Black Diamond Factor Factor, Part 2 — Dave’s Take


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 29, 2008      

(part one)

Shop for Black Diamond backcountry skiing boots

Colorado backcountry skiing.
Next, World Cup?

Racers ready? 3…2…1…Go.

Blasting out of the start gate on the green course, rounding gates with grace and precision, 19.39 seconds of blinding speed and I have the Silver medal! A big thanks to my sponsors and family, and to Black Diamond for making such a solid…errr…AT Boot? Yup, as a NASTAR medalist, I can confidently say that BD has produced quite a worthy boot in their Factor AT ski boot.

I know, I know, the local NASTAR course is not your typical testing ground for AT bakcountry skiing boots. But, I can run it for free (I work the course 2 days a week for a pass), and as a freerider who has never raced, those gates and ruts expose any and every weakness in my technique and ability. More, the rest of my first day on the Factor’s offered a smorgasbord of terrain for further testing.

The day started with a skin up Aspen Highlands on beefy Kastle MX98 skis (review coming soon) mounted with Marker Dukes. Quite a nice outing, about 2,000 vert in just over an hour. The boot offered nearly a 1/4 pound (per foot) weight savings over my current AT Boots, which helped offset the heavier binding I was using. For the first run the crew headed straight for the Bowl, found some of the lower pitches to be in rare form, and proceeded to point ’em into Ball Room while everyone else achieved bragging rights by hiking to the top. I ate as much thigh deep fluff as I could on the way down, and was sold that I had a boot that could perform in the steeps at any level. So off for a few bump runs. Not a flaw, no sloppy skis, the boots were a solid connection from mind to line. And finally, some high speed runs to see how the boots held a carve. Again, as good as any alpine boot, pushing big skis through even bigger arcs. And eventually off to NASTAR…

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
The shoes at hand.

Along with having a solid overlapping shell, the Factor’s offer a rigid liner with their BOA Closure System. This system allows you to tighten or loosen the fit of the liner with a simple turn/push of a knob. Many of my knuckle-dragging friends have raved about a similar feature found in their snowboard boots for years, and now I know why. A better fit than laceless liners, and less rope burns on my hands from tightening laced liners. This isn’t the most plush liner out there. But over the course of a day it packs out less, thus eliminating the necessity of tightening your boots late-day to avoid your feet feeling like they’re swimming in empty buckets.

The kicker with these boots is the interchangeable sole blocks. Key for a one-boot quiver: Spend resort days on the Kastles and my Volkl Mantras using the Factor ISO Alpine blocks for reliable binding release, then swap to AT blocks for better traction and a rockered sole while backcountry skiing. Plus the AT blocks feature Dynafit fittings, so my binding options are unlimited. The heels require removing the liner to swap, but despite this inconvenience, this assures you don’t loose any screws if they loosen. Sole swap took me about 15 minutes. The sole-boot interface felt solid throughout the testing period. Over four days I was able to easily drive three pairs of big sticks, including my 185 Kilowatts, with no noticeable movement.

Another nice option in the Factor’s is adjustable forward lean. Offering 8 degrees of customization in 3 steps. However, this cannot be done on the fly, so figure out what setting you like and plan on leaving it once you’re at the slopes.

My final day on the Factor’s brought me out to the Marble, Colorado backcountry again. I spent my first two Marble winters in my alpine boots, and was concerned that the stiffness of the boots would be reminiscent of those first days and awkward climbs. After one steep switchback, I knew that wouldn’t be the case. Factor definitely climbed like a champ, or more importantly, an AT boot. The ski down, previously assumed to be another effortless pow run (of the type were getting used to during our record winter), ended up proving the boot’s ability to power through any condition. Eight different flavors of wind-affected snow greeted us, and I was still able to send snow cookies flying.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Detail of sole configuration, they fit precise and strong, but we’re surprised you need two different tools for the swap (Phillips and hex).

Lou told me I had to offer at least one downside to keep WildSnow authentic. Okay, if I was used to lighter weight backcountry boots the mass of these shoes would be a factor — but I’ve not been seduced to the light side yet, so no problem there. One bummer is that the sole swap takes two different tools* — with one being an allen wrench that not every freerider will have rolling around the floor of their Suby. Luckily, as an avid mountain biker, my tool box has plenty of allen wrenches. However I did have trouble locating a full sized philips screwdriver to remove the heal block. Yep, not many gripes. Sorry Lou.

*(note: the boots I used were a pre-production model, hopefully a toolbox will not be necessary to change the sole in next year’s release).

There are a lot of stiffer AT shoes entering the market. As BD’s first boot offering, Factor is definitely in the running as a first choice. It’s nice to see AT boots coming out that are not a compromise for the downhill, just true do-all boots.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Lou’s attention went to the Dynafit compatible fittings like a dog to a bone. He pointed out how solid the rear fitting looks, as it’s molded into the boot plastic (an interesting difference as Dynafit brand heel fittings have been known to get loose and come off, perhaps this will prevent that from occurring?). The steel of the fitting is also thicker than the Dynafit brand fittings (indicated by left arrows) . The arrows to the right point to how the boots have a nice large entry slot for stepping into the Dynafit heel unit. According to Lou, this is nice if your boot is slightly out of line when you step in. The front fittings tested okay, but were not as nice as the step-in slotted ones that Dynafit brand boots have. I guess Dynafit is keeping those for themselves — can’t blame ’em.

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Comments

66 Responses to “Black Diamond Factor Factor, Part 2 — Dave’s Take”

  1. Stewart January 29th, 2008 9:29 am

    A nice start, but I get the idea – looks and skis like a downhill boot, however I still want to know:
    – what are they to get on in cold temperatures (snow camping)?
    – what are they like to walk in all day (range of movement , flex etc.)?
    – what’s the fit of the shell (narrow like Raichle or boxy like Scarpa)?
    – can the liner be heat molded, can I get a precise fit or am I going to have to pony up for another set of intuitions?
    – what’s that about boots packing out over the course of the day (what were you skiing on)?

    And an observation – my snowboarder friends were always breaking their BOA style systems.

    Thanks.

  2. Lou January 29th, 2008 10:16 am

    nope

  3. Lou January 29th, 2008 10:19 am

    Stewart, good questions and thanks for leading the way in making the comments part of the blog. I’m sure Dave will comment sometime today.

  4. scottyb January 29th, 2008 10:09 am

    Got a question for you Dynafit users and or boot Dr’s;

    I have a set of Scarpa Spirits, w/o the Dynafit binding mounts. Is it possible to install them myself or have a shop do this? The outline of the mounts are there on the boots and the soles have the lead in notches. Thanks for your help.

    Scotty

  5. Lee Lau January 29th, 2008 11:16 am

    What are they like for hiking; frontpointing etc?

    What was your previous boot Dave and how do these compare? How do these compare to the other boots you tested (I believe it was the Axon?)

  6. Lou January 29th, 2008 12:24 pm

    P.S., I think the boy went skiing, and that’s where I’m headed. Gotta get on those F3s! More later!

  7. randosteve January 29th, 2008 2:44 pm

    Stewart,

    The boos aren’t too hard to get into in cold temps. I skied them in sub zero in Colo…and they were fine. Walk mode is very nice. Fit is wide an roomy in the toes and nice and snug in the heel. Liners are fully heat moldable.

  8. Bruce January 29th, 2008 4:04 pm

    How soft is the sole? See the little indentations where the boots rests on the dynafit top screws in walk mode one post height? In my old boots this happened, harder material less friction. The screws heads are gouging out holes that the boot sticks in, suction or friction and I can feel this while walking. This is happening in my dynafit zeros 50 days plus of ski touring!

  9. dave downing January 29th, 2008 4:06 pm

    Looks like I’m joining the party late today. Sorry, had to deal with some untracked at Highlands this morning:) Anyhow…

    Stewart, I’ll answer you questions as best I can:

    – skiing the Factor a couple weeks ago with a high temp around 6 degrees at the bottom of the mountain, no issues getting in them.

    – if I am walking in my boots all day, then I need to seriously re-evaluate my route. I should be skiing more. This boot (for me) is about accessing the goods (and skiing them), not mountaineering. There are other boots more specific to that activity. As for skinning all day, I didn’t have any epics in them, but I had no issues with fit or comfort.

    – I was comfortable in these boots and have a wide foot.

    – the liner can be heat molded.

    – As for boots packing out, this is more of a resort issue (or a Greg Hill issue). Many liners will start to pack out a bit after 12+ runs (18,000 vert?). Especially if you are skiing aggressively. If I get a pair of Factors, it’s to serve as my ONLY boot, so this is important to me. They should also pack out less over the course of a season.

    – And as for the BOA-style systems breaking, I’ve not witnessed that problem. I love how it works, so I’ll take the risk.

    And Lee Lau, regarding your questions:

    I didn’t walk a lot in these boots, but my old AT boots (Lowa Structura Pro’s) have a great range of motion in walk mode, and I didn’t like walking in them. I prefer leather for anything long distance:) The range of motion was not a deterrent for me considering they ski down as well as my Alpine boots.

    As for the Axon comparison, they both skied great, but I like the ISO Alpine Blocks since I have more alpine skis than touring set ups. For both boots though, you need to ask yourself, do you want a better accent or decent? Or a little of both. I’m all about the decent, so I gave these a good review. It all comes down to personal preference.

  10. david downing January 29th, 2008 5:38 pm

    Hi Bruce.
    Those indentations are NOT from touring in the dynafits, I know this b/c i had just pulled the AT blocks (brand new) out of a plastic bag and was installing them for the first time 🙂

  11. Stewart January 30th, 2008 12:40 am

    Dave,

    Thanks for the additional info. In the past I’ve gone with Garmont over Scarpa and Dynafit, because they’ve fitted my narrow feet and skinny legs (Raichle Flexons are my perfect fit) so much better. Can I assume from your experience (or yours’ Steve) that Black Diamond boots are designed to cater to wider feet? I don’t think you can do both. Lou, do you have anyone testing the new Garmonts?

  12. Bruce January 30th, 2008 6:31 am

    Future problem

  13. Lou January 30th, 2008 9:40 am

    We’ve got another Garmont Axon review coming soon, from a test that included a good number of days in the boots. We plan on testing the other Dynafit compatible Garmont beef boot just as soon as we get a sample that fits.

  14. BJ Sbarra January 30th, 2008 10:45 am

    those boots sound rad. I don’t know though, if they fit your wide feets, I might be out of luck…

  15. Mike March 5th, 2008 4:57 pm

    Are the bottom two buckles reversible? They look easy to knock open when you’re booting it, particularly the 3rd one.

  16. Olin March 6th, 2008 12:55 am

    I am new to Dynafits (3 days) but I think I like what BD is doing with the replacable soles with the binding fitting as part of that replacement. The Dynafit fittings aren’t part of the replacable soles on any other brands are they? After walking a knife edge limestone ridge, I get the impression from my gouged boots that both toe and heel fittings could easily get damaged rendering it impossible to get into your bindings. This is rather concerning – no? Anyone ever experience this? Like BD says ‘its all about the down”.

    I’m wanting to ski the resort more (to get better… so I can ski better lines in the b/c). Boots are a challenge – I have a small foot – I just got Scarpa Divas in a 23.5! I’m having fun with them but I would like to get a freeride boot like the Factor or Method for some added stiffness/cuff height/DIN plates. BD says it will come as small as a 24 – hopefully thats small enough, All the shell fits I’ve been getting (except Scarpa) have been 24. Anyone know how small the new Scarpas are going to be offered? Any other mens Dynafit compatible boots that small?

  17. Lou March 6th, 2008 7:32 am

    Olin, both the BD boots and the Dynafit ZZeus have swap soles with Dynafit fittings. The Dynafit toe fittings are hardened steel molded into the boot, and damage is rare. Heel fitting a bit more vulnerable, but still, damage is rare. I wouldn’t worry about it unless you’re out on the rocks and scree quite a bit.

  18. Dav March 12th, 2008 9:09 pm

    Hey there Dave,
    Nice to hear you were out on the Kastle MX 98’s. Can’t wait to hear what you thought. I too have been touring on the Factors and Kastles, pretty sweet setup!

  19. dave downing April 3rd, 2008 2:22 pm

    Dav.
    I plan on trying that setup a little more if jsmith can get me the skis again:) You know penn and nate violated the first pair of mx98’s with tele bindings…for shame for shame.

  20. Lou April 3rd, 2008 11:35 pm

    Sheesh, tele bindings and they wouldn’t let me re-drill for some Dynafits?! Where are those guys coming from, anyway (grin)?

  21. dave downing April 29th, 2008 11:28 am

    Dav. I finally got the go ahead to ski the MX98’s some more, and those are a super sweet ski. Lou could post a review, but I think he’s concerned about a positive review on a heavy ski set up without dynafits 🙂 It threatens the world as he knows it.

  22. chris trollan August 23rd, 2008 11:16 am

    Concerning the BOA system, I have used them snowboarding for years. I recommend them. The system works great. Used to be breakage. I was told they aleviated the problem by switching from steel to titanium for the cables. I have never had a problem with the cables, but you need to be careful not to get an abrupt kink in them. This requires you to PAY ATTENTION when you tighten them up, and not allow all that loose cable to form a tight loop as it feeds into the reel. If you do, it is a matter of time before the cable will FRAY.
    The other issue we’ve had is with the round reel-knob FALLING OFF. Folks here keep a spare and a tiny allen key in their packs, and locktite the threads, as you’re HOSED trying to snowboard out on a boot that is flopping open. Not such a big deal with alpine boots with buckles on the outside. I’m not sure, but the BOA reel-knob may have a more intelligent fastener now that alleviates this. Mine are four years old- plenty of time for them to have figured it out. Juneau is a huge hold out for Clicker bindings, so I speak of a boo-coo amount of experience.

  23. jack October 15th, 2008 2:48 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Would the Factors (with AT soles) release OK when used with Marker Jesters ? Reason I ask I most likely won’t (shame on me) use my Lotusses 138 for skinning. Since I’m a lazy sob, I don’t like to switch soles every time I switch between my AT skis and the 138’s which I will use for the secret (beep beep) places I can reach with a lift, a cat or any other pollution-causin’ device.

  24. Lou October 15th, 2008 6:02 pm

    Why in the world buy a sole swap boot if you’re not using that feature? Pray tell?

    As for Factors working in the Jester, if Jester has a good AFD and toe height adjustment, I don’t see why you’d have any problem — other than the soft AT sole rubber detracting from the solid feel you’d otherwise get from such a system.

  25. Bill Forrest November 7th, 2008 8:26 pm

    BD Factor – issues and comments. Boots seem a little narrow rather than wider as someone mentioned. Scarpas have always fit my foot good and these are tight across the forefoot and the instep. More of a Garmont fit. The other issue is the seal at the very front of the overlap at the toe (on top). It’s not water-tight !!! and what they’ve put in there for a seal is already cracking and coming out! I’ll let you know if I find a solution to the seal problem.

  26. Lou November 7th, 2008 9:23 pm

    Bill, for years and years, duct tape. I’ve never seen anything better.

  27. Beaver November 27th, 2008 5:35 pm

    Dave you said you prefer them to the Axon for descending. Why? Are they stiffer? more evenly flexed? ski better??? I tried both on and am torn but am leaning towards the Factor because it seems like it will walk better and skiing wise I can’t really tell in a shop but they seem similar. One of my other concerns is with the sole swap, it seems like just one more thing that can screw up.

  28. jack December 8th, 2008 9:09 am

    About the width: What would be the following order, widest first, Factors, Endorphins, Zzeuss ? And if this is the following order, what would (at a given size, let’s take 29.0) would be the difference in millimeters between Endorphins and Zeuss ?

    I have a pair of Endorphins, but like to switch to Zzeuss, but I’m afraid they may be too narrow. Trying on a pair before buying would be tough since nobody sells Dynafit in my country…..

  29. Lou December 8th, 2008 9:32 am

    Jack, width at what part of your foot? And do you have access to a boot fitter who can mold the liners for you, etc.?

  30. Lou December 8th, 2008 12:03 pm

    Factor and ZZeus are actually very similar in width in that area. ZZeus is easier to punch since it’s made with PU plastic. I’ve not measured the Endorphin yet. and may never as we generally stick to Dynafit compatible boots in our work here.

    Scarpa Skookum has good width at ball of foot, have you looked at those?

  31. dave downing December 8th, 2008 2:13 pm

    @Bill Forrest : Regarding the width of the Factors/Methods, the production model seemed to have a tighter fit than the pre-production models last season (that i made my judgement on).

    The reason seemed to be the elastic strap on the liner that crosses over the foot. This elastic definitely made the boot feel extra snug. After skiing few days at the resort (more milage for fitting), my only trouble spot is my 6th toe in front of the boot. (for the record, I have NEVER had a boot wide enough to not require some punching out). The average width still seems average to wide-enough.

    As Lou has been saying, seems most of the boots are very similar in width, and a proper boot fit is the key.

  32. dave downing December 8th, 2008 2:17 pm

    @ Beaver : Regarding my preference of the Method/Factors over the Axons is purely based on my like of the overlap construction boot. This design has a more consistent flex that I prefer and am used to from alpine boots. The Tongue-construction of the Axon feels too locked into one position while descending for my tastes. But don’t get me wrong, if I was forced to ski the Axons on a regular basis, I’d still be very happy with their ability to both climb and ski aggressively. They aren’t bad, just different! 🙂

  33. Austin January 5th, 2009 6:58 pm

    A little personal feedback on the factors.

    I recently bought a pair of factors, they fit (me) great, and are STIFF. First time out on the boots I bailed and got up to find one of the buckles (second from the top) lying on the snow next to me. I guess I must have crashed onto my ski with the edge directly on the buckle. I’m not overly impressed as these set me back over 700$. I’m thinking maybe they neglected to put the backing washers in when the rivets holding the buckle on were installed. The rest of the buckles have them though, so maybe not. I had the boot repaired at a shoe repair place but they did a pretty terrible job, the buckle was loose and I was able to pull it off without using any tools. I suppose this is what I get for bying a first generation product.

  34. Mike M January 6th, 2009 10:03 am

    Hey all,

    I’m new here. 5″ 10″. 175#, live in Bend, OR. Just coming off a 3 year leg rehab from getting hit by a car. managed 10 days last year and have been out 3 times on front country so far this year. I ride Bandit XX’s and Volkl Katana/Marker Dukes (new to me). Used to be an emerging expert skier before the accident but am now re-training at Mt. Bachelor. Question – it’s new boot time. I’ve been in Tecnica Icon TNT”s for a long time and am thinking now of the Factor’s or Methods so I can expand into the back country (hence the new Katana/Duke set up). Anyone know the flex factor on roughly ’02 TNT’s? They were about $500 when I got them so I figure their 100+ but if anyone knows it’ll help me decide whether to go with the 110 or 130 boots from Black Diamond. My gut is the 110 since my left leg is not that strong yet, but it will be by the end of the season and don’t want to end up with too soft a boot.

    My objective is to ski about 70% front country, 30% back country with the occasional overnight. I appreciate all pointers.

    Respectfully, Mike M

  35. Chris January 13th, 2009 1:23 am

    I feel that I have put a enough days on my BD factors to give a good review. I dont work for BD, I dont have sponsors and I paid $680cdn for these green machines.

    I mainly ski in the Sea to Sky area of British Columbia,

    So this year I have put 20 odd days on these boot, broken down it would be something like this this is not exact as I haven’t been keeping a very good log this year. come to think of there might be a few more days at Whistler……
    10 days at whistler/blackcomb
    2 over night ski tours (4 days total) (Spear head, and Brew hut)
    5 day trips, (aussie mt Jofery, 2 days on brohm sledding up and then skinning for the goods, Cloud burst, Round Mt.)
    3 and a half days sled skiing at brohm, Brandy Wine and Triconi (X1.5 half day was only one run, as there was sled issues.. )

    In this time I have been on every thing from boiler ice, to over the head powder to rain crust, to deep sticky west coast cement crud and bumps…. Whistler might not have allot of snow but just a little south things have filled in very nice.

    My over all impression is that this is the first “touring” (i use that term lightly for a lack of a better word) boot that I have ever skied that was build around skiing down the hill. I find that they ski great, since my first day on them I have not used my alpine boots by choice (more on that latter). Flex ratings are bunk, as there is no standard, but i find them to be as stiff for/aft as most 120ish free ride Alpine boots, and again as stiff or stiffer latterly then most free ride alpine boots. I personally do not want any thing much or really at all stiffer then these. I found that the stock forward lean was a little to strait up for me but once I pushed them as far forward as you can they were much better. They did take a day at whistler to tweak the cant, and forward lean, but that was no harder then any other boot I have had .

    Well skiing they have more then enough power to drive big skis, and yet are soft enough to absorb some impacts. What i noticed about them more then any thing is how they don’t flex backwards at all!!! I find that most AT boots flex backwards just a little bit and if you ever get bucked into the back seat it can be very hard to recover, this is not an issue for me with the Factors.

    I can say with out issue that they will hold an edge as well as any similarly flex rated alpine boot on ice. I have no confidence issues with them well dropping cliffs or charging wide open lines with lots of speed. Some people are taking about using them for racing, In my mind that might be pushing it a little, but for recreational fun races I’m sure they would be fine. That being said I can guarantee you are not going to see them on the World Cup podium any time soon. (i could see them on some free ski podiums??? )

    On the UP
    These boots are not perfect for skinning in. Alll AT gear is a sacrifice one way or the other. The Factors sacrifice little or nothing on the down hill but you do pay for that some on the up. As others have mentioned it would be nice if they flexed back a few more degrees well in walk mode, but I have found that after a few hours in them I just changed my stride a little and now i don’t even notice it. This is really only an issue on flat areas, If you are on a steep skin track i think you would be hard pressed to notice this, I personally don’t. My big issue when climbing with them is actually the sole. I find when boot packing on rocks the area in the middle of the boot has no grip and if you are not paying attention and you step on a rock there you might as well be walking on ice!! I was hoping that this would have been better with the AT soles in place but it didn’t change a thing. Obviously they are not the lightest touring boots either, that being said I’m not the lightest tourer as well.

    Some issues,
    There is some concern with the durability of these boots. I for one don’t think that is unfounded. I have now had 2 minor issues with mine. I have the second buckle fall off well boot packing up the Aussie, and the other day the ski walk tab fell off. saving grace to that is the boot locked into ski mode and I was at whistler. I think that the issues are just with the finishes and not with the main boot body its self. I find that riding a sled with ski boots on is very hard on the boot so this may have expedited some issues with the finishes… But this all being said BD has been amazing with warranty. When the buckle that fell off was lost, I got them back to the shop, and within an hour of taking them in I got a call from the BD sales rep, apologizing for the inconvenience, and was told that if i needed the boots the next day I could just take a new set from the store (i declined as i didn’t want to have to re fit new boots again as i did have to do a little work to get the fit dialed) so he express shipped a whole set of new buckles and mounting hardware that arrived at my door the next day. This was the same with the walk tab except the parts were sent to the store were they fixed the issue, and I had boots back again the next day. Both instances the sales rep fallowed up a few days later to make sure every thing was taken care of. In that time I ended up using my old Alpine boots for a day. All and all i can not say enough about the BD warranty and customer service. Just off their customer service i would buy another pair of their boots!!

    So my conclusion is that BD has built what they said they did. I have never seen these boots advertised as a touring boot, and in my mind they are not. They are a free ride boot that sacrifices nothing on down hill performance, but still lets you comfortably skin back up. They are a high end alpine boot with a walk function, not a alpine touring boot this is not to say you couldn’t do extended tours in them, hell my roommate just did the Wapta on dynastar XXLs with Trekkers and Lange Alpine boots…Im sure the Factors would have been better…. I have full confidence in them for skiing big lines, cliffs, etc and plan to use them exclusively for that. IF I am going on more of a tour Im thinking that I might start to leave them at home and use my trusty Mega Rides, as they are much nicer to skin in. That being said I would really have to think what to wear on 2 day trips as I the Factors might open up some more aggressive descents.

    I realize that I didn’t comment on fit etc, as for me they fit great with some minor fitting, and like all ski boots if they don’t fit you then they just won’t work. I do like the lacing thing on the liners. but I might be getting some new liners as I find the BD ones to be a little cold.

    I hope this helps any one interested in these boots.

  36. Lou January 13th, 2009 3:13 am

    Very nice Chris, thanks for an excellent take! That should be very helpful to folks who are boot shopping. I agree that Factor is more an alpine boot that tours than it is a touring boot that skis alpine. That’s fine, so long as people realize what they’re getting. Kind of surprising the cuff travel isn’t better, but like you said, on steeper climbs it’s not a big deal (though uncomfortable on the flats, in my opinion).

  37. Sverre February 7th, 2009 8:54 pm

    BD factor boot:
    After skiing these boots for 24days i feel like i can give a short review.
    Im gona make it short:

    Pros:
    Good flex, give the support it should under normal skiing.
    Great fit.
    Inner boot is of good quality.
    Overall a great boot, but with one big issue:

    Cons:
    Walking function: Here is my problem with this boot. Saturday the 07.02.2009 outside Voss Norway the left boots AT function broke. And i also befor this had issues with this function on bought boot giving in at high pressure when skied hard. Me and a friend were jumping som BC cliffs to day(5-7 meters high) with soft good landings. But for som reason the left shoe gave in, and im now back at my racing boots from Lange. My personal though is that the AT function isnt strong enough. I realy hoped BD finaly hade made the perfect shoe for the active freerider, but im afraid not. Right now im just very disapointet, and feel like i ones more have too head for a racing boot. Im sending the boot back to BD, and ill be sure to tell you guys is i just got a bad pair.

    Personal:
    Skies: 9th THA 187
    Bindings: Marker Duke
    Persnal weight: 90kg

  38. Lou February 7th, 2009 9:47 pm

    This is turning into the best boot review ever done on WildSnow, thanks to you guys!

  39. Mychal February 11th, 2009 7:07 pm

    I think i have also broken the AT function of the boot. Unscrewed the one screw on the walk mode switch to move it for more forward lean. I screwed it down pretty tight but not too much for fear of stripping the little soft steel plate that holds it all together. I also used a little blue lock tight. The next day I was hitting some bumps in bounds at Mt. Baker pretty hard and herd a pop in each boot. Now when I am locked down there is a little front to back play in each boot. I have taken apart that area again but cannot see where the play is occurring as there is a lot of plastic in the way. I think the easy fix would be to have a little beefier screw plate and two screws, but I am not sure how much the weight gain would be, so that idea might be a no go.

  40. Mychal February 11th, 2009 7:13 pm

    Sorry i should mention that I use to race and am 6ft 4in and about 200lbs. Last year I ran Alpine trekkers with my race setup and bent 3 sets trying to make turns up hills.

  41. Christian Trautmann August 10th, 2009 12:55 pm

    Probably the worst boot quality my friend and I ever tried. A friend and I bought 20 days ago this boots, the first pair that failed was my friend’s boots at the 4th day of use with a normal use. The ski/walk switch failed and one boot got stucked in walk mode, really nice to ski by that way.

    My pair failed the 2nd day of use, a buckle got broken, with a normal use…

    I sent an email to BD and they wrote me: “…Also we have new Ski/walk mechanisms that you should both install in your boots…”
    I asked in the store where I bought them, and they had no idea about this… Then I replied BD asking how to get the switch, and got no answer.

    And they also wrote me: “…This is the first year for these boots and things are inevitably going to come up…”

    Just because of this do I have to deal with defective boots? My friend and my whole backcountry vacations in the Chilean Andes where screwed up.

    I would really think about buying this boots.

    Christian Traumann

  42. Lou August 10th, 2009 2:18 pm

    My take? Anyone in ANY manufacturing sector who tries a first year product from a company who has never made that product before should be willing to be involved in some beta testing. Beyond that, this is year two, those bugs are worked out as far as I know, if you need to upgrade last year’s boots I know for a fact that BD customer service is one of the best out there and getting the parts to swap in shouldn’t be a problem.

  43. Stephanie August 31st, 2009 9:53 pm

    Any advice for a woman who owns to the Shiva on how to actually remove the sole blocks? Thanks to my wimpy arms I cannot, for the life of me, remove the toe piece, for instance. It’s a pulling motion from the toe, once the screws are removed, right?

  44. Stephanie August 31st, 2009 10:04 pm

    Oops – never mind – I found it on the Factor/Method comparo post!

  45. Lou September 1st, 2009 6:28 am

    Yeah, you just whack the boot on the edge of a workbench or use a rubber mallet…

  46. h2ofreezes December 13th, 2009 11:25 pm

    i’m 5’7″, 188lbs, aggressive skier with old uber stiff racing boots for inbounds and megarides for b/c with dynafit bindings.

    bought these Nov ’09 as a replacement for 80+% resort, slackcountry and simple up/down b/c days.

    good:
    love the edge control, stiffness (i cannot stand soft boots. my megarides feel like wet noodles to me), angulation and adjustability.
    really solid performance so far.
    no durabilty issues yet

    cons:
    cannot stand the boa system- too much fiddling with no real benefit that i can feel
    these boots remind me of the old lange boot bite when exiting. it gets the top of my left foot every time.
    liners seem very cold. lots of venting on tongue above the instep matched with poor water seal on all aspects
    skied on simple cold day with no new snow and the liners end up very wet on the outside with plenty of moisture inside the shell

    wish list:
    would prefer reversed toe buckles or ability to do so with screws versus rivets

    question:
    have other folks experienced unusually wet or waterproofing issues with this boot?
    does anyone else have significant gaps between foot and cuff pieces on front and sides allowing snow/water to come in?
    anyone seeing significant access from walk mode lever into the boot? i can see light easily into the boot cuff.

    trying to figure out if i have a bad example with poor tolerances or if this is the way it is.

    i’m planning to swap an Intuition liner for the BD liner but with the lack of waterproofness not sure another liner is going to improve the warmth and/or the ability to easily get in and out of the boot.

    love the performance of the shell but disappointed with liner and waterproofness.

    any input would be much appreciated.

  47. Lou December 14th, 2009 7:37 am

    Aftermarket liners are your first thing, after that, judicious use of duct tape if you’ve got water entry problems. One of the disadvantages of overlap boot shells is they’re much harder to make water resistant. That’s been going on for around 40 years or so. While I like the overlap AT boots that are the rage these days, one has to laugh at how an ancient design is spun as the latest and greatest — and still has some of the same problems.

  48. h2ofreezes December 14th, 2009 9:47 am

    thanks Lou. couldn’t agree more about duct tape and 40 year old construction.

    boot and alpine binding design are very mature but at $700+ there should not be gaping areas or the need for duct tape off the shelf. Better yet if the shell design has these poor elements then they should have bolstered the liner to make up for it rather than me have to add $200 to the price to swap out liners off the bat.

    that is not a very “green” design to throw away new liners for Intuition liners at the start. Maybe they can offer a shell only or shell/liner pricing options.

    i’ve owned many overlap boots as i am sure you have and i have never had a boot that leaks this much. last night i had a dream of glueing windshield wiper pieces underneath the cuff where it contacts the foot. i’ve yet to ski this boot in above the cuff powder so i am a little worried.

    just wanted to see if anyone else was experiencing the same issue.

    looks like this guy was experiencing the leakage issue (not sure on the etiquette of posting links to other reviews but i found this one helpful as well)

  49. Lou December 14th, 2009 10:12 am

    h2o, good points. The links are okay, but when you’re over there how about a link back to here?

  50. Lost forwards December 18th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Hi
    After reading lots of reviews about BD Factors I went to try them with an open mind. They felt great but sadly the ski/walk mode on the left boot broke in the shop after about 10 seconds! This is terrible. they found the cause but had to rob a part from another boot. I was not prepared to pay so much to be part of BDs test program.
    I then tried Garmont Endorphins. Wow, stiff good looking and feel they will last for ever. They don’t fit everyone but I love them. Narrower tahn most but I went up a size for toe room when hiking up. BD have a way to go on quality and also stiffness. Oh and colour! Vomit Green, come on!

  51. Biggsie December 18th, 2009 5:32 pm

    Lost:

    The ski/walk mode was a failure point last year and is redesigned for ’10. You sure you were trying on the latest? Word is BD will replace any broken ski/walk switches no questions asked.

    The BD’s fit my feet and I love ’em. First boot that I’ve found where I can switch to walk model and not have to unbuckle or unstrap to get the full range of free motion. They nailed it.

  52. Jason December 19th, 2009 1:48 am

    Has anyone used the Intuition liners in their Factors? I am thinking of doing it. Just want some thought on it. Just got my wife some Scarpa Star Lite boots with the liner, and I like the look of it.

    I hate the BOA deal too… dumb for sure. What is the point again?

  53. h2ofreezes December 19th, 2009 11:00 am

    the Boa helps stiffen up the liner to compensate for some of the plastic but the primary reason they say is to hold your foot in place when you are skinning and all your buckles are undone.

    either way it definately helps but it is such a pain in the butt i think you could have accomplished the same thing in a different way and not have to pay a licensing fee to Boa.

    i tried these boots for several ski days in the resort and worked very hard to talk myself into them but i couldn’t. i just returned them.

    to clarify as this is a review, i was looking for a 80%+ inbounds boot with slackcountry abilities and a higher performance boot regardless of weight for the simple up/down short backcountry days.

    because this boot would be primarily resort it just wasn’t stiff enough and the liner was a headache. when i found myself researching Intuition liners and then looking for a Lange Banshee Pro alpine boot liner which felt great in the Factor i said th enough.

    Tip: i kept getting boot bite on my instep when removing the Boa liner. i finally figured out a if i left the liner w/ Boa tight and removed liner and foot from shell tobether there was no pain.

    at some point i will get a one-boot quiver but i think this is a fast evolving segment so i will wait.

    thanks for a great forum.

  54. powderuser January 5th, 2010 2:59 pm

    well, i got the factors, too, for use as an one quiver boot as i don´t tour that much.
    while i am impressed with the downhill performance, my impreesion is (coming from an krypton pro boot) after skiing them 6 days as follows

    – got the 28,5 size (left foot is 28,1 cm)
    – felt tight in the shop
    – left toes go numb, cant stand the liner for more than an hour (they are unmolded)
    – wehen using my old alpine liners they are ok, but a tad too wide
    – lots of snow coming into the shell 🙁
    – on the upper cuff the liners are tweaking on the outer side
    – have skinny calfs, so had to reposition upper buckles

    – walk mode is fine
    – flex is perfect for me
    – overall good boots for me minus the numbness, and snow inside boot

    now i am wondering what to do
    * grind downn the inner sole
    * heat mold liner (don´t want to do, to not get themm ovaerall too wide)

    thanks for listening

  55. dave February 5th, 2010 3:09 pm

    hi all.
    a few of my thoughts after another year in my BD methods (I downgraded from Factors for a friendlier tour). Note, these are my backcountry boots, my alpine/resort boots are size 1 shell size smaller:

    Comparing the stiffness of BDs or any overlap-cuff design to a Garmont Endorphin is apples to oranges. It’s all about what you like. I really don’t like tongue boots.

    regarding the BOA liner, i personally like them. Easier than laces. I always snug them up for climbing. A loose liner gives me blisters every time. I have some new intuition liners in my alpine boots, keep wanting to test them in my Methods, but i can’t bring myself to do it.

    If you boot doesn’t fit well, and you have molded the liner and had some boot work done, then please do so. It’s soooo much nicer 🙂

    I’m still happy with the BD boots, however, there are a lot of other great options too. Find what’s best for you…

  56. Jrock February 7th, 2010 7:55 pm

    I got some Intuition Alpine wraps fitted for mine. Made all the difference in the world and really made the boot come alive. The BOA liner is the weakest link IMO.

    I put the BOA liners in my old snowboards boots where they belong.

  57. Cristobal Demarta June 28th, 2010 11:14 am

    My take:

    I purchased the boots in late season, almost a year ago (notice that in S.A. season is June-Sept). A friend did the same. Combining experiences, over a period of almost a year, we have had not one, but three mayor issues with these boots:
    1) First day, first skinning, the left ski/walk switch of my boot broke, leaving me in “walk mode” at high altitude, without the possibility of skiing back down. A long walk back home later, BD changed the switches for both pairs for free, claiming that it was their fault, thair failed product, so we took them back and kept skiing until…
    2) While sidecountry skiing, my friend busted his upper right buckle. As it broke in the non-mobile part, wich is riveted to the boot, we had no chance to field repair it in a confident manner so it was, again, a hard walk back down for us. In spite of being in Chile (South America) and therefore, without brand representation, warranty still worked: This time BD sent new pairs, and a lot of spare buckles to say sorry with. We kept the boots, althought we always worried about the durability of its moving parts… but then
    3) yesterday, my right (alpine) toe sole just ripped off the boot, taking with it most of the lower toe box. the screws kept in place the replaceable part and a a result the piece that bursted out is HUGE. Removing the liner and sole, I can stick my hand out through the toe box!
    I was just skiing wet, shreded powder in side country and this fracture occured without any warning. I took a tumbling fall but fortunately, as in previous accidents, I got out uninjured. No one that i know has ever seen a boot breaking like this. We are still more awed than pissed.

    Today is a national holiday so i cannot contact the store to get my money back and buy some other at+ski boots and therefore keep skiing. Choices here aren’t unlimited but i hope i’ll manage to buy a boot that isn’t such a serious threat and get back up in the mountains asap.
    I think BD has some amazing products in other areas. In fact, mi setup is BD veredicts+barons and i love to ski on them.

    As I’m not a fluent english-speaking, I rarely review any items, but I though this experiences are worth sharing, even in Tarzan-esque engrish. If you like to see pictures or read (in spanish) an extended review of these boots, go to: http://www.puffder.blogspot.com

  58. Patrick November 11th, 2010 3:57 am

    Probably the worst boot quality I ever tried.

    After HALF A SEASON I found on my Factors:

    1. „Nibbles“ on the ISO DIN alpine sole on contacts with binding (front as well as rear),
    you can see a photo here
    http://www.freeskiing.cz/pokec.asp?ch_rel_id=1359&ch_rel_type=c

    The bottom of the sole is almost untouched, the damage is not from rocks as this season I did not walk too much.

    I had been using the same bindings (Marker Duke) on my Lange 130 and Garmont Adrenaline for many years. The Factors look like my Garmonts after 6 seasons of heavy usage. (and Lange are not even touched on the binding contact area.)

    2. Cracked footbeds, (definitelly not caused by pulling them out). The first cracks appeared on the footbed after first day, little spacers under heel got broken afer two days, the whole thing got broken after 5months.

    These boots are not skiable after a very short time, simple because the sole is not ISO DIN compliant anymore.

    BD local representative told me that I have been using them, that is why they are damaged. I did not get any warranty repair.

    Never buy them if you really ski!

  59. Lou November 11th, 2010 9:26 am

    Patrick, to be fair, BD did have some manufacturing quality issues with the first generation of these boots. The big one was the lean lock, which broke on occasion. As far as I can tell they have diligently addressed that and other concerns, and as far as I’ve heard the latest generation of the Factor is on par with other high quality ski mountaineering boots.

    I’d add that no gear as complex as a ski boot can ever be perfect, so thanks for calling attention to things we should be watching out for should we choose the Factor as our ride.

  60. Patrick November 11th, 2010 10:14 am

    Lou, to be fair. It is all about continuous development. Perhaps BD accepts this type of warranty repairs.
    But BD local reseller arrogantly refused my request for warranty repair. I did not buy the boots from BD but from the reseller, they are according to our law fully responsible for the warranty.

    For me these boots are expensive crap that did not last longer than 5months.

    They are not my first boots I have been skiing for 35years.
    My advise to others is: There are other makers on a market, try them first, because you cannot get less durable boots than BD Factors.

  61. Lou November 11th, 2010 10:23 am

    Patrick, not sure what generation of boots you’ve got, but another lesson might be that of the being an early adopter…

    Be that as it may, BD honors their warranty, I know that for a fact. Contact them directly.

    Lou

  62. Sean Gibson December 9th, 2010 11:21 pm

    Has anyone had any experience with changing the forward lean while skiing ?
    I find the stance to be too tall to be comfortable skiing all day
    I remember talking with a guy from Colorado last year who had done some Franken-work on his BD Factors.

    But I forget what exactly he did to them. Any one ?

  63. Jon Moceri December 10th, 2010 12:11 am

    Sean, my advice is to work with a boot fitter to see if you stand correctly in the boot. And then work with a high end ski instructor to see if it all is working for you.

    There are so many variable with binding angles, known as “delta”, forward lean, and boot ramp angles. It all gets very confusing.

    I think Jonathan Shefftz is probably the most knowledgeable, on this subject, who regularly comments on this blog.

    It is interesting that many of my ski buddies, who are quite high end skiers, are buying the new Lange alpine boots. Why? Because they have less forward lean, less ramp angle than the other manufactures. This make the skier stand up in a neutral, upright stance.

    Cheers

  64. Ted February 11th, 2011 2:05 pm

    Does anyone now if there were there any major (or even minor) changes to this boot between 2009/10 and 10/11?

    My understanding is that the initial 08/09 model had lots of trouble with buckles and the ski/walk mech, but that both those issues were largely fixed (or at least addressed) for the 09/10 boot.

    Did BD do anything more for this year’s boot?

    Thanks

  65. Randy H March 2nd, 2011 4:55 pm

    Here is some additional fit info for those of you considering the Factor boots, straight from the Tech Support folks at BD:

    “The Factor and Method have the same last dimension between the two boots. That being said…
    27 mondo is our meat size – it has a last width of 102mm.
    Every whole shell size you go down from 27, the last width drops by 2mm (i.e. 26 mondo last is 100mm)
    Every whole shell size you go up from 27, the last width increases by 2mm (i.e. 28 mondo last is 104mm)
    Size 30 Factors and Methods have last widths of 108mm.”

    Black Diamond customer service is fantastic!

    My old boots finally failed, right before a big trip, leaving me in a bit of a rush to get new boots. Thanks to the great work done by other contributors here I decided on the BD Factor as my next boot if it would fit. A quick email to Black Diamond Tech Support, answered first thing in the morning of th same day I sent it, gave me the good news- the boots are going to be wide enough. Follow up questions were also addressed within an hour– it’s been a long time since any company has given me such service. Many thanks to J.P. at BD, and the rest of the folks over there for taking care of the customer so well.

    Yes- I am a bit excited about my new gear.

  66. Randy H March 2nd, 2011 6:43 pm

    Re: Changes from 09/10 to 10/11

    I asked the Tech Support folks at BD and they told me that BD only(?)
    changed the walk/ski switch for 10/11 and the new part can be retrofitted to the older boots.

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