New Black Diamond Efficient Series — The Backcountry Skiing Boots

Post by blogger | January 8, 2010      

Buy Black Diamond boots.

I’m a ski touring fanatic, so I’ll admit to a bit of disappointment when Black Diamond focused their 2008 AT boot debut on beef boots. But to be fair, this is America, where it seems a lot of skiers need the crutch of big heavy boots so they can get down stuff that Euros would lash into submission on their rando race gear. Or maybe they need huge boots so they can look good leaping off cliffs. If that’s the case, as long as they throw tricks while doing so and film it so I can watch, great.

Yet despite enjoying cliff jumping as viewed from the couch at WildSnow HQ, I’ve yearned for the Einsteinien thinking industrial designers at BD to address the needs of backcountry skiers who enjoy doing more with less. And now they have.

Black Diamond Efficient Series ski boots.

Black Diamond Efficient Series ski boots. From left to right, 'Quadrant' is the stiffest of the bunch and said to be capable of driving larger skis, while saving precious ounces of weight. 'Prime' is the obvious one for me, three buckles and only about an ounce more weight over a major competitor's boot that is bright green. 'Slant' is the budget version of 'Prime.' 'Swift' is female version of 'Prime.'

Today we’ll look at Black Diamond’s. new “Efficient Series” boots. (Note, most of this stuff will not be in retail channel till next fall, but per the usual product launch schedule, it goes public just before or during the Outdoor Retailer show. To make this review worth beans, we’ll try to give you the info you need to decide if you want to hold out for this stuff or go with product that’s already in the pipeline. Feel free to ask for clarification by leaving comments, but be sure to check BD’s own website featuring their Efficient Series.)

Black Diamond Prime lightweight backcountry skiing boot.

Black Diamond Prime lightweight backcountry skiing boot.

Knowing that I’m such a godlike skier and I don’t need anything with 4 buckles, the PR boys and girls set your loyal blogger up with a pair of Primes. As soon as I got home I of course ran to the scale like a dieting super model getting home from McDonalds. Much to my delight, the gram counter told me that BD has built a beefy overlap cuff boot shell that weighs only 1.4 ounces more than a Dynafit ZZero Carbon with one buckle removed (my standard rig). This with significantly more toebox volume for warmth, and a removable boot board for customized fitting. (Oh, and don’t get the idea I was totally geeking on this — I did get the boots out of the office onto some sweet Colorado powder laps.)

Black Diamond Triax Pivot ski boot frame acts like an exoskeleton. Not a particularly new concept, but indeed well executed with stunning weight savings.

Black Diamond Triax Pivot ski boot frame acts like an exoskeleton. Not a particularly new concept, but indeed well executed with stunning weight savings.

How they made an overlap boot this lightweight seems like magic, but it probably has to do with molding the boot as three separate plastic densities, and using their “Triax Pivot” frame (pictured to right) to provide beef while filling in the gaps with super lightweight layers. Quite impressive, though somewhat similar to other boot brands that construct with this sort of configuration — though in my estimation not to the degree that Black Diamond does. Super nice “skelatized” buckles also contribute to the weight savings, as does minimal sole material.

The Prime’s touring mode comfort is impressive. The cuff has a for/aft flex range of about 40 degrees. Though it binds a bit at the extreme limit of rear travel, the front travel is nearly effortless. This due to a lower cuff section “pivoting technology” (see photo below) that moves up and out of the way to prevent binding, as well as this being an overlap boot without the resistance of a shell tongue. During my testing I found the cuff action to be very smooth, to the point of feeling like I had a piece of well greased precision machinery on my feet.

Black Diamond Pivoting Cuff technology.

Black Diamond Pivoting Cuff technology, the idea is an egged out rivet hole allows the buckle strap to move up and out of the way when you're striding. It helps.

In terms of how the cuff buckles operate in touring mode, you’ve got the choice of folding the lower one in if you prefer to leave it unbuckled, or if left hooked you can still fold it in to loosen. Whatever configuration you choose, the buckle bails stay caught in the slots due to a simple yet effective built-in catch system. If you set things up correctly with the Prime, you can get it so switching to downhill mode basically requires a flip of the buckles and no re-buckling. That’s a holy grail sort of thing that experienced ski alpinists try to achieve with any boot — Prime makes it easier to accomplish.

I’d call the Prime’s heel and instep fit average and easy for a boot fitter to work with. The toe is interesting. As pictured below, BD got away from the Italian street shoe look and volume that many AT boots have in the toe area and added some room. Lack of the pointy toe makes the Prime significantly warmer than many other boots on the market. Frankly, I really don’t understand why ski touring boots have to have minimal toe volume and resulting thin insulation. Apparently the BD designers agree. I guess great minds think alike.

Black Diamond Prime alpine touring backcountry skiing boot.

Prime on left, well known Italian lasted brand on right, note the remarkable difference in toe box configuration.

I should mention the liner. There, I mentioned it.

Okay, that was trite. But I’m really not that interested in any stock boot liner, as my opinion is that by the time you get done with custom fitting, you’ll end up with something way different than stock — perhaps even an entirely different aftermarket liner. Moreover, if you’ve got a common ancestor with whom the OEM last is built for, you might get an out-of-the-box fit. But since that’s so random, why should I comment on out-of-box fit? Nonetheless, it’s worth mentioning that the Prime liners do lace with the Boa system (appreciated by blister prone folks), have aggressive heel retention due to truly thick padding in the ankle area, and are thermo formable. While the Prime boot liners do flex well in forward motion, they have the all too common resistance rear-ward. Building a rear hinge into the liner adds cost and complexity and may take away downhill performance, but I’d sure like to see more companies give it a shot.

Other Black Diamond Efficient Series boot features:

– Efficient series boots all have an interior boot board insole, which provides insulation and allows for custom fitting.
– All have Tech (Dynafit) fittings.
– Lower buckle on the 3-buckle models is mounted on a yoke to distribute the buckle closure force, said to yield more of a “4-buckle” effect.
– Cuff alignment rivet included on all models.
– While we’re not that impressed with flex numbers, they do help compare boots within a line and we know BD makes an effort to accurize this, so here goes: Quadrant 120, Prime & Slant 110, Swift 100.

In summary, I’m extremely impressed with the Black Diamond Prime three-buckle backcountry skiing boot. It is light in weight; tours comfortably; skis downhill with totally adequate power; is customizable. Indeed, BD appears to have a winner. Who would be the customer for this shoe? Easy answer: any fan of lightweight gear who still wants an overlap boot. As for those who like a beefier option, yes, the 4 buckle “Quadrant” model will be available as well.

Buy Black Diamond boots.

Efficient series part two: The Skis.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


78 Responses to “New Black Diamond Efficient Series — The Backcountry Skiing Boots”

  1. Phil Catt January 8th, 2010 9:44 am

    Lou, interesting review. I am slightly off-topic here. I bought Zzero Carbon’s this winter, on your recommendation no less, and am happy with them. Light boot that skis very well. I have had only limited days on them, as Salzburg doesn’t have too much snow in the vicinity (your destination sounds a lot more promising). But caught your comment on customized liners. Do you have any recommendations on customized liners that work well with Zzero’s? I am ok with the fit now but I am almost never happy with a boot’s fit after a few months.

    Have a great trip and thanks for your web-site. I find the insight and comments from your site very useful.

  2. Lou January 8th, 2010 9:49 am

    Intuition has a new “Touring” liner that I think will fit the bill very nicely for many of us.

  3. randosteve January 8th, 2010 10:01 am

    easy there old-timer…no need to start a flame war now.

  4. Carl January 8th, 2010 10:11 am

    Ballpark pricing? Retail channels in August, October, December-ish?

  5. randosteve January 8th, 2010 10:12 am

    Thanks for the link though.

    I think the cool thing is…at least from BD’s perspective…is that they now have a boot option for all AT skiers (except rando racers of course)…whether they want big and beefy or light and right.

  6. Ome January 8th, 2010 10:14 am

    I’m at the threshold of purchasing some Radiums. How do the new BD’s compare?

  7. Randonnee January 8th, 2010 10:21 am

    Great first paragraph, Lou! And great to see a renewed emphasis on light boots! It seems the heavy and stiff boot trend evolved incredibly fast over a few years.

    This year I have used my Zzero4C for more days on my Manaslus instead of my usual Zzero3C. Interesting, when I walk with the Zzero4 I think how easily (lazily?) I can stroll along on the Zzero3. When I ski downhill with the Zzero4 on Manaslus, as I tell my buddies it seems like I could make turns while taking a nap with that powerful boot! One way or another, 4 v 3 buckle, on the down or up one of those makes it very easy!

    For me part of the comfort is related to the fact that the Zzero3 fits my lower leg below the gastronemius muscle. The Zzero4 rear of the cuff contacts the gastrocnemius muscle on the back of my leg- there is quite a difference in leg circumference at that point.

  8. Tuck January 8th, 2010 10:25 am

    Interesting. How would you compare to the Garmont Radium? I’m interested in that boot, I’m currently skiing a pair of Mega Rides most of the time but my Alpine set up just died. Rather can continue sinking money in that rig (which I hardly every use, anyway), I’m thinking of upgrading the Mega Ride.

    Is the boot toe width significantly different? That will be a big factor in my purchasing decision, as my feet have widened over the last year.

  9. Frank K January 8th, 2010 10:41 am

    Allright, let’s see some youtube of these Euros “lashing into submission” on their lightweight boots without the crutch of heavy boots. I’m talking about redbull coined “freeski mountaineering”, attacking like they’re trying to win gold at Vancouver. No more than 10 turns per 500 vertical meters, at least 80kph the whole way, air included. If I’m not already an oldtimer myself, I think I will be by the time that video shows up :biggrin: I’ll take my crutches, thanks. 🙂

  10. Cory January 8th, 2010 10:42 am

    This season I stripped the power straps off my T1’s (yes I’m a tele guy who currently cannot afford an upgrade to a dynafit setup). I feel no change in the boot’s performance and found myself wondering why they put them on. Is it just another gimmik they added (during the 80’s??) that people now expect? I wonder if anyone else has tried ditching the straps (and a few ounces at the same time) and what their experience was.

  11. Nick January 8th, 2010 10:42 am

    Great review Lou. +2 on Tuck’s question above re: a comparison to the Garmont Radium. I ski the Radiums, which took a lot of work to get to fit right, but now are dialed and I absolutely love. Good combination of weight v. stiffness.

  12. alfinator January 8th, 2010 11:27 am


    Hi, long time reader, slightly off topic, but is the new Dalbello Virus on your radar at all? Any reviews coming? I have a pair of their alpine krypton cross line that are super comfortable/performant and only 3 buckles. Would be interesting to hear a comparison with your usual brands. Currently I’m skinning with these which work ok, when loosening the top buckle and power strap, but I’m craving that extra stride

    Also want to say you have an amazing web site, full of valuable (mostly unbiased ;-)) information. Been thinking AT for some time, this year took the AT dive and bought some K2 Baker SL, and K2 Miss bakers for my wife both with Fritschi Eagles, and last years BD Glidelite skins. All thanks to your site and the various links to other blogs, etc! Great Stoke too!

    Hope hangs around!

  13. JonnyB January 8th, 2010 12:39 pm

    Another off-topic remark but I’m also interested in the Virus. I ski the Krypton at the resort and love them. Every time I slip on my Scarpa Lasers I wish I had more boot. They force you to ski with good technique but I’d love a little more boot.

    Anyway, love the site and the no BS reviews.


  14. ellen January 8th, 2010 1:44 pm

    Any knowledge on how the women’s model differs from the men’s?

  15. Pete January 8th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Hey Lou–great read!

    It looks like there’s some sort of a dial with metal cables around the top cuff In the first picture of the Prime. Something sort of like the newer lacing system for snowboard boots. Is this dial for asthetics or does it serve some function? Is this the “Boa system”?

  16. Patrick Odenbeck January 8th, 2010 2:35 pm


    I agree that the Intuitions would be a real nice upgrade to the BD boots. Even though they are wider my Factors are super cold. I think this is because of the Boa system because you can just crank the liner down so that all the blood just leaves your fore foot. A different liner would be nice so you might not have to mess with the Boa system and buckles to keep your toes.

  17. Marten January 8th, 2010 2:39 pm

    “The Prime’s touring mode comfort is impressive. The cuff has a for/aft flex range of about 40 degrees.”

    It seems that BD for next year got boots like the Dalbello Virus have this year (at least here in Europe where you can buy them).

    Can not wait to test them.

  18. moulton January 8th, 2010 4:08 pm

    Cory I ditched those velcro straps before I ever used my new scarpas. I don’t know why anyone would need that binding no flex support in that area…Seemed like pain waiting to happen.

  19. ScottP January 8th, 2010 4:53 pm


    Yeah, what you’re referring to is the “Boa System”. It is exactly what many newer snowboard boots use; the dial is ratcheting and tightens up the cable laces.

  20. Lou January 8th, 2010 7:27 pm

    Alfinator, we’ll get to those eventually! What we’ll do is a super comprehensive review, as there are a ton of first-look types of reviews out there already.

  21. Lou January 8th, 2010 7:34 pm

    Randosteve, yeah, i was delighted to see these boots really are a lightweight but performance oriented option!

  22. Lou January 8th, 2010 7:40 pm

    RE pricing, I was instructed not to share the MSRPs, and one must follow instructions, eh?

  23. Lou January 8th, 2010 7:46 pm

    Cory, for what it’s worth I usually strip the power straps off, but sometimes I wish I had them, for example when I get stuck needing to ski a few runs on resort hardpack. But usually I enjoy not fiddling with them. They’re like binding risers, in that they filtered down from alpine racing — but not everyone needs what alpine racers need…

  24. Tony January 8th, 2010 10:50 pm

    “I’m talking about redbull coined “freeski mountaineering”, attacking like they’re trying to win gold at Vancouver. No more than 10 turns per 500 vertical meters, at least 80kph the whole way, air included.”

    here’s one vote for “who gives a damn?”

    I think you may have meant to log in to tgr. have fun “attacking” your backcountry and chasing your gold medals. I’ll just take the mountains and the powder, and some light boots. Thank god I don’t see many of your type that far from the lifts.

  25. Frank K January 10th, 2010 11:57 am

    Tony, I never said one way of skiing was any better than another. I simply believe that stiff boots are not a crutch, they are a tool to ski in a certain way. If Lou had written “park skis are just a crutch, euros do the same thing on DH race skis.”, I wouldn’t believe that either. That wouldn’t mean I think park skiing is better, just that in my opinion different tools are better for different types of skiing. I’m still waiting for youtube of a euro skiing soft boots the way only stiff boots can…

  26. Lou January 10th, 2010 2:46 pm

    All in good fun, eh boys?

    I actually do respect the needs and style the require the bigger boots, it’s just fun to joke around about it. Sort of the way telemarkers used to put down randonnee skiers.

    On the reality check side, however, I think many subpar skiers BUY big boots as a crutch, but I don’t think big boots really do much as a crutch. That would be like not knowing how to swing a hammer but buying a bigger one so you could drive a nail better.

  27. Randonnee January 10th, 2010 3:09 pm

    “It’s all good, some is better!” A quote from a former boss at a ski area. Moving fluidly and efficiently up, down, across snowy mountain terrain is just one of the finest things. For me, I ski for enjoyment for me, family, friends and for fitness, I try not to get hung up on others’ benchmarks.

    I agree with Lou, good technique gets good turns on most any gear.

    I have a large randonnee quiver, as well as skinny/ leather tele and skate gear, it is all good, sometimes better in certain conditions. As far as randonnee gear, my turns are at a slower speed on my TLT4 and 70 waist ski, but in perfect conditions it is fun to fly on that stuff- and less speed is required for a ‘thrill’ on that stuff. It is likewise thrilling to just point my FR10/ Zzero4 or crank powder turns fast on Manaslu, effortlessly.

  28. Frank K January 10th, 2010 5:38 pm

    “I actually do respect the needs and style the require the bigger boots, it’s just fun to joke around about it.”

    I was hoping you were just baiting someone like me to speak up and didn’t actually believe (all) of what you were writing.

    Point taken on people getting more boot than they need. Although I would call that more of a hindrance than a crutch. I know I can’t make a turn in a true WC Race boot, although I don’t want to ski a rental boot either.

  29. RHSMan January 11th, 2010 7:50 am

    As a Euro who used to use a stiff, freeride setup who has gone to Scarpa F3’s and Manaslu’s I totally agree regarding the lighter weight setup. Ski touring is just so much more of a pleasure and I can still totally rip on the lighter equipment.

    Not sure what Race gear would be like but for me since commiting to the above gear I have only used my big gear once this season and have logged 20+ days.

  30. Justin January 11th, 2010 3:55 pm

    While I agree judging out of the box fit on boots is tough, especially those with Intution style liners, what I do think is useful is judging shell fit (width, volume etc). I havent skied a boot with the liner it came with for years, as most stock liners aren’t as nice as Intuitions. As you said, the fit will change with molding, but the shell won’t. This is why I find it useful to try on boots with the liners molded to my current boots. For example, putting my Intuitions from my Factors in to some Dalbello Viruses showed me that the Virus clearly has more volume overall than the Factor (obviously the liners didn’t fit the Virus shells quite right, but it gives you some basic info). So with all that said….. Do you agree with Romeo that the Quadrant/Prime last is higher volume than Factors? If so thats a bummer for me. There are still virtually no low vow volume AT boots out there. Regardless, cool looking boots.

  31. Lou January 11th, 2010 7:53 pm

    Justin, good point about how to check volume by using liners from other boots. Another method is to bring older boot to store, then compare shell fit side-to-side by placing bare foot in shells without liner, but with footbed (doing that with no footbed can give a false read because some shells taper in near the bottom of the foot area.

    I’d agree that the Prime Quadrant fit has more volume in the toe area, and BD says it does. Not sure about the midfoot area as I’d have to do some measuring and that area is tough to measure apples to apples with other boots.

  32. Lou January 11th, 2010 7:59 pm

    Frank, yeah, it’s actually quite easy to watch a skier and see if they’re really using their boot or just carrying a heavy boot so they can feel good about looking down at their feet and seeing the magic 4th buckle. The thing is, I know so many skiers who ski beautifully and enjoy their days so much, and many of them are on lighter boots, so I think it’s valid to always question the need for the big boots, though my blabbering about it is frequently just sarcasm that’s actually more directed at the marketing hype then the skiers who succumb to it.

    And yes, good skiers who enjoy big boots have a style that the boots are appropriate for.

    I have a mind to rivet a couple extra buckles to a pair of boots and make one with 6 buckles, then see how it skis. After all, if 4 is better than 3, why not 5 or six (grin)?

  33. Justin January 11th, 2010 9:22 pm

    I like stiff boots (its OK, I can admit I use them to compensate for crummy technique) but the 4th buckle itself is such a waste. The toe buckle does nothing in my opinion. I really like the way BD designed the 3 buckles on the Prime, although I wish they did that on the Quadrant as well. The Salomon boots coming out next year (hopefully) look to have a good use of 3 buckles and a BIG power strap.

  34. Lou January 12th, 2010 12:14 am

    I joke around about that 4th buckle being the “magic buckle” as it just does so much amazing stuff for your skiing, but it’s so hard to explain exactly what it does (grin). Like I said, how about 5 buckles? Then they’d ski even better!

  35. ellen January 12th, 2010 8:27 am

    I have to ask again…..any info on how the women’s boot differs from the men’s?

  36. Pete January 12th, 2010 11:21 am

    Just added an NTN binding and boot to the endless gear collection and from a pure cost standpoint I would like to see more (light) boots that can support BOTH NTN and AT tech bindings. This flexibility would be welcome relief to the pocketbook – how hard can it be to move in that direction as Scarpa has done?

  37. Lou January 12th, 2010 11:22 am

    As always, the biggest difference is more room for your calf in the stock liner. Check the BD site for more info.

  38. harpo January 14th, 2010 7:54 am

    Lou, what size prime did you test? Was it a performance or comfort fit? What was the BSL on the price? What size zzero do you use for both performance and comfort fits?

    I am trying to firgure out if I will have to remount my skis if I upgrade to a Prime next season…….

  39. harpo January 14th, 2010 8:21 am

    I meant to say “on the size you tested” not “on the price”. Can we edit our comments? I couldn’t figure out how…….

  40. Lou January 14th, 2010 8:36 am

    I can edit the comments, will do so when I have a chance, but your correction is clear. I used a 27 Prime and I use a 27 ZZero, both for my performance fit. With either boot in that size I have to blow out the shell toe 4 millimeters or so. I can also ski a 28 in most boots, but have more trouble fitting that size for my ankles hence I downsize.

  41. stephen January 15th, 2010 2:19 am

    RHSMan – what conditions have you skied the F3/Manaslu combo in? I’m interested as I’m considering this, but we get lots of heavy and/or frozen snow here in Oz, so whatever I end up with needs to be okay then. (I’m not expecting slalom ski performance on ice, but would prefer to avoid maxing-out adrenalin production.) Any info would be appreciated!

  42. RHSMan January 15th, 2010 3:17 am

    I have skied them in Swiss Alpine conditions aka everything. This year has been very cold and have been blessed with some really good snow at times but also a lot of variable. 2 inch rain crust – Skied and enjoyed, super heavy/soft deep snow – skied and loved, 30cm’s of the lightest snow on a very firm crust – Check, Wind blown slab – check.

    I got the setup for ski touring and imagined I would be 50/50 using them. I cannot ever seeing myself going back to a classic freeride setup due to a) comfort b) skiing performance and c) lightness (not just for walking up but ease of skiing).

    I can’t recommend them enough

  43. Jski January 15th, 2010 4:06 pm

    Lou-i remember a 5 buckle Koflach from the early 90’s in a hare krishna orange. you could ski the saudan couloir backwards on those things!

  44. stephen January 16th, 2010 7:59 am

    Thanks, RHSMan, much appreciated!

  45. Lou January 16th, 2010 10:22 am

    The main thing with Manaslu if you want it to be versatile is figure out an edge tune that gives you some edge grip, and keep the edges sharp. I have the opposite (grin), and had a bit of trouble getting down the resort hill last night due to some steep icy runs. Kinda scary to accelerate while side slipping when your headlamp only shows what’s 20 feet ahead! Sharper edges and a better headlamp, on my EU checklist now (grin).

  46. RHSMan January 18th, 2010 2:50 am

    Lou: Yeah…I sometimes loose the outer ski in a strange manner on hard pack.

  47. Lou January 18th, 2010 3:53 am

    RHS, if you’re talking about climbing skins, what happens is the skin stretches in the forward direction due to extreme loading on steep skintrack. I’ve actually watched it happen. The effect is greater when the skin is wet and the glue is old or wet. Solution is to make sure the skin tension is set as tight as possible, and also get in the habit of looking down at the ski tips frequently when doing that sort of skinning. I like tail fix better, especially the ones that can be really tightened up.

    But, you’re talking about ski edge hold? If so, yeah, Manaslu is not known for that…

  48. Justin January 25th, 2010 5:53 pm

    I was skiing today with someone testing some Quadrants. I was surprised and disappointed to see that it didn’t look like the cuff had any more rearward range of motion than my Factors. It didn’t even look like the cuff went beyond vertical. Not sure something was wrong with his or what, but this seems pretty disappointing from their touring focused boots. Do yours really have more rearward ROM?

  49. Bob January 31st, 2010 11:49 am

    How does the fit of the new Black Diamond lightweight AT boots compare to the Dynafit Zero boot line? While I like the idea of a more “shapely” 6th toe area in the BD boots, I hope it is not too wide. Also how is the volume around the ankle and across the instep compare with the Dynafit Zero?

  50. Doug G. July 16th, 2010 10:16 am

    Hey Lou, well, I broke my Megarides this past spring (I could get the cuff re-riveted), but it is kind of an excuse to buy a beefier boot and the Primes look good.

    Any ideas when they might be in Colorado shops and what they’re gonna cost?

    Thanks- Doug

  51. Lou July 16th, 2010 11:21 am

    I just called Obewanshopobie, who says the Prime will be in stores during the August/September period, at MSRP $599.99.

    I’d offer that these are indeed very attractive boots, mostly in my opinion because of the nice large warm toe-box, which goes against the grain of a disconcerting trend in the boot industry to make AT boots with less and less toe and forefoot volume.

    I’m looking forward to using them some more, and also seeing what kind of feedback all you early adopters come up with.

  52. Luis Alonso September 29th, 2010 6:49 am

    Hello Lou,

    I’m interested in the primes since they are reasonably light and seem to offer good downhill performance. There is one detail about the primes that “worries” me: the forward lean is either 14 or 18 degrees. Other boots, like my megarides or scarpa boots, normally offer either 18 or 22. I normally use the 22 degree setting for downhill. I also noticed that the black diamond factor and method offer 14, 18 and 22 degree forward lean. So, do you thing this is something that can affect negatively the downhill performance of the primes?



  53. Lou September 29th, 2010 7:12 am

    Luis, that could indeed be a factor, as you don’t want to be changing your forward lean from boot to boot. BUT, with a softer boot the forward lean setting is really just a guideline, as you once you apply forward pressure you always get more lean and can thus find your sweet spot. Also, simply adding a shim under your heel could give you the same feel as the 22 degree boot. I’d say you need to get a pair and compare the feel with your other boots by just doing a fit session indoors.

  54. Gaybe November 17th, 2010 2:42 pm

    What’s all this talk about a possible recall of these boots by BD? Apparently the liners are way too tight for the shells?

  55. Lou November 17th, 2010 3:01 pm

    Um, indeed, what talk?

  56. stevenjo November 17th, 2010 3:54 pm

    I can’t speak for the ‘r’ word but can reaffirm that that liners do fit tight in the prime shells. When first trying BD Prime (26.5) it felt like a new rock climbing shoe at toes’ end. The shell fit was decent (two snug fingers at the heel) so the bootfitter pulled a liner from the Maestrale (27) and put it in the BD – the result was a pretty darn good fit. Failing to get the liner swap for free, the experience cost BD my business. Ultimately the out of the box fit was better with the Maestral, though I concede that the mold could have a significant influence on the toe issue.

    Perhaps BD is sizing the liners small out of concern that the extra volume will cause problems in the heel??? I would be curious to hear from others with a similar experience but took the plunge hoping the mold would resolve the issue.

  57. Biggsie November 17th, 2010 4:27 pm

    I haven’t molded my Quadrants but I can say the liners are significantly thicker than out-of-the-box Factor liners so it makes sense that the Quadrants fit tighter.

    The outside dimensions of the two liners seem to be the same. Not quite sure why they did this. Maybe the entire range is transitioning towards thicker liners and their alpine-oriented models haven’t yet caught up.

    I do know that BD liners don’t puff like an Intution liner during baking so maybe they just want to start with more material in the first place to offset…

  58. Jon Moceri November 17th, 2010 4:43 pm

    Stevenjo, I had a similar problem fitting my Dynafit Zzero CF-4. I shell fit into a 25, but when I put the boot on, my toes were jammed in the front. So I took the liner out and put it on with out the shell. My toes were still all jammed up in the front. The liners were just too short for the shells.

    I ended up buying Intuition liners a whole size bigger (26.0) from a highly qualified bootfitter (Martin Rand) for the Zzeros, and it’s a perfect fit.

    I’m having the same problem looking at the new Dynafit TLT 5 Mountain boot. I shell fit the 25.0 shell, but the liner is too short. In fact, even the 26 liner seems too short. But my liner choices are limited on the TLT 5. I don’t think an Intuition Pro Tour liner would fit.

    I wish I could just purchase the shells and get the right size liner separately.

  59. Lou November 17th, 2010 6:47 pm

    Jon, I’ve always felt that one way good brick/morter shops could differentiate from the Internet would be for them to work something out with the boot makers so the shop could sell boot shells and liners separately, with total cost being the same as buying the usual way. They of course whine that could never happen. But we shall see.

  60. Jon Moceri November 17th, 2010 8:34 pm

    Lou, that’s a good idea.

    With the Zzeros, I actually ended up buying them online off season for a significant discount. Then paid full retail locally for the liner & fitting, and additional boot fitting. It actually worked out pretty good.

  61. Jeremy Schneir December 8th, 2010 2:30 am

    I have spend many hours (feels like days) trying on boots and just settled on the BD Quadrants for a 1.5 boot quiver. I have some 6 year old Dynafit TNT for light weight touring but they are pretty shot. Based on a shell fit and foot measurements and tracing cardboard I am clearing a 25.5 The boot feels amazing… BUT the liner seems way to small. I have triple checked and it’s correct. The 26 seems good on the shop floor but I have WAY too much room based on the shell fit. Is this a BD issue, liners too small for shell or will this be resolved by a good boot fitter? I am super concerned as I spent a good amount of money and had a bad experience with Scarpa Spirit4 boots that never worked for me. Anyway, I was hoping people could give me some feedback before I get the liners cooked, at this time I could still exchange them for a larger boot. Any help is much appreciated. I get 4 different answers from 4 different shop employees, I think they are too new to get real answers!

  62. Jeremy Schneir December 10th, 2010 9:40 pm

    I haven’t heard back from anyone, hopefully everyone is out playing. Anyway I talked to BD and they were confident the liners would bake out and fit well, I listened to this good advice and went with the 25.5 size, RIGHT choice for sure, the 26 size would of been far to big after packing out and heating. I think a number of people will not buy the boot because of the liner fit, rest assured it works after heading, I had the tech add a good size toe cover and a little medium thick spacers on the sides at the widest part of my foot. I can’t believe how much the baking changed the fit, no other liners I have had changed this much! Bottom line is that I love the boots and made the right choice. If anything they are much stiffer than I expected, I fact I hope they soften up a little. I have only been out one day, today, in the rain to test. Even in the crappy wet snow they drove my 105 mm Gotama’s no problem. After 2 short laps I switched to the G3 Barrons with Dynafit’s. Of course they were no problem. I need to test and break in some more but I felt better on the bigger ski’s and a little in the back seat on the G3’s. I almost feel like a little more forward lean would be better but I also think the boots will soften a bit. If not I might put a small heel lift in to get a little more forward angle. I reserve judgment on this until I have more days on the Quadrants, not going to mess with the boots until I am more used to them and they are more broken in.

  63. Mark February 9th, 2011 5:05 pm

    I am looking at putting Quadrants on a wide (112) ski like the Voile Charger. This is for 80% touring/ yo-yo at BC huts and Rogers Pass; 20% lifts on the right days. I’ll keep my old tele gear (T2X’s and K2 Shuskan) for real tours and some lift days. Is that enough boot for that ski width, especially in crud or hardpack?

  64. Lou February 9th, 2011 5:24 pm

    I’d think that would work, depending on your style of skiing lifts during the ‘right days.’ On the other hand, if you want a beefy boot don’t fool yourself, get a Factor instead if you want Black Diamond, or check out other brands.

  65. Jeremy February 9th, 2011 5:36 pm

    I think it would work depending on how your ski, I ski the quads with a Goat (105) underfoot in a resort and back country, I feel like they have plenty of power for skiing. If you are hucking and other stuff you will want something stiffer.

  66. Mark February 10th, 2011 11:48 pm

    Thanks. Seems Quads on Chargers with FT12’s would be at the very light end (read excellent ascender) of the combos I can think of that would still be a steep n deep-priority set-up. Yeah a little heavier than say Stokes but Chargers seem, for their weight, remarkabky wide underfoot and not too floppy at all in the shovel . If I went stiffer/heavier in the ski (say Gotama) I’m thinking then Methods or Factors which, to my shop walkabouts, seem to have much wider walk mode rotation range than Titans or Zeus’. Does that bear out in real use? But Factors on Gotamas are going to be (vs Quads on Chargers) like another 3-4lbs to slog day-in-day-out. That’s 20% more weight in the boot/ski combo. But then again I’m fine with going from my old steed of a 23 lb Sugar 1 XC race bike to a 30lb 29er all-mtn bike. Same dilemna: is the down fun worth the up ugh.

  67. Crocco February 18th, 2011 8:05 am

    Hi everybody!
    I’m checking out for a new pair of boots for my set up (Gotamas with BARONS). I’m a resort skier who ski 60% out bounds and I’m starting to tour these year (by now just a few hikes for off piste).
    I worry about the weight for a tour, but I love the performance o the skis and the barons. Please not that I jump from an old salomon equipeaxe ski with alpine binding to the goats. I couldn’t believe how easy I adapt to them and improve.
    My next steep are the boots, my choices in order:
    – quadrants cons: not cheap, how they works on a 105 mm underfoot skis. Pros: weight, they compensate the already heavy set up, best for mountaineering (I’m s serious climber too)
    – Method: pros: performance, nice price!. Cons: weight
    – Factor: you know, more weight
    – Titan: expensive
    – Zzeus: ???? not expensive, nice weight, performance??

    Sincerely the true is that I live 1000 km from the mountains, so I don’t ski that much, i hope that through touring I will also ski/tour in summer holidays – patagonian Ice cap, 5000/6000 mts peaks, etc)
    Please I need help
    Lisandro (from Argentina)

  68. Joe Poulton March 21st, 2011 11:46 am

    I still can’t afford AT Boots since just last season I got my skis and AT bindings! My question is how would the Primes hold up in Marker Dukes since I’ve heard the Dukes can chew up some AT boots out there. For the time being I still use my cheap downhill boots for my ski mountaineering.

  69. Lou March 21st, 2011 12:55 pm

    Joe, I’ve not heard of any specific problems with Prime and Duke. If they fit you, give ’em a shot.

  70. Jonathan August 23rd, 2011 1:30 pm

    Hey guys, looking to see if there is any more good info on these boots. Specifically the prime boots. Currently I am trying to compare boots and figure out what boot to buy.

    I am 5’11 and 145lbs, I already have an alpine set up and last year got into touring. I have picked up some swap plates and some dynafit bindings for this year. Currently mostly ski a 115 wasted ski. I may also pick up a light touring ski or something in the 100mm waist area. I currently ski about 20 days a year but trying to put that into the 30-40 range with touring some full days but also lots of slack country when conditions are good. I live in the PNW and make some trips into BC interior at times. I don’t go big really, so less than 10’ drops but pride myself on being able to go most anywhere.

    The boots I have been trying to compare the most are the Prime and the Maelstrales. Both seem to be excellent boots, light, similar stiffness rating. One 3.5 buckle one 4 buckle and so on. Currently I would be using the stock liners, still doing a fit, then hopefully next year get some intuitions when funds allow. All these boots are dynafit which is what I am looking for. It’s also possible I may use them as a dedicated AT setup but chances are I will use them as my everyday boot (have a set of barrons).

    So what I am really looking for is something to swing me one way or the other. What do you guys thing that have been skiing these for some time now? It would be great sometime to see a direct comparison between the two…
    And of course all this will still come down to going to the shop and trying them both on, but let’s assume they both feel great out of the box, or with minor tweaking.

    Either way not sure on which way to go.
    Thanks for the help

  71. Lou August 23rd, 2011 1:46 pm

    Jonathan, that is indeed a dilemma. What I’d do is three things. First, try both on, that may make the decision for you. Along with that, pay attention to how easy or hard it is to get the boot on and off, as well as how the flex feels in locked alpine mode, since one is an overlap and one is a tongue boot. After that, get the best deal you can.

  72. Jonathan August 23rd, 2011 4:22 pm

    Thanks that should help alot

    What experience do you have with the walk mechanism with either of these? How do they act through the full range of motion, or at least should. This being my first pair of AT boots, im not always sure what to look for. Thank you

  73. Rodrigo November 4th, 2011 8:49 pm

    I’ve read a couple of negative comments on this boot compatibility with Dynafit bindings. They mentioned that the boots had to be carved several millimeters in order to fit into the front pinch pivots properly. I wonder if this is a common issue? Have any of you had this problem before?

    Thanks in advance,

  74. Jeremy S November 5th, 2011 12:40 am

    Mine work fine with Dynafit bindings. I didn’t have to trim anything. I will say the holes/ pivot point are in a different spot than with my OLD Dynafit boots. Doesn’t really matter except make sure you mount accordingly, the newer Dynafit bindings have lots of adjustment so it’s not a big deal but my super old Dynafit binding didn’t have enough adjustment to accommodate my old boots and newer Quadrant boots. Love the boots though. The boots are plenty stiff for me for back country but I still need downhill boots for resorts.

    PS I think walk works great, lots more “travel” than my old Dynafit’s

  75. Dimi November 5th, 2011 3:49 am

    Agree, the range of motion on the Quadrant boots is great. they tour really really well, the stock liner was tragic though.

  76. Lou November 5th, 2011 7:20 am

    Rodrigo, it’s not a common issue. When it does occur, it’s not specific to this brand of boots. I’ve had to skive plastic and rubber of many different AT boots over the years to get them to fit tech binding toes correctly. When the problem does occur, the remedy usually takes 5 minutes to fix with a sharp knife. As boot makers have gotten used to making boots to fit tech bindings, I’ve seen such problems diminish greatly in frequency.

  77. Erik January 3rd, 2012 4:28 pm

    My quadrat boots don´t fit my new dynafit radical st bindnings…
    The problem is the “dynafit quick step” function. As i start touring, the binding releases and I can´t lock the bindning in touring mode. Is there a way to modify the boot or the binding?

  78. Lou January 3rd, 2012 4:34 pm

    Hi Erik, the “Quick Step” is part of the boot, not the binding. BD boots do not have it. If you’re having trouble, it ‘s probably caused by the sole of the boot obstructing operation of the binding. Without photos or boots in hand, I can’t tell you any more than that. Lou

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