08/09 Dynafit ZZero 4 CTF Unboxed

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 1, 2008      

“Green Machine” will again be the main boot in my quiver (with a variety of beef boots and minimalist shoes to round out the spectrum — to be blogged later). This year’s ZZero is virtually the same ski touring boot as last season’s, and still offers perhaps the best power to weight ratio in the business. Only change we could detect for this year is the use of a stiff plastic for the reinforcement cap on top of tongue, rather than carbon fiber. Check ’em out:

Breaking with the Dynafit Green Machines.

Breaking trail this past Saturday with the Green Machines. Trip Report for Aspen area? Thin snowpack at around 10,000 feet but enough for some uphilling cardio and a bit of backcountry exploration.

Dynafit ZZero 4 C-TF

Dynafit ZZero 4 C-TF

My new pair of ZZero is a 27.0, sole length 306 mm. I’ve found I’m between shell sizes in the ZZero, so I go with a smaller than my usual “28” in most AT boots, and instead use the next shell size down with a bit of punching by a boot fitter. By tweaking this way I get the best fit I’ve ever had in an AT boot. Here are some measurements from our developing shell size comparison chart (some don’t make much sense without comparison to other boots, but I’ll share them just for fun):

– Heel Pocket, 9 mm (on the deeper side, which makes the shell longer for some feet).
– Length of footboard, 29 cm (smaller shell than our usual, so we’re not sure how this compares).
– Overall volume, average
– Shell arch below foot, none
– Cuff height above footboard, 212 mm (average for a lighter boot)
– Manufacturer claimed forward cuff lock angles, 15/21 degrees
– Cuff angles from footboard as measured by WildSnow, 6/10 degrees (add ramp angle for total lean, we do not report ramp angle because it varies with fit, binding delta, and even sole wear.)
– Rearward cuff travel, 23 degrees (limiting factor is how tight cuff buckle is against shell tongue)
– Weight same as last year.

The tongue is the question?

The tongue is the question?

Instead of a carbon fiber stiffener the tongue now has a cap of stiffer plastic (to left). Flexed by hand, stiffness appears almost identical and weight is identical as well. Thus, we see this change as a non issue and perhaps even an improvement, as the carbon fiber cap is sensitive to abrasion wear. That said, if you have a high instep the slightly stiffer carbon could cause less of a “crushing” effect on the top of your foot, so keep that in mind if you have that type of foot.

Shop for Dynafit ski boots here.


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40 Responses to “08/09 Dynafit ZZero 4 CTF Unboxed”

  1. Court December 1st, 2008 10:24 am


    This is probably a bit off-topic, so to make it more on-topic, I’ll say that I wish D-fit boots fit my wierd feet.

    Now, on to my question. Do any of the D-Fit bindings have an appreciably different bolt pattern from the others? I have a pair of skis that a friend of mine had D-fits mounted on. I’d love to put my own D-fits on them, but it looks like the holes are going to be too close together. I’m pretty sure they were mounted witht he TLT nose and Speed heels. Do any of the other bindings have a bolt pattern that is different enough? Maybe mounting the Comfort heal unit will work because the range of adjust ment is so large, but I need 8mm of adjustment range to fit the two boots I regularly ride. Thoughts?

  2. Lou December 1st, 2008 10:43 am

    Court, all but the Dynafit race heels have the same screw pattern, something for which I thank God for at least once a week. Honestly.

    In terms of having enough room for a given length of boot, yes, the Comfort and Vertical models have more range than the TLT models.

    The Comfort/Vertical models easily have 8 mm adjustment range, TLT has about 5 mm, so use Comfort/Vertical. Drill some new holes if necessary, what’s the big deal with that? It’s time to ski!

    BTW, you are not off topic. WildSnow blog focus this week will be “A Week of Dynafit.” So everyone, dust off those Dynafit questions, complaints or kudos and fire away! Let’s get it all out on the table!

  3. Court December 1st, 2008 10:48 am

    Thanks, Lou! My concern about drilling new holes is that they will be too close to the old holes. Do you have a rule of thumb for this? Thanks for the conversation.

  4. Lou December 1st, 2008 11:03 am

    Amazing what one can find at WildSnow.com! Check out


    Fire away with more questions after you read it.

    For what it’s worth, I overlap holes when necessary, using techniques described in link above. Because of adjustment range in Comfort/Vertical heel you should never have to overlap heel holes, but you might have to overlap toe holes to get your boot exactly where you want it on the ski. That said, it will not hurt ski performance one bit to mount your boot a few millimeters behind the mark or even ahead of the mark a small amount, thus, you can almost always get holes to not overlap.

  5. Court December 1st, 2008 11:07 am

    Awesome. Thanks, Lou.

  6. Lou December 1st, 2008 11:08 am

    Court, it would be incredibly valuable for other readers if you’d report back here on how things go. Just leave a note on this comment thread. I leave all comment threads open for a year or more.

  7. ScottN December 1st, 2008 11:09 am

    Thanks for the write up Lou. I think I’m gonna look into some of these boots. The F1’s are great for what they are, but I really need to branch out and get a boot that has some beef to it.
    Speaking of thin snowpack, I too got out yesterday for an uphill lap, and found out how the Dynafit Verticals release on the way down. Double ejected after skiing into some scree. Surprised me, but they released pretty well, glad I wasn’t on my teles. Oh well, a little base work and the skis will be fine.

  8. Lou December 1st, 2008 11:12 am

    Scott, Green Machine is a nice complement to the F1, as it’s still light enough to not feel strange when switch hitting. When I wear a bit heavy boot I don’t mind the way they ski, but they feel uncomfortably heavy when walking or riding ski lifts, mostly because my legs are not used to them.

  9. ScottN December 1st, 2008 11:25 am

    That’s a good point, as I would probably use them for the resort once in a while. Fit wise, how do they compare to Scarpas? I wear a 27 in the F1, and those fit me really well with no mods. I’d search for an answer, but I’m lazy…..

  10. Lou December 1st, 2008 11:34 am

    Similar to F1 in volume. Without knowing where in the shell range your actual foot size falls, no way to know if you’d go with a 27 ZZero or not. Time to just try some on.

  11. Dmitriy December 1st, 2008 1:39 pm

    Lou, Do you happen to know how Scarpa marks their Themo Fit Liners? I got some used Magic boots for my mom and the liner have a CODE 10502 marking while the ones in my TT’s have a CODE 10501 markings. The shell seems to fit her good but the liner (not molded for her yet) seems a bit thick. I was just wondering if Scarpa makes 2 liner thicknesses?

  12. Lou December 1st, 2008 1:55 pm

    Dimitriy, I wouldn’t worry about it, you want that thing to feel thick and tight before you mold it.

  13. Carl Detwyler December 1st, 2008 3:40 pm

    Lou, I am suffering from D-fit binding confusion.

    I have a new pair of skis that I can either mount with D-fit TLT or Comfort’s. I will be skiing them with a pair of Garmont 27 Mega-rides with a sole length of 310mm for this year, next year I plan to buy a pair of 27 Green Machines with a sole length of 306.

    Can I mount the TLT’s and be able to adjust them next year for the shorter boot? I prefer to use the TLT’s to save a few grams.

  14. Lou December 1st, 2008 3:53 pm

    That’ll be marginal but you can do it if you mount for the Garmont’s at with about a mm of the extreme (longer/rearward) end of the adjustment range, and are VERY careful to mount with correct shim space between boot and binding. What makes doing this tricky is that it’s tough to get the binding mount position totally exact in relation to boot, hence you need some adjustment slack in the binding. If you mount at extreme end of adjustment range, you run the risk of ending up with the binding in the wrong place by a mm or two, and not having slack in the adjustment to compensate.

    According to my digital calipers, the TLT adjustment range is 6.35 mm. FYI.

    You guys are working WildSnow to the limit! But it’s fun to oblige.

  15. eric December 1st, 2008 6:48 pm

    after reading some past posts the other night i set about to compare ski setups from last year to what i will ski this year. just to see how much cuff lean/boot ramp/ binding ramp i have between setups(then comparing to my resort setup). i came from skiing fritschi and dukes. i am going to dynafit, and was finding a lot more binding ramp angle as well as some difference in boot ramp angle.
    you can measure boot ramp angle by having something flat go heel to toe in the boot, boot on a flat surface and measuring with an angle finder. if the boot is new there would be no boot wear, boot board would be what the foot is sitting on, and as long as there is no significate ramp buit on to the footbed(which everyone should have any ways) that would be the ramp angle for that boot. which you could post in the specs. although boots like my f1’s have a metatarsel drop in the boot (like a womens heels) which really is unmeasurable. any other boots like that would be harder to measure.

    i have been enjoying reading your site. thanks for the insight and time.

    by the way i found that my touring boots seem to have slightly more ramp angle than my alpine boots which are top end race inspired boots. and then make up for it (alpine) with binding ramp as well. where touring bindings are effectively flat(except dynafit). i have some modifying in my future i think.

  16. Jon December 1st, 2008 8:57 pm

    Lou – This is admittedly way off topic, but here goes. Yesterday while skinning, my Barryvox (beacon) restarted several times (chirp, chirp, chirp) with no input from me. Thinking this may be a problem, I checked Mammut’s website and found this in the FAQ section:

    “My Opto3000 beeps three times without me doing anything. What is the cause?

    In this case, the device is restarting. During every startup, the device conducts a power-on self-test. This built-in safety mechanism is executed anytime the device detects an irregularity. By restarting, the device stability is increased and flawless functioning is ensured. Aside from a brief contact problem, the software may also trigger this automatic safety mechanism. The safety of the device is not directly affected; however, we recommend that you have the device diagnosed by a Service Center.”

    What concerns me in their response is the term “irregularity”. I don’t want my beacon to be irregular. Mammut must know something is up with this model, right? Anybody have any experience with this problem?

  17. Lou December 1st, 2008 9:25 pm

    Jon, in all honesty, after I experienced two Opto 3000s bricking on me, one in the backcountry during high avalanche danger, I’ve not been a big fan of that model. To be fair, be it known that later model Barryvox seems to not be reporting this type of thing any more than any other beacon. But my advice would be to upgrade.

  18. Cameron December 1st, 2008 10:46 pm

    Lou, I was thinking about buying an Opto 3000 based on your previous glowing reviews on the model. Are you now saying to stay away from it? Having 2 die sounds like a pretty serious flaw in a beacon… What would you currently recommend (I know a guest blogger is planning some beacon reviews in the near future).

  19. AK Jack December 1st, 2008 9:50 pm

    Week of Dynafit! YEA! From an enthusiastic Dynafit convert: How do the heel settings work? There are two screws: a little one and a big one that each affect a different scale.

  20. Tim December 2nd, 2008 7:51 am

    What are your views of durability with these boots?

    I picked up a pair at the start of last season and went on maybe 15 tours. I loved their weight compared to the alpines I was using before (Salomon X-wave 8s). and the ride down was much the same. The boots are plenty stiff enough for most people doing most types of skiing IMO.

    The only problem is that I doubt they will last me many more seasons. The aluminum buckle clips have been crunched up, parts of the sole ripped out, large scratches and small guages in the plastic, the dynafit toe sockets are a little chewed up.

    i’ve not been doing anything unusual with them but a below average European snow pack led to some rock walking and scrambles through mixed power + glacial moraine etc. A few ice/crust related falls, boot-packing through frozen forests in the dark, dropped from car boot/trunk etc. Seems soon some critical damage will occur.

    My question is, how do these boot relate durability wise to other lightweight boots out there? Perhaps if their are other options that are a little bit heavier but much tougher then they would seem to be a better option for some, like me.

  21. Lou December 2nd, 2008 8:05 am

    Cameron, I covered the dying beacons a bit somewhere back when, sorry you didn’t run across that. I’ll amend the review so it’s a bit less glowing (hard to do everything on the daily list, let alone go back and edit stuff, but I do try to get that done on occasion). The things is, other beacons die or malf as well, that’s why it’s so important to test at trailhead. We can acquire and use any beacons we like, and we tend to stick with the Tracker. But beacon choice isn’t a cut/dried deal. Shopping by price isn’t wrong if you don’t use it much and tend to ski conservative. Conversely, if you’re a guide or someone who tends to gang ski slopes, getting the one with the most multiple burial features might be your choice. And yes, beacon reviews coming.

    I still think the size of the Barryvox Opti is ideal…

    To be fair, we should keep in mind that the Barryvox Pulse seems to have good reliability.

    BTW, I mentioned one of the dead Barryvox here.

  22. Lou December 2nd, 2008 8:24 am

    Tim, first, we do have a ZZero durability report here:

    I used the boots for at least 90 days last season, many of those days being fairly harsh for a boot (peak climbs with rock scrambling).

    The plastic ZZero is made from Pebax like most other AT boots. They all scratch just the same, though different colors might show the scratches differently. Personally, I love it when mine are so scratched up they make people on the Aspen gondola treat me like I’m a homeless person. As for the buckles, I’ve got a lot of comparo boots around here, and I don’t see much difference in buckles. I put a large number of days on my ZZeros last winter, and the only thing that wore slightly more than average was the lean lock, but it never failed and I never noticed the wear during actual use (it just has a tiny bit more play than other lean locks around here with similar age, and is so not an issue that I forgot to mention it in the age report, though I’ll add it in there).

    Back to buckles, I’ve never been a fan of the lower buckle on any 4-buckle boot as I do quite a bit of hiking and scrambling in my AT boots, and those buckles are always catching on stuff. That’s why I usually remove it. If the boot is well fitted, the 4th buckle is mostly psychological in my opinion.

    As for the ZZero sole durability, I’ve also found it to be average. And yes, sole durability is an issue with all AT boots because they have such thin rubber, and they try to use less material in the sole to save weight.

    Whoops, almost forgot to mention the issue of chewed up toe sockets. I assume you mean the plastic around the toe sockets is gouged from misalignment of the binding toe pins when clipping in? Common problem. Fill the gouges with JB Weld or something and be more careful when clipping in?

    ZZero 100,000 mile report is here.

  23. Court December 2nd, 2008 11:42 am

    D-Fit and ski width –

    Lou, is there a practical good-sense limit to how wide of a ski D-Fit bindings should be mounted to? Are they any more limited/limiting than Fritschi, for example?

  24. Lou December 2nd, 2008 11:53 am

    Court, I don’t see any reason why a Dfit would be limited in ski width any more than any other AT binding, other than available brake widths.

  25. Tim December 3rd, 2008 9:43 am

    Cheers Lou.

    Looking through your durability report it looks like my boots are getting similar wear to yours. If the wear and tear is inline with the other boots on the market then that reassures my choice and the Green Machines get 2 thumbs up. Besides, their color “Matches” my orange Trabs -pity my pants are black.

  26. Mark December 3rd, 2008 11:50 am

    I’m becoming a bit of a weight freak, but still like some control, so I’ve decided to move up to Zzero 4c boots eventually. My Megalites are still doing the job well, but since I’ve tried on a few boots lately, the Zzero 4 is my favorite: powerful, but light. And it is truly much lighter than many of the boots now flooding the market.

  27. Lou December 3rd, 2008 11:59 am

    Indeed, to see the raw truth about boot weight check this out:


  28. oli December 10th, 2008 4:24 am

    will my Dynafit ZZero 4 CTF fit with any A/T touring binding like the marker binding or naxo .


  29. Lou December 10th, 2008 6:45 am

    Oli, yes.

  30. Chris January 7th, 2009 2:01 pm

    You said you had your Zzero CTF’s pushed out on the toes. I went to a bootfitter who said this was difficult on the type of plastic Zzero’s use, and as a result he wasn’t keen to do it. He said that there was a low tolerance when heating the shell before the whole thing bubbles over. Any comments on this? I’m really keen to get this boot but have difficult-to-fit feet so would probably require a shell adjustment.

    Also he seemed to think that a Zzero size 29 was equivalent to a Zzeus size 28, which I wasn’t able to check as he didn’t have any Zzero’s in stock. Anyways, ended up purchasing the Zzeus’s and now pretty unhappy with their weight.

  31. Lou January 8th, 2009 12:33 am

    Hi Chris, I’ve been able to easily punch them out a few millimeters, but no way you can argue a craftsman into doing something they’re not comfortable with. As for sizing, in my case I’ve found that downsizing the ZZero shell gives me a better fit, but every foot is different. For some people, upsizing could be the ticket, or staying with the charted size (what a concept). In terms of how the shells in relate, I don’t have a stock of every size so I can’t tell you how 29 and 28 compare. You might be able to get an idea from the Dynafit sizing chart, which is at the bottom of the following page:


  32. Chris January 8th, 2009 10:23 am

    maybe thats what the problem was. I have basically a size 27 geometry foot in the heel/back foot/ankle but thanks to the toes a size 29 boot. So I normally buy a 27/28 and get it punched out a full size. He was a bit hesitant to punch it out that much because of something to do with the heating of the boot.

    I’m still keen to buy a Zzero though…right now I’m scheduled to take my Zzeus’s on the haute route with a slightly dodgy knee and the conditioning of a man spending far too much time in the office….

  33. Lou January 8th, 2009 10:47 am

    Chris, that’s exactly what I do because I’ve got a bony skinny physique. I go for the smaller shell size and punch the toes out. That way I get a terrific fit. But I don’t punch it out a full size, only perhaps 4 mm. They’re colder than my “2 finger” shell size but tour and ski much better for me. That said, I could make the next size shell work, but it would take me quite a bit of fitting and messing around with liner molding.

    Oh, and in the end, a shorter shell is a joy when in touring mode or walking the dirt trail. Less in front of your toes. And they weigh less too.

  34. Marc January 11th, 2009 8:29 pm


    I know it’s an older blog, but I have a couple questions… 1) If you’re green machines held up so well from the use and abuse from last year, then why the new (08/09) model? 2) I thought I read somewhere on here about play in the heal fitting / dual prongs of your C4s, but I could not find it. I’ve noticed a fair amount of play in my C4 / Vertical STs and it bugs me to death! I like a tight setup, not slop. I didn’t seem to notice this last year with the same setup. Are the fittings wearing out?

    The technical info on here is awesome Lou! Such a great resource.

  35. Lou January 11th, 2009 11:48 pm

    Marc, I generally try to upgrade boots every year no matter what, just so I can test something new. Also, my ZZero were pretty beat up cosmetically and sometimes I like to get a bit beyond the dirt bag look. In the case of my ZZeros, the Dynafit fittings were all fine, though I did re-install the rear fittings with some epoxy just to be safe. A known issue with the boots is that the lean locks have some play when new and develop more as they wear. Mine had the initial play and a bit more after all the use, but nothing I thought was excessive so I didn’t report it though I perhaps should have at least mentioned it. The main thing was that my lean locks didn’t fail, though that’s been reported by others. As of the start of this winter the cuff pivots had developed a bit of play, but again not much and no more than any other boot would have given that much mileage.

    Again regarding the ZZero lean locks, in comparison to boots such as Garmont they could be beefier, but then they’d weigh more, so I don’t know what’s appropriate. The new boots appear to have the same lean lock, though one of my Dynafit sources says it’s been improved so there will be fewer warranty swaps for ones that quit working.


  36. Colin March 19th, 2009 7:07 pm


    Two questions:

    1. How does Dynafit break their shell sizes? Is a 27.0 and a 27.5 the same shell?

    2. How do these guys fit compared to BD boots?

    I’m switching from tele to AT (due to a lower leg injury involving Hammerheads that didn’t release) and fit BD’s Push very well. I’m pretty sure the Factor/Method has a very similar last as the Custom/Push. I’m a 27.5 in the Push and thinking about pulling the trigger on some (very) cheap 27.0 Zzero 4s. But I can’t exactly try them on before I buy them. At the price, I shouldn’t have any trouble getting rid of them if they don’t fit, but I’d rather save myself the trouble.


  37. danh January 6th, 2010 7:48 pm

    Colin — I was just reading this, I think it answers some of your questions — http://www.wildsnow.com/1546/dynafit-zzeus-boot-review/

    Has anyone put a black scarpa tounge in the zzero4 ?? I did this recently in a store, pretty good flex, although the tounge’s clip wanted to pop out if I stood somewhat upright, do you just have to order an oversize black tounge or is there some kind of mod/trick to swap a tounge from a similar size scarpa? sorry to ask ths if it’s already been explained — I’d appriciate a link though — can’t seem to find much…


  38. Jonathan January 7th, 2010 8:05 am

    1. How does Dynafit break their shell sizes? Is a 27.0 and a 27.5 the same shell?
    – yes
    2. How do these guys fit compared to BD boots?
    – quantitatively: http://tinyurl.com/y9shn57
    – qualitatively, lots of posts scattered throughout this website on that

  39. danh January 9th, 2010 4:52 pm

    is there there a specific method of molding the tf liners thats reccomended? convection vs. heatstack?

  40. Daniel February 19th, 2012 1:56 pm

    lou & all.

    cann you comment on forward flex and smoothness of zzero 4 carbon vs. pebax? i have the pebax, and may have to decide to ride either new pebax or carbon zzeros.

    i have super sensitive shins, so a smooth forward flex is essential. the pebax zzeros work well.

    thanks in advance!

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