Beefcakes Tongue-Constructed Boot Comparo 2010

Post by blogger | January 20, 2010      

"Gram Counter." "Race Weenie." "Hey, wait for me!" "Beefcake. BEEFCAKE!!!" These are all common phrases heard by those of the AT set who still use boots with a tongue design.

Despite the trend in boots with overlap shell construction, the standard in AT boots is still a tongue-construction design. From ultra-light race set ups to super-stiff boots rivaling any other boots, this boot design will give you the largest, most diverse selection to choose from. In this years Gear Guide, we are going to focus on the beefier end of the spectrum to give comparison to the Overlap Construction guide. As I’ve stated before, the biggest factor in what to buy (overlap or tongue construction) comes down to the individual buyers preference. There is no "right" answer.

All boots covered are available now at your local ski shop or online.As many new — but not yet available — boots are slated for review here, and for purchase next winter, look for a lot of these boots to be marked down in the coming months. We all love to get great new gear, but great new gear for cheap is always better!

That being said, lets take a peek at this years offerings.

  Weight (pair)* Best In-Class Dynafit / Tech Inserts Price Previous Review
Stiffness Light Weight
Virus Lite 7 lb 10 oz $799.00
Virus Tour 8 lb 5 oz $749.00
Virus Free 8 lb 0 oz $649.00
Zzero 4 C-TF 7 lb 0 oz $749.95 Read
Zzero 4 PX-TF 7 lb 0 oz $649.95
Zzero 4 U-TF 7 lb 8 oz $569.95
Zzero 4 PX-TF Womens 6 lb 3 oz $749.95 Read
Zzero 4 U-TF Womens 6 lb 14 oz $749.95 Read
Axon 9 lb 0 oz $749.95 Read
Endorphin 9 lb 0 oz $689.95 Read
Skookum 8 lb 4 oz $768.95 Read
Spirit 4 7 lb 14 oz $678.95 Read
Diva Womens 7 lb 0 oz $678.95 Read

*All weights provided by the manufacturer for a size 27.5 (Mens). Where possible real-world weights are available from, but not all are verified.



Dalbello enters the "Alpine Touring" market with their V.I.R.U.S. line. Another alpine-turned-touring boot is nothing remarkable in itself. However, the cult of Dalbello will swear this is the next Hannah Montana. The best thing since sliced bread. Based on the Krypton boot, The Virus will likely become the boot of choice in the "tongue" category for fans of alpine boot construction.


For those skiers whole want the most versatility, stiffest boot and have legs the size of redwoods, this is your choice. The stiffest Virus boot complete with TLT Binding Inserts (Dynafit) and 2 interchangeable tongues (soft and stiff). The Tour will allow you to customize your set up from Freerides to Dynafits, but you’ll pay a weight penalty to do it.


Still not following the Gospel of Lou? Fear not, you don’t have to pay for it, in fact you get a price discount in the Virus Free. Same as the Tour with no Dynafit compatibility and only the stiffer tongue, because you don’t need no stinking soft tongue.


Zzero4 C-TF

Dynafit’s top offering in strength-to-weigh ratio. A stiff carbon frame for downhill performance and 3.5 lbs. per foot. Two forward lean settings, Pebax shell, and a shade of green that never looks slow! And of course this boot has Lou’s seal of approval as his go-to footwear for all manner of adventures.

Zzero4 PX-TF

This non-carbon version of C-TF has a slightly more forgiving ride and weighs in a hair lighter (5 grams) than its big brother. The PX-TF is the Carbondale to the C-TF’s Aspen – not as glitzy, more affordable, and still pretty dang good.

Zzero4 U-TF

The ZZero 4U is the polyurethane model in Dynafit’s 4-buckle lineup. The most “downhill-oriented tongue boot in the collection thanks to the PU reactivity (they become stiffer when cold).” A great option if you are looking for a bit more stiffness, don’t mind extra heft, and are considering moving to Down Valley just to afford new boots. A Zzero 4 U-MF is also available without a thermoformable liner.

Zzero4 PX-TF Womens

A sleek, slim body with hidden power. What women wouldn’t want that? Now it’s available with no dieting or exercise. For 1 easy payment at your local ski shop, you too can have the Zzero PX-TF. Lighter than the U-TF on the Up, but powerful enough to power your sticks on the Down. Still built with a fem-specific cuff spoiler and liner, the women’s PX-FT allows you to be sexy and strong.

Read the full WildSnow review

Zzero4 U-TF Womens

For the girls that rock big skis too, Dynafit offers their woman’s beef boot. With a fem-specific liner and new cuff spoiler that is lower and wider to better fit a lady’s calf muscles. Is it just me, or is this by far the sexiest boot in the line up?

Read the full WildSnow review



Garmonts stiffest backcountry Freeride tongue boot with Dynafit compatibilty. Axon strives to be climb-worthy while providing an compromise-free decent – providing the same downhill performance as the Endorphin. The heaviest boot in the lineup, but worth every pound coming down.

Read the more in-depth WildSnow report here


The Endorphin boot offers the same skiing abilities as the Axon, but with an interchangable sole — the only boot in this lineup to offer that. Swap from AT to Alpine and save a few bucks while you’re at it. If you want a tongue-construction boot and an Apline sole, this is your boot.

Read the more in-depth WildSnow comparison of the Endorphin v. Axon



Unchanged from last season, like the rest of the Scarpa boots covered, the Skookum is "alpine touring meets King Kong" claims the Scarpa website about the Skookum. You pay a weight penalty for those extra bananas, but ripping downhill like a 50 ft. gorilla will not disappoint you.

Read the more in-depth WildSnow report here

Spirit 4

Don’t quite ski like the 50 ft. beast above, but still need to drive a bigger stick? Swap out the regular tongue for the included, super stiff ski tongue. Out-climb your beefcake buddies and hang during the descent.

Read the more in-depth WildSnow report here

Diva – Womens

The woman’s version of the Spirit 4. Same 4-buckle closure, Intuition thermo liner and comes with the swapable, super stiff ski tongue. Ski like the boys do, only do it with style.

Shop for ski boots here.

(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Whitefish, MT, where he is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave has been told that there is nothing to see in Montana, so please move along.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


17 Responses to “Beefcakes Tongue-Constructed Boot Comparo 2010”

  1. John Rosendahl January 20th, 2010 10:21 am

    Umm, This may be too obvious for inclusion in your grid but I believe that the Dynafit boots have inserts….

  2. Lou January 20th, 2010 10:25 am

    Dave, you’re fired (grin).

  3. Dave January 20th, 2010 10:42 am

    Lou, I won’t even begin with my editor issues. I swear, that guys always out of reach, jet setting to Europe and such… 😉

    Change made, you need a job John?

  4. Chris January 20th, 2010 10:46 am

    I’m surprised you left out the Scarpa Typhoon. Maybe there is too much overlap with the Skookum?

  5. Mark January 20th, 2010 11:28 am

    Nice comparison Dave. While I like the overlap boots, I am still running tongue boots and have no complaints.

  6. dave January 20th, 2010 12:01 pm

    Chris, our “cut off point” was the offering of rockered sole, or in the case of the Typhoon, the lack there of. If they had a swappable rockered sole they would have been covered. We figure if the sole is flat, the focus is more on the resort than the backcountry…and we’d also have to cover all those rental boots with walk modes 🙂

  7. ScottP January 20th, 2010 1:21 pm

    The Scarpas all also have inserts. In any case, you can just look at the pictures and figure it out.

  8. Lou January 20th, 2010 3:21 pm

    Indeed, my editorial pen has been usurped by boot top pow and pastries. And look what happened, the guest bloggers run amok like the barbarian’s flea ridden hoard storming the Roman civilization. But fear not, I shall return!

    Meanwhile, I do appreciate Dave doing his comparos. Good laughs, and might as well have sense of humor when there are so many boots out there trying to remember all the names could cause brain damage.

    More EU stuff coming!

  9. Eric Steig January 20th, 2010 6:44 pm

    YO Lou, your information on the Virus isn’t all correct.

    1) The boots are *not* coming with two tongues as originally planned, on any of the models; at least, not at the three different stores I have checked.

    2) The Lite is almost as stiff as the Tour, except for the tongue

    3) There are three tongues, in increasing stiffness: Lite, Tour, and Free. If Dalbello makes them available as promised for next year, then you can get a Lite for lightness but still have a boot almost as stiff a the Free.

    4) I am not a fan of alpine boots, particularly; in fact, I’ve not skiied an alpine boot since 1984. I still think the Virus is superb.

  10. David P January 21st, 2010 11:15 am

    A very nice concise review. The one additional piece of information that would be helpful and that I am always looking for is about the fit. What’s the lowest volume boot? What’s narrowest in the heel and forefoot? It would be great if you could add a rough estimate (maybe just a low or high, or narrow or wide, rating). Thanks again!

  11. Njord January 21st, 2010 1:32 pm

    What’s wrong with living “down valley”… geessh! At least I did not leave the state!

  12. Dan January 22nd, 2010 1:11 pm

    RE: Virus Tour: Thanks for the review Dave…but I don’t understand the comment about the need for tree-trunk legs and the Virus Tour. I am 5 ft. 7 inches and weigh 140 pounds soaking wet. The Tour fits me better than any AT boot I have owned. It tours beautifully. Unfortunately, even the Tour can’t fix my skiing. FYI: the size 26 (shell, liner and Superfeet custom footbed) weighs 3 pounds 13.5 oz..

  13. J.P. February 3rd, 2010 7:06 pm

    Hi. I hope this is an ok place for this question/request for info.. I am looking for a boot to rule all boots. I have been researching the heck out of dynafit compatible ski boots (much thanks to this site) and have come to think the Factor, Titan (or Virus?) may be the one, but here is the question: How stiff is too stiff? I am an ambitious intermediate skier, spending time at the local hill and increasingly in the backcountry (near Kimberley, BC). I ski Line Prophet 100’s (179), scarpa denalis (which I keep practicaly undone due to the pain) and naxos. I think these skis need a stiffer boot, but I think I’m getting used to the soft boots. Would stiff boots prevent me from getting my weight forward and being aggressive (and progressing)? I am 170 lbs, 5″9″ (and 1/2″). I’ve tried on the Factors and the Titans and, while stiff, i don’t think they are that stiff. But I don’t know.

    Thanks in advance.

  14. dave February 5th, 2010 2:37 pm

    dan, i was simply implying the heavier boot in the line for very strong skiers. however, i was not imply that you MUST have trees-for-legs:)

  15. dave February 5th, 2010 2:39 pm

    JP – in my opinion, I think any boot as at least as stiff as the BD Method (softer than the Factor) is stiff enough for experts. However, there are many that will disagree. It’s largely a matter of preference. My recommendation would be to demo the boots and actually ski them. That will be more telling than simply trying them on any day.

  16. J.P. February 5th, 2010 3:08 pm

    I’m sure you’re right. Now to track down some loaners.

    Thanks for the reply.

  17. dan post boots February 11th, 2010 12:54 am

    Good! I think this survey about the Constructed Boot Comparo 2010 is really nice.
    I think that there is many thing on all kinds of people and i like that because i read it and i feel that your info is right.

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