe.

    6. I don’t like power straps. The first thing I do when I get new Scarpas is grab a screwdriver and and take them off. On the Dynafits, the power straps are riveted on and must be drilled off.

    7. The walking cuff range of motion is so huge in the Dynafit that it makes stuffing the liners into the boots in the mornings a little tricky. To address this problem, close the top buckle (hoop off) and lock them into ski mode before attempting to stuff the liner in.

    8. Probably my imagination, but the Dynafit boots seem to work better with Dynafit bindings than Scarpas. I know from Lou’s postings that Scarpa uses Dynafit-made tech fittings, so they should work exactly the same, but getting in and out of my Radical FT12s seems to go more smoothly when in the Dynafit boots. Probably just me being psycho.

    QUICK SUMMARY: Dynafit better for walking, Scarpa better for skiing.

  48. scott April 17th, 2013 9:17 pm

    I just got a pair of the ONE’s and toured in them for the second day today. I biggest problem that i am having with them is the foward flex. While touring with the boot in tour mode and the power strap loose they still do not flex forward enough to provide a natural stride. Instead i get the feeling of the boot flexing into a wall.

    Has anyone else had this problem and/or have any solutions? I saw online an individual who grinded off the flex stoppers and said that helped with foward lean but looking at the boot it does not seem that this would make much difference.

    Thank you for your comments!

  49. jim August 24th, 2013 11:52 am

    I’m considering swapping a pair of the original Titans to the ONE (warranty replacement) and am wondering how much downhill performance I will loose and how much I might actually notice. The Titan was a hard charger but may have been more boot than I needed coming back to skiing after years away. It also needed a lot of punching and was still very tight and sometimes uncomfortable on my long narrow foot. It was a great boot for inbounds and the occasional lift accessed side country – but blistered the hell out of my feet on an overnight tour.

    Dynafit is offering the Titan UL as a replacement but I tried on the ONE and the fit was great out of the box. The same size in the Titan UL jammed my toes out of the box and I know is going to need some punching. Other than the fact I won’t have the option of Alpine blocks for demo skis – not being an super hard charger down the hill and wanting to start doing more back country and touring – I’m wondering how a move to the ONE might compare to my Titans in downhill performance as my one quiver boot…

    I ski a Baron binding on a 181 Coomback. Thanks for any feedback.

  50. jim August 24th, 2013 3:11 pm

    doing more research – I should obviously be asking about swapping my Titans (above post) for the Vulcan or Mercury’s. I was just blown away with how well the ONE fit out of the box. So I guess I’m really wondering if the the Vulcan and Merc have the same fit as the ONE. And if so that’s probably the direction I should be heading.

  51. Mikegbne August 24th, 2013 4:39 pm

    I have the vulcans, my dad has the one, they both have the same fit in my opinion.

  52. Lou Dawson August 25th, 2013 5:42 am

    My recollection is that the last on both Vulcan and One is quite similar. Lou

  53. Daniel August 25th, 2013 6:21 pm

    I bet they come out the same mold anyway.

  54. Burnsie August 26th, 2013 11:45 am

    Jim, I believe that you will notice a big difference in both uphill performance (better) and downhill performance (not so good) if you were to go from the Titan to the One. The freedom/range of movement in the skin track with the One is unassailable, really. I used the One PX extensively last season both for day touring, hut trips and for a week long Canada trip of long days in spring conditions. The fit is excellent, a little wider in the forefoot then the Titan. I shell fit the One PX and at first found them excessively narrow as the last is a bit of a “boat” in that it took my custom footbeds to bring my foot up to a sufficiently wide volume portion of the boot. Then, all was well.

    Downhill performance was, on first ride, pretty good with the One, but then I got really spoiled: I retrofitted the sub-par factory liners on my two year old Titans with a pair of Intuition liners having an overlap cuff, and a pair of Booster Straps to replace the factory power straps. The combo of the superior fit and comfort of the Intuition liners along with the benefit of the way the overlap cuff stiffened up the Titan, and how the Booster Straps negated shin bang resulted in a boot that provided excellent control and true progressive flex on the hill and in the sidecountry.

    I feel that that progressive flex is what makes the tweeked Titan so fine to ski: edging, schmeering and pressuring are infinitely adjustable, “featherable”, and in the boot movements are “properly” translated to the ski and, hence, the riding experience is a blast. I love this boot – all except the weight factor.

    The One PX, in retrospect, feels a bit “digital”: it’s on or off, and subtle movements in the boot produces unexpected results, i.e sometimes lacking in responsiveness, and other times instantly translating a movement to a “hard” result. The shin bang is noticeable – like bouncing off a wall and equally unnerving. On 50 degree mixed media there is no question about which boot I would want between me and the ski. I do not love the One PX, though the all-day tour-ability, warmth (Yes! pretty good for a Dynafit), and range of movement in the skin track and on the boot pack and in crampons will keep me in the One camp until I can find something mo’ perfect.

    I should mention that I am also a tele skier and once (and future?) snowboarder, so progressive ankle flex is at the root of my movement patterns. Others, like yourself, may not be so damn particular about the progressive flex niggle I found to be the curse of the One PX. Be-aware of the shin bang matter: a Scarpa-style elastic power strap (Booster Strap light) will be my next modification, though this is not nearly as easy on the One as with the Titan. A tongue change may improve things, too.

    Just be very aware that the downhill experience on the One will vary greatly from the Titan and you should be good.

  55. Lou Dawson August 26th, 2013 1:18 pm

    Nice take Burnsie, thanks!

  56. jim August 26th, 2013 6:34 pm

    Burnsie, thanks indeed. Dynafit tells me sizing of the ONE, Merc and Vulcan are all right on. And the fit of the ONE was killer for me out of the box compared to the Titan – so that’s where I’m headed – but with the Merc or Vulcan. The question now is do I pay for an upgrade to the Vulcan or take a straight swap for the Mercury … I like the idea of potentially two boots in one with the Vulcan – removing the tongue out on deep days when I don’t need the support. (I’ve read the Vulcan with sans tongue skis like the Scarpa Maestrale which I’ve demo’d and liked). And with the tongue in, the Vulcan likely has all the drive I’ll ever need … taking a couple days to chew on it.

    To spend or not to spend …

  57. Evan September 22nd, 2013 8:52 pm

    Hey Lou,

    I’m considering either a pair of Dynafit One boots, along with Dynafit ZZero4 C-TF, Maestrale, and Maestrale RS (My preferred choice.) The only problem with the RS is that I can’t find any out there in my size (29). So I’m thinking I might have to consider others.. I’m skiing mostly backcountry, with resort days thrown in every once in a while. Ski tour mostly for the good times, turns, and good snow, hit cliffs when they are there. I’m a small guy (only 140) pounds at age 14, and so im thinking a flex 100 would maybe be enough for me. Would love some input,
    Thanks, Evan

  58. Lou Dawson September 23rd, 2013 6:50 am

    Evan, Maestrale is truly a great boot. Are you sure that size 29 is not available? It appears they have a pair at backcountry.com

    http://www.backcountry.com/scarpa-maestrale-rs-alpine-touring-boot?ti=U2VhcmNoIFJlc3VsdHM6c2NhcnBhIG1hZXN0cmFsZToxOjI

    The boots you mention all have the standard DIN touring sole that’ll fit nicely in frame bindings as well as tech bindings, and all tour well. Maestrale probably has an edge on cuff articulation over ZZero. With the Dynafit, the One is the one with the cuff articulation and in that respect is best-in-class. So if you’re doing quite a bit of touring in the boot, I’d tend to choose it over the ZZero.

    If you can get a fit, I’d think you’d be very happy with any of your three choices.

    Sox

  59. Evan September 23rd, 2013 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the reply! Would you have any other boots that would compare closely to the Maestrale RS? The Vulcans seem like a noce boot, but moat likely would be to stiff for my light weight.

    Evan

  60. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2013 6:46 am

    Scott Cosmos will probably be a contender. We’ll be evaluating them soon and let you know. We liked them last year other than a problem with the tech inserts in the toe, which Scott claims to have fixed. Lou

  61. Even October 24th, 2013 8:04 am

    The buckels are twisted wrong way!!!!!!!!

  62. Arnie March 19th, 2014 5:24 am

    Lou (et al)
    I’ve an option on a pair of “ones” PX version or mercury’s at virtually the same price. I’m currently on tlt5 mtn’s which I mostly ski with the tongue but not the power strap on trab polvere and have been very happy with. I originally intended to get the tlt6 but am being swayed by a cut price deal. Any advice gratefully received!

  63. Lou Dawson March 19th, 2014 6:59 am

    Hi Arnie, I’d go for the Mercury if you’re thinking of the One/Mercury type of boot that’s a bit more beefy than TLT6. I prefer TLT6 but Mercury is enough boot that people are using it as their resort and backcountry “quiver of one” which is impressive. Lou

  64. Arnie March 19th, 2014 2:41 pm

    Thanks Lou I think “quiver of one” was where I’m headed

  65. Lou Dawson March 19th, 2014 2:59 pm

    Well, there you go… Let us know how it turns out. Lou

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