Dynafit Hoji Pro and PX Boot Lineup — Pants Down Always


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 8, 2017      
Lou (left) and boot co-developer Fritz Barthel recently met at WildSnow world HQ for a serious boot discussion.

Lou (left) and boot co-developer Fritz Barthel recently met at WildSnow world HQ for a serious boot discussion. The concept of always keeping your pants down was heavily parsed.

Head to Cripple Creek Backcountry for your gear.

.

Flip a single easy lever to transition your ski boots between uphill and downhill? I never considered that a deal breaker, but after skiing a prototype of the Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour last winter, I’m reconsidering.

Skimo racers have for decades sought the ideal of “leaving pants down,” as fiddling with clothing and boot adjustments during transitions will lose a race. In ski touring, “pants down always” has not been as big a deal (at least while skiing). But take my word, once you try a system that eliminates silly hacking with your pant cuffs, buckles and power straps, you won’t want anything else. That is, if it works — and keeps working.

Hoji boot Dynafit

Hoji PX amd Pro Tour, full line due to retail in fall of 2018. Left to right: 1) HOJI PX Women – 1400 grams, 22.5 – 27.5 – Pebax 2) HOJI PX – 1530 grams, 25 – 30.5 – Pebax 3) HOJI PRO Tour Women – 1320 grams – 22.5 -27.7 – Grilamid 4) HOJI PRO Tour – 1450 grams – 25 – 30.5 – Grilamid

Enter Dynafit’s new Hoji PX and Pro Tour boot models. Four years in development, due to retail 2018-2019, design philosophy here is a boot that not only allows you to keep your pants down, but skis powerfully — and tours. Sure, all of that is grail stuff that’s been tried by various brands, sometimes with success, but how many times combined in the same boot? Barring unforeseen manufacturing challenges and that sort of thing, I think Dynafit might have it nailed. We’ll get more certain on that this winter, when a limited run of the boots will be seeded out for testing and feedback. Let’s do a first-look.

(Note, the Hoji boot is indeed a ski touring boot that touches the freeride realm. I’m told by insiders that a stiffer version might be in the works, but that Dynafit has somewhat of an identity crisis when it comes to how much they want to embrace the realm of the beef boot. This especially so when numerous other companies are pumping out big boots. Fact remains that building a shoe that tours well and skis decently enough is still the sweet spot in the ski touring business — despite a few recent stutters, Dynafit continues to possess major brand equity in that arena.)

Hoji Pro Tour

Hoji Pro Tour top model, shark nose (official name: Speed Nose) is a bit of disapointment as I’d rather see a reduced profile toe that remained universally crampon compatible. But I can live with it. Especially considering that Dynafit also has come up with the neatest crampon I’ve ever seen. Note the shark doesn’t swim as weird as he looks, nor does he bite, and he might tour slightly more efficiently due to the the toe fittings being mounted a few millimeters rear of ‘standard.’ (The closer your boot toe fittings are to your natural walking foot flex, the better they feel).

Cramp-In crampon.

Cramp-In crampon requires a small metal fitting to be installed in the boot sole. Said to be the lightest spike on the market, catalog weight 260 grams.

There is spirit in this boot. Just a few years ago, Eric “Hoji” Hjorleifson met tech binding inventor Fritz Barthel at a Dynafit press event. Hoji was up to his usual tricks, not only on-snow shenanigans, but modding and designing ski boots. Fritz invited Hoji to visit his workshop in Austria. The two hit it off as friends, as well as having a mutual interest in making better ski footwear. Forthwith, the two embarked on a project to create the shoe they always wanted.

Fritz and Hoji have somewhat opposite approaches to design. Both sides enhancing the whole. Synergy.

“Just as with the tech binding development,” says Fritz, “I had laziness driving me — I simply wanted a boot that did not require lifting up the pant cuff, and with a ski lock lever that could be kicked down without bending over, that would lock everything into downhill mode.” Fritz goes on to explain that “Hoji comes from the opposite side, he wants a boot that skis downhill well, and tours, though he worked hard on the ‘Hoji Lock’ system as well — if for no other reason than to make apres ski beers more comfortable.”

A bit of math  in the boot development process.

A bit of math in the boot development process, can you spot the Schrödinger equation in there?

Another interesting aspect of the Hoji Pro Tour development is the introduction of quite a bit more testing and mathematics into the development process than is often the case. While testing methods and engineering concepts have always been available and used to various degrees, the most common way of developing ski boots remains more art than science. That’s been somewhat fine up till now, or has it? The landscape of ski touring boot development is littered with failed products — expensive shibboleths that broke, did not ski well, or both (not to mention the recalls…). From the start of the project, Fritz assisted Hoji with extensive testing, engineering theory and materials science. I’ve been around the process in person, during visits to Austria, and can testify that this has been a major deal — to the extent that Fritz built his own boot flex testing machine and invoked math chops that caused Grilamid and Pebax to quiver in supplication.

The first thing we'll cover here is the Hoji Lock.

The first thing we’ll cover here is the Hoji Lock. This is the prototype hand built boot I skied in last winter. Hoji Lock works with a cable system that’s carefully tuned to open the boot for touring, lock the cuff without play for the down, all while being engineered for durability. Fritz told me an interesting part of development was when he measured the friction of cable on the small pulley wheels as pictured, and found that not using pulleys but instead running the cables over plastic ramps actually made less friction.

Hoji Lock partially opened.

Hoji Lock partially opened.

Fully open, pant cuff can be left in this type of position or pulled over the lock when you're done  changing modes.

Fully open, pant cuff can be left in this type of position or pulled over the lock when you’re done changing modes. Anyone doing “hot laps” will especially appreciate a boot transition system that takes mere seconds — but in my view this system will make anyone happy. No fiddling with power strap, leave your gloves on. Pants down always.

Final product and proto.

Final product and proto.

What's exciting about Hoji Lock is the cuff flex-stop is huge, it rises up and down when you operate the lock lever.

What’s exciting about Hoji Lock is the cuff flex-stop is huge, it rises up and down when you operate the lock lever. According to engineer Fritz, not only are cuff stops incredibly important for excellent downhill performance, but they prevent damage to the boot from over-flexing. Such damage isn’t always obvious, sometimes manifesting in softer performance as the boot plastic breaks down.

Cuff stop, another view.

Cuff stop, another view.

Demonstration boot white plastic does good job of showing the cuff stop slots.

Demonstration boot’s white plastic does good job of showing the cuff stop slots. Videos below illustrate as well.

Side view of lean lock.

Side view of lean lock. A small colored indicator moves up and down to help you know what’s going on. Seems a bit redundant. Most importantly, note how the lean lock does not engage in both forward and rearward directions, it only resists rearward movement. Forward movement of the cuff is resisted by the cuff stops (in images above) and the general configuration of the scaffo and cuff parts. Overall design philosophy with this type of boot is you’re eliminating the shell tongue from contributing to downhill stiffness, and can thus configure the tongue so it allows excellent walking performance.

Lock closed, note the cable. which operates both the cuff buckle and the power strap.

Lock closed, note the cable. which operates both the cuff buckle and the power strap. More than three years of R&D .

Cable runs over guide grooves in the plastic boot parts.

Cable runs over guide grooves in the plastic boot parts. This is said to create much less friction and be more reliable in terms of breakage, as opposed to metal pulleys or cable routing that’s subjected to twisting and wear due to being run through moving boot parts.

Power strap integration with cable system.

Power strap integration with cable system.

Lean lock machinery is impressive.

Lean lock machinery is impressive. One might assume this is overly complex but it all has purpose.

Latch preload system.

Example of purpose, a small threaded rod and nut system on the latch is used to adjust preload. That means you will NEVER be cursing about play in your cuff latch. Instead, when you kick down the lever, you will enjoy a ‘loaded’ tension fit between the latch and interior cuff stops. Super solid. Moreover, a technical aspect of this is the ‘triangle’ formed by the cuff pivots and latch anchor is low on the boot spine compared,for example, to a TLT 5 or 6. Counterintuitively, the lowered triangle causes the boot to feel stiffer due to leverage mechanics.

Adjustable preload is just plain cool.

Adjustable preload is just plain cool. Imagine, you’re in the gasthaus, everyone is buckling up, you whip out your 10 mm Hoji approved wrench as you mention “this descent needs more preload!”

Cuff does not have removable bushings or a cant system, but it _does_  have a nicely executed Delrin bushing system that will probably last for the overall life of the boot.

Cuff does not have removable bushings or a cant system, but it _does_ have a nicely executed Delrin bushing system that will probably last for the overall life of the boot.

Toe fittings are the latest from Dynafit, Master Step.

Toe fittings are the latest from Dynafit, Master Step.

Beefy rear fitting is Master Step, secured with hidden pins and a fastener located inside the boot.

Beefy rear fitting is Master Step, secured with hidden pins and a fastener located inside the boot.

Looking into heel area of shell, Master Step fastener is visible.

Looking into heel area of shell, Master Step fastener is visible. The shell does have a boot board, but it’s glued in. We suspect judicious application of heat will free it for customization.

3 buckle configuration.

3 buckle configuration. Demonstrating amazing skills at diplomacy, Fritz and Hoji somehow convinced the Dynafit boot makers to locate a buckle strap over the boot instep instead of having it squeeze down over the top of your navicular bone like a carefully designed medieval “truth” device.

Having second buckle strap over instep is so revolutionary I had to publish another photo.

Having second buckle strap over instep is so revolutionary I had to publish another photo.

Opened up. Tongue hinges out to the side.

Opened up. Tongue hinges out to the side. I’m mystified as to what practical purpose this serves. Fritz and Hoji were equally baffled, explain the angled hinge is just something thrown in by Dynafit’s boot designers, probably because it looks cool. After some thought, I figured out a purpose. If you need to walk around with your boots unbuckled and the tongues folded out, they won’t snag carpet and put you on your head.

My pants dropped over the lean lock.

My pants dropped over the lean lock. This might have been a design violation, but they’re down, always.

A few more factoids: PX models are made from Pebax plastic, while the Pro models are Grilamid. We’ve been delighted over the years by the “punchability” of Grilamid, good to see that continue. As with other Speed Nose boots, you can use an adapter from Dynafit to mount clip-on crampons that normally need a toe shelf. Cuff rotation is said to be “55 degrees,” in practical terms I can tell you the touring articulation is adequate and possibly excellent — depends on the final retail liner — so we’ll withhold our exalted judgment on that one. Last width is said to be 103.5, I’m not sure when the industry began specifying last widths to the 1/2 millimeter…let’s just call it 103 and remember that with a well made liner and some boot fitting, last width is only one of dozens of factors that help a boot fit your foot.

Weight:
Our sample is shell size 27.5, BSL 300, 1528 grams (53.9 oz) with liner, 1232 grams without liner. I’d call this an average or slightly below average weight boot for what it is, or to be more complimentary, excellent weight considering the complexity of the lean lock system as well as the stiff flex. For sake of comparison, a much simpler boot in another brand comes in with shell weight of 1180, 52 grams less.

Conclusion:
Clearly, if the Hoji boots deliver as intended they’ll be incredibly desirable. Some of you will be on the Hoji side of the equation, asking for a boot that tours — and goes downhill good. Others will be on the Fritz side of the project, you’ll enjoy leaving your pants down, always, while simply flipping a lever to transition between climbs and descents. In both cases, brilliant. My take after skiing in the proto and working this review? Stiff flex, and my pants were always down.

Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour ski boot.

Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour ski boot.


Comments

87 Responses to “Dynafit Hoji Pro and PX Boot Lineup — Pants Down Always”

  1. Jean-Sebastien Chartier-Plante November 8th, 2017 9:36 am

    Nice!
    Do you know Lou if we have a release date?
    The crampon look’s nice, but I’m not sure to understand how they stay on the boots. :S

    Anyway, another great design by Dynafit!

  2. swissiphic November 8th, 2017 9:37 am

    Sweet looking boot! Doesn’t appear that forward lean is adjustable though…I can see some home brew mods to increase lean (shave away plastic on the scaffo cuff stops incrementally while taking up the ‘slack’ with the tension adjust of the Hoji lock mechanism? Potentially decrease lean by ‘added’ material to the scaffo cuff lock with j.b. weld plastic bond or something, then shaving it to the correct profile for perfect surface to surface mating? Also, the Hoji lock really reminds me of closure system of my favorite d/h boots back in the day, the salomon sx92E. Nice to see a repurposed comeback! 😉 Now, how about some adjustable forward flex blocks like the sollies for the next Hoji boot 2.0? I was always fiddling with my flex adjusters back in the day and really miss being able to tune the flex in present day boots. Super soft for pow, crank it up for breakable crust, adjust assymetrically for moguls and certain inbounds hard pack conditions. IMHO.

  3. zjh November 8th, 2017 9:43 am

    I absolutely adore my Vulcans, and I was really looking forward to this. But I really wish it came without the stupid “shark nose” and associated lack of crampon compatibility. Might be a deal breaker for me.

  4. Wookie1974 November 8th, 2017 9:45 am

    Great!

    Now I can wait an extra 2 minutes – for a grand total of 30 minutes – for all my splitboarding slowboarder friends to complete their intricate puzzles.

    I love this – but perhaps they should print a crossword on them or something. The wait is already nicht auszuhalten!

    🙂

  5. Denis Bouvier November 8th, 2017 9:47 am

    Interesting revue Thank You.
    Are the Crampons available for this seasons ?

  6. Chet Roe November 8th, 2017 10:02 am

    “second buckle strap over instep is so revolutionary” oh come on Lou…maybe for Dynafit to finally see the light…anyone skiing an instep buckled boot (for many years available…can you say Scarpa?) knows the instep buckle works and there is no need for two redundant buckles on the top of the foot (despite the racing boot dogma history of four buckles)….anyway thanks for the info and insight, Chet

  7. auvgeek November 8th, 2017 10:03 am

    Unfortunately, it really seems like the emphasis is on transition time/simplicity (including not having to pull up your pant cuff) rather than skiability. With a plethora of “130 flex” boots in the 1500g range (size 27), it will need to ski very well to get my attention, especially with the stupid shark nose that won’t take my regular foot pons. If it skis better than the Maestrale RS and Hawx Ultra XTD 130, I might be willing to deal with it.

    The fiddle factor of the Vulcan never bothered me much, and that boot skis super well, especially for its age. I was really hoping for a stiffer, lighter, and more progressive Vulcan, especially after hearing Hoji call the Vulcan a “compromise.”

  8. Patrick November 8th, 2017 10:06 am

    Ah, great photos. BUT, with all the complexities, the Hoji boots make me long for the Alpha leather boots I learned to tele with.

  9. Max November 8th, 2017 10:24 am

    Like the TLT7, not Kingpin comptatible I guess?

  10. chris beh November 8th, 2017 10:41 am

    Pants down, always, is one of the reasons I like my La Sportiva Spectres so much. I have the mirco adjust buckles set just right so when I put the boots on at the start of a day the only thing I touch later is the walk mode switch.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 10:49 am

    Chet, it was a feeble attempt at sarcasm! (smile). Lou

  12. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 10:51 am

    Swiss, no adjustable lean and no cuff cant. I’m pretty sure those things have to do with the Hoji Lock being very precise, thus making lean and cuff angle adjustments hard to do with the shell. So yeah, such adjustments will have to be done with liner shimming, not unheard of… Lou

  13. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 10:58 am

    Is the video at end of post working for you guys? First time I’ve embedded using Google Drive as vid server. Lou

  14. klinkekule November 8th, 2017 10:59 am

    huh – 18/19 products? Why oh why are Dynafit launching 18/19 products prior to the start of the 17/18 season? What am i not getting here?

    are they killing of the beast line, or is the rumored stiffer version of this boot – ostensibly a 19/20 product the nail in the coffin for that line of boots? I kinda like my beast carbons, but while they ride nice they are amazingly painful to get into and especially out off. I might replace them yet, will see how they work this season prior to making a decision. And yes, the toebox in the beasts are cold as #$% as well, so changing the liner might be a better option. I don’t know. I am a bit hesitant to put more money into them before knowing that i will keep them.

  15. klinkekule November 8th, 2017 11:00 am

    and yes, tecton compatibility? I am guessing that the beast bindings will not be replaced, nor tecton competitor launched (?).

  16. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 11:02 am

    Klink, I think what’s going on is they’re doing a mini release of the boot this winter, but not full retail distribution, as well as doing the usual intro during the OR and ISPO shows, when we’d review it anyhow, we just did the first look 8 or so weeks in advance of when we’d have done it otherwise based on show timing. No big deal, really… Lou

  17. klinkekule November 8th, 2017 11:02 am

    video works fine 🙂

  18. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 11:03 am

    I’ve heard of several different bindings in the chute. Lips are sealed. Lou

  19. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 11:04 am

    Thanks Klink…

  20. klinkekule November 8th, 2017 11:05 am

    lou – thanks for the reply. I must admit to preferring ON3P’s approach of releasing products as they are available, but i guess with a larger brand like Dynafit, months and months of marketing is the name of the game 🙂

  21. Rudi November 8th, 2017 11:05 am

    i really like the lean lock. it awesome that the forward flex is divorced from this mechanism. Alas at 103.5mm last that is simply enormous for serious turns. can you get botox injections in your foot?

  22. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 11:09 am

    Klnk, a lot of it has to do with generating orders from retailers… just the nature of the game.

    All, as for the flex, Hoji lock has multiple features that optimize how stiff the boot feels. I carpet tested the retail version and it felt pretty beefy, though it’s clearly not a full-on beef boot (if nor no other reason than it’s a tongue shell). Apparently that might come later. I’d encourage anyone to carpet test the flex, I think you’ll be surprised. Those Hoji Lock cuff stops are the bomb.

    Lou

  23. XXX_er November 8th, 2017 11:20 am

    well consider the biggest thing about “pants down” is not having to remove the tongues which has been a part of the game on dynafit touring boots … the TLT5/6/ mercury/vulcan

    So some folks would just leave the tongues off and the power strap would fall off so that was easy, the new system addresses these issues it would seem, and they are saying progressive flex which is BIG

    SO the boot would seem to address a lot of issues with the Dynafit touring boots

  24. swissiphic November 8th, 2017 11:23 am

    So, lou, you carpet tested them…in regards to the feel of the flex, physically, what did you see happening? In other boots i’ve owned with flex stops, the flexing resulted in the plastic bulging slightly…how do these differ? As far as recall the plastic deformation was a bad thing… open minded about this design though, since it’s a new approach.

  25. swissiphic November 8th, 2017 11:30 am

    …upon closer examination…I wonder if the floating tab that engages the flex stops is the piece that actually flexes a bit to allow a ‘progressive’ feel..instead of the lower scaffo plastic deforming…if so, that would be potentially interesting to tune by adding a layer of fiberglass to stiffen it, for example, if it’s not a super tight tolerance fit between it and the rear cuff plastic.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 11:33 am

    I skied a proto with pretty much the same lean lock as the final version, but the flex was not the same. Carpet tested the retail ver, which I had here at WildSnow for a while. Bulging is prevented by the geometry of the anchor points as well as multiple nesting layers of Grilamid. I think Fritz mentioned that the boot actually bulges inwards rather than outward, if it does bulge, come to think of it. I’ll ask. Lou

  27. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 11:36 am

    Swiss, I’m pretty sure Fritz explained that due to geometry and materials, the boot actually bulges inward rather than outward. In my test, it felt very solid and definitely did not have an issue with bulging. They felt plenty solid for my needs. Lou

  28. Mikleskieur November 8th, 2017 12:11 pm

    103mm wide…cool i need one shoes for my 2 foot.
    #mercury #vulcan forever

  29. Peter November 8th, 2017 12:29 pm

    Really want to know more about this cramp-IN thing!

  30. Explore November 8th, 2017 12:34 pm

    What is the size in mm of the 27.5 shell?

  31. Crazy Horse November 8th, 2017 1:11 pm

    How do you prevent your buns from getting cold with your pants down? And doesn’t that drastically shorten your stride?

  32. Andrew November 8th, 2017 1:12 pm

    Seems like an unnecessarily complex love child of an Arcteryx. and Maestrale to me. If you’re in a race then you would want lighter boots. If not, you don’t want a design where one failure leaves you with no boot closure.

    On my Backlands I just push the cuff buckle closed through the trouser leg, then the power strap takes a few seconds to tighten. I will admit though that the Backlands don’t flex like race boots, but in 99% of ski tours on soft snow it’s not an issue.

  33. EricB November 8th, 2017 1:26 pm

    I appreciate the engineering design, it looks pretty slick. But to quote you:

    “excellent weight considering the complexity of the lean lock system”

    Adding complexity and weight for convenience to make transitions quicker/easier is the opposite of what I’m looking for. Not for me.

  34. Jacon November 8th, 2017 3:07 pm

    Yeah, what Chet said. Otherwise, good, thank you, interesting.

  35. Woody November 8th, 2017 3:47 pm

    Dynafit, please just rerelease the Vulcan for $650 with an intuition in it. You’ll sell a bunch.

  36. See November 8th, 2017 7:35 pm

    Yeah, Swiss, those SX92e’s were sweet (and light). And I would much rather have adjustable forward lean and cant than shark noses and pants down levers. I like the wide last, though. Seems to me that the most unusual feature of this boot is the big cuff stop/rearward only lean lock system, but I’m not sure how revolutionary that is.

  37. clem November 9th, 2017 12:23 am

    I really like the concept of the lean lock system. It separates forward and rearward cuff motion resistance.. potentially the former could be very progressive, while the latter being super stiff. Might provide very good skiing! If it does work, would be nice to see the same concept applied on the next generation of lighter boots (tlt8?)

    I second (many) other comments concerning the shark nose, and the one motion transition… In my view completely useless on anything than pure race boot. I’d prefer engaging the top buckle and the power strap with separate levers. And definitely would like better crampon compatibility…

  38. Rar0 November 9th, 2017 1:13 am

    103.5mm last no thank you ! That’s disappointing…

  39. Raphael November 9th, 2017 3:12 am

    The last three years i had a mercury (similar to vulcan) and was super happy with this boot. But now i spend my mony to a Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 This boot works very well for me. A tight (97) last and a athletic Freeride boot. The only thing that i´m worry about is the thin boot shell. The new Hoji boot seams to me for more comfy/classic skitouring dudes…sry dynafit this is not what the folks are looking for…my opinion

  40. Lou Dawson 2 November 9th, 2017 4:53 am

    None of you guys caught my typo in the “weight” section at the end of the post? Slackers. Fixed now. If the production boot comes out at similar weight of this pre-production version the weight is excellent, considering the extra plastic and metal of the Hoji Lock system.

    Another thing, about the Hoji Lock, it DOES lock both forward and rear, only the forward is done with the burly cuff flex stops. As someone mentioned, this is intended to do a better job of allowing the boot to flex forward “naturally” instead of pulling against the boot spine. Overall effect is intended to be a stiff boot, but one with better progressive flex as well as cuff stops that work to prevent over flexing (“collapsing” or “folding”).

    There is more to this. I might add some content.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback, every person working at Dynafit is required to memorize every comment you make, so keep them coming. (smile)

    Lou

  41. Lou Dawson 2 November 9th, 2017 5:27 am

    Rar, if the industry would just make better liners, last width would be much less of an issue. Better still, as I’ve proposed in the past, if they’d sell the liners separate from the boots then even better, as they could make liners of varied thickness, using different layers of foam density. As well as providing a variety of liner “types” such as full overlap, tongue type, thermo, non-thermo. I’ve been told by industry insiders that this is impossible due to how it would impact the number of SKUs. Too bad they are not more visionary, as the possible is easy, and the impossible just takes more time for folks with the vision and brains.

    Insiders with most brands tell me that getting good liners for ski touring boots is always a big issue. There is a reason why, for example, Scarpa went with Intuition. It seems like the Montebelluna boot making culture is good at plastic injection molding, but not so good at the liner game.

    Lou

  42. Rar0 November 9th, 2017 5:43 am

    Lou I totally agree and already took this path, now skiing my TLT6 with Sidas Liners.

    The best of both worlds would be achieved if the industry agreed to sell their boots without liners. I bet local bootfitters would be happy too…

  43. Eric Steig November 9th, 2017 6:47 am

    I don’t get it. Dynafit’s obsession with connecting the walk lever and upper buckle is why I don’t use Dynafit boots.

  44. Aaron Mattix November 9th, 2017 7:23 am

    “Hot laps” make up a large part of my ski touring endeavors; I’d be stoked on a pair of boots that make transitions even quicker & easier.

  45. Wookie1974 November 9th, 2017 7:42 am

    Lou has insulted the Gnomes of Montebello. – and was wearing pants that appeared to be partially non-black in the photos.

    Who are you and what have you done with Lou?

  46. atfred November 9th, 2017 8:15 am

    Are we looking at a time, in the not too distant future, when a boot company (e.g., Dynafit) buys/mergers with a liner company (e.g., Palau, Intuition, etc.) ?

  47. Lou Dawson 2 November 9th, 2017 8:49 am

    Atfred, I would not be surprised in the least. Lou

  48. Harry November 9th, 2017 9:18 am

    I am looking forward to skiing these at my first opportunity. As innovative as Dynafit has been for 8 years now, they have always been hamstrung by bizarre fit, liner or feature choices (not always all at the same time) that don’t seem to plague other manufacturers. I haven’t felt that any Dynafit boots have been best in category because of it, unless they were the only one in the category. For me, the Mastrale RS was great despite being ancient. When supplemented by a Backland or F1 all bases were covered.

    It would appear that the Pro Tour reflects both lessons learned and a different fit paradigm. Maybe because it was partially developed outside the normal process?

    For this season the new RS is an improvement in every way, it makes the Freedom series obsolete within Scarpa’s line. I have skied it back to back with the Hawx Ultra CTD, and I preferred the RS.

    What stopped me from adding an RS to my boot quiver was the seam between the grilamid and the carbon being a no punch zone, and being directly over my navicular. I have not had a chance to ski the pure grilamid boot for comparison.

    If a version of this boot matches the ski performance of the RS but with easier fit options it will be my first Dynafit boot in 5 years.

  49. Lou Dawson 2 November 9th, 2017 9:59 am

    Harry, the amount of work Fritz and Hoji put into this is phenomenal. The boot will be entirely worthy of consideration, though as with all ski touring product from all brands, it’ll need consumer testing to check the final retail version for problems introduced in the manufacturing process. Lou

  50. See November 9th, 2017 10:17 am

    Harry (or anyone), are you sure the lft seams of the Maestrales are “no punch zones?” The carbon is in a thermoplastic matrix so maybe possible to punch, but I wondered about the seams also. (And Wookie, I believe that’s just his blogness’ wild alter ego— Disco Lou.)

  51. swissiphic November 9th, 2017 11:15 am

    Regarding shell last width/volume…seems like the Atomic Hawx ultra xtd could be the visionary boot for the future in regards to producing a narrow last that can be formed to higher volume/wider feet and satisfy all user groups in one fell swoop…only issue is how would the higher volume feet folks tell by carpet testing unmolded shells and liners if the basic fit is correct? I ain’t a bootfitter, so probably the skilled ones could eyeball the skier’s anatomy and make a good educated guess but, not all of us have access to said trained professionals for assessment.

    Lets hypothesis that the hoji boot employed this design philosophy/materials…seems like it would have appealed to a much wider user group. For example, just by the description of volume of the last, I know that they won’t work for my feet and therefore are off the option block for future purchases in present form. Just sayin’.

  52. Lou Dawson 2 November 9th, 2017 11:28 am

    Swiss, it’s a multi faceted issue. Much of it having to do with probabilities of who a boot will fit, as well as the fact that probably the majority of customers don’t have access to boot fitting. Grilamid is incredibly easy to heat mold, so sure they could have made a narrow lasted boot, but then the folks with wider feet and no access to heat punching are out of luck. It never ends, does it? Lou

  53. Rudi November 9th, 2017 11:59 am

    Speaking on last width. I think it is nuts to produce a boot this wide. For sure a ton of feet will go into it, but anyone skiing this boot to its potential is going to be full on rattling around in there. You can certainly make a boot wider in places but I know of no way of reducing the width in a way that does not adversely affect performance. I do applaud the unapologetic ankle buckle as that is the best defense against a heel pocket that is on the large side. I think an LV version is needed here.

  54. Bruno Schull November 9th, 2017 12:09 pm

    I just want to chime in with a big shout of YES for wide lasts. For years all of us big foots have had to deal with narrow lasts, low volumes, and often limited large length sizes. I know the party line: you can punch a boot to make it bigger, but you can’t make a big boot smaller. But I say, sure you can, with liners, layers, and so on. For people with really big, flat, wide feet, and bunions, and forefoot nerve problems, like me, only a wide last will work–not a narrow last with a punch. The only boots I can fit into as Scott boots with a last at about 104 mm I think. Also, compounding this issue, is the fact that some people like to alpine climb, ice climb, whatever in their ski boots, and for that, you really need to have some space. It’s hard to spend hours on a climb in narrow, tight boots. Yes, you sacrifice some ski performance, but I think you gain that back in comfort. It’s kind of like rock climbing shoes. The regular approach is the smaller the better, and, yes, the best climbers tend to use shoes so tight they have to take them off between climbs or at belays. But for the rest of us, with only mediocre or poor technique, climbing moderate routes, wide, conformable shoes, even approach shoes, work just fine, and are so much more comfortable, that they might even climb better. That’s also how I feel about ski boots. With wide and comfortable boots, I might theoretically loose some ski performance, but because my feet are comfortable and relaxed, I ski more often, for longer, and have more fun. No more narrow lasts!

  55. OMR November 9th, 2017 12:54 pm

    I bought the TLT-6 three years ago and it has been a love-hate relationship. Very light, very skiability (at least in Utah powder) and very hikable, but way, way, way too “fiddly.” Initially I thought a ‘removable’ tongue was genius, but now it’s just a major pain in the ass and I get embarrassed always being the last out of the gate during transitions (and I’ve been at it for over three decades so I should be the one waiting). Now I just leave the tongues in, or don’t use at all. The other issue is losing my toe nails every winter. An 1/8-inch additional space up front would be heaven.
    Yeah, I’m whining, but hopefully Dynafit has simplified their design.

  56. swissiphic November 9th, 2017 2:45 pm

    Referring back to the lateral ‘bowing out’ aspect of forward flex induced plastic deformation in softer touring boots…I just remembered I did an experiment back in the day on some dynafit mercuries. I traced the shape of contours of the rear cuff in a line from the ankle pivots to the rear onto a 1/4 sheet of junk aluminum. Cut out the profile and added a cm of width and cut that out as well. It slid in a press fit from the rear of the boot to the pivots…the intention was to eliminate the ‘bow out’ in warm temps…it worked in a/b comparo with the non reinforced boot on the other foot…resulted in more precise ski feel. Wasn’t really skiable in a longer term sense cause it kept falling off and the opposite ski edge would knock it off balance. Fun test though. I called it the ‘tuning fork’.

    Henceforth jumped to other boots so didn’t really put any more effort into it but thought with the right materials, like carbon fiber or something, and with a lower protrusion shape, could be a viable add on for picky people like me.

    Kinda forgot about that project, might have posted in tgr.

  57. Bruno Schull November 9th, 2017 3:19 pm

    As a follow up to my rant above, instead of always seeking to innovate, a widely misused term in my opinion, I wish companies would just focus on figuring out the basics, and refining their products. For example, just because we are talking about Dynafit here (although much the same would apply to other companies) with the TLT boots they had a true breakthrough product. It had lots of kinks, but they slowly worked through them. Then, just when the boots were approaching a really nice level of refinement, they began to change the toe shape, the buckles, the cables, and so on, which have really changed how the boots function, and how they can be used (for example, no real toe welt means technical crampons with a metal bail can’t be used, a major drawback in my opinion) It’s kind of like we’re back to square one. I know the business school and advertising folks say that you have to keep changing and introducing new products to survive, but, basically, I don’t buy it. I think if a company makes a good product, and really refines it, it will endure and be profitable. Also, there are more options for development that simply bringing sexy new products to market. For example, what if, instead of designing all these new boots, Dynafit had invested that money into a greater range of molds, so that they could offer the same basic boot designs in a greater range of sole lengths, as well as, perhaps, narrow, medium, and wide lasts, or volumes? Now that would be truly revolutionary. A boot that can be closed with one hand does not really interest me. A boot that did all the basics really well, and was available in a real range of sizes would get my attention, and my money. OK, rant over.

  58. ryana November 9th, 2017 4:07 pm

    I’d consider this boot if not for the Speednose, why should I go and upgrade all my crampons just for a few dubious benefits? Similarly I would not buy a phone without a headphone jack.It’s a case of marketing over common sense.

  59. VT skier November 9th, 2017 4:42 pm

    I think the Scarpa Alien RS boot is going to capture a lot of the market for this new Dynafit boot.
    890 grams in a size 27 (well SkiMo says 920) ? Check
    Grilamid shell? Check
    Intuition liner ? Check
    Boa closure for lower boot? Check
    Works with regular crampons? Check

    You can buy this Alien RS boot now, in Europe, and even North America. So it’s not a “maybe” product.

    Just waiting for some online reviews of the Alien RS.. Soon?

  60. Lou Dawson 2 November 9th, 2017 5:39 pm

    VT, here you go:

    https://www.wildsnow.com/21585/new-scarpa-ski-boots-2017-review/

    We will do more, as always.

  61. Truax November 9th, 2017 7:17 pm

    Lou, that Alien RS “review” is not as stated. Preview, yes, but merely a (ahem) brief aside in a Maestrale RS first glance.

    Appreciate what you do, but just wanting something substantive for the Alien RS as it is clearly one of the best new crossover (touring/race) boots currently on the market.

    Hoji-frankenboot-not-yet-available be damned, I want some real world Scarpa Alien RS greatness from his blogness. Hit me!

  62. Lou Dawson 2 November 10th, 2017 7:43 am

    Truax, you are absolutely correct, apologies for blasting that link. As you probably know, we are a blog that reviews some gear, not a gear review blog. We go where moods and interests take us, as well as the twists and turns of working with the industry. Hence, we’ve slacked a bit on the Scarpa side of the equation. Stay tuned. Lou

  63. Truax November 10th, 2017 4:39 pm

    Thanks Lou – I look forward to it.

  64. Charlie Hagedorn November 10th, 2017 4:56 pm

    Those crampons are interesting.

    Did you get a chance to try out the crampon? Durability thoughts? Will the pocket for the hook fill with debris/ice, or is it a through-hole? Does the hook hook into an exposed part of the insert plate?

  65. Marc November 11th, 2017 12:27 am

    Apologies in advance…please forgive my ignorance. I must have missed something somewhere in the development of dynafit boots in recent years. What’s this business about their new boots not being compatible with kingpin bindings (mentioned earlier in the comments), nor conventional crampons?

    Crampon-wise, is it the lack of a bail at the front that makes them no longer fully-auto crampon compatible? I’m not fully following what this shark-nose detail is and how it impacts crampon compatibility.

    I’m still using a trusty pair of dynafit mercuries, and I have kingpins on my touring setup (yes, I’m one of those freeride kids I guess…I don’t mind lugging extra weight up the hill to get solid downhill performance out of my setup). I have also used the mercuries as a (albeit heavier) pseudo-mountaineering boot on multi-day ski mountaineering missions and my semi-automatic crampons (standard basket on the front) have always worked fine with the mercuries. I’ll be in the market for new boots at some point, and it’d be a shame to learn that dynafit have essentially played themselves out of contention for me by preventing non-dynafit crampon and kingpin compatability.

    Ps, love the site. I’ve done a fair bit of ski mountaineering in NZ’s Aoraki/Mt Cook national park so I’ve loved the detailed trip reports on the area over the past few years.

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers, Marc

  66. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2017 6:31 am

    Marc, this is a two edge sword. I would argue that no other ski touring company has taken the risks in innovation that Dynafit has. We should be admiring them and, hopefully, supporting them when they step out. That doesn’t mean blind acceptance, but the benefit of the doubt is appropriate IMHO. I try in my writing about things such as “shark nose” to balance skepticism with a positive take, yes I do so imperfectly, but that’s my goal.

    Main thing to remember about ideas such as shark nose is that much of this comes from “standardization” of the tech fitting system. The industry has been struggling for years now to bring products that take advantage of this — I wish they would do so at a more rapid pace — but at least it’s happening (mainly with bindings).

    So, healthy skepticism is warranted, but let’s not get too negative. We wouldn’t have tech bindings if Fritz and then Dynafit had not led in innovation.

    Lou

  67. Lou Dawson 2 November 11th, 2017 6:38 am

    Charlie, they just went public with the crampons, I’m working on getting real-world testing done. I’ve heard good things. Lou

  68. Davis November 11th, 2017 5:56 pm

    Bring back the TLT6!!

    Interesting idea. I would like to see a boot like this that doesn’t “touch” into freeride. I reckon this is marketing aimed to appeal to a wider audience. Frankly, I’m surprised Dynafit has continued with the sharknose concept; it seems to have mixed reviews at best, and I haven’t picked up a pair of TLT7’s for that reason. But you have to hand it to Dynafit for at least addressing the issue and coming out with crampon compatibility. Will this slot be standard on all models with the sharknose feature? I’d be interested to hear more in-depth analysis of this.

  69. See November 11th, 2017 7:47 pm

    Just eyeball engineering, but it looks to me that the inside edge part of the boot lower that the “cuff flex-top” hits is weak (10th picture). (Maybe “cuff flex stop” instead of “cuff flex-top?”)

  70. Arnie November 12th, 2017 4:11 am

    I seem to remember Scarpa trying a new crampon system for mountaineering boots with Grivel, called the GSB. A “spike” at the front of the crampon matched a slot in the boot sole.
    Anyway try finding a pair now!
    Crampon wise for ski touring I think Petzl have it dialled with the irvis hybrid, steel front, alu rear and a totally modular attachment system. They also fold up really small.
    Back to boots this looks interesting but personally the Alien RS is here(somewhere?) and potentially genre (re) defining!
    I’ve had difficulty finding much about them apart from this “not quite a review”.
    https://www.alpine-guides.com/ski/insider-knowledge-ski/ski-touring-equipment-advice/

    Anyone skiied them?

  71. Lou Dawson 2 November 12th, 2017 7:31 am

    See, typo, thanks for catching it. “Flex-top” made sort of sense, but it should be “flex-stop” or “cuff-stop.” Lou

  72. Lou Dawson 2 November 12th, 2017 8:26 am

    Davis, how about TLT8?
    1. Trim toe a bit but leave crampon slot, move fittings back a few mm, but no shark nose.
    2. Move lower buckle to top of tongue.
    3. Move lower buckle so it’s aft-rear of navicular, closer to instep.
    4. Add 2-piece tongue as Sportiva Spectre
    5 Integrate upper buckle with more upper plastic, eliminate power strap, keep optional mount for power strap luddites (smile).
    6. Improved liner.

    Lou

  73. atfred November 12th, 2017 9:06 am

    Hey, I like the power strap on my TLT6’s. They act as a pseudo third buckle, and, make for an easy boot carrier!

  74. Davis November 12th, 2017 10:18 am

    Lou,

    I like everything about the TLT6, except think the tongue system. I haven’t played with the Spectres, so I can’t comment on that system; one that’s integrated seems like the logical progression. Those things you listed sound like a pretty ideal boot, as long as it’s sub 1kg.

  75. JCoates November 12th, 2017 11:32 am

    Arnie,
    I just got a pair of the Alien RS to replace my PDGs which have been my go-to boot for 2 seasons. I’ve only been out on them once on terrible early-season mank and breakable crust, though, so I can’t give you a real review. I definitely noticed they were heavier on my feet then the PDGs (or is that just early season poor fitness?) and accordingly skied firmer coming down than my PDGs. Assuming there are no durability issues that come up this season, I think they will fill the niche for us tourers who think beef boots are way too heavy but race boots are just a little too noodly (essentially a great replacement for those who liked the TLT5s without the tongue).

  76. JCoates November 12th, 2017 12:16 pm

    Oh yeah, to be fair, one gripe I have of the Alien RSs is that the rear locking bar in the down (locked) position is a little long. If you are using these with step-in crampons and want to lock your boots down for support in steep terrain, then the locking bar on the boot interferes with the heal lock on the crampons. It can probably be fixed with a vice and a good metal saw, but otherwise you’re stuck in walk mode only with crampons. If Scarpa is serious about these boots, maybe they can come up with a shorter replacement locking bar. Kind of ironic that I went with these boots over the new “shark nose” Dynafits because I didn’t want to fiddle with changing my crampons but it looks like they have their own issues too.

  77. Arnie November 13th, 2017 2:09 am

    Thanks JCoates..let us know how it goes oved the Winter.
    FWIW I’m on tlt6 mtns (the green ones) no power strap of course! I love ’em, I did add a scarpa instep strap a bit like the hojis above only mine is thru the cuff bolts.
    I’d buy Lou’s TLT8 in a heartbeat, it it came in atabout a kilo.

  78. Ryan November 13th, 2017 9:05 am

    Arnie, not to hijack this thread too much, but do you have any photos or a how-to for adding the instep strap to the 6’s?

    For the topic at hand though I’m curious to see more reviews on stiffness and flex of the Hojis. I’m currently touring on TLT5s and use old Cochise 120s for inbounds and slackcountry. Looking to replace the Cochise with something that will mostly be a one boot quiver, especially for travelling. Looking for something with reasonably progressive flex but also with lighter weight for touring. Something leaning towards beef boot but not super beefy because I’m 5’8″, 135lbs, so don’t need something super stiff. Seems most of the new boots are oriented more towards stiff flexing. I do appreciate the “pants down always” Hoji lock of these but for me it’s going to be all about the flex and binding compatibility.

    Lou, has it been confirmed that these are not kingpin compatible? Or is that commentariat speculation? I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be…

  79. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2017 11:37 am

    Ryan, the retail version is not fully available, in a way that testing for binding compatibility is valid. I’d advise withholding all judgement on Kingpin compatibility until the blogatariat can do valid bench testing. I have a feeling that Dynafit competitors tend to shill this stuff a little too often. Lou

  80. Arnie November 13th, 2017 2:43 pm

    @Ryan
    Drill out cuff rivets and replace with bolts. A quick wildsnow search should yield a detailed how to. I used skate cuff bolts as I had some. T nuts would do.
    The strap came off (whisper it) an old tele boot (possibly Scarpa T2) although I believe Scarpa sell the whole shebang..
    https://www.scarpa.com/Tele-21mm-Midstrap-Replacement-Kit
    This would eliminate the endless search for bolts of the right gauge and length!
    The grey “predator” guides I heated gently with a heat gun and bent to match the curve of the tlt. I also added a couple of washers on the buckle end to clear the cuff. It does add some friction to walk mode and even though thread locked I check them everytime and carry spares.
    Cheers

  81. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2017 2:51 pm

    Hint, bicycle crank ring fasteners can be nice for ski boot mods.

    The best pivots for TLT 5 & 6 are still the ones Bollinger makes, they cost some coin but making them yourself takes hours.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/11095/dynafit-tlt5-tlt6-cuff-pivot-rivet-slop-repair/

    https://www.wildsnow.com/22251/cuff-cant-alignment-rivet-atomic-mod/

  82. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2017 2:56 pm

    By the way, worth reminding some of you new WildSnowers that we were making frankenboots back when dinosaurs walked the earth.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/backcountry-skiing-search/?cx=partner-pub-8093284038752434%3Ayxtlw7-4zut&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=frankenboot&sa=Search

  83. Bard November 13th, 2017 5:59 pm

    I was thinking the same thing, Arnie, about those Grivel crampons that never panned out because the toe hole would fill up with debris. Bring back the toe groove/ ledge!

  84. VT skier November 13th, 2017 8:44 pm

    SkiAlpers Buyers Guide is out for 2018. Thanks for the link, Lou. I should have waited to see if you had a discount code, 😉 but I ponied up the 9.90 Euros on PayPal.
    I didn’t have to select a language, (because I had a 2017 subscription too?) , the English version popped up on my screen.
    By the way, the Alien RS is Skialper Light Touring Boot of the Year for 2018. Their size 27 test boot came in at 895 gms.

  85. Arnie November 14th, 2017 3:07 am

    @Ryan
    There’s a picture of the “Mark one”on my tlt5’s in this post attached to my roller skis…you’ll need to zoom in a bit.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/10806/fitness-training-backcountry-skiing/

    Of course wildsnow has been my inspiration for all things can (will and should?) be modded!!

  86. Lukas November 16th, 2017 3:01 am

    Thank you Lou for keeping us well informed about news in the skitouring industry. Especially for Euros a great chance – there is no comparable website in Europe or even in German!

  87. Lou Dawson 2 November 16th, 2017 8:14 am

    Thanks Lukas, your encouragement is appreciated more than you know… Lou





Anti-Spam Quiz:

You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts



Facebook Twitter Google Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 
Help support WildSnow



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Yearly and Monthly Archives
    Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to You). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version