Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro Ski Boot — Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 20, 2016      
The object at hand, Tecnica Zero G Guide.

The object at hand, Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro is the lightest weight version of this boot. Options with a more alpine configured liner will presumably be available.

Let’s get something straight. Any current boot that weighs more than about 1,500 grams in size 28 is not a “ski touring” boot. Despite what PR people and gear review websites would have you believe. More, any boot that doesn’t provide more cuff mobility in walk mode than rearward to around 90 degrees is not a ski touring boot. Things in the industry have changed, fast.

Thus, we give a nod to the Zero G as a “freeride touring” boot — a quite nice one. Yet, this is not the true ski touring shoe we like to float around the mountains with when mechanized means are not involved. So, for those of you who want overlap backcountry ski boots that can double as a ski resort shoe, you know who you are. Read on.

Cuff has these mesh backed cutouts that save a few grams and breath a bit, probably mostly cosmetic but why not?

Cuff has these mesh backed cutouts that save a few grams and breath a bit, probably mostly cosmetic but why not? Note the extendo buckle bail hooks for touring mode, we always like those.

Tecnica says this boot is made with a “frame of lightweight Triax 3.0 plastic that is 2.5 times stiffer and 30% thinner than conventional boot material.” They’re probably comparing to PU, because touring boots made of Grilamid or stiff Pebax are probably about equal in weight class. Main point here is this is indeed a lightweight overlap 4-buckle boot. Pick it up in your hands and you notice the lack of mass.

All buckles have threaded removable fasteners, still one of our favorite features and a tough thing to execute. Other companies have tried, with mixed results.

All buckles have threaded removable fasteners, still one of our favorite features and a tough thing to execute. Other companies have tried, with mixed results.

The boot is 'pre punched' for average foot shape, not sure what purpose the cluster of divots really serves but it probably makes punching easier.

The boot is ‘pre punched’ for average foot shape, not sure what purpose the cluster of divots really serves but it probably makes punching easier.

A swap sole system is there,  presumably with an available set of alpine DIN sole blocks.

A swap sole system is there, presumably with an available set of alpine DIN sole blocks. While this boot is a bit on the soft side for a ‘beef’ boot, I’ve liked how Tecnica over the years has always tried to make boots that flex in the right places, so using Zero G as an alpine boot could be viable. I’d think you’d want a beefier liner, however.

Removable sole system is clean and simple, lack of steel threaded fasteners in boot saves weight, is not a concern.

Removable sole system is clean and simple, lack of steel threaded fasteners in boot saves weight, is not a concern because force from tech bindings or alpine bindings is exerted on integral molded parts of shell not on the replaceable portion of the sole. That’s as all boot makers should configure swap soles, kudos to Tecnica for doing it right. Only concern with that, care should be taken not to strip the screw holes while swapping soles.

Using traditional yet still Dynafit certified tech fittings give you room for plenty of sole rubber.

Using traditional yet still Dynafit certified tech fittings give you room for plenty of sole rubber. But sometimes too much sole rubber. See next photo.

In our opinion, the sole rubber at the toe might be a millimeter or 2 too thick, easy to skive some off, but don't forget to do so if you want you bindings working correctly.

In our opinion, the sole rubber at the toe might be a millimeter or 2 too thick, easy to skive some off, but don’t forget to do so if you want you bindings working correctly.

Cuff at limit of rear travel. It looks vertical but actually has a few more degrees for your leg inside, nonetheless we would like to have more travel.

Cuff at limit of rear travel. It looks vertical but actually has a few more degrees for your leg inside, nonetheless we would like to have more travel. In fact, when Zero G is in touring mode the lean lock is totally disengaged, and it thus appears the shell could easily be modified for a few more degrees of rear travel.

Inside view of the lean lock.

Inside view of the lean lock. They call this the “Self Adjusting System,” which confused us at first as we thought the lock might be robotic, instead “Self” just refers to you reaching down and “Adjusting” your boot between downhill and uphill modes. Jokes aside, this is a strong lean-lock with almost no play.

Exterior of lean lock. Flip the toggle vertically to change modes.

Exterior of lean lock. Flip the toggle vertically to change modes.

We did do an on-snow test of the Zero G Guide. Conclusion was that it’s not particularly stiff, perhaps a “120” to be kind, but that’s to be expected from thinner plastic and what is clearly a rather minimalist liner. If the boot was fit correctly and had beef added to the liner it would ski like it looks. Of more concern was the uphill testing. While overlap cuff boots can yield good cuff mobility, the Zero G is a bit limited. If you’re used to modern touring boots, you’ll notice a lack of rearward travel. To be fair, the lean lock on these boots is beefy, thus giving you a very solid cuff in downhill mode. We think the lean lock is why the cuff doesn’t have a few more degrees of rear travel in touring mode. So ok, a tradeoff. Carpet test a pair and decide for yourself.

Paraphrase from our main tester: “I skied a pair of the Zero G boots as a tester for a local shop. My opinions: Too heavy for real touring with no significant performance improvement that could justify the extra weight over today’s “real” ski touring boots. A quiver of one for the freeride touring crowd who can handle boots of average stiffness, and who like the feel of an overlap.”

Power strap doesn't fool around, but we'd prefer the fasteners were threaded instead of rivets.

Power strap doesn’t fool around, but we’d prefer the fasteners were threaded instead of rivets.

Yes, the shell is graced with a boot board. One of our favorite things for fit modding.

Yes, the shell is graced with a boot board. One of our favorite things for fit modding.

Liner is sourced from Palu, they make nice ones. Height is correct and the liner appears to actually be made specifically for this boot (not always the case in the industry).

Liner is sourced from Palu, they make nice ones. Height is correct and the liner appears to actually be made specifically for this boot (not always the case in the industry).

Lace anchors on the liner. Yeah, I know, only 6 people in the world use them. But those 6 people are very important.

Lace anchors on the liner. Yeah, I know, only 6 people in the world use them. But those 6 people are very important.

Our 28.5 size weighs 1652 grams per boot. Compare to another freeride touring shoe that’s stiffer, in a shorter shell, that fully weighs 1996 grams yet has decent rearward cuff articulation. Significant? But which way is the significance? If you’re going to ski a big overlap cuff boot would you want some extra weight for the last word in beef? Or do you want a boot that saves noticeable weight with less stiffness and less cuff articulation? We report, you decide.

Zero G Guide Pro, MSRP $900
Zero G Guide, MSRP $660
Zero G Guide W (women’s specific model), MSRP $660

Note: Tecnica Cochise series boot models remain their real “beef” boot offerings.


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107 Responses to “Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro Ski Boot — Review”

  1. See April 20th, 2016 8:53 am

    Are there steel inserts for the sole fasteners? It seems kind of ridiculous to me that the fasteners just screw directly into the plastic shell on some boots. I guess you could just drill out the holes and install T nuts if the holes strip, but I don’t know. Anyone have experience with actually swapping soles repeatedly for use with different binding types?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 9:10 am

    See, from what I’ve seen, very few people swap over and over again. The most common is they buy the boots for one primary purpose and swap those soles on, and leave them.

    As for the ZeroG in particular, note that the soles are configured in such as way as it doesn’t matter if they’re t-nutted or not. Because any pressure or force from either an alpine binding or tech binding is on the integral molded plastic of the boot shell, not on the replaceable soles. That’s how it should be on all boots, but is not. Kudos to Tecnica for getting it right. I should probably add a photo and blurb to the review about that.

    Oh, and sure, if the screws just go into plastic (as the Zero G sole screws do) there is a life span on the threads in the plastic bore, but if one is careful not to strip they should be good for quite a few swaps, and could indeed be modded with T-nuts if desired, though doing so would be a tedious process.


  3. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 9:25 am

    Added photo of swap sole removed from boot.

  4. Greg Louie April 20th, 2016 9:41 am

    Hmmm. My pair of 26.5 Zero G Guide Pros goes at least 10 degrees past vertical and weighs in at 1524 grams per boot (a bit less than my MTN Labs). I’ve been skiing it as my lift served boot for the past few weeks and have been stoked on how it skis as well as the lightness – I’d agree on the 120 flex, but it’s more than adequate (and almost no new “130” flex boots are much stiffer). It tours fine, if not in a league with the TLT6P or Backland Carbon, and the sole thickness seemed OK in a Speed Radical. I have no plans to ever swap the soles, but I believe the new 2017 ISO 5355 Cochise soles will screw right on.

  5. XXX_er April 20th, 2016 9:43 am

    Garmont endorphins have swappable soles that areheld on using screws into plastic, I can run all the crews out with a screw gun but putting them back I use a hand held PZ bit to feel for the screw dropping into the threads while I rotate the bit backwards … never stripped any screws

    I tended to swap them once or twice a season and eventualy I got seperate alpine and AT boots

  6. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 10:08 am

    Greg, come on, I didn’t say specifically it was only vertical, just close. The cuff clearly does not have the rearward articulation of, for example, a Scarpa Freedom. It’s good you enjoy the boot, you’re using it exactly for what the review says it might be good for (grin). As for weight, sure, in a smaller size you’re going to get close or below the 1500 target. Lou

    P.S., That 1,500 number is just a term of art. I’d imagine we could both come up with a better “standard” for when a boot becomes a real touring boot, in a given size. But that’s going to go down a bit every year so it’s probably not worth us putting too much effort into it. Mainly, though it’s hard to define, we all know a real touring boot when we wear it (grin).

  7. Bryan April 20th, 2016 10:40 am

    What the H are you talking about Lou?

    “More, any boot that doesn’t provide more cuff mobility in walk mode than rearward to around 90 degrees is not a ski touring boot. Things in the industry have changed, fast.”

    I get it that the 40+ crowd driving 85,000 RS4s around the Roaring Fork may care about cuff mobility….but there are like 6 people under 40 who care about this.

    Cuff mobility: it’s just not a thing. Not a thing at all.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 10:58 am

    It’s like upward mobility?

    Seriously speaking, engineering wise I can’t figure out why they didn’t allow the cuff to hinge farther back. When it’s unlatched the lock it totally disengaged. If the cuff was cut away a bit more, it would go farther back, easily it appears.


  9. BillyGoat April 20th, 2016 11:12 am

    A list of boots that are apparentl;y no longer ski touring boots cause they all weigh too much:
    Scarpa Mastrale RS
    Dynafit Vulcan
    Dynafit Mercury
    Dynafit Khion
    Salomon MTN Lab

    Pretty much all the boots that come in less than ~1500g in a 26.5 ski terribly. Sure you can balance your way down the mountain on a pair of light weight skis, but they have poor snow feel and harsh flex patterns.

    I didn’t notice any real practical issues with the rear range of motion when touring. Sure it doesn’t drive a 5 speed as well as my TLT6, or waltz around the show room floor, but that isn’t what this is for. .

  10. Buck April 20th, 2016 11:24 am

    I love all the talk about how rearward articulation and its corresponding effect on touring ability is a non issue.

    It’s why the slopes closer to parking lots are trashed, yet the pow that takes some effort to get to is untracked.

    Works for me.

    Hilarious to see young strong dudes in their physical prime sweating out one-and-dones. Gives you more time to get home and edit your gropro footage and get it up on Instagram, I guess.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 11:27 am

    I guess I should have defined as 1,599 grams (grin) ? Seriously, I probably should have been more clear that I’m combining all factors as to the vague definition of what is a touring boot. Also, I’m talking about a size 28 or so, not smaller sizes. So I need to look at that… But I think you guys get the idea. “Terribly” is a pretty strong term, considering the number of people who are doing amazing things and having fun using ski touring boots. Lou

  12. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 11:32 am

    Actually, I’m going to stick with my estimate of around “1,500” grams as the cutoff of modern true ski touring boots from freeride touring boots in sizes around 28. Very arbitrary but the point is that boots such as TLT6 and Scarpa F1 being examples of what I’m calling “ski touring” boots.

    Perhaps the world just isn’t ready to refine the definition of “ski touring” boots?


    Edit; “…ready to EVOLVE the definition…?”


  13. TravisR April 20th, 2016 11:44 am

    Lou, I enjoy the boot reviews and discussion, but I have very limited experience with different boots having progressed from a Garmont Endorphin to a Dynaift ZZeus to a La Sportiva Spectre over about 10 years.

    So I’m curious, would you classify a Spectre as “ski touring” or “freeride touring”?

  14. Charlie April 20th, 2016 12:13 pm

    Hi Lou,
    Big fan. Frequent lurker, first comments.
    I can’t help but express surprise at the level of haterade consumption.
    Anything more than 1500g is not a real touring boot? This would eliminate the Dynafit Vulcan (1590g) Khion Carbon (1530g) Salomon Mtn,Lab (1551g) and a slew of others. For a more aggressive skier or some one that weights more than 175lbs, stiffer boots other than the TLT are the reality.
    Another thing is that manufacturers list weights in a given size. Usually 26.5. As the shell gets bigger, so does the weight as well as the forefoot width!
    I find it interesting that the Zero G is actually comparable in weight to the Dynafit four buckle options.
    The bigger question is that clearly the bigger alpine brands are targeting backcountry. Do you feel that with “Big Alpine’s” superior R&D dollars, more engineers and better distribution, that the Dynafit’s, Scarpas and LaSportiva’s of the world are on borrowed time?

  15. James April 20th, 2016 12:18 pm

    I agree with other commentators. Having spent a day on-snow in this boot with a short skin and plenty of lift laps i’m more than impressed. Compared to it’s peers like theScarpa Mastrale RS, Dynafit Vulcan, Dynafit Mercury, Dynafit Khion, Salomon MTN Lab, the next round of improvements such as this boot are perhaps best in class. The walk mode is great, the skiing is great. For a crossover, this is a damn skippy boot. I 100% agree with the sentiment that most people belong in a F1 or TLT7 for all of the skiing they do, but I do think it is unfair to compare this boot in weight and ROM to the modern shoes of choice. This boot can still drive a much stronger ski than any of the LTW options.

  16. BillyGoat April 20th, 2016 1:10 pm

    I am 5’10” 210lb. A TLT7/F1/Procline are not substantial enough to be my everyday boot. IF I was 145lb, maybe.

    I love my TLT6 for going up, and works great for a 1200g 95mm 178cm ski, but it is not really capable of powering a 185cm, 105mm or wider ski.

    The 1500-1600g (26.5) boots are capable of this. The great thing about these boots (ZeroG Pro Guide, Salomon MTN LAB, Dynafit Khion etc) is that they can be used as an everyday boot for anyone who is primarily using tech bindings.

    Your review is a bit off putting because you are comparing the ZeroG to a F1 class boot for touring up, and comparing it to something more akin to an RS 130 for skiing down. It is neither of these boots, and vary capable where neither of them are.

  17. SteveR April 20th, 2016 1:19 pm

    Can you add any info on the fit? How wide is a moulded inner boot measured at the forefoot and ankle? Would be great to see this info in all reviews.

    Okay, so I understand Federico’s point that the above info doesn’t tell you much, but it might be better than nothing?

    Alternatively maybe boots could be classified in reviews as wide, medium or narrow?

  18. Rudi April 20th, 2016 1:46 pm

    For everyone upset over the review above. Here is an overwhelmingly positive one to soothe your tempers.


    I think many people overestimate their needs in the bc. Loads of awesome descents being done on Scarpa Aliens and those are basically running shoes

  19. Codey April 20th, 2016 2:05 pm

    Lou, it seems that the “freeride touring” people are a sensitive bunch.

    Guys, if you are happy with your boots, then who cares if Lou classifies them as a more downhill oriented category than a pure “ski touring” boot. Does the category somehow change how they ski? I think it is pretty clear that different skiers (and reviewers) want different things out of their boots. Obviously Lou is not the target market for this boot, maybe we would be better served by Louie offering up his $0.02.

    To follow the SkiAlper buyer’s guide criteria results in the following:

    Ski Touring:
    “Ski touring in its old fashioned conception, taking care during ascents, controlled speed and closed arcs during the decent, big elevation gains, with all types of outings.”
    Boots: weight between 1100 and 1400g

    “Not opposed to classic ski touring, in fact it stems from it. Same range of activities, with an eye for the descent and the steep, with regards to going up and long distances.”
    Boots: weight between 1400 and 1700g

    Makes sense to me. And as a bigger guy (6’2″, 205#) I use Maestrale RS as my only boot for all my skiing and I love them.

  20. XXX_er April 20th, 2016 2:26 pm

    Yeah so maybe it ain’t a ski mountaineering boot so maybe the ZeroG is a freeride touring boot but whatever it is providing some context by comparing it to the other freeride touring boots currently being offered by the boot makers will help skiers make informed buying decisions, telling me what I will only need … not so much

    as for weight if you are always comparing whatever size you take it will be a relative compro across all the brands

  21. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 3:51 pm

    Glad I could engender some discussion, and you guys who want this type of boot know who you are, though I do wonder why you’d drop from a 130 flex to a 120, when weight isn’t a big deal. I feel like I’m missing something. Perhaps it’s the color? (just kidding)

    Also, I’ve said it before, while it’s common to have too much boot for ski touring (we see people suffering all the time, lapping hippy pow in huge boots), it’s most certainly possible to have too little. I’ve made that mistake myself. BUT, be careful what boot you accuse of being too meager. I was wearing Procline today, for example, and when buckled down that thing is like wearing a steel collar around your ankle. Not much flex, one must adjust their technique for that, but way stiffer than many of the 4-buckle boots I’ve had on over the years.


  22. See April 20th, 2016 6:14 pm

    In my opinion, progressive flex beats “steel collar” rigidity for most skiing (but I’m old). And I can see myself swapping soles and using boots like these for both resort and back country, especially when traveling.

    I don’t for a second think Lou is “missing” any of this, but (like many highly accomplished people) he has some strong opinions. He likes cuff mobility and short skis, but doesn’t like adjustable poles and ski brakes… I’m not qualified to question these opinions, although I do it anyway, just for fun.

  23. Thom Mackris April 20th, 2016 6:32 pm

    Well, Lou your certainly sparked some enthusiastic discussion.

    I won’t dive into those waters, save to comment on on my puzzlement with what I consider to be an obsession by many on rearward range of motion.

    IMHO, boots with good downhill performance from the last 5-7 years have more than ample rearward ROM, and this includes older designs like the Maestrales & the early Dynafit Titan.

    I ask y’all to look at world class rando racers, and how they use short, high frequency strides – much like ultra runners do on the trails. These athletes (with their amazing VO2 max) have found the most efficient way to travel in the mountains. Here’s one link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLNay-k5s_Q (a good example around 1:20).

    If a short, choppy, high-frequency stride is good enough for them, it’s good enough for me – even if I do gravitate to more beef in my boots.

    I think a much more relevant parameter is ease of rearward flex within a MEANINGFUL, and USEFUL range. it would be difficult to quantify, but then again, so is the concept of progressive flex in an overlap boot – an attribute I consider relevant, but that many of your readers would scoff at.

    Different strokes …


  24. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 7:26 pm

    Hey Thom, that’s a good point about stride. I get to see some of the top guys here in our little valley, and did notice that stride. What I’ve found over the years is that being able to vary stride is the most important. Part of the time do short, lengthen for a while (that’s when you want the free range). But mostly, do try boots with zero resistance and large range, than go back to boots with limited ROM and more resistance. With that kind of comparo folks will get the point. It may not be necessary nor desirable to shift over to the full touring boot, but you’ll be informed as to the fact there is a real significant difference in energy expenditure and prevention of over-use injury.

  25. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 7:27 pm

    Well See, thanks for seeing I’m entitled to my own bad taste (grin). I do enjoy pushing out the blog once in a while. Lou

  26. Lou Dawson 2 April 20th, 2016 7:28 pm

    Anyone care to comment on the sole rubber being too thick for that ION binding? Or is that just too much knocking on the sacred cow (grin)?

  27. Ryan April 20th, 2016 8:42 pm

    What is the last of the boot? Is it the tecnica narrow at 98 ?

  28. Kevin Woolley April 20th, 2016 8:48 pm

    I’m firmly in the camp of using lighter gear. My style is tours of several miles, lots of hiking, and relatively mellow skiing. Aliens are the ticket for me. And I’m always looking for better and lighter gear. Glad the market is broad enough that there are so many tools to choose from!

  29. Kristian April 20th, 2016 8:55 pm

    Lou has extraordinay experience. You have to have rear angulation for a natural efficient kick and glide stride over horizontal and low angle distances. I found this out the hard way some years ago when I did a high 11 mile essentially horizontal traverse with boots that had minimal rear range. Both legs massively cramped. I have had great success this year with Spectre and Spitfire 2.0 boots.

  30. See April 20th, 2016 9:28 pm

    Re. the thick rubber: if a couple minutes work with a razor knife can fix it, it doesn’t seem like a big deal (but good to check when setting up). My Scarpas had the same thing going on with Dynafits.

    IMHO, your point about varying stride is really useful. I’ve come to the same conclusion that being able to mix it up helps conserve energy and give different body parts a break when doing a big work out. Long and short stride is kind of like sitting and spinning or standing and upshifting on a bike. And I’ve lately come to appreciate having good backward cuff ROM also. Maybe more noticeable with low drag skins.

  31. Greg Louie April 20th, 2016 9:56 pm

    @Ryan: It’s a new last for Tecnica that will be shared with the 2017 Cochise boots, and nominally 99mm at the forefoot (which seems pretty accurate to me). The midfoot area just under and to the rear of the navicular is tighter than any recent Tecnica average width last, and volume around the ankle is much less than this year’s Cochise. Instep height is relaxed, in typical Tecnica fashion.

  32. Bob Perlmutter April 20th, 2016 11:01 pm

    Hi All, “main tester” here. Lou certainly has seemed to spark a debate about “light is right”(be it boots or skis) vs. displaying one’s manliness vis a vis preferred choice of gear. I was planning on penning a piece about the new crop of narrower and lighter skis that have found a place in my quiver and how it has changed my perspective and approach to the sport. I guess I had better include boots in that discussion as well. It will have to wait because I am up in way too few hours to tour the high peaks to get some of the 12” of light and dry that fell over the past 48hrs. I debated back and forth ultimately deciding to shelve the 87mm disco sticks in favor of the 106mm beef sticks. I hope this gives me some street cred with the freeride crowd. Stay tuned.

  33. Lindahl April 21st, 2016 8:15 am

    Shell weight and liner weight, individually?

    Also, you mention that the liner is flimsy. I’m sure it’s flimsier than a full alpine liner but how does the stiffness of the tongue and rear of the liner compare to a standard Intuition ProTour liner? My previous experience with Tecnica Palau liners is that they’re much flimsier than a ProTour liner, and ski much better with one of those instead.

  34. Greg Louie April 21st, 2016 8:28 am

    @Lindahl: Mine are 1306g and 218g for the 26.5. Not as stiff as a Pro Tour but IMO they ski very well.

  35. Greg Louie April 21st, 2016 8:41 am

    @Bob Perlmutter: No debate here. I love fast and light gear, and have no plans to replace my Backland Carbons with the Zero G. On the other hand, I’ve toured plenty on boots that weigh more than the Zero G Guide Pro without feeling especially handicapped.

    I think the Zero G boots will be a great choice for people who really split their time equally between lift served and touring, and maybe the best pick as a “Travelling Boot” (trip to, say, Europe or Japan with equal parts lift access and self powered).

  36. Lindahl April 21st, 2016 8:44 am

    At 175lbs and 5’10, I tend to appreciate both style of boots. I own a pair of Backland Carbons and a pair of Tecnica Cochises. The boots I pick highly depend on what I’m doing that day. If I’m meadow skipping, or even skiing high alpine lines, I’ll pick my Backlands. If the tour is on the shorter side (say <5 hours roundtrip), and I'm expecting good snow conditions and the line is open enough to ski it fast and hard, then I'll pick my Cochises.

    I can definitely appreciate freetouring boots like the ZeroG – something even lighter than my Cochises would be nice, even for sidecountry efforts.

    I do agree that most backcountry skiers probably should be in something more akin to the Backland or a TLT7. They're just not skiing hard and fast enough to appreciate the downhill difference over the significant improvement in touring (and yes, rearward ROM does matter quite a bit). However, it does take more balance and concentration to ski in those boots (at least for me), and most backcountry skiers that I see are pretty subpar at the balance game to begin with – so it's not entirely a clearcut opinion for me.

  37. Lou Dawson 2 April 21st, 2016 8:57 am

    Lindahl, the Zero G Pro Guide liner is nicely made, fits the shell in terms of height, but is indeed basically one step above the most minimal possible, in that it’s low density and super light, with a bit of extra on the tongue and spoiler. The 28.5 liner I have here weighs 218 grams, my TLT 6 liners with beefed tongue weigh more than that!. A beefier “freeride” liner in same size weighs about 400 grams (I checked a few we have here in studio.) This 28.5 Zero G shell weights 1,436 grams per boot.

    The liners have become a significant way of manipulating the weight of ski boots, both in reality but also the “PR” weight that’s bandied about on web forums and often scraped from catalogs. For example, say one boot needs a footbed and one doesn’t. It’s possible the one without the added footbed will end up lighter than the otherwise winning boot with a custom footbed…or say you really do need to throw in a custom beef liner to take an otherwise softer boot up to the performance level you want…

    Most of what I’m calling ski touring boots have shells that weigh more in the 1,100 gram range. It’s a huge difference in my opinion, which is why it’s been easy for me to classify most boots as either “ski touring” or “freeride touring” though some still fall on the weight border between both categories. Example (I think) being La Sportiva Spectre.

    BTW, I’d remind everyone this is all for the sake of discussion, there are not “official” categories and boots are coming out yearly that break the barriers. Some readers new to the game might take all this too literally.


  38. wyomingowen April 21st, 2016 11:46 am

    “cluster of divots” – like a golf ball, they’re there for flight when hucking carcass…
    plenty of bios on this comment thread…
    I’m seeking quality and quantity through the light is right initiative

  39. Jim V April 21st, 2016 2:31 pm

    1500g is about right for a ski touring boot.

  40. Ryan April 21st, 2016 3:01 pm

    Thanks. Going to have to try these on. I like the older bodacious last and hoping this is similar. Looking for a lighter ski and tour boot.

  41. Bob Perlmutter April 21st, 2016 10:29 pm

    First let me start with comments specific to the Zero G boot. I think Lou’s and Greg’s description of the Zero G is very apt. As a one boot quiver for alpine, side country, ski area hike to terrain or a travel boot to cover all bases the Technica Zero G is an excellent choice. For example, if I was traveling to Las Lenas(again) or Chamonix(again) and could only take one boot, I would grab the Zero G in a heart beat and go. As part of a two boot quiver, they would be a great option as my heavy duty pair As Lindahl said, it all depends on what I am doing that day. Personally, they will never be my primary “touring” boot due to weight and lack of ROM.

    To that end, the touring party I was in today, among others, included a two time World Extreme Champ and an ex national team member from another country. I mentioned the nerve that Lou had hit in his post from yesterday and the subject, the definition of a touring boot. They looked at me as if I was from another planet when I said some people were promoting 7lb. or heavier boots as “touring” boots. Lindahl, I’ll let you break the news to them that they can’t go hard and fast on their chosen touring gear.

    Speaking of hard and fast, we passed two parties of kids half our age that started well before us, who were using heavy duty touring gear and then turned two laps to their one. I couldn’t possibly have done that were I using gear similar to theirs. Greater efficiency = more skiing= more fun.

    Back to the Zero G. The last is different than the Cochise series. It is clearly more anatomical.I had a pair of Cochise a number of years ago and could never get them to fit. I slid my Intuition liner into the Zero G and never looked back. The pre-punched spots go a long way to creating the insta-fit. Call the Zero G slightly wider or just better shaped but despite that, the heel pocket is tighter than the Cochise. The dimples are to aid in heat penetration of the plastic from a heat gun to make boot punches easier. I also noticed the thickness of the sole made it difficult to enter my ION and possibly Dynafit(can’t remember). I have never experienced that with any other boot.

    The buckles were also a bit problematic. I do agree with Lou that screws rather than rivets are preferable. That said, I thought the buckles were a bit of overkill and could have been a source of weight savings. More importantly, when touring it is critical that the middle two buckles are completely unlatched. Even if loosely latched, the second and third buckles jam against each other and further limit the already limited ROM.

    In summary, if one wants the simplicity or can only afford a one boot quiver than the Zero G deserves a close look. Also, as the heavy duty end of a two boot quiver, they certainly fit that niche.

    I have a confession to make. At the last minute I switched from my 106mm beef sticks to my 87mm disco sticks for today’s tour. It paid big dividends as noted above. Next I am going to tackle my new fondness for lighter and narrower skis as part of the light is right equation and some of my favorite picks. Thanks all.

  42. Rod April 22nd, 2016 12:04 am

    Bob, two laps is not always more fun than one.
    I’m in the French Pyrenees at the moment and almost everyone is in skinny skis and donafit boots, lightweight.

    And most of then ski like crap and they could clearly benefit from wider skis and beefier boots.
    When the snow is not perfect, stiffer, well designed gear makes skiing easier.

  43. YTR April 22nd, 2016 2:48 am

    Bob, stop digging. You are not helping.

    ps, I ski tour more than you do, on heavier boots that you do.

  44. Kristian April 22nd, 2016 7:51 am

    I always appreciate Bob Perlmutter’s intelligent insightful comments.

    Also, I am a huge fan of beefy side country gear since it keeps the downhill skiers in resorts & side country and out of the real backcountry skimo terrain.

  45. Nathan April 22nd, 2016 9:06 am

    It seems like a lot of people are starting to realize that their chosen style in the backcountry is different than Lou or Bob. It’s ok. No one is telling you how to ski or what gear to choose. They are just stating that for their preferences, this boot doesn’t fit the bill.

    I happen to feel that my personal sweet spot is on 95-110mm skis, with a 1500g boot, and speed radicals. I can get 3-4 nice long laps, and be perfectly happy with my experience on the up and the down. I admire the guys who go further/bigger on lighter gear, but I guess I’m just not a good enough skier because I feel scared on that stuff.

    This whole thread is starting to sound too much like a political debate.No one needs to go to their safe space because they’ve been offended. It’s just skiing.

  46. Greg Louie April 22nd, 2016 9:16 am

    It’s a mistake to talk about “ski tourists” and “freeride tourists” as if they were separate species – in my experience, they are often the same people. Skilled enough to rip big lines on ultra light gear but fit enough to drag a 1500 gram boot uphill all day. Sometimes they want the power of a beefier boot (ask Greg Hill about this) just for the fun of it, and I think the Zero G is a potential solution. It also makes a great all-mountain lift served boot that could replace the 2300 gram plug boot in the quiver.

  47. Bob Perlmutter April 22nd, 2016 9:12 pm

    I think Nathan and Greg sum it up pretty well. Please note, I never said I wouldn’t tour on the Zero G, just that I wouldn’t make it my primary touring boot. I own a 7lb+ beef boot and use it for alpine, cat, heli and bootpacks and will always have a boot that fills that niche in my quiver. Rod, touches upon that age old question of quantity vs. quality. In my younger days it was more about quantity. Now that I am older it is more about quality but when the opportunity arises, I’ll take both. Another point about lighter gear is that it allows me to go to all the same places of my youth, sometimes farther and faster but most importantly not feeling it in my knees and hips at the end of the day. Live injury and ache free to ski another day(or 20 more yrs.).

    Let us not get buried so deep in this silly bruhaha to forget to look up and take notice of the Ski Hardrock 100 accomplishment. A compelling story. Lastly, YTR, there is an old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. Please join the conversation with constructive comments. It would be welcome and appreciated. Cheers.

  48. Lou Dawson 2 April 23rd, 2016 7:37 am

    Bob says it well. I do indeed occasionally get out with folks who do their big gear justice so I know it’s valid, when it’s valid. I guess my point, made however poorly (grin), is that the boots such as Backland, F1, TLT are in a very different niche that I like to call “ski touring,” and tends to be the gear folks use pretty often around the world for muscle powered skiing.

    I think there is also a grey area, for example we saw a very fit friend of ours yesterday marching uphill well in his Scarpa Maestrale with Radical 2 on mid-width skis. I wouldn’t call that rig a pure “ski touring” rig, but it’ll definitely cross back and forth. I’d offer that due to it indeed being lighter the Zero G is somewhat of a cross over, but I would like to see more cuff ROM before I totally gave it that. The other thing, on a positive note, is that for years we’ve chattered about the stiffness of boots not being as big a deal as some would say. If folks who freeride tour are willing to drop down in stiffness to 120 or less with Zero G, I’m glad they are proving that point since it’ll help folks new to the game to not get obsessed with their boots feeling like 130+ ski resort boots.

    Lastly, for those of you who really go for the Zero G and put a lot of days on it, including resort, I’ll honestly be interested if you stick with the superlight liner or swap something in that’s more burly. I think the liner is a nice touring liner but might need a bit more beef for those of you who ski hard, many days.


  49. Ron Cassiani April 23rd, 2016 8:07 am

    This season I went low tech using La Sportiva Syborgs on Atomic Ultimate 78’s mounted with dynafit low tech race manual and never looked back. Bought a roll of Ski trab race mohair 68mm and made some skins. The boots changed my style to a more Nordic K&G due to the ample boot cuff range. When conditions got icy I would mount a crampon on one ski. I can say now that I am a big fan of La Sportiva and Atomic

  50. See April 23rd, 2016 8:18 am

    Aside from racing or other types of competition (or movie making) where your bindings are cranked, can someone explain why they need very stiff boots?

    And Lou: your friends rig is high end touring gear, in my opinion. (Like I said earlier: I’m not qualified to second guess, but I do it anyway.) And while I’m at it, if I felt like complaining about something, it would be that gear advocacy can sometimes seem like marketing. But that doesn’t really bother me either.

  51. Greg Louie April 23rd, 2016 9:18 am

    When skis were over 200 cm long and longitudinally very stiff, there was a general consensus among expert skiers that you needed a stiff boot to pressure the tips to turn the ski. That’s no longer true, most modern skis turn easily with light lateral pressure (just put it on edge). Skiers at every level are skiing softer boots than a few years ago; our Head rep says Ted Ligety has modified his boots to be roughly a 110 flex. You’ll also notice that pretty much all current boots with a claimed 130 flex (with the exception of 92-95mm plug boots) are much softer than any 130 boot from 8-10 years ago . . .

  52. See April 23rd, 2016 9:44 am

    Interesting, Greg. Thanks. I used to ski 204’s with Salomon SX92 boots at the lowest stiffness setting. I’ve long felt that most skis will bend if you stand on them hard enough, but I don’t run gates and I tend to avoid very stiff skis.

    I generally use soft boots, and sometimes they do over-flex forward, but usually only during a recovery when I’m not on top of the skis.

  53. bob perlmutter April 23rd, 2016 10:12 am

    At the risk of ad nauseum, let me sum up with a final thought. All I have been offering is one person’s perspective as to where this product fits on my personal spectrum. I don’t care about definitions of “touring” vs. “freeride touring” as those lines are very blurry and get crossed all the time. If you choose to use the Zero G as your “touring” boot then it’s a “touring” boot, end of story, There is no right or wrong, good or bad going on here. Just personal preference and different strokes for different folks.

    Look at the Ski Hardrock 100. Could that possibly been accomplished on any other gear than ski mo race gear, highly unlikely. Did the downhill portions suffer in terms of quality skiing and looking pretty. Certainly, but that wasn’t the goal.

    I think the era of high level ski mountaineering going after big lines on high peaks using lighter than typical gear was ushered in with the recent Centennial Skiers effort over the past few years. It would be interesting to here there thoughts on how and why they chose that particular gear and in retrospect, how it worked out.

    I still remember decades ago watching a film of Slyvain Sudan skiing Hidden Pk, an 8000m peak in the Himalaya. On the summit, a crew of Sherpa helped him switch from his climbing boots into his Salomon alpine boots and skis. The whole crowd groaned at the thought of how cold those boots must have been to put on, not to mention how heavy. Lucky us that times have changed, technology moves forward and we have so many wonderful choices of gear that let us enjoy what we love best, backcountry skiing.

  54. trollanski April 23rd, 2016 10:29 am

    Wow, that’s a timely post! Thanks for all the great dialogue folks. Key line in the review for me….” No significant performance improvement…” That kills any interest I had… I regularly and gladly grab the Cochise Pro 130’s (over the Mercury’s w/o tongues) when the sacred chutes & pillows are holding. Why? Because they ski so much better. 10 pounds a pair and worth it. Same lines, different experience.

    See, the reason people ski is always the same. Had as much FUN the first day in 1971, and was as CATHARTIC & REWARDING as the last day out. Flashing the spicy and dicey w/ a heavy boot is where I find mine. Oh, and my lateral release is set at 8.5 on Dyn. and Vipec, and 9.5 on Ion. Point being the ability to reflect on the difference between opinion and fact. My opinion does not make it a fact for you, just for me. The truth is relative, is everywhere…The truth needs no proof. Sorry for wading so far into the deep end there…

    Now next year’s Dalbello Lupo Carbone’s will offer that ride at 8 pounds per pair, presumably with Intuition liners. Got them on my feet, and they are brilliant. Oh, and don’t fear zee Boot Fitter! Move zee plastik, glue zee foam to titen zee heels.

    Now if those TLT7’s can shave 2 lb’s off the Mercury’s and ski the same….Golden Age of gear is here….

  55. See April 23rd, 2016 10:55 am

    I’m just sharing my thoughts, like everyone else here. I have no problem with whatever gear people choose. Hey, half the people I ski with are on tele’s. I know, it’s only skiing, but I like it.

  56. Frank K April 23rd, 2016 11:29 am

    Since it’s baseball season, I’ll just call this review a “swing and a miss”. The OG really isn’t all that well suited as an inbounds/ touring boot. It’s a touring boot, through and through, and comparable in weight to touring boots that most people I ski with use, such as the Vulcan. If I wanted a boot for inbounds use, I would only look at the Cochise in the Tecnica line.

    By the way, the “self adjusting system” refers to the spring that is meant to keep the two sides of the lock mechanism tight as they wear over time and can lead to play.

    As for boots under 1500, perhaps they should be called “ski walking boots”, since they’re mostly good for walking.

  57. Bob Perlmutter April 23rd, 2016 1:49 pm

    Frank, you seem to think this review is a “swing and a miss” because it doesn’t agree with your point of view and on that basis, so be it. That’s a pretty narrow perspective and doesn’t make much room for other points of view. I’ll let you be the next in line to break the news to the Centennial skiers and the world class skiers I was touring with the other day that they were merely “walking”.

  58. Bruno April 23rd, 2016 2:54 pm

    Well, the strangest thing I’ve learned from these comments is that there must be a kind of hard-core Tecnica fan club that doesn’t like even the faintest suggestion that their boots might not be exactly what they believe them to be….who would have thought? It’s almost as crazy as the whole telescoping or not telescoping poles polemic.

    But, seriously, it is very interesting to me as a reader to learn how people think about boots, what is happening with light weight gear, what might be considered cross-over gear, how it’s used, how it’s all evolving, and so on.

    Also, the idea that you need big boots and skis to ski hard/fast/well seems to me completely false. I probably need that kind of heavy and gear–I’m a poor skier–but if you have the skills, you can ski on anything. I have had the great good luck and privilege to be guided by some truly world class alpinists and skiers in the Mont Blanc massif. I remember watching one guide skiing on light Dynafit boots with no tongues and narrow 60-70 millimeter Pierra Mentra skis, with incredible grace and control, over rough terrain in difficult conditions, or another guide, using the same style of boots and skis, skiing right up to the very edge of a crevasse, skis parallel to hole, a few centimeters from the edge, checking out the terrain, making a decision, and then doing one of those 180 degree changes of direction, first one ski and then the other, balancing on the ice, basically using the skis like crampons, and then skiing smoothly away…of course with a heavy pack and climbing gear. I followed them like the clumsy amateur that I am, with heavy boots and wide skis. The point is, all around the world, people are using light weight gear to ski amazing lines in amazing places. Does that mean that light weight gear is the only true touring gear, or that heavy gear does not also have it’s place? Of course not. But it does mean that you can use lightweight gear for the hardest most extreme skiing in the world, if you have the technique.

  59. Bob Perlmutter April 23rd, 2016 3:28 pm

    Frank, if this helps you with my perspective, for example I think the Vulcan is a groundbreaking “touring” boot at a reasonable weight, with great ROM for such a stiff boot that offers exceptional downhill performance. Whatever boot someone chooses to tour in is a “touring” boot.

  60. Frank K April 23rd, 2016 5:09 pm

    But the OG weighs less than the Vulcan, so why so much hate? Just the ROM? The OG skis way better…

  61. Frank K April 23rd, 2016 5:16 pm

    Or at the very least I should say that the OG has a far more progressive flex, which is important for me, and something that even Vulcan skiers tend to admit is a shortcoming of that boot.

  62. Kristian April 23rd, 2016 6:54 pm

    “poles polemic” Ha!

    I love and own all classes of skis! Combo Nordic Skate, Tele, Skimo, and Downhill.

    I have been through the complete evolution – lace up leather boots with bear trap bindings on wood skis with specialized heavy duty leather mitts for rope tows in the late 50’s, fiberglass laminated skis in the 60’s, torching pine tar into wooden Nordic skis, climbing and skiing Mt. Washington in the 70’s with ankle leather boots & flimsy double cambered Fisher Europa’s with simple 3 pin bindings with wax & (ugh) klister, 80’s with treasured $25 Aspen thrift shop score of an Olympian’s heavily modified Lange race boots, blasting many Colorado downhill resorts on Kastle MX 88s, twenty plus blissful years on Scarpa, and now deciding to match all of my climbing and running footwear with same excellent quality light ski gear from the same manufacturer.

    I have skipped over quite a bit. But, funny thing is, I have in turn greatly loved all of this ski gear and feel like a cheating lover when I start to consider upgrading. Upgrading typically includes hanging on to the previous ski gear for a year or two – just in case… (Same goes for climbing gear.)

    I am now 60, still lean; and watch myself in detached absolute dumb founded amazement as I still summit 14teeners and ski steep.

  63. See April 23rd, 2016 6:59 pm

    Frank, aside from some trash talking in the comments, I’m not sensing much hate here. Actually, I’m thinking I want some Zero G’s…

  64. See April 23rd, 2016 7:30 pm

    I’m guessing this mostly stems from the line: “Too heavy for real touring with no significant performance improvement that could justify the extra weight over today’s “real” ski touring boots.” Lou did admit, “I do enjoy pushing out the blog once in a while.”

  65. See April 23rd, 2016 7:55 pm

    But you give as good as you get: “As for boots under 1500, perhaps they should be called “ski walking boots”, since they’re mostly good for walking.”

  66. Jim Milstein April 23rd, 2016 8:29 pm

    You know what are too heavy? Snowmobiles are too heavy.

  67. Truax April 23rd, 2016 9:45 pm

    “You know what are too heavy? Snowmobiles are too heavy.”


    Always appreciate your sense of humor, Jim. Love it.

    And regarding all this nonsense regarding being critical of such a boot. Eff em if they can’t take a joke is the saying. Skiing is an absolute blast no matter if you’re a gram weenie or a beefy send’r’er. Just send it folks, and you’ll find yourselves grinning like Lou does after his sometimes cheeky posts 😉 !

  68. Bob Perlmutter April 23rd, 2016 10:52 pm

    I keep thinking I am done with this post but the hits(in a positive way) just keep on coming. Jim, I love your snowmobile comment. Truax, truer words have never been spoken. Kristian, you don’t speak up often but when you do it’s worth listening. Frank, agreed on the OG progressive flex vs. the Vulcan flex. I don’t hate the OG. Interestingly enough, despite the multitude of comments, no one has asked me what I think of the downhill performance of the OG. Honestly, I wasn’t blown away(too soft laterally for starters) and didn’t think the OG advanced the evolution of the AT boot in any significant way. Had I thought so, I would look past my previously stated shortcomings and sold my soul to get my hands on a pair for keeps. For those that feel otherwise, I look forward to seeing a flash of yellow blow by me on the hill or in the backcountry(preferably).

  69. Lou Dawson 2 April 24th, 2016 7:57 am

    Hey all, indeed, thanks for the excellent discussion. Good to see Frank show up, he knows what he’s talking about and knows what he wants for his style of skiing.

    Me, I do make the mistake of going way way too wimpy sometimes with my footwear, doing so is fun to an extent (how much can I do with how little?) but has come back to bite me in the rear. For example, for average ski touring I’m very comfortable in TLT5 without tongue and without power strap. Decades of skiing in minimal gear enable that style, as I’ve spent literally years in everything from nordic racing boots to the wimpy stuff I used for skiing all the Colorado 14ers. (Frank nailed all the 14ers as well, I’m envious he got to do it with better gear (grin).)

    Continuing the example, over the years I’ve sometimes found myself in a situation where I did want more boot than that TLT5 with no tongue or strap. Usually it was just an inconvenience, but I can think of a handful of times where more boot would have perhaps even increased my personal safety. BUT, what do I mean by more boot? If I’d had the add-on tongue and power strap on the TLT5 or better, been using a TLT6, I would have been fine.

    In any case, yesterday I skied lifts all day (sinner). I took my TLT6 since I don’t have anything else fitting well enough to spend the day in, but I put the stiff tongues back in. The Sixers were fine for my style of skiing, I had fun, but after a few runs I could feel my feet and legs doing the extra work required when a boot doesn’t totally lock me in.

    Any overlap beefier boot would have been better, but, I was riding lifts.

    If I’d been ski touring and skiing that exact terrain (which we actually do, when we uphill that same resort) I would have been perfectly happy, since I would not have been doing laps off a high speed quad.

    As for my playing around with the term “ski touring.” I do get around, and see what people are doing all over the world. Literally thousands of people. The vast majority of those folks are skiing all sorts of terrain and lines in boots that match the weight class and ROM of those such as TLT6. Those boots are not toys, they are very sophisticated pieces of equipment often used by amazing athletes. Thus, while I see the appeal of backcountry boots that feel and behave like alpine boots, there is clearly a whole other world out there where folks are on cutting edge, for example as Bob points out about the Centennial skiers.

  70. Lou Dawson 2 April 24th, 2016 8:20 am

    I’d also like to point out that one of the best ski boots ever extant was the Flexon Comp, now Full Tilt, and it was/is a tongue boot not an overlap. That should cause all of use to take pause, and perhaps consider that a boot such as La Sportiva Spectre could actually be a ski touring boot and a freeride boot all in one.

    It’s also germane to again point out that my weight target of 1,500 grams for a size 27.5 or 28 is just an “about,” as what makes a ski boot a touring boot in my opinion is also the cuff range of motion, liner range of motion, sole rocker, performance of tech fittings, ease of use, warmth, and so on. But there is a clear demarcation when you go under 1,500 grams into weights more like 1,300 or less, that’s when you get into the latest state-of-art shoes that really are pretty amazing and everyone in my opinion should experience by getting/borrowing/demoing a pair they can use for multiple days (if you’ve not skied in stiff “tongue” style ski touring boots, know that it takes a few days of using them to get used to how they feel on the down, and to make adjustments to your technique so you feel fluid and comfortable.)

  71. Daniel April 24th, 2016 10:23 am

    Interesting thread, interesting boot.

    I have toured many bug tours 2000m+ vertical in Zzero4s, wich are essentially 1500gr boots with bot exactly a whole lot of cuff rotation. But, these ski and flex really well and fit me like nothing else. I have the normal carbon version and the extra carbon late model which has more cuff mobility. With the regular ZZERO4c I find my speed limit is approx 600m vert/hour limited mainly by possible stride length. I doubt many people outside race climb much faster than that. Bottom line: cuff mobility is nice but fit and ski performance matter to me alot more. I will even stash one more pair if ZZeros to extend my use of these for as many years as possible…
    Re. Weight: Unlike my mates I use tlt speeds w/o brakes, that saves more weight than most light boots 🙂

  72. Lou Dawson 2 April 24th, 2016 11:16 am

    Good point about saving weight with bindings. Lou

  73. Dave April 24th, 2016 1:00 pm

    I have been testing the ZeroG Guide Pro in a 26.5 with a combo of lift served and backcountry options. I have skiied them about 10 days with G3 Ions on this years ZeroG 108s for typical Tahoe backcountry days. Approx 4 vert/day, 1-3 laps each time.

    As for the interface with the Ions, I have had no trouble at all and in fact, in furthering my love for the Ion toe pieces, have stepped in cleanly and easily on the first try every time. No issues with the rubber being too thick or anything of the sort.

    Also, I would agree with Perl as this would be an ideal boot for those ski trips where you are at the resort and the bc all within a week and you only want 1 boot for the entire trip. Perfect application!

    Thanks for a great and thorough review.

  74. Lou Dawson 2 April 24th, 2016 1:46 pm

    Dave, thanks so much for your take! Sole thickness issue is more related to release, test on bench. If it’s ok it is ok. Easy to check. Overall, ION tends to be very consistent no matter what boot or tech fittings, which constantly impresses us. Lou

  75. Greg Louie April 24th, 2016 5:44 pm

    Like the line of demarcation between ski touring and freeride touring boots, the greatness of the Flexon Comp/Full Tilt design is open to debate.

    The trend in lighter crossover boots for next season (Dalbello Lupo Ti Carbon excepted) is headed in the opposite direction, striving to combine more of an “overlap” flex pattern with reduced weight. Whether you choose to tour on them or not, the Zero G, Lange XT Free Tour, K2 Pinnacle Pebax and Atomic Hawx Ultra Tour (or whatever they eventually call it) are headed to market soon.

  76. Bob Perlmutter April 24th, 2016 6:53 pm

    A very good point that has been touched upon is this whole light is right thing is hardly just about the boots but the entire system.There are significant weight savings to be had in the skis, bindings and skins as well. If there is one particular part of the system that seems like too much of a compromise(ie:boots or whatever) then so be it and shave some weight here and there with the other components. If it all seems like a compromise then go with what works best for you as an individual. For example, I use power straps, stiff tongues and ditch the stock liners for Intuitions because anything less means less performance that doesn’t work for me. I can’t be worried about a few hundred grams here and there if I’m not going to enjoy the skiing. I have skis that weigh between 5-6.5lbs. and there are some days where the heavier ski makes the most sense and I’m happy it’s on my feet regardless of the extra weight. We’re all saying the same thing but with different thresholds and parameters.Greg, the Lange, K2, Atomic and Dalbello are all high on my list for my beef boot of choice for next season. Can’t wait to find out which one is the right boot for me and look forward to hauling them around at the right time and place.

  77. See April 24th, 2016 8:45 pm

    How long until 1500 g is considered a beef boot? Carbon skimo race boots weigh under that today. A carbon boot made with some kevlar in the lower shell for durability, thermoplastic resin or a thick thermo liner for ease of boot fitting, and some sort of cuff lock with a spring/damper system to enable the user to set whatever flex they like, would fit the bill. I had some red Dynafit alpine boots (3F’s?) thirty some years ago that had spring loaded cuff locks.

  78. swissiphic April 25th, 2016 8:40 am

    A bit of an aside….RE: ” the greatness of the Flexon Comp/Full Tilt design is open to debate.”

    Agreed, (the actual raichle boots weren’t even close to fitting my feet) however, at the end of my ski touring career sometime hopefully long in the distant future, hindsight praise will be given to the tongues…which after careful modding saved many an old school insufficiently stiff in forward flex early ski touring boots from being incinerated in the field due to frustration of forward cuff/scaffo collapse in coastal mank, crusts and moguls. Was pretty stoked to have enough support and progressive flex to rip mogul lines in my dynafit tlt 4s’s, all terrains and garmont mega rides…no raichle tongue, no love. 😉 Now, how to mod some full tilt tongues to fit my mango scarpas? Summer project.

  79. Craig April 25th, 2016 10:49 am

    The issues I and other readers are taking is that the boot is not being adequately reviewed for an enthusiast crowd. Everybody already knows the implcations associated with weight etc. What we want to know, is how does it compare to other boots in its class – Khion, Vulcan, Mtn Lab as previously mentioned. Why cant these boots get the same type of in depth review as more serious touring boots? Which walks better? Which skis better? Nevermind Ill just fork over some dollars to Blister Gear

  80. Thom Mackris April 26th, 2016 3:19 pm


    Examples of what uber athletes can accomplish (either on minimal gear or otherwise), can be inspiring to some (showing us what’s possible), make for good armchair reading for others, and can result in a range from great to terrible equipment choices – based how honest you are about your capabilities.

    IMHO, the accomplishments of these incredible athletes shouldn’t be used as an equipment selection rationale for 99% of us however.

    Expanding on what Lou alluded to above, I met Steve Reichel – then head of the Vail’s Nordic school back in the mid-70’s. Steve skied the back bowls in what were at the time, the revolutionary Fischer Europa, metal edged, double camber cross country skis – with standard 3-pin bindings and high top (above the ankle bone) Alpha touring boots.

    Would I ever attain this level of competence, and were his equipment choices relevant to my choices? In retrospect, the answer is a resounding “no”.


  81. Bob Perlmutter April 26th, 2016 11:35 pm

    Hi Thom, agreed. I think all Lou and I are saying is the state of the art has advanced such that there is some lightweight high performance( at least enough for me) gear out there. It allows many of us to ski to our potential in the backcountry both efficiently on the up and aggressively on the down. I am traveling as far and fast as 20 yrs. ago with less fatigue and wear and tear at the end of the day with no compromise in my skiing. In the case of boots, a lot of the examples that come to mind for me weigh in the 5-6lb. range. If I get everything I need out of a touring boot without putting more weight on my feet then why would I? The boots I am talking about do not require elite level skills and are widely used by many skiers in the backcountry. That’s not to say there aren’t good touring boots that happen to be heavier. The Maestrale RS is one of my all time favorites.

    If someone feels they need more beef in their boots to ski to their potential in the backcountry then all the more power to them. I’m not saying I am right and they are wrong or vis versa. Based on all of the rancor above, it seems many people think that is exactly what I am saying. I just perceive the best and highest use for the Zero G differently than some others. That doesn’t mean I hate it or think it is a bad product.

    Now I’m seeing people use SkiMo race gear in the backcountry. I know many of these people, some are elite athletes, and how well they ski(some exceptionally well). Man, they are fast on the up and cover a lot of ground but even the best of them look like hell coming down. It seems like a huge compromise to make record time going up only to waste the down. Is this starting to sound familiar? If I thought for one second that the gear I was using compromised my skiing then I would abandon it in a heartbeat and get whatever gear I needed (regardless of weight) to maximize my enjoyment.

    Craig, let’s get to the point. The Zero G does not walk as well as any of your aforementioned boots. The Khion is such a pain in the butt to get in and out that I gave it a one and done and have sworn it off until those concerns and others are addressed. The Vulcan is a much stiffer boot laterally and forward. As noted above, many people think the Vulcan lacks a progressive flex. The Zero G has a much more progressive flex though I don’t think it can be driven as hard as the Vulcan. I view the Mtn. Lab to be a more pure tour oriented boot based on superior ROM, two buckle simplicity and a very articulated liner while still offering good ski performance. That said, personally, I can’t get a decent fit out of the Mtn. Lab due to the long, narrow overall last and toebox in particular. The Zero G really shines with a very anatomical 99mm last that is narrow enough to maintain performance but still provide a comfortable fit. The pre punch concept is well executed. Just so happens today I skinned up Highlands and ran into a good friend on the patrol who happened to be in a pair of ZG prototypes. He was going off about how easy they were to punch even further which no doubt in my mind had something to do with the perforations. He indicated he felt they were perfect for touring but he would likely go to the new Cochise for the rigors of a day to day patrol boot. That seems pretty consistent with what a number of people above have said about the ZG. I hope this helps.

  82. dmr April 27th, 2016 5:14 am

    Interesting article and comments – I personally enjoy reading all of the different points of view.

    My two-cent contribution:

    1) Don’t forget the important role bindings play in downhill performance. While the basic TLT Speed skis well (much better in my opinion than Diamir Freerides I used to ski on), it doesn’t come close to the performance of an alpine race binding. A stiff boot can do a lot (tongue or overlap) but it won’t take you all the way.

    2) Personally, knowing a minimum amount of information about the skiing style, ability, and preferences of a given reviewer or poster (as well as where they ski) allows me to make good use of their comments. A review that includes “great range of motion” or “too little range of motion” means little to me if I don’t know about the person who wrote it.

    3) Regarding the boots in question, does anyone know if they go to 11?


  83. Jim Milstein April 27th, 2016 7:23 am

    “does anyone know if they go to 11?”

    It’s right there in the model name, dmr. They go all the way to zero. It’s not clear where they start.

  84. Jim Milstein April 27th, 2016 7:39 am

    This has got me wondering. What does Zero G mean? It could mean zero grams, but that is clearly wrong. No boots are weightless (yet!).

    More likely it refers to zero g acceleration, but this sounds like bad marketing. If stopped, you couldn’t get moving, and if moving you couldn’t change direction or speed.


  85. Bob Perlmutter April 27th, 2016 8:58 am

    DMR, fair enough. I am 59 yrs old. I am 5’8″ and weigh 130lbs. I have been skiing for the past 50 yrs, 40 of them professionally. I have taught, patrolled and guided throughout those years including the past 32 yrs cat skiing. I have been an AT skier for the past 35+ yrs and as a result have seen quite a bit of the evolution of the sport and specifically gear. My association with Lou dates back to the late 70’s including some of the original 14er descents. I have had the good fortune to ski in many locales around the world both mechanized and human powered. This has provided exposure to a great variety of terrain, snow climates and conditions as well as people, styles and influences. My style could be described as coming from a technical alpine foundation. I would call myself more of a finesse skier rather than pure power. I didn’t huck or straightline then and I certainly don’t do it now. I love the feeling of a well executed turn. I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.

  86. See April 27th, 2016 9:08 am

    I appreciate modern equipment, but I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that gear influences how we approach getting up and down the hill. Those old leather boots toured well and could get you down some fairly exciting terrain using a conservative style. Video of such exploits might not sell many cans of over caffeinated soda, but there was no Youtube in those days. I think it’s less a question of what equipment you “need” to ski a particular objective, and more about how you want to do it and who you’re trying to keep up with.

  87. Lou Dawson 2 April 27th, 2016 9:50 am

    Thanks Bob!

    All, there are very few people on the planet, reviewing gear, who have the depth and variety of experience that Bob does. We are super fortunate to have him chiming in.

    Bob was indeed a partner on many of my both successful and aborted Colorado 14er missions. Back in those days it was incredibly hard to find partners for that kind of stuff (as in 1:00 am starts to ski 50 degree junk snow on 69 mm skis, with no real weather report). The pool was very small, the gear made the pool even smaller, and the fact that we did most of our mountaineering in spring when the pool was smaller still did not help. Bob, bless his heart, was always game. Though one of his quirks that friends enjoy is that one day, usually in May, he will state “I’m hanging them up.” After that (unless he heads to SA), that’s it until we get some skiable snow in the fall or early winter.

    In any case, we like having authentic “opinion leaders” contributing here, who have deep deep experience, and Bob is one you can trust.

    P.S., if anyone brings up the word “bromance,” you are banned (grin).


  88. Bob Perlmutter April 27th, 2016 2:35 pm

    “Hang em up” Not until June over my dead body!

  89. Lou Dawson 2 April 27th, 2016 3:29 pm

    Forgot to link to Bob’s previous review, by the way! Link is now in the review, here it is in a comment:


  90. Ralph Cale April 27th, 2016 3:36 pm

    Lou,I have been viewing your site for a number of years and appreciate your wit and wisdom.I hope to tap into that storehouse.I am a backcountry skier in southwest Montana .I ski 100-150 days a year. Outings usually involve 10-15 miles and 2500-3000 elevation gain.The last three years I have been skiing DPS Wailer 99 pures with maestraele rs boots and dynafit radical bindings.This setup has provided superb performance.Germain to this discussion,I began seeking the lighest touring setup with adequate downhill performance .After some research I decided on La sportiva svelte ski,Spitfire boots and ION12lt.My first outing in the Bridgers was on firm base and 3 inches of dry powder.The weight savings and boots range of motion made touring a joy.The downhill was adequate.The next 4 times skiing the snow was dense and soft,forcing me into backseat unbalanced position.The dealer recommended a-minus 2 from boot center.All my past mounts have been +1 of boot center .rCould this be the source e of my problems? I remember one of your posts regarding the sveltes that you leave them home in less than perfect snow. What are your parameters of usage? Where did you mount your boots?

  91. Lou Dawson 2 April 27th, 2016 3:44 pm

    I did eventually remount my Svelts back, I think it was 2 cm, they’re not here to look at at the moment. I was skiing them Monday and though they’re not a DPS Wailer 99, they worked fine and the uphill was a joy. What you should do before you goof around with remounting is ski your Mastrales with the new skis, as well as checking that your bindings have the same ramp angle. If the bindings don’t have the same ramp that’s usually at least part of the source for a “getting used to it” period. The mistake you made is to go with entirely new boots, skis and bindings all at once. That can be brutal unless you have a ski resort where you can go and do quick multiple laps to figure everything out. Try to dial out variables one at a time, without drilling. But a remount can make a noticeable difference. Lou

  92. Greg Louie April 27th, 2016 10:54 pm

    Bob, if you can ski the Zero G out of the box long enough to give it a thorough test, you should be able to make the MTN Lab fit. I’ve punched dozens of MTN Labs and Explores this season with great success, some very agressively. The worst that can be said about a big forefoot punch with the Salomons is that it distorts the shell over the forefoot (lowers the toebox) but that is correctable.

    The Zero G is somewhat limited in how far it can be widened by the bi-injected shell (it will split along the mold line with too much force) and by the thinness of the shell at the sole juncture. Common problem zones are accurately indicated by the divots for average first met head, fifth met head, and navicular placement so many experienced boot fitters won’t even have to mark the shell – a nice touch – but this isn’t new (they did it on the Mach 1 boots this season).

  93. Thom Mackris April 28th, 2016 2:17 am

    Thanks for the follow-up, Bob. Yes, 5-6 Lbs. can work well, and (dare I say) that 1500 gram boots (6.6 lbs./pair) are a reasonable approximate upper limit for all of the light and middle weights out there.

    I hear stories from the 200+ pound guys that they collapse boots more readily, so obviously, there are no hard and fast rules.

    Of course, I continue to be amazed and impressed by what uber athletes can do on light gear – comfortable in the fact that I’ll never do that.


  94. Bob Perlmutter April 28th, 2016 10:51 pm

    Greg, good points. The Mtn Labs were not mine so it was not appropriate to customize to my foot. I agree with reasonable effort I could make them fit quite well and would have loved the opportunity to do so.

  95. Lou Dawson 2 April 30th, 2016 7:49 am

    I was on Zero G yesterday. One thing that occured to me is that years ago Tecnica was selling overlap boots that, while a bit on the soft side, had a sweet flex. I always liked them and owned a pair or two. Zero G seems to continue that heritage. Still not what I’d call a ski touring boot, but that’s not hate, just reality. If you don’t need a 130 flex boot and like an overlap, and don’t mind cuff articulation that does have some resistance and a limit, check out Zero G — and call it a ski touring boot if you want (grin). Lou

  96. ArminusDerCheruskerfürst August 27th, 2016 5:40 am

    Of course it is important to assess who it is, who writes a review or makes a judgment.

    In my view some irritation always stems from opinions like: “This is freeriding, thas is not, this is true BC ski touring, that is false touring, this is an AT boot, that is not an AT boot, this is worthwhile skiing, that is not. (btw I would like to transfer this watching into every single aspect of human society as a whole…)

    There are so many internal and external preconditions in how someone tours.

    My story: I started mountaineering in 2010 and I stood on skis first in 2012 with 34 years. I had learned theory of skiing some beforehand, and I did a course. From my seventh day of skiing I did all my skiing on my Scarpa Maestrale and K2 Shuksan on simple BC tours and also in small resorts. I have since used a lift thrice, plus in a resort holiday.

    After quitting smoking I now weigh 200 lb.

    I am holding a level of 180.000′ ascent per season, and I have reached 35 peaks over 3000 m/9.900 ft in the backcountry. Plus three partially with lift, and a few from resorts.

    My skiing potential is low, but the happiness that skiing and the mountain has shown me is unprecedented.

    I know know that the scarpa maestrale is especially now, but has ever been, much to soft for my weight, my equipment and the conditions i am often riding in. And I have a short foot/lever of 26 cm.

    Good thing is: it has taught me some skiing, some balancing!

    But now it is nothing else for me that your boot where you have opend the top buckles and you ski downhill. I can bend it at will. In difficult conditions it gives me no support whatsoever. Everything goes with balance, I cannot even lean forward, because it is not high enough, and I can sit on the tail with my behind.

    I must (!) habe a boot that is much more stiff, and high up my shin. Not one degree stiffer, two degrees stiffer.

    Because in crust, or frozen over tracks my skiing is incredibly awkward, and I am happy and lucky that I haven’t torn off every ligament.

    I must say the maestrale is brilliant in touring. It is nothing else than a hiking shoe. I can also carry skis completely effortless, linke in any boot or sneakers.

    So I am warned of the backwards ROM of the Zero G. My best guess is the Maestrale RS or the Salomon MNT Lab. Though I would like to have a higher boot that I can really lean forward into with my weight (I carry a lot of equipment regulary). But I think I cannot do with a Scarpa Freedom SL or Cochise, because I am not planning to reduce climbing.

    But aside from collecting peaks I ski to ski, I like climbing, but riding is the best part for me.

    By the way I don’t care for speed. Speed has a place in avalanche risk assessment, no more. I often tour from evening during night. And I make a lot of rest. I am happy if I need double the time of anyone to reach a peak.

    OK, sorry, that was long.

    But: these boots like Zero G, Maestrale RS, Salomon MNT Lab in my opinion are touring boots!

  97. ArminusDerCheruskerfürst August 27th, 2016 6:00 am

    PS: I correct myself: speed for me even has alomst no role in avalanche risk assessment. Day time is more important. Speed is fully substitutable with planning. Some big goals are not in reach for me like that, so what.

  98. Timothy Dobbins September 20th, 2016 9:27 pm

    Hi Lou,
    was wondering how you would go about modifying the Zero g for a little more stride length? Looks like I’m getting a pair for this coming winter.

  99. Timothy Dobbins September 20th, 2016 9:29 pm

    Also we are just talking about SKI boots right?

  100. See September 20th, 2016 10:54 pm

    Hmmm. I have some BD Primes gathering dust in my gear closet, and a pair of practically new Vertical FT 12 bindings… all I need is some carbon Katanas.

  101. Lou Dawson 2 September 21st, 2016 7:25 am

    Timothy, I don’t have a pair here to experiment on, but I’d think that you’d chop a bit in the back so the cuff could travel rearward a bit more, as well as removing some plastic in the show overlap so forward travel was easier. The liner has a huge influence, you might swap in a liner with softer flex zones, or do some cutting on the liner.

    Remember there are other boots on the market with more allowance for stride, modifying a Zero G seems pointless. They are what they are, quite nice, but like I got excoriated for saying above, they’re not what I’d call a “ski touring boot” by modern standards.


  102. Timothy Dobbins November 12th, 2016 3:59 pm

    Thnx Lou that makes a lot of sense.
    Also Thnx Perl for some wise words.

  103. Bob Perlmutter November 13th, 2016 10:55 am

    Hi Tim, nice hearing from you. You mean we are not curing cancer, ending hunger and poverty or solving world peace? I would shave as much plastic as possible from the bottom edge of the second buckle strap. Best, Perl

  104. Vasja December 12th, 2016 2:47 pm


    anyone tested both: how can you compare stiffness of Zero G Guide vs Zero G Guide Pro vs. Scarpa Freedom SL.

    I have a pari fo Scarpa Freedom SL and find them a notch too stiff. Is Guide pro stiffer?

  105. Orry January 16th, 2017 6:09 pm

    Bought a pair of these after owning a pair of the original cochise and loving them/ abusing them for a few years. I work on my ski boots and put them through abuse.
    Initially I was really pumped on them- a boot that was relatively light, had good range of motion and felt like it could actually ski down really well!
    Day one- (sled skiing, getting stuck and boot packing a bunch) the ski/walk mode iced up and I couldn’t get one of the boots out of walk mode! even tried taking my boot off- but I couldn’t fix it. I took them into the shop that night- they did some work (grinding off a bur or something) and I didn’t have the same problem since.
    Day five- I noticed a crack in the plastic between the front two buckles of the boot!!! they’re out for warranty now- but I’ll be asking them to replace the zero gs with a cochise 130…
    I also should mention that the plastic seems very soft- sled skiing usually tears up ski boots- but after 5 days on those boots, it looked like I’d used them for 2 seasons!
    I really wanted these things to work- I’m hoping that next year tecnica irons out these kinks to make a boot thats light, stiff, AND durable!

  106. Daniel February 9th, 2017 10:50 pm

    Can anybody relate ROM/possible touring stride of the Zero G or evel Cochise to that of a dated boot like the Dynafit Zzero4? Cheers!

  107. Lou Dawson 2 February 10th, 2017 1:23 am

    Zzero was better, in my recollection, but that could be simply because it was a tongue boot rather than an overlap, so it was easier to free things up once the buckles were loose. Green Machine was a pretty danged good boot, state-of-art at the time. If they had not had the problem with the cracking toe plastic it would have truly ruled for a while, as it was it did pretty well. Lou

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