Dynafit ZZero 4 — Peter’s Take

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 20, 2008      

My old red and grey Dynafit Aero backcountry skiing boots are wide and basically a bathtub fit. I’ve had to pad and extensively custom fit them for my long narrow feet. The 30 mondo sole measures 344 mm in length. Also, the Aeros are HEAVY. In my size they’re 11 lbs per pair, including my orthotics and thermo liners.

Dynafit Zzero Backcountry Skiing Boot.

Dynafit ZZero 4 is definitely at the top of our boot list.

In 30 Mondo, the ZZero 4 Green Machine with the carbon stringer, thermo liner and an orthotic weighs in at 8 lbs, while the sole measures ONLY 336 mm. The size reduction obviously helps the boot lose some weight, and the last is narrower and less of a bathtub (perfect for my foot shape).

However, the decreased sole length of the ZZero resulted in a multiple ski re-mounting program for me (a hassle that I felt to be worth it). This shorter sole length does more closely match the lengths of the older Dynafit two and three buckle boots, and perhaps may not be a problem for many people — but it’s worth knowing about. More, if you’re using Dynafit binding models with plenty of adjustment range (ergo, Comfort, Vertical), you may find no remounting is required depending on how particular you are about boot position on the ski. (Interior fit of ZZero is also shorter than the Aero 30 mondo, but still works for me.)

I’ve had my ZZeros out a number of times and am still fitting the boot (as always for any boot!), but I can tell they’re a real improvement. They out ski my old Aeros, hands down. Only gripe is I’d like to see the wrap thermo liner continued in the ZZero line instead of the new liner which uses a tongue. For me, a tongue in the liner just creates the opportunity for more “folds”, friction, and potential pressure points. I never had a blister in any of my older Dynafit boots using the wrap thermo liner, no matter how much vertical I climbed in a day.

Anyway, I look forward to getting the ZZero’s fitted just right (which should be easy) and heading to Marble with the WildSnow crew this season. By the way, I’m big and Dynafit bindings have worked fine for me all these years.

Our first ZZero review.

Shop for Dynafit ZZero backcountry skiing boot.

(Guest blogger Peter Kelley has lived and skied in the Aspen area for more than four decades. He’s seen it all, including early days in Highland Bowl when it was closed, and participation in a 1970s mid winter traverse of the Elk Mountains with Lou. He sells real estate and is also devoted to photography. Peter has provided “big guy” Dynafit feedback for years.)


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22 Responses to “Dynafit ZZero 4 — Peter’s Take”

  1. Jan Wellford November 20th, 2008 9:45 am

    I agree on the liner–Dynafit’s is nice but I miss the wraparound. I’m skiing the Zzero4 U this year and swapped in a Scarpa PlusFit High liner. For those with skinny ankles/calves it’s a no brainer.

    A note on BSL: Dynafits are longer than Scarpas or Garmonts for the same mondo size, so my new boots also required a remount (but in the opposite direction of Peter’s).

  2. Tony November 20th, 2008 10:13 am

    I use the newest Garmont Liner (Gfit Hi) with my Zzero 4 C, and love them.

    Any reports on changes to the Zzero 4 C for this season, lou. I heard a rumor from across the pond that they might be making the sole more durable, but Salewa USA didn’t know anything about this.

    On a separate note, my forward lean mech has developed some play. The bottom of the metal bar that attaches with the press pin to the heel of the bottom part of the shell shifts up and down 1/8 of an inch when in ski mode. My other boot doesn’t do this. Suggestions? Anyone have this happen to their boot?

  3. Ali Erginsoy November 20th, 2008 10:38 am

    Does anyone know if Intuition thermo liners work with either Zzero 3s or 4s?

  4. FCBrian November 20th, 2008 11:51 am

    @Ali: Yes, the Intuition liners will work, with the height of the liner being the determining factor between boot models. Intuition offers a full line of models varying in height, construction, and stiffness. I believe that the Universal liner would fit the Zzero 3s, while you should be able to run the Alpine or the Power Wrap in the 4s, although I haven’t retrofitted the 4s yet.

    Also, I’ve found that certain models of the Intuitions, specifically the Power Wrap, have significantly thicker and higher density foam than stock thermos, creating a more snug fit in the same shell. I’m considering making the switch in my Zzero 4s.

  5. Lou November 20th, 2008 12:08 pm

    Tony, I just checked mine and they’re both doing that. I recall they had a bit of play when new, as many boots do, but it appears to have increased. It doesn’t bother me so I never noticed it. I’d imagine it’s simply wear in various spots.

  6. alex November 20th, 2008 12:15 pm

    for the tlt boot liner a friend fitted lace loops and reported a better feel of the boot. He intends to do the same with his new zzeros.

  7. Mike November 20th, 2008 11:23 pm

    X-Mas came early for me and I just unboxed a pair of Zzero4 C-MFs tonight! Left foot felt perfect but right foot had a horrible pinch/pressure on the top-outer of my foot; directly under the second buckle. I put in my Garmot G-Fit Hi liner, which is less thick, and the pain went away.

    The MF liner didn’t appear to have any inconsistencies in the pain area – but did notice a depression at the exact spot of pain. This is from a rivet/cap in the shell that helps fasten down the rubber flap (which I presume helps keep moisture out of the boot), under the base of the tongue. Sure enough on the inside of the shell, this rivet/cap is nowhere near flush with the shell – and protrudes a few millimeters. Unfortunately, the second buckle clamps down directly on this rivet whose pressure is eventually transferred to the top of my foot.

    Compared against my old Garmont G-Ride shells….Garmont shells have the same rivet – but it’s completely flush with the shell.

    If all else fails, I can live with the G-Fit Hi liners in my Zzero’s but want to try and make the MF liners work (they are very comfy and seem like they would provide better performance over the G-Fit’s….and they have that new liner smell – unlike my 6 year old G-Fits!). But first I will take a shot at shaving the problem rivet/cap down so it is closer to being flush with the inside shell…to allow the MFs to work for me.

    Anyway, I’m stoked to have this sweet boot along with new Vertical ST binders. Now I just need some skis to put them on! 🙂

  8. Fernando November 20th, 2008 11:10 pm

    I bought a pair of Zzero 4 Cs late last March. After returning from a trip to Chile in August, I found a crack in the plastic behind one of the toe binding wells. I sent the boots back to Salewa and they sent me back a brand-new pair. The sole under the toes on the original had worn out quickly from scrambling on rocks in Spring Sierra skiing. The soles on the new pair don’t look that different from the original ones, just not worn yet.

  9. Lou November 21st, 2008 7:56 am

    Rivets are a common problem in boot fitting. Determine if the rivet didn’t get compressed totally, if not, back up on inside with a hammer face or something like that, and hammer the outside. Doing this just a bit is usually all it takes, but does cause cosmetic damage to the outside. If the rivet appears to be correctly compressed but protrudes too much anyway, shave a small amount off the inside, and skive away some material from the boot liner in the same location.

    I’d suggest not doing any of this till you’ve skied in the boots for 2 or 3 days, unless the pain is unbearable. Liners compress quite a bit, and it’s common for the rivet to make it’s own divot in the liner and thus the problem can take care of itself.

  10. FCBrian November 21st, 2008 10:28 am

    Speaking of rivets, we’ve found that all of the women’s Zzero 4s we’ve received from Dynafit this fall have the same problem – the rivet on the backside of the female buckles on the cuff, which holds the touring extender, is not fully pressed and the extender has a lot of play. The play is great enough that it causes a bit of irritation in buckling/unbuckling and I imagine it will be chattery on the hill.

    I’m planning to press the rivets more in the next few days.

  11. Dan November 24th, 2008 2:31 am

    Sorry this is slightly off topic but does anyone have any experience with the dynafit zzero 4 u-tf boot or any other polyurethane based boot and how it supposedly gets stiffer in colder weather. I am looking at getting the dynafit zzero 4 u-tf but it seems odd to have a boot that changes in stiffness as the temperature gets colder. Would one notice a performance difference from a mild day (mid 30s) at the resort to a cold day (single digits) on a glacier in terms of the stiffness of the boot. I would think it could throw someone off if they get used to skiing in a milder temperature and then all of a sudden they are entering a steep chute at the top of a mountain and the boot performs totally differently. Any comments? Thanks

  12. Lou November 24th, 2008 7:59 am

    Dan, all sorts of ski boots are made with polyurethane. Sure, they change stiffness more than a Pebax boot when the temperature changes, but it’s not that big a deal (though Pebax is the best stuff IMHO). We bring it up here for a number of reasons, recently to point out how trying to rate boot stiffness on a numeric scale is imprecise.

  13. Giacomo November 30th, 2008 3:21 am

    Hi! I’ve bought this year model of the zzero 4C and I noticed that the tongue has no more a carbon insert. They told me that some people had problems because they felt it too stiff during their ascents and so dynafit decided to remove it. What do you think about it? The seller can swap the tongue of my boots with the old one but I don’t know if it would be a good idea…

  14. Lou November 30th, 2008 7:57 am

    In my opinion the carbon on the tongue just allows you to buckle the boot tight without as much pressure on top of foot. It is replaced by some fairly stiff plastic of some sort that has pretty much the same function. I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve got a pair of the new model ZZeros here and they’re equal in quality and function to last year’s as far as I can tell.

  15. Giacomo November 30th, 2008 3:33 pm

    Hi Lou, thank you for your reply! In the next days I will use the boots, here we have more than a meter of fresh snow, it will be a great inauguration! 🙂

  16. Brandon February 12th, 2009 12:43 pm

    Hey Lou – your website rules. thanks for putting in all the leg work and sharing so others can benefit. Hopefully this thread is an appropriate place for this question. I am looking at the ZZero4 U-TF vs. the ZZero4 C-TF. Best I can tell the main difference between the two is a slight weight and material difference (Pebax and PU vs. mainly Pebax) and therefore slight difference in stiffness. U-TF’s being the slightly stiffer boot. I notice a surprising lack of reviews or commets online about the ZZero4 U-TF’s and i notice that backcountry.com does not even carry them. Any beta on these boots? Does the world think they suck and I just haven’t noticed yet?

  17. Alex December 13th, 2009 1:43 pm

    Hey Lou,

    I try to pick up on this thread as I’m having the same thoughts as Brandon: There don’t seem to exist any valuable reviews on the ZZero 4 U-TF up to now…could you give me your 2 pence on how they would perform in comparison to the ZZero C-TF or the ZZero 4 PX-TF and whether it makes sense to spent more money on a marginal weight shave?

    The women’s version of the U-TF seems to pile up rather bad reviews, both in the US and Germany, where I’m from!

    Thanks for your coment on this,

  18. danh February 4th, 2010 12:31 pm

    I’ve skiied these boots a few times now, and overall, i’m impressed with the performance. One thing that was pretty irwas on myritateing the other day when i was transitioning to downhill on top of a hill was that i couldn’t get the damn ski mode to click in, it took a lot of messing around – includeing takeing the shell off and flexing it by hand to get it to lock. anyone else have this problem?

  19. George April 10th, 2012 6:12 am

    I own a pair of ZZero4 U – TF boots. Since it’s not very clear to me, I would like to ask if these boots are compatible with other binding systems than the Dynafit Quick Step-In, namely with the Marker Duke.

  20. Mark W April 10th, 2012 11:08 am

    George, yes, they’re compatible with Duke binding.

  21. George January 1st, 2013 8:50 am

    Thank you Mark W. However, since the heel of the Zzero4 is slightly narrower than the one of an alpine boot, you have to make sure more than you do usually that the heel is centered in the back of the Duke.

  22. Daniel February 11th, 2013 11:49 am

    hi all
    i have one setup zzero4/vertical st and another one with scara f1 /speed radical. i love the latter for relativery little forward lean. the f1 is rather upright in its most upright lean position and the speed vertical has not much ramp.

    the more i get used o that setup, the less i like the tilted forward feel of the zzero/st rig.

    is it possible to decrease the lean of the zzero boot or is shimming the toe piece the only way to sort this issue out?

    thanks in advance!

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