50,000 Mile Report — Dynafit ZZero CF Ski Touring Boot Long Term Testing

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | July 10, 2008      

One hundred thousand is a milestone with an automobile. If converted to human years, 100,000 used to be considered rest home fodder. But with most of today’s autos, it just means you’ve spent your college fund on petrol and perhaps it’s time for new spark plugs and an oil change.

What’s the equivalent of 100,000 miles in a backcountry ski boot? I’d say that would be about 200 ski days, or perhaps 100 if you’re agro.

Since their first snow in October, my Zzero “Green Machines” got at least 90 days this past season, so they’re not quite ready for the rest home. But it seemed a good time to take a look at the shoes and see what held up and what’s beat. I’d say they’re at the 50,000 mile mark, (in automobile miles, of course).

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Dynafit ZZero C-TF 2007/2008 (lower 4th buckle was removed on purpose, to prevent catching on rocks and to reduce weight).

Overall, I’ve been very happy about how my ZZeros held up. Other backcountry skiers reported problems with the lean lock not latching, but such never materialized for me (though they do have slightly more play then when new). Likewise, a few other skiers had cracks develop around the toe binding fittings — not for me. My cuff pivot rivets are still snug and slop free, and all the buckles work. The shell plastic is somewhat scuffed from boulder scrambles and the occasional regression to 1960s ski technique, but that’s all cosmetic. Ditto for the carbon fiber “stringers,” which have some damage near the cuff pivots, but nothing that appears to compromise structural integrity.

Regarding the carbon, a surprise wear point is under the lower second buckle, where the buckle rivet has dug in and routed out some fairly substantial dings in the carbon tongue stiffener. I noticed that was happening early on and tried to prevent with duct tape, but the metal kept wearing through the tape. Solution is the rivet needs to be sunk deeper so it doesn’t touch the carbon. Yep, WildSnow boot mod #5,672.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Sole wear at the toe (pictured above) seems to be as common to most rando ski boots as rocks are to mountain trails. ZZero is no exception. Why in the world after 40 years of plastic randonnee boots we can’t have a few extra millimeters of rubber in the wear zone is a question that perhaps can only be answered by the Flying Mystics of Tibet, so perhaps they could be retained as boot consultants? Or if not, myself and friends are always available…

And least we forget the liners: After 90 days nearly any liner is going to bite it to some degree. Mine have packed out twice, both times fixed with a heat gun. The interior surface of one liner is is ripped open at the heel and repaired with duct tape. All seams are intact, and the outside only worn under rivets I forgot to protect with adhesive patches the boots come with. So my bad on that.

Conclusion: This pair of ZZero boots supported me for one of the most amazing backcountry ski seasons of my life. So what the color crashes Photoshop and they have a vestigial buckle? WildSnow thumbs up.

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14 Responses to “50,000 Mile Report — Dynafit ZZero CF Ski Touring Boot Long Term Testing”

  1. Federico S. July 11th, 2008 6:40 am

    Hi Guys,
    just a quick reply about sole wearing and Lou’s comment on why after 40 years nobody is able to put some more rubber there… Well, easily explainable, it’s a matter of binding compatibility and norms.
    Dynafit bindings require the toe sockets to be in a specific position with a very specific thickness (shell+rubber) under the center of the holes to operate with them. More, ISO norms for standard ski mountaineering bindings require a specific boot tip, lengths, width, thickness, radius, etc… If you mix these two things you get that the ZZero has the maximum thickness of rubber possible on the tip of the sole.

    Anyway… “insider info” 2008/09 ZZero production will have a little thicker sole on that area and a new more durable compound. This is not going to make the sole last for 100 years but for sure at least 20/25% more than the 07/08 production.

    There are other boots in the market like dyanfit TLT4 or others which have more rubber…but they are not respecting the ISO norms…

    Last comments… the sole abrasion problem happens only to that more or les 5% of the ski touring population which makes long approach before skiing or climb a lot on rocks with the boots. For the “normal” skier, which tours mostly on snow and walk very little… the sole lasts for years…


    Federico (Dynafit)

  2. Mark Worley July 11th, 2008 7:30 am

    My boots have similar wear, and the rubber of the toes is hit hardest. It’s a little frustrating. On some of my shoes I’ve tried Freesole, another great product from the maker of Seam Grip. It helped me extend my shoe life greatly, but I don’t know if it will do the trick for ski mountaineering boots. I do a good bit of walking and rock scrambling in my boots, but perhaps that is because I’m still skiing in July.

  3. Lou July 11th, 2008 7:34 am

    Thanks for the insider beta Federico! I was wondering if someone was in touch with those Tibetan Mystics (grin).

    But I still think after 40 years something could have changed, but perhaps it’ll take 100 (grin). Though you’re adding a few more millimeters of rubber, so there we go, change can happen.

    A dual density sole with harder rubber at the toe would also help.

    Most importantly, somewhere to send boots to have them correctly repaired is probably what we need here in the U.S.

  4. Frenchie July 11th, 2008 2:47 pm

    Thanks for providing the info about the boots. Best never to be too precious with ski equipment in my opinion. Run it hard, and run it ragged! Its supposed to be made for an extreme sport and so should be treated like so.

    The more battle scars the better!

  5. Simon July 11th, 2008 2:52 pm

    Hi ,
    my guess is that the thin layer of rubber due to the new thicker ‘easier to step in’ dynafit toe pieces is the main problem. In order for rubber to be durable it needs to be a certain thickness so it elastically deform in areas of high pressure. This is also a problem with the thin rubber layer on for example garmont adrenalin interchangable soles. If to thin a layer of rubber is glued to a stiffer metal or plastic overlayer it will shear off very quickly due to the inability to deform elastically. Harder rubber compound might help a bit , but not much probably, and it is always a trade of with respect to the ‘gripiness’. In my experience there have been far fewer problems with the thicker rubber layers typically observed on boots with the old dynafit toepiece. Would be great if you guys could fix this problem properly since i am in the market for a new pair of boots soon….

    cheers Si

  6. Tony July 11th, 2008 3:09 pm

    I have Dave Page Cobbler in Seattle resole my Megarides after the same type of wear as on your Zzeros. I will be sending in my Zzeros later this summer. Cost is less than $100. That might not be worth it if you get your boots for free, but I consider it money well spent to protect my investment in boot fitting.

    I hear Rocky Mountain Resole will do the same thing.

  7. Lou July 11th, 2008 5:52 pm

    Thanks for the info Tony. I was thinking of giving someone a try and blogging the results… It’s tricky to get the sole shape correct for triggering the Dynafit entry trigger, so I’d be interested in how well they do with that, and what kind of sole I’d end up with.

    I do have an investment in fitting my shells, as I have to blow them out a bit and getting that right is tricky and time consuming. So keeping them going is worth it no matter what the original cost.

  8. Lou July 11th, 2008 5:55 pm

    Simon, good points. Since we climb and hike quite a bit in our boots I’d rather have the older toe fittings and thicker rubber. Interesting how everything is a compromise, isn’t it?

  9. LG July 12th, 2008 2:58 am

    Hey ZZero users and abusers,
    Watch for cracks around the toe fittings. Bit of a wake-up call when somebody said “Did you know your boots are cracked?” a couple of days before the two-weeks-way-out-there trip. Till then I loved them.

  10. Steve Drossel July 13th, 2008 1:22 am

    The Zzero Liner (High TF) is far ahead of the stock G-Fit that my Garmont Endorphins some with…imho. Unheated gives me a great fit with a lot of wear….

  11. Rob Staudinger January 12th, 2009 4:55 am

    Hi Lou,

    with mods like yours, is there much difference left to the 3 bucket zzero carbon boot? I am constantly looking out for light gear that still provides downhill performance, so I get most out of longer tours.


  12. Dustin September 19th, 2011 10:27 pm

    I’m interested in purchasing the Dynafit ZZero 4 Cf-TF Alpine Touring Boots. However, I have no means of trying them on before purchasing them since none of the shops and stores nearby carry these boots. I have wide feet and I’m concerned that these boots might run a bit narrow in which case I would not be able to do much touring.
    I was wondering if anyone here has worn these boots and they can tell me whether or not they are wide enough for someone with wide feet. If anyone has the same problem and these boots didn’t work because of the same issue (wide feet), I would appreciate if you can tell me which alpine touring boots were able to accommodate this issue.
    Thank you

  13. Daniel September 20th, 2011 3:04 am

    the zzeros do nut run narrow, just average or even wide depending on where you need it. i have a relatively wide forefoot and after some liner stretching the zzero4 fits me great. MF liner is lower volume so more spac3 for the foot, TF can be molded or shaved to behave similarly. imho a great boot that skis extremely well.

  14. Lou September 20th, 2011 7:13 am

    Nearly the same lasting as boots such as Garmont Megaride, if that’s any help.

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