New Dynafit ZZero 4-Buckle Women’s Boots — Nice!

Post by blogger | January 18, 2008      

Back from EU last night. Did one of those epic 24 hour travel stints that ended with driving slick snowy Colorado roads over “The Hill” at 1:00 in the morning. Night drives as adventure travel? Let’s just say that ice driving over Vail Pass is as real as bird watching in the Galapagos, only with significantly more demand on the adrenals.

We’ve got more trip reports to file, and tons of interesting gear tidbits; not only from Dynafit, but coming from others as well so stay tuned. Today, more Dynafit for your perusal.

I’m going to do that dastardly male deed and write a first-look for a women’s product. As redemption, I promise we’ll get Lisa in these new Dynafit boots and have a real WildSnow test take. Meanwhile:

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Yep, the new Dynafit ZZero Women’s (“W”) 4-buckle is a stunning looking shoe. And from my experience with the Zzero men’s 4-buckle, I can say they’ll give a performance/weight ratio that has to be experienced to be believed.

Make no mistake, this is a beefy boot. The shell is the stiffer Polyurethane of the Zzero4U (the red Dynafit boots available starting last season), hence, the boot is stiff even without a carbon stringer — and the price will be slightly less stratospheric.

What makes these women’s boots ? For starters, the ZZeroW lower shell is based on the Zzero last. According to Dynafit, boots such as their Zzero 4C saw excellent sales as a unisex boot in 2007 due to this last’s anatomically shaped fit, which combines a deep heel pocket, performance retention in the instep, lock down power from the tongue stiffener (atop the tongue, holds the foot down tightly onto the footbed without pressure on the foot-top bones) and a toe box that’s said to be much more comfortable for many foot shapes. (Though WildSnow still recommends boot fitting by a professional if you want the most from a Ferrari shoe such as this.)

But beyond “unisex,” in terms of women’s fit the ZZeroW cuff and spoiler area is shaped to better accommodate women’s lower calf muscles. I know gals that really have a problem with this. It’s frequently a tougher fit issue than simply molding a liner to compensate, so good!

Feature and spec list from Dynafit:

– ZzeroW 4-buckles available with thermo liner only.

– Sizes 23 through 27 (whole size thermo custom fit liners easily mold to half sizes).

– Dynafit USA says: “The idea with this shoe is to respond to women from Jackson to Denver, Carhart to Prana, who all want a boot that’s as “burly as the men’s.”

– Upper Shell Cuff and rear spoiler are designed with feedback from women; with a woman specific calf shape in mind. Along with that, the thermo liner has a lower scalloped out area to match shell/cuff design.

– Dynafit Quick-Step-In inserts in the toe. These can not be over emphasized. Especially for guys who might be teaching a female companion how to get into their Dynafit bindings on that first tour! Nothing like success with Dynafit for success on that first ski date? (Indeed, why do you think Lisa and I are still married?)

– New patented “Touring” buckle teeth are incut and designed to keep even loose “flopper” buckles in place — said by Dynafit to be an industry first. (This feature also said by Dynafit to obviate geeks like Lou who remove the lower buckles from a perfectly engineered boot, ostensibly because they’re “always flopping around and getting caught on stuff.”) More, an extended touring catch on the upper two buckles allows dramatic articulation in tour mode while still keeping the cuff closed.

– Yep, color is an easier on the eyes sage green.

And guys, about those lower buckles, will next year’s be snowmobile running board compatible (grin)?


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


32 Responses to “New Dynafit ZZero 4-Buckle Women’s Boots — Nice!”

  1. Andrew January 18th, 2008 3:04 pm

    Hey not sure how many folks will get this message, and wasn’t sure where to post w/o directly emailing the man.

    I recently moved out to teach, and mostly enjoy the backcountry of the area. I’m looking for someone to show me some of the basics, I’ve done basic BC things in Montana and believe it or not… Minnesota. Now that I want to get serious about it I promised my wife I will not venture into the BC w/o a partner. I’ve got the gear (snowshoes, snowboard (hope thats not taboo on this blog!), avalanche beacon, probe, shovel, ect…) Just looking for the pointers to get started. I work in an elementary school with about 35 females and one other male, so the BC partners are hard to come by.

    If you know where I should post this comment please let me know.

  2. Mark Worley January 18th, 2008 9:30 pm

    No weight for the ladies’ boots? Did the postal scale go belly up? It’s a nice looking slipper.

  3. Lou January 19th, 2008 8:42 am

    Andrew, I’d try getting involved in some online forums. and are two suggestions. Sounds like your job place would be good for a single guy, or are all the girls married off?

  4. Lou January 19th, 2008 8:49 am

    Mark, the catalog claims 1555 grams for size 25. When we get a pair for a review we’ll get the real-world weight, but that’s probably close if not spot on.

  5. ellen January 19th, 2008 12:55 pm

    So is this boot similar to the Zero4-C (this years green lighter boot) or the Zero4-U? I’m also curious about the weight, so I’ll keep checking in!

  6. Jaime January 20th, 2008 2:24 pm

    Any idea how Dynafit sizing is? For example I find a Garmont 23 fits about the same as a Scarpa 24…… I am on the smallest end of the scale and at the moment the only Dynafit boot I can fit is the Scarpa Diva size 22.5. Wondering if the smallest size Dynafit makes -23- would be a possibility? It’s too bad most manufacturers stop their sizing at 23….leaves the small people out of luck or with poor boot fits when it comes to b/c touring….

  7. Lenka K. January 20th, 2008 2:58 pm

    I found the Dynafits about 1/2 a size smaller than Scarpas in equal sizes, e.g. a Dynafit 25 is about the same as Scarpa 24.5. So you should be OK w/Dynafit 23 if you fit Scarpa 22.5.

    Any word on why use the heavier PU plastic on the women’s boot rather than Pebax? Stiffness?? I have the the Zzero 4-Px (thermo) and find them stiff enough (expert skier, and certainly NOT a light-weight). Sure, they seem to be quite soft in the shop, but when skiing I don’t even need to tighten the top two buckles very much, because the boot seems too stiff if I do.

    Also, I think this year’s “unisex” model (especially in the smallest sizes) is actually more of a women’s boot, as it’s quite low (just a trifle higher than my old Scarpa Magics), with ample calf-space and a fairly narrow and low toebox, so that women skiers who don’t need a boot smaller than size 25 (and don’t want to wait till next year) should be fine with the current model.

    As an aside, my Zzero 4-Px TF weigh 1480g in 25.

  8. Lou January 20th, 2008 3:47 pm

    …and, my size 28 Zzero was quite a bit bigger than my size 28 Scarpa Matrix…

    …don’t know why they used PU, probably so the boots have a really solid feel…

  9. Lenka K. January 20th, 2008 4:54 pm

    OK, to be specific: I tried on the Divas in 24.5 and the Zzeros in 25.0 and both would fit fine lengthwise, except that the Divas were way too voluminous for me (toebox, middle foot, ankle). So I imagine the difference will be the same with 22.5 Divas & 23 Zzeros …

  10. steve seckinger January 20th, 2008 7:17 pm

    Nice looking boots! Leanne is in the market for some female boots, since we figured out her MegaRides are actually the male ones (same color scheme a few seasons back – oops).

  11. tyler October 17th, 2008 1:23 pm

    Hi Lou.

    Pulling this older post back up. I am shopping around for boots here in SLC to replace my old Megarides. I’m noticing that the trend is to carry and push the big boots. Everyone has the Zzeus, the big Garmonts, and of course the BD boots are here in SLC. Only 1 store, REI, carrys a Dynafit Zzero and it is the red no-carbon version. I cant find a green machine to try anywhere. I suppose this is the trend everywhere.

    The no-carbon zzero has a great smooth flex, but it is quite soft. I’m guessing the green machine is significantly stiffer. Have you tried both?



  12. Lou October 17th, 2008 8:39 pm

    Hi Tyler, I have not skied in both boots as far as I recall, though I might have tried the no-carbon ZZero way back when. I’d guess that the Green Machine is stiffer, but not by a huge margin. The main thing with Green Machine is that it’s stiff and LIGHT. Bummer you can’t find any!

    The big gear trend is mostly just a style swing, though the stuff is cool if you wring it out. Give it a few years and many of the skiers using all the huge stuff will realize they can have fun on gear that’s half the weight, then the pendulum will swing the other way.

  13. tyler October 17th, 2008 10:19 pm

    I think I agree with you Lou – the pendulum will swing back. All the advertising and talk about the overlap boots is exciting and enticing, but its hard to imagine lugging those up the hill for an entire day.

    This looks to be a 2 new boot season for me. A touring boot and then a more alpine oriented boot for the odd day at the resort with visiting family.

    I’ll probably order up the green machine unless I can get a feel for the G Helium. Ive tried a good number of the new overlap boots. They feel pretty good and the BD boots are smooth and feature an amazing range of motion in hiking mode. Far better than any of the tonge boots that I have skied. Perhaps the Helium will feel similar, but still come in as light as the true tongue touring boots.

    The recent BC mag boot review claimed the PU version of the Zzero had a smoother flex compared to the carbon version. Thats certainly a nice feature, but as you say, I am sure the carbon increases the stiffness.

    The new web design works well. Good job.

  14. Lou October 18th, 2008 5:53 am

    Hi Tyler, I’d say the PU version of Zzero would indeed have a smoother flex. A tongue boot with a carbon stiffener is not going to have the smoothest flex…

    Well designed overlap boots can indeed have a terrific feel in touring mode. The main idea behind tongue boots is they can be really light and still somewhat stiff. Compromise is the tongue can limit for/aft motion in touring mode. Solution for this has always been to tune how the boot buckles, and not use too stiff a tongue. Both compromises, of course.

    The thing is, lots of range of motion in a ski touring boot isn’t that important unless you’re doing tons of mid to low angle stuff. For steeper climbing I’ve never seen it as an issue. For randonnee racing or lower angled touring, it can be important. I tend to own more than one pair of boots because of this…

    Different ski touring areas seem to really vary in terms of common angles. Wasatch trails are super steep, for example, while touring in many European areas involves lots of lower to mid angle terrain on established trails, glaciers, etc. Though once you’re climbing a peak it tends to be steep (grin), like mountains tend to be.

  15. Lou October 18th, 2008 5:57 am

    P.S. Glad you noticed the new design. I just finished up the last major details yesterday, mostly getting it to look right in both Internet Exploder and Firehoax, and working on how the images display in the posts. On the back end, I continue to optimize so it’ll load faster and be more reliable. That’s a battle, as nearly everything I do seems to bloat it back up. But progress has been made. The mobile version seems to be working as well.

  16. tyler October 18th, 2008 6:24 am

    I use Firefox exclusively. I think we tested your page on my version of FF a while back (months to a year back).

    We will finally break down in this house and get a real deal cell phone with data plan. The GPone (G1) !! Actually, it will be a great thing for my wife. I already convinced her to use gmail and google calendar. It will really simplify her “syncing” life and completely eliminate any of that. She is a family doc with the U and her schedules are complex. I’ve shunned the idea for some time figuring that I use the computer too much as it is along with wanting to reduce monthly bills. On the other hand, pretty soon here, not having a phone with data will be like not having a credit card! Sometimes, you just have to participate in society! grin …

  17. Lou October 18th, 2008 6:40 am

    For what it’s worth, my server logs show the vast majority of WildSnow readers are still using IE 6 and 7. The top menu bar dropdowns don’t work in IE6, so I’m wrestling with if I should work on backward compatibility in IE or just let it ride. If the menus don’t work, they still link to the sitemap so people can still find their way around. So perhaps I’ll let it ride.

    Amazing how tough this is when you start thinking outside the way your website looks on your own computer with your own browser. And amazing how truly hokey the state of web browsers is. It’s as if everyone was reading books, and depending on which library they were in there were different pages missing from the books. I think in 15 years we’re going to look back on this time of the Internet as the stone age. It’s such a time waster, I just want to write and take pictures (grin)!

  18. Dawn October 30th, 2008 10:46 pm

    I am searching for a new backcountry ski boot. I have been skiing and touring in the Garmont She Rides and love them except that the shell is a little big for me. I wear a women’s size 5.5 or 6 at the most and have noticed that Scarpa and Garmont measure their boots differently, which has provided me with nothing but confusion in assessing which boot I should spend money on. Looking at Scarpa’s measurments seem to be that 22.5=6.5, and that a Garmont 23=6. I know that it is best to try it on and see what fits best but unfortunately it is difficult to know until you mold the liners and take them out. Basically, what I am asking is are there boots out their that can fit my midget feet?


  19. Lou October 31st, 2008 7:39 am

    Dawn, try this: Call around to shops that have the boots and try to find out how long the sole is on the smallest size in a given model. The sole length is printed on the heel, any shop employee who knows boots will know where to look for it. With that number, you’ll know which company makes boots that are probably the smallest, e.g., shortest. Then order ’em in the smallest size they offer, and mold or customize the liners to suit.

    Or, just order a couple of boot sizes at once and immediately return the ones you realize won’t work.

    I’ve done the latter quite a few times with hiking boots and it was a great way to quickly get it right. You just end up with paying some shipping, but worth the result.

    Or, last resort, perhaps buy them on the ground at a shop where you can compare and fit boots? I don’t know how many shops do this, but Summit Canyon in Glenwood Springs says they’ll match price from any authorized dealer, including any on Internet. Perhaps shops in your area do that as policy, or would if you asked?

  20. Tracie February 27th, 2009 9:03 am

    Hey Lou and Lisa!

    Any update on the review for this boot since the initial testing? I’m starting to look around for a replacement for my old Magics (like every other lady out there, it seems) and I’m taking a close look at the Divas, Stars, and these Dynafits. I know Lisa really likes her Stars, and I’m wondering how the Dynafits are comparing. I’m kind of a weight weenie as well, being totally spoiled by years in those Magics, but I’m so ready for some better performance.


  21. Lou February 27th, 2009 9:42 am

    Lisa? What say you?

  22. Tracie March 2nd, 2009 9:14 am

    So I went and tried on every women’s boot I could find over the weekend and ended up buying these boots. As long as I’ve been in my Scarpas, I didn’t realize how badly they fit my feet until I tried on these Dynafits. The Dynafits are made for a much lower volume foot, which is great for me. For the sizing discussion, I ended up with the same size shell as I had in my Magics. I put my custom foot beds in and these boots fit like a glove right out of the box. I never had a major problem in terms of fit with them all day touring on Saturday and Sunday, and the performance is lightyears beyond my old Magics. I didn’t notice the slight increase in weight, probably due to the extremely flexible walk mode, and I LOVED the easy step-in toe fittings (first try every time!) I really liked the deep-grooved touring teeth on the bottom two buckles, but I’m not sure about the extendable “walking catch” on the top two buckles. They can’t be locked in when you’re actually buckled up, and they tend to rattle around a lot. Plus, they could be a lot shorter (my buckles just ended up flopping around when I tried using those things).

    I haven’t cooked the liners yet, but that’s on the menu with my boot fitter for this week. I could use a tiny bit more room in the calf area, which the liner forming should take care of. I think these boots are going to be fantastic for me – plus they’re even sexier in real life than in the pics!

  23. Lou March 2nd, 2009 9:19 am

    Tracie, always good news to hear someone got a comfortable boot fit! Thanks for sharing your results! Those catches on the top buckles can easily be removed. I usually just leave on installed, on the lower of the two upper buckles. But if you don’t use them just remove both of them. They’re still reasonably light, but indeed heavier than boots with more of a weight saving goal. But then, they provide more beef. Always the compromise.

  24. Jen March 11th, 2010 3:45 pm

    I just bought a pair of Zzero 4 Px TF boots. They are wicked light for sure. I have only skied in them a couple of times, but I can already see a huge difference on the uphill performance both because of weight and the low-volume fit keeping my heels in place.

    I was wondering if anyone had any input on whether these boots have a break-in period for their downhill performance. They feel very different than my Garmont Xena’s though it doesn’t feel like they are less stiff… in fact more so. I also wonder if anyone has experienced better performance downhill with a really light ski/binding setup. I am running Naxos with Atomic Pumori’s (about 5 years old) and I know there are lighter setups.

  25. Lou March 11th, 2010 5:35 pm

    Jen, any downhill performance breakin would just be for comfort, not really for downhill performance.

  26. Jen March 13th, 2010 12:30 pm

    You’re right. The boot put me into a slightly different position over the ski and it took me a couple runs to get used to it. Just raced in the ZZero’s and they were light on the up and totally solid in the very crazy downhill conditions (from supportable crust to icy bumps and blast snow). I passed some dudes in little carbon boots and nordic-looking skis with these – they don’t ski down as light as they are.

    So as an all-around, super light (the PX-TF is 1400 g) touring boot that can rip downhill, and of course if you’re a girl and have girl feet, this is a great boot. So long as you have a low-volume foot.

  27. Lou March 13th, 2010 6:02 pm

    Yeah, “getting used to it” is a better term! Lou

  28. J Dexter December 28th, 2010 9:25 am

    Hi Lou. I have a question about the Dynafit ZZero boots. These were the best fitting of all the (women’s) boots I tried and the fit was very snug with my custom foot beds before molding. I had the boots molded (before skiing) at the shop where I bought them and the boot fitter used double toe caps despite my suggestion that would create too much space. First time out they were definitely too roomy in the toe box so I went back for an adjustment. I’ve heard (and read on other pages on this blog) that Dynafit liners can be remolded, but the boot fitter claims they can’t, so he is adding foam pads to the outside of the linings to take up some of the volume. I figured I’d give this a try and then take them elsewhere if it doesn’t work. Still, I am mystified by this solution and somewhat concerned that the linings might be damaged in the process. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

  29. Lou December 28th, 2010 9:34 am

    It sounds like you might need another boot fitter. Liners can be re-molded, though they can loose a bit of thickness each time, especially if a bunch of major re-molds are done at higher temperatures. In the case of just one area needing less volume, my approach is to always heat gun the liner and puff it out a bit, before doing a re-mold. This can work especially well in the case of a liner that’s been compressed too much by double toe caps or other padding to compensate for bone spurs and such.

    Gluing foam to a heat mold liner is a last resort. Firstly, because with backcountry boots the foam tends to peel off when you’re in tour mode. Secondly, because you can’t heat mold the liner again once it has foam stuck all over it.

  30. J Dexter December 28th, 2010 10:15 am

    Thanks for the quick reply. I believe the foam is taped and not glued to the liner, but now I wonder if I’d be better off starting with an entirely new liner to get a longer life from it?

  31. Lou December 28th, 2010 10:31 am

    No reason to get too radical. Just try remolding the liners, if they work, great, if not, get another set.

  32. Jen March 25th, 2011 11:57 pm

    I have a dynafit and a fritschi free ride set up. I also have a 4 buckle boots as well as a 3 buckle. I usually end up grabbing the dynafit and tour determines the boot. I have found the fritschi has some of lateral movement when skiing, they do not tour as well, and feel heavy under foot. They are however easy to adjust between boots and they are easy to get in and out of. I have used my alpine boots in them before. All of this has been pointed out so far. Everyone I tour with started out on fritschi and now skis dynafit and they swear they will never go back. I do agree the breaks suck and that’s why I took them off. They are not hard to get in to unless the rubber your sole is worn down and then they can be a pain. I have never had the “icing up” problem and I used them over 70 days this year. If I were new the ski touring I would by a boot that fits well and is dynafit compatible, then find a ski that will work for me, and finally chose a binding. Going cheep will be hard to do and you may just end up getting a set-up that just doesn’t work for you. Finally, don’t buy used boots unless you plan to buy a new liner for $100-$250. Don’t forget the cost of skins, crampons, transceiver, shovel and probe. I wouldn’t go out with someone who couldn’t dig me out.

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