For those of us with low volume feet, narrow heels or a host of other “non-standard” foot shapes, finding a boot liner that stops your heel lifting can be a problem. WILDSNOW commentator Christian recently posted a link to a Dynafit product that might be the answer. I acquired some, and here is my take.
The Dynafit lacer packs down to virtually nothing. It’s constructed from a very thin Cordura nylon type material (so no extra volume problem inside the shell) and each lacer weighs a featherweight 1.25oz.
Under the laces the lacer is joined by elastic so that it’s like a sock with the heel and toe removed. There just isn’t enough stretch in the elastic under the laces to put it over your liner, so Dynafit had to add more elastic under the sole. Once on the laces are secured tight by a little plastic gripper device that only lets the laces pass through it in one direction. A sharp pull on the laces which combines together with a little leather pull-tag and the lacer is tightened. Presumably you’re meant to leave the pull-tag hanging out of the top of your boot shell so you can add a little extra tightness when needed.
After some testing, in my view there are two main problems with the design of this lacer.
Problem No 1: The elastic
The elastic under the sole stretches when you tighten the laces, so you can’t get the lacer tight. The elastic under the laces bunches up and gets in the way.
Solution: My solution was to firstly remove the elastic under the laces as there is no need for it. Then I stitched some non-stretch tape over the elastic which is under the sole. With this modification the lacer is easier to put on and you can actually tighten it around your foot.
Problem No 2: The little plastic gripper
1. I found it difficult to get enough tension on the laces with the gripper.
2. Although the little plastic gripper seemed to nestle in the gap between the tongue and sides of my liner so that I couldn’t feel it inside the shell, if you have a wrap-around liner I think it’ll be a nuisance.
3. Pressure on the gripper caused it to release and I’m sure it was getting pressed in the boot.
4. Pulling on the pull-tag to tighten the lacer once inside the shell didn’t work.
Solution: I took the grippers off and just tied the laces and everything worked much better. I could get enough tension on the lacer to fit just as I wanted it, it never came undone, and there was virtually no bulk inside the shell. How much you are able tighten the lacer depends how thick/stiff your liner is, but even with my beefy Dynafit liners I could feel a real difference.
Once I made the modifications, the fit of my liners improved considerably. I’m not suffering any heel lift so I can’t see myself ever taking them off. I think lacers in general could be a simple, lightweight way of improving the fit of liners for people who suffer from heel lift. The Dynafit version is nicely made but in my opinion it needs some further development or ‘butchering’ when you get it home, to make it fully functional.
Currently I believe the Dynafit lacer is only available in Scandinavia. Hopefully Dynafit will improve it before they distribute more widely — or change their boot liner designs! I don’t understand why ski boot manufacturers don’t put laces further down their lace up liners in the first place. If you want to stop heel lift within a liner, you need to hold the foot down, not tighten the liner around your ankle. Hopefully La Sportiva’s beautiful liner in the Stratos race boot (now that’s a liner!) will lead other manufacturers to rethink their liner designs.
(Guest blogger Lee Inglis-Sharp recently spent several days touring in the Pyrenees using the Dynafit Boot Lacer.)