Outdoor Retailer — Garmont Joins the AT Weight Watchers


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 22, 2010      

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.
I’m a bit wasted with jet lag and have a bunch of fun EU trip reports to file, but I’m here at the OR show so a bit of the ol’ gear talk has to happen. So here’s a smidge before the land of nod becomes home, with more tomorrow from the temple of toys.

A few years ago, you didn’t have to be the Great Karnak to predict that big heavy AT boots would enjoy a brief burst of PR fueled buzz, then, for a lot of people, become nothing more than a good way of burning more calories.

After all, massive AT boots have actually been around for years, and with a bit of work could be made to ski quite well. More, during those same years, boots that saved weight never lost their appeal. In fact, worldwide, most backcountry skiers use shoes on the minimalist side of the equation.

So it didn’t surprise me to see Dynafit’s sleek new TLT-5 a week ago, nor Black Diamond’s debutant Efficient series boots just before that. And when briefly stopping by Scarpa’s booth today, something interesting caught my eye that’ll be worthy of another boot blog tomorrow.

Likewise, I had to suppress a smug knowing smile when I stopped by the Garmont booth today and feasted my eyes on the trim figures of their entirely new and beautifully designed Masterlite and Literider two-buckle overlap cuff backcountry skiing boots.

Garmont Masterlite and Literider

Garmont Masterlite (left) and Literider

Masterlite is constructed with Pebax plastic and weighs in at 1090 grams (size 27), with Literider looking to be nearly the same design, only built with PU plastic, slightly stiffer, and 100 grams more. If the production versions of these guys come out with those numbers, that means the Masterlite could beat other lightweight boot makers at their own game, or at least tie the score.

These are of course not metatarsal bending boots such as Scarpa F1 or Dynafit TLT. Nonetheless, Masterlite is designed to flex a tiny bit in the forefoot. I’m fine wth that, as I’ve never been convinced that a metatarsal bending ski boot does much beyond a psychological boost, and perhaps adds comfort to standing around in the parking lot having a beer. (If you’re a rando racer or ski tourer using glidey skins on low angled terrain, different story.)

Garmont’s weight savings is accomplished a number of ways: Low volume shell, super minimal sole, no liner lacing, three small buckles, minimal lean lock. Speaking of which, the lean lock only locks the cuff from rearward motion, with shell design limiting forward flex after a certain point. The idea with this (used in many AT boots over the years) is that not rigidly locking forward cuff movement results in a sweeter alpine mode flex. Of course the danger with that in a minimal boot is that the cuff will collapse forward. But the fairly rigid fold of the overlap cuff in front of your shin may be enough to prevent that.

Other features of the new Garmonts include the tech fitting in the toe mounted 5 mm back for better ergonomics, extra rocker in the sole and a non DIN standard toe shape (won’t work in a Fritschi or other frame binding, only in a Dynafit compatible binding). The liners are nice, with a hinge for rearward ease of movement.

The lower volume of this boot category does result in a thinner liner, which in turn may mean it’s harder to fit such shoes for warmth without upsizing and possibly adding an aftermarket liner. Keep that in mind if you’re getting all starry eyed about shopping. Indeed, the best combo of warmth and light weight will probably continue being the more generously lasted boots in what will now be the “mid weight” category; shoes such as Garmont’s replacement for their Helium model, now called the Helix.

Yep, reality is that backcountry skiing is all about the down — and the up. So the lightweight boot category lives! As to how all these new offerings perform in real life, that remains to be tested by the WildSnow crew over the coming months.

For now, ah, what was I writing about?…my eyes…are……..shut.

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.



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Comments

29 Responses to “Outdoor Retailer — Garmont Joins the AT Weight Watchers”

  1. Mark W January 23rd, 2010 8:23 am

    Wow, those look nice. Chalk it up to jet lag, but I see only two buckles, not three.

  2. Lee Lau January 23rd, 2010 9:36 am

    Those look like the same Palau garbage liners that were best thrown away un-used. Is that the case? Time will tell if those liners have improved. God knows Garmont has had lots of chances to try try try and try again

  3. Lee Lau January 23rd, 2010 9:44 am

    hm that came across a bit harsh, Maybe its just because feet are important – Dynafit and Intuitions that come in Scarpas are so good that the Garmont/Palau liners pale in comparison

  4. Randonnee January 23rd, 2010 10:09 am

    Hooray! “So the lightweight boot category lives! ” That Garmont boot looks good- simple. With all the big gear I was feeling left behind. I do not need to tour anything bigger than my Zzero3C. That boot drives my Manaslu just fine, easy- fast or slow big turns or small turns, steeper, etc.. I also enjoy touring my TLT4TF, so comfy with limited power but skiable- sounds like TLT5 will be comfy, light and have power. One of these (various) new light boots will be on my list in the future!.

  5. Eric Steig January 23rd, 2010 10:15 am

    So when will Garmont and Scarpa come out with light telemark boots?
    The Excursion — Garmont’s lightest — is 1400 g!

  6. Lou January 23rd, 2010 10:16 am

    Mark, yeah, I was seeing double! As photo shows, it’s a two buckle boot which is another reason the weight is low.

  7. Lee January 23rd, 2010 11:55 am

    They look VERY basic, compared to the Dynafit TLT5. The latter look like a lightweight engineered boot, these look like a boot with lots of bits missing!! Guess ‘the truth will out’ when you get to ski them.

  8. Jonathan Shefftz January 23rd, 2010 4:11 pm

    “Speaking of which, the lean lock only locks the cuff from rearward motion, with shell design limiting forward flex after a certain point. The idea with this (used in many AT boots over the years) is that not rigidly locking forward cuff movement results in a sweeter alpine mode flex. Of course the danger with that in a minimal boot is that the cuff will collapse forward. But the fairly rigid fold of the overlap cuff in front of your shin may be enough to prevent that.”
    — I’m very skeptical, based on the Nordic TR 9/10/12, which was shockingly soft in forward flex (although heavy for the up — the worst of both worlds). I still remember walking around the shop wondering why the walk/ski switch wouldn’t go into ski mode, until I realized that it was “designed” to block only rearward flex.

  9. Lou January 23rd, 2010 8:40 pm

    Jonathan, you could very well be right… but what they’re doing is using stops on the shell to limit forward cuff movement. The cuff would have to slip past the stops for it to totally collapse. Nonetheless, I doubt the boot will be particularly rigid in forward flex. I’m of the opinion that much of this issue comes down to ski style. If you’re the kind of skier that likes to press forward against the boot during parts of the turn, you’ll probably prefer a boot with lots of forward support. On the other hind, if you tend to let the ski define the turn and use a centered stance, a fairly soft boot might feel just fine. Or at the least, you might not mind a bit less downhill performance because you enjoy the uphill as well.

  10. Lou January 23rd, 2010 8:57 pm

    Hey guys, just back from OR, needed to add the new Scarpa Maestrale boot to this screed. Interestingly to me, it’s touted as the “world’s lightest 4-buckle boot.” AT 1,516 grams it’s a bit out of the category we’re covering here, but on the other hand it’s light enough to be considered. And least we forget, Scarpa still has the F1 alive and well, easily the most popular lightweight touring boot on the planet. FYI, F1 Carbon is listed in their catalog as 996 grams (1 boot, size 27), while the F1 Race is listed as 1120 grams and the regular F1 at 1350 grams. Lou

  11. James January 23rd, 2010 9:05 pm

    Interesting that the F1 Carbon is listed in the Scarpa catalog at 996g. Scarpa website says 840g (1 boot, 27MP) and my 29MP weigh 922g/boot on my digital scale.

  12. John Gloor January 23rd, 2010 10:08 pm

    I am some what leery of “flex stops” which are little tabs designed to stop the upper cuff from sliding forward on the lower boot. I ski the Garmont Axon, which has a nice flex, until I flex the boot past the flex stop. Suddenly the boot turns to mush since the tongue is super flexible. At least that boot has a ski mode that locks the cuff. If the old TR9 had a forward lock, It would have been quite a boot. It was an overlap shell boot 20 years ago.

  13. Lou January 24th, 2010 7:02 am

    James, catalog weights are notoriously off, so I’d say that discrepancy is more than interesting, but rather expected. At least they erred in the fair direction. And thanks for accurizing.

    Remember that the weight of these lighter boots can vary quite a bit due to things such as footbeds, powerstraps, and stuff like that.

  14. Jonathan Shefftz January 24th, 2010 7:55 am

    “If you’re the kind of skier that likes to press forward against the boot during parts of the turn, you’ll probably prefer a boot with lots of forward support. On the other hind, if you tend to let the ski define the turn and use a centered stance, a fairly soft boot might feel just fine. Or at the least, you might not mind a bit less downhill performance because you enjoy the uphill as well.”
    I prefer a boot that let’s me press forward somewhat during parts of the turn, but more important has amazingly solid lateral/torsional stiffness, as well as a rigid rear cuff. In other words, stiff enough for muscling around my Manaslu in steep, deep, and tight confines on Wednesday, and also stiff enough for Saturday’s rando race descent on ungroomed moguled refrozen nastiness. Yet only about four pounds per pair with huge range of motion in tour mode. (Before my Dynafit DyNA boots arrived, I would have thought such a combination was utterly impossible.)

  15. Lou January 24th, 2010 9:28 am

    Jonathan, yeah, I think they’re really getting it right with some of these boots. Took long enough.

  16. Wick January 24th, 2010 10:25 am

    JS – The carbon cuff on the new F1 seems (to me) to have solved the issue. The new boot isn’t really so much about a weight decrease …..it’s DH performance is now dramatically improved. There is actually some solid resistance when leaning forward. Plus the cuff height is about 1.5″ taller too! If they eventually do bring in after market carbon cuffs to the US, it seems like a must do upgrade to any older F1 boot!

  17. Sean January 24th, 2010 11:21 am

    Lou — “If you’re the kind of skier that likes to press forward against the boot during parts of the turn, you’ll probably prefer a boot with lots of forward support. On the other hind, if you tend to let the ski define the turn and use a centered stance, a fairly soft boot might feel just fine. Or at the least, you might not mind a bit less downhill performance because you enjoy the uphill as well.”

    Well said, Lou! Last summer I was talking to Lee and his wife Sharon about boot flex. I caught a lot of flack for saying the Zzero4CF is too soft fore/aft. It’s a powerful boot laterally, but fore/aft it feels like a high top basketball shoe to me.

    I think it boils down to whether a skier likes to use the ankle joint as a primary shock absorber in skiing motions. I prefer to use my knees and hips and have a fairly stout boot, even though I weigh 145-150 lbs. I don’t ski with super-active ankles, it spooks me and makes me feel like I’m skiing in Chuck Taylors… which isn’t what I’m after. I want my AT boots to be as firm as my alpine boots when I’m headed downhill. I’ll accept a bit less flexibility in the boot on the skin uphill as a trade-off.

  18. TK January 24th, 2010 4:25 pm

    Any idea of where to find the 8mm adapter plates for Dynafit Speed/Scarpa F3 combination? All the online places I can find are out of stock and no one local has them either. Any help would be appreciated.

  19. Jonathan Shefftz January 24th, 2010 4:38 pm

    TK, oddly enough, now that I’ve switched from the F1 to the DyNA, I have exactly such a set available — both screw-on version and slide-in version. (If you click on my post name, should take you to my website, and you’ll find my email address there.)

  20. Kevin January 29th, 2010 11:01 am

    Hey Lou,

    I know the new lightweight boots are super sexy, but how about some more info on the Scarpa Maestrale. That boot sounds like something I and many others would be interested in. A lighter four buckle capable of driving wide skis and touring long distance.

    I prefer to have one, do it all boot because it’s so time consuming to dial in fit. Also, with the strong (over inflated) Euro, I can’t afford a “quiver” of boots for specific conditions.

    Thanks

  21. Lou January 29th, 2010 11:17 am

    Kevin, I’ve got a show look just about ready to go. Am maxe out! You guys kept me blogging nearly all day long yesterday on the boot fitting issue! Where is my clone?

  22. Kevin January 29th, 2010 11:31 am

    No worries Lou,

    Take a break, maybe a quick lap in the hills. These won’t even be available for a while anyway. I just get excited around OR time because I’m a gear freak. My head would explode if I went to OR.

    At least we know the fittings on this boot are Dynafit!

  23. steve sellers December 6th, 2010 12:32 am

    Hey Lou….I’m thinking of replacing my F1 race w/ these. I’m just tired of that metatarsal flex taking away downhill performance. I’ve got a couple of questions. Do crampons work with these? (I”ll be racing in Europe this year). Plus with the 5mm rearward tech inserts, am I going to have to remount my bindings for a shorter wheelbase?

  24. steve sellers December 6th, 2010 12:36 am

    oops…one more question. Again for racing…does this boot close with one motion (like all race boots), or does it take 2 adjustments to close the boot up for dh mode

  25. Lou December 6th, 2010 6:50 am

    I’ve got a pair here, have not reviewed yet because I’ve not had time to fit them. The walk/ski mode switch is separate from things so yes, it would take at least two motions to switch from uphill to downhill. I hear you about the metatarsal flex, it is over rated, though useful for touring lots of flat ground, if you’re into that sort of thing. As for the shorter effective BSL, can’t answer that as it would depend on how it compares to what you’re using, how your bindings are mounted, and what model they are.

  26. steve s December 6th, 2010 12:11 pm

    thanks for the quidk response!!

  27. daniel May 2nd, 2012 5:47 am

    question, do mastlerlite and literider have a flat boot board or a bum like scarpa?

  28. Lou May 2nd, 2012 6:11 am

    Daniel, much flatter though still not totally flat. One reason I used to use Garmont more than Scarpa was that the Garmont was flatter under the foot. It used to take me forever to fit Scarpas. Scarpas are better now but still more bump than many other boots. Not sure if true AT boots can ever be made totally flat under the foot and still remain super light. One reason they’re shaped “anatomically” under the foot is so less material is used in manufacture. Of course, one Italian family’s definition of “anatomic” can be another family foot shape’s definition of pain.

  29. daniel May 2nd, 2012 10:36 am

    lou, just to narrow choices down.

    i fit a 27-27,5 zzero 4 with some 6th toe punch. my foot is exatly 270mm but slightly wider than average.

    how would you compare masterlite and zzero4 in terms of fit? do ride them in same mondo size?

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