Bench Racing the Salomon Atomic SHIFT Ski Binding


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 10, 2018      
The object at hand. Game changer or ankle weight?

The object at hand. Game changer or ankle weight? Depends on your needs. Either way, bow before mechanical engineering excellence. (Click images to enlarge.)

Shop for Salomon SHIFT at Cripple Creek. (Available September)

While the Salomon Atomic SHIFT is a bit out of the WildSnow gamut for true ski touring bindings, it is so interesting I can not resist dissecting. We’ll have plenty of extended field tests as well, as we can’t let the other panting gear bloggers take it all! If you’ve been living inside a glacier, here is the elevator spiel:

An alpine binding TUV certified to DIN/ISO standard, with a clever hidden set of tech pins that when enabled allow you to ski tour, provided you have a boot with tech fittings as well as sole configuration that’s appropriate for using the Shift in alpine mode. Could be game changing for skiers who truly need a full alpine performance setup during their tours. For others it’s a yawner.

I’ve been privy to various efforts to develop this sort of binding. Doing so is not easy. You get into issues of how to provide heel lift in touring mode, how to lock the brake, how to stow the tech pins, weight; on and on. Follow along as we go through the SHIFT MNC.

While you don’t use the boot’s tech fittings for downhill skiing, as basis for comparison to other bindings (see our ramp and stack height chart), here are the numbers: While in alpine mode, the boot’s tech toe fittings are 37 mm above the ski, while imaginary tech pins are 46 mm above ski. (Bear in mind these measurements would vary with sole thickness, unlike true tech bindings that use the fittings to hold the boot in alpine mode.) Significant stack height (not the most we’ve seen, but up there at the top end of the spectrum), more or less zero ramp. Ramp (as I calculate) is exactly the same as a Salomon MTN tech touring binding.

Weight. This guy is light for what it is what am, though heavy for a touring binding: Heel 440 grams, Toe 444 grams, total 884 grams – 31 ounces (with screws). Many of you have spent years using bindings such as G3 ION and Dynafit Radical as hybrid resort/touring bindings — or more recently, the amazing Tecton. In that case you’re rocking around 600 grams per binding, around 300 grams less than SHIFT. That’s a noticeable difference that _will_ slow you down and make touring less comfortable. In that regard SHIFT is clearly not the holy grail (which would be a 550 gram binding that did the same thing), but it is a super cool and definitely useful tool for numerous applications. I’m thinking everything from the guy who’s mission in life is to use only one binding, all the way to stunt skiers who need alpine gear they can tour if the heli runs out of fuel or their producer runs out of cash.

No reason for me to duplicate content in terms of the ubiquitous how-to-use vid. Below is Atomic’s.

Going from downhill mode to touring.

Going from downhill mode to touring. Just push the blue block of plastic, toe wings open up and expose the tech pins for your walking pleasure.

Push down on the touring lock lever to open the toe pins farther, allowing insertion of your boot.

Push down on the touring lock lever to open the toe pins farther, allowing insertion of your boot.

Boot going in for the landing.

Boot going in for the landing.

Ready to tour (lock by pulling up on the blue lever..

Ready to tour (as with most tech bindings, lock by pulling up the blue lever at the front, otherwise you’ll walk out of the binding).

Due to the toe pins locating your boot farther forward, binding heel is out of the way.

Due to the toe pins locating your boot farther forward, binding heel is out of the way.

You flip up the brake lock _before_ entering the binding.

You flip up the brake lock _before_ entering the binding. You can either lock the brake by hand, or step down on it with your boot.

Heel lifter flips up, only one lift height option (other than boot heel flat)

Heel lifter flips up, only one lift height option (other than boot heel flat)

Lifter at the ready, brakes locked up.

Lifter at the ready, brakes locked up.

You've climbed, now for the sweet descent on a full alpine binding.

You’ve climbed, now for the sweet descent on a full alpine binding. Brake easily unlocks when you gently press on the arms. I’m wondering if it unlocks too easily. Consumer testing commence.

Begin by squeezing the toe wings together, which lifts the blue plastic tab you'll need to get your fingers under.

Begin conversion to downhill mode by squeezing the toe wings together, which lifts the blue plastic tab you’ll need to get your fingers under.

Squeeze wings together, which lifts the blue plastic block so you can get your fingers under it.

The “wing squeeze, oh so fine.”

Snap up the blue plastic block, doing final stowage of tech pins and converting the toe to a normal "toe wing" alpine binding.

Snap up the blue plastic block, doing final stowage of tech pins and converting the toe to a normal “toe wing” alpine binding. Next simply enter the binding as you would any conventional alpine binding: to in, then stomp down heel.

Clearly the mounting screw holes need to be accurately located.

Clearly the mounting screw holes need to be accurately located.

Boot length adjustment is fine tuned by lining the shiny metal up with the black arrows.

Boot length adjustment is fine tuned by lining the shiny metal up with the black arrows (click to enlarge, more obvious that way). Yes Virginia, this is a forward pressure setting! Finally, you can call the boot length adjustment FORWARD PRESSURE without getting scolded by me!

Nifty AFD height adjust for different boot soles.

Nifty AFD height adjust for different boot soles cranks up and down with pozi or flat blade screwdriver. Crampon hook is visible, appears to accept “Dynafit” standard spikes but in reality will need something specific to work around the large AFD.

Compatibility:
Salomon uses the term MNC (multi norm compatible) to indicate the SHIFT functions with any DIN certified ski boot, touring or alpine. Further, it’s obvious the binding conforms to alpine DIN/ISO standards. We’re not clear if it’s also certified to the touring binding standard. The latter is not a concern. If it works for walking uphill, the overlap of the alpine standard with the touring standard takes care of verifying downhill performance (at least to the extent the standards do so, i.e., consumer testing is essential).

Conclusion:
If you need and alpine binding that tours, by all means! Otherwise, lighter options are better choices. Most importantly, SHIFT will help move the ski industry away from attempting to provide brutal alpine skiing performance from the tech pin system, which was never intended to accommodate the forces produced by large boots, big skis, and high speeds.

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Comments

71 Responses to “Bench Racing the Salomon Atomic SHIFT Ski Binding”

  1. Travis August 10th, 2018 10:39 am

    Thanks for the coverage, Lou! It’s blazing hot in WA, and seeing this just added more fuel to my desire for winter! Do you really think this will get other companies to stop chasing the idea of a full-on touring binding with alpine release values? If so, than this binding is a game changer.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 August 10th, 2018 11:56 am

    Hi Travis, that’s a good way of looking at this in terms of it being a game changer; changing the game of binding design… Indeed, the pursuit of making a tech binding that’s an alpine binding has been somewhat silly (witness Kingpin), though some of the results are pretty amazing, such as Tecton. But if they can divorce the touring function from the downhill, and keep making it lighter, that’ll be exactly what thousands of people want. However, important to note that for core ski touring, a super-light tech binding and non-DIN boot will for the foreseeable future be the desired kit.

    As they say “interesting times.”

    Lou

  3. Tom August 12th, 2018 8:29 pm

    Off topic (comments on the appropriate thread seem closed)
    I’ve just got a new pair of boots with a BSL of 12mm longer than my old Vulcans. This puts my boot centre 7mm behind the recommended point on my 176cm BMT 109s (it was previously right on centre with the Vulcans, bindings are Tectons)
    This seems to have made quite a difference to how they ski, & I’m considering remounting the toe 10mm forward. The ski seems harder to drive through the end of a turn and to pivot quickly, especially tighter turns on steeper terrain. I only weigh 140lb ish, 5’9″
    I loved the way the BMT skied at boot centre- Am I imagining the difference, or is it worth a remount?I’d rather not drill more holes in them if possible given the BMT mounting issues. I’ve had 4 hard snow days since the boot change, so it’s hard to compare, as the almost all the 12 days prior (NZ season) were in powder
    I really liked the versatility of the BMTs- the ability to pivot or carve a turn equally easily, & chuck them sideways if needed, as well as the stability at speed.
    Thoughts ?

  4. Lou Dawson 2 August 13th, 2018 6:02 am

    Tom, in my opinion, due to the BMT having “full” rocker your boot position is indeed best centered, I’d drill new holes. This especially if you experienced the “boot center” position being so good. That said, 7 mm is not much of a change (anything less than a centimeter is often acceptable), check the internal ramp angle and cuff angle of the new and old boots (with the boot in the binding), if those ergonomics are different, better ski your setup more before you drill, as the issue could simply be that of getting used to new angles. But I suspect you should get your foot into the same position on the ski.

    https://www.wildsnow.com/957/switch-hitting-gear-its-all-in-the-angle/

  5. wtofd August 13th, 2018 6:59 am

    “Most importantly, SHIFT will help move the ski industry away from attempting to provide brutal alpine skiing performance from the tech pin system, which was never intended to accommodate the forces produced by large boots, big skis, and high speeds.”

    “However, important to note that for core ski touring, a super-light tech binding and non-DIN boot will for the foreseeable future be the desired kit.”

    Lou, could you talk more about matching boots, skis and bindings? I’ve been reading WS for years, so this isn’t a new concept; but I wonder if a post isn’t in order that helps unpack ideas around pairing your gear to allow for maximum up and downhill performance while retaining safety. IOW, which systems will complement each other, and provide (presumably through the boots) feedback to slow down.

    I’m looking at the Maestrale’s as my quiver of one boot because I think/hope they’ll perform acceptably on faster, wide open terrain. If they will, what should I be looking at for bindings and skis? Certainly a good shop can help, but am interested in your thoughts on this. Thanks.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 August 13th, 2018 7:47 am

    Hi Wtofd, that’s a good idea. Important to note that quite a bit of this is psychology and marketing. Reality is that some tech bindings sold as “freeride,” really are not much different than those sold as “touring.” As you know from being a regular reader, the first step is to differentiate between the “classic” tech bindings, meaning those with heel pins, and the hybrids, meaning those with a somewhat “alpine like” heel. The hybrids (so long as they don’t break) tend to be the “quiver of one” binding, e.g., Tecton, SHIFT, Trab. But yeah, perhaps a blog post. Lou

  7. Andrew Garcia August 13th, 2018 4:17 pm

    Lou,

    You know much more about this stuff than me, but I find the price point for the SHIFT binding to be pretty exciting, if only because it may put some pressure on the Tecton pricing.

    Any thoughts?

  8. Kevin Broderick August 15th, 2018 9:25 am

    Any chance you’ve got any Beast horseshoe-equipped boots to try fitting to the Shift, or did you notice any evidence of incompatibility? I’ve seen a rumor that the Shift won’t allow for a boot with the horseshoe installed, but I haven’t seen any actual evidence either way.

  9. john dough August 16th, 2018 10:43 am

    So who will be the first to offer an alpine style boot, with walk mode, and just a toe pin insert but regular heel? Seems like that could marketable? Despite many people’s opinions, this still seems to be the direction companies are headed.

  10. Dabe August 16th, 2018 10:57 am

    John, I’m curious if you couldn’t simply drive Phillips screws in on either side of the toe lug and then strip the heads since shift’s pins don’t really need to release? Other than the potential for geometry problems, steel threads in plastic issues, or maybe avalanche hazard if they truly would not release. Also, CAST offeres a toe insert installing service I believe?

  11. Lou Dawson 2 August 16th, 2018 12:38 pm

    Dabe, in concept that could be done, but the forces exerted on the toe fittings during touring are immense and will rip out just about anything.

    CAST has method that looks good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmQ1L9e11ZE

    Barthel, before Dynafit began molding the fitting into the boots, inserted a steel bar in a transverse hole bored through the boot toe from one side to the other. That would probably be the DIY method to try.

    Lou

  12. Greg Louie August 16th, 2018 2:50 pm

    Lou, regular tech crampons (Dynafit, B&D, Kingpin) won’t work as the wide AFD prevents them from lowering and you can’t simply cut away some of the aluminum as the mounting bracket is much wider – Amer says they have a Shift crampon on the way soon, though I have yet to see one (or even a photo).

  13. Lou Dawson 2 August 16th, 2018 2:55 pm

    Hi Greg, I thought I mentioned that, remember writing it! I probably forgot to save the edit. In any case, thanks, I’ll add it in.

    ……. actually was indeed in there, so I edited a bit to be clear.

    Lou

  14. Ted August 17th, 2018 7:28 am

    “John, I’m curious if you couldn’t simply drive Phillips screws in on either side of the toe lug and then strip the heads since shift’s pins don’t really need to release?”

    Pretty sure Cast started with something similar to this. Maybe ask them why they moved on.

  15. Seb September 1st, 2018 9:12 am

    Hey Lou,
    I was thinking about getting the SHIFT to use on two pairs of skis with binding inserts. Since the heel has a “base plate” you could actually get a spare base plate to easily swap the heel unit between two pairs of skis (as long as the brakes are easy to swap as well?). Now I see on your picture that it might be a little bit trickier with the toe-pieces. It seems like there is some kind of smaller “base plate” and then three more screws (?) – could you elaborate a little bit on the mounting process of the toe-piece?
    Should be possible to swap the toe pieces between skis with the help of binding inserts but not sure yet if it’s gonna be a thing you can do in the car park within a couple of minutes.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 September 1st, 2018 9:39 am

    Seb, if the rear plate and toe unit fittings are available, you could use inserts in just two holes! So yes, you could end up with a rig that’s parking lot swap-able. I found the install process to be a bit complex, but after doing it a few times that wouldn’t be a factor. So yeah, get all the ski-mounted fittings, stick them on a ski, and you’ve got a very swapable rig. Question is, will just the fittings be available? Lou

  17. Seb September 1st, 2018 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the quick answer. I don’t think they will be selling the ski-mounted fittings, but I guess with contacts to core shops and/or people at the company it should be possible to get extra parts.
    So dismounting the brakes from the heel-piece and swapping them for larger brakes is also straightforward? And what exactly is the purpose of the center screw of the toe-piece? Is it part of the ski-mounted fittings for the toe-piece?

  18. Lou Dawson 2 September 1st, 2018 1:21 pm

    That center screw and fitting is typical of Salomon alpine bindings, the toe unit slots into it. Check with a full-service dealer about parts. I don’t recall the brakes being any problem. The entire configuration is nicely engineered. Lou

  19. Ryan Anderson October 15th, 2018 2:24 pm

    Do you believe that the binding brakes will be interchange to different sizes? I cannot find anything online if extra brakes could be procured to transfer the bindings across two skis. From
    The picture you posted looks like the brakes stay with the heel, is that true or do they look to be removable?

  20. Chris Mills October 21st, 2018 9:52 am

    I’ve read a lot about how this binding works downhill. What about uphill? Does it tour as well as others?

  21. Vlad bogdan October 21st, 2018 2:11 pm

    Hi there. I have one importsnt question for you guys.
    I planed to order the binding from a store in europe. Begor buying i asked a question to the store, if the binding is compatible with la sportiva syncro boots that i own
    They said no, because of the agresiv rockerd profile of the boot sole. It is strange because la sporriva is iso 9523 certified and salomon says shift will accept any certified ski boot… Where do you think is the problem, should i go on and order? Thanks in advance! Bogdan Vlad

  22. Dabe October 21st, 2018 2:55 pm

    Vlad,

    I don’t have shifts, but I do have Sideral 2.0 and Spectre 2.0 and several pairs of Salomon/Atomic Warden MNC and they are at their limit of toe adjustability to handle the Sportivas.

    My guess is the issue is the AFD adjustment range. You could almost certainly remove sole rubber to ensure they release properly, though that kind of sucks.

  23. Lou Dawson 2 October 21st, 2018 2:56 pm

    If a shop said no I’d tend to believe them… Sorry I don’t have any Synchro here at the moment, but I tested with Spectre and yes the toe of the boot is slightly too high when placed in the binding, in alpine mode, causing too much pressure on the AFD. This could be easily correct by removing material from the boot sole. I used the paper test (sheet of paper between boot and AFD, attempt to pull out).

    (Revision, December 7, my testing indicates the Sportiva toe fittings ride under the Shift toe rollers in such a way as to possibly be incompatible. In my opinion, they are indeed incompatible.)

    Lou

  24. Lou Dawson 2 October 21st, 2018 2:58 pm

    Thanks for the help Dabe.

  25. Vald Bogdan October 21st, 2018 10:56 pm

    Thanks guys. Yes, Spectre and Syncro have same sole so automatically same problem. I will order them and then correct it by removing some ruber…

    One last question. Do you thing an 110mm break will clear an 115 ski. im not sure on witch skis to mount them and if I order 110m i have the options to move them on 2 pair if skis if i decide.

    Thanks a lot!

  26. Collin November 19th, 2018 8:05 pm

    Does anyone know if these are verified as compatible with boots with Dynafit Quick-Step-In inserts, like my Scarpa Maestrale RS? I see in the pictures above the binding definitely is in contact with the quick-step inserts, but without actual testing I have no idea if this is a problem. I figured this was a non-issue but when I contacted Salmon I got a concerning e-mail that they “think they are too wide”. This is an incredibly poor response in my opinion. Either the bindings are tested with these inserts and they meet spec, or they don’t. I have also contacted Scarpa because they list the Maestrale as ISO 9523 compliant, but I am not clear if that spec refers only to the sole of the boot or also sets specs for the toe welt. Taken at face-value everything should be fine as the Maestrale’s are listed as ISO 9523 compliant and Salomon says ISO 9523 boots work perfectly with the Shift. So then why is Salomon giving me vague answers? Their full text response is below:

    “Hello Collin,

    All the boots with touring soles that do not follow a norm i.e they are not certified soles, will not work with the Shift bindings.

    Basically, the Shift bindings will not work with boots that are only compatible with low-tech bindings such as Salomon X-ALP range of boots, dynafit, Atomic Backland, etc.

    To clarify, the Shift bindings will ONLY work with boots that have certified soles and tech inserts. Therefore the boots that you use with these bindings will have to be either ISO 5355 compliant, ISO 9523 touring compliant or ski boots equipped with “WTR technology” pads or with “GRIPWALK” pads.

    For this reason, you will need to contact your boot manufacturer for an exact answer. We can see that your Scarpas are ISO 9523 but we are not sure if the Dynafit Quick-fit Scarpas follow this norm too. We think they may be too wide.

    I would contact Scarpa for this reason.”

  27. Collin November 20th, 2018 8:48 pm

    Well I called Scarpa and they said the boots are ISO9523 compliant and are compatible with the Shift binding. I also called Evo in Denver and they said they would mount the Shifts to the Maestrales, no problem. So I guess that answers that. The Salomon reply is still a little fishy and Scarpa only answered once I called them as opposed to putting anything in writing, so I suspect the lawyers might be watching some of this closely…

  28. Steve Slipp November 23rd, 2018 1:26 am

    Lou

    Let’s talk about rockered vs flat soled boots and ramp angle.

    The trouble I’m worried about is all the lightest stiff boots have rocker (Vulcan, atomic carbon backland, etc). There aren’t all that many sub 1300g stiff boots with flat soles and large range walk of motion.

    Context:
    Currently I ski a pettitor 120, on old din Solomon’s with flat boots in resort.

    I have the same ski mounted with kingpins that I ride wearing Vulcan’s, for backcountry. I haven’t skied a powder touring set up that feels better.

    I’ve skied dukes, dynafits, plums, and played with shims for years. I have a lighter set ups for big missions and traverses but I spend 80% of the year chasing pow on the kingpins and vulcans.

    If I were to move to the shift I’m worrie how my vulcans are going to feel. Are people going to enjoy this binding more with lighter flat soles boots like 2018 zero pro or the 2019 Hawk ultra Xdt 130? If I understand your ramp angle chart my Vulcan toes will be closer to 1cm lower than I’m used to and like?

    Should I put a pair of carbon backland upper cuffs on the hawk ultra lowers? (Why didn’t atomic release this with the shift; it seems we have a new great option for bindings but no boots to match). Any recommendations for flat, light, walkable boots?

  29. BobKedski November 26th, 2018 9:27 am

    Spectre are compatible with Shift .
    cheers

  30. Lou Dawson 2 November 26th, 2018 9:41 am

    Thanks Bob. Lou

  31. Gavin November 26th, 2018 7:42 pm

    Hey Collin, let me know if the Maestral RS boots fit the SHIFT bindings when you get them. I’m looking to try to get a pair of the SHIFTS and am wondering the same as it seems that there are some issues with comparability with the SHIFT bindings overall. Thanks!

  32. Pez November 27th, 2018 8:21 am

    Hi all I bought atomic shift binding and planning to mount them on salomon mtn 95 for light touring. I have spectre 2.0 and asked lasportiva:Hi I have spectre 2.0 I want to find out if it’s compatible with Atomic/Salomon Shift binding? Can you confirm? cheers Pez
    Their answer:
    “thank you for contacting us.

    We would like to inform you that since we are not technical equipment and hardware producers, we are not able to suggest specific brands and products to use with La Sportiva boots: hardware and technical equipment are constantly evolving and improving so we suggest you to ask for information to your local dealer.
    If you are not going to purchase your crampons and technical equipment by an outdoor shop with the proper help from the shop’ staff, we suggest you to buy crampons and technical equipment only after having tried and possibly tested it.

    We remain at your disposal for futher information”

    Interesting isn’t it?

    I also contacted French ski equipment retailer and posted on ski forum, all people in the know confirmed spectre is compatible with shift. Cheers pez

  33. Jacob December 3rd, 2018 5:15 am

    Hey Lou,
    Looks like you’re using the alpine (mtn piste) sole in the heel of that freedom sl.
    Any particular reason? Lower ramp vs the at sole?
    Just curious
    Thanks, nice write up.

  34. David December 3rd, 2018 8:45 am

    I’ve got a pair of Spectre 2.0s and just mounted up some Shifts. I think they’ll work OK, but the gap between the AFD and the sole is a little less than Salmon calls for, with the AFD maxed out. I’m measuring ~0.28mm, spec calls for 0.5. Boots are pretty new, so there’s minimal wear on the soles.

    I’d guess (though can’t confirm) that the bigger the boots are the better clearance would be, since the rocker line for the sole probably moves back? Mine are 27.5s.

  35. Pez December 3rd, 2018 8:52 am

    @David -thanks for that!
    Got the same setup/sizing but no shifts mounted yet.kinda shit that there is a level of uncertainty and noone takes responsibility. I need those shifts and if worst come to worst I will buy different boots. FU Lasportiva!

  36. David December 5th, 2018 11:43 am

    Worst case you could just sand the tread on the boot down a hair. It would be lame to have to do so, but since the only potential issue is AFD clearance, it doesn’t seem like the end of the world.

    Interestingly, Wardens easily go low enough to clear the Spectre sole. Seems like the Shift has less AFD travel.

  37. Dabe December 5th, 2018 1:32 pm

    @Pez,

    Sportiva’s molds exisited long before the SHIFT and several people here including me have commented on Salomon MNC bindings/Sportiva sole rocker. No need to curse the Italians on this one. The boots will work with minimal modding and unless you do a ton of scrambling/ sledding you won’t miss the rubber.

  38. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2018 3:17 pm

    Pez, there will always be uncertainty about boot binding compatibility. Too many standards, lack of standards, differences with worn or fresh soles, and on and on. As has always been the case, the ultimate take is obtained by physically adjusting a binding for a given boot, then running the setup through a reasonable amount of bench testing. To be fair, sure, it’s nice to know what’s _probably_ going to work, but that’s just _probably._ Lou

  39. Pez December 5th, 2018 3:34 pm

    Hi guys! You are all right and I agree. Just frustrated that there is sometimes lack of clear information/support from companies we pay salary to! Stay safe on the hills wherever you are and thanks for all your replies! Pez

  40. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2018 4:17 pm

    I totally agree. The ski touring industry is not known for being particularly adept at promulgating information. But the same is true in many other spaces. It’s not always the company’s fault. Legal issues intrude, and budgets, and the challenge of finding good PR and marketing folks who understand the power of clear information. Lou

  41. Greg Louie December 6th, 2018 10:07 am

    @Collin: Not sure who is answering your questions at Salomon, Scarpa or evo Denver, but the official Amer Sports position at present is that QuickStep inserts protrude beyond the sole perimeter of the boot and do not meet the ISO 9523 spec. As such they will not be indemnified for MNC bindings including the Shift, Warden 13 an Warden 11 MNC.

    Talks are apparently underway between the two companies and I hear Scarpa will revert to the original Dynafit toe inserts for 2020.

  42. Collin December 6th, 2018 10:02 pm

    @Greg Thanks for the info; that does seem to be the latest information as I am now learning. I am now leaning towards getting Tectons to replace my Dynafit Radicals. They don’t have quite the elasticity as Shifts but their weight and ability to release in climbing mode should make them better for touring. They also been in the wild now for a year. I wonder which binding releases more consistently with a rockered sole boot? I would think Tectons are rather independent of the sole whereas the Shifts might have issues as Jeff Campbell’s presentation demonstrated with certain bindings. It’s great both companies are innovating but I do think Salomon could be a little more forthcoming with information.

  43. Pez December 7th, 2018 5:37 am

    I am thinking of returning the shifts due to lack of clarity Re rockered sole boots (spectre) and buying kingpins which are spectre compatible. I am tired of this situation.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2018 7:04 am

    Pez, there are all sorts of conflicting takes circulating, regarding Shift boot/binding compatibility. Bottom line, first pick a boot that appears to conform to DIN/ISO 5355 (alpine boots) or 9523 (ski touring boots). The main distinguishing feature in “norm” boots is that they have a duckbill toe of a certain dimension. The 9523 is described here.

    Next, stick the boot in the binding and attempt to adjust, then do hand check for release-retention, and paper test for AFD (pedal) clearance.

    For example, with all the confusion about the Dynafit Quickstep fittings, rather than listening to all the blather I simply grabbed a pair of Maestrale, put them in my Shift bindings, and check function. They work fine. The raised portion of the Quickstep fitting is located outside and away from the Shift binding toe wing roller, and during release or elasticity it never touches, on either left or right. (See in photo above.) As my cautious self, I’d ski them anytime, anywhere.

    I’ll do the same evaluation with Master Step fittings today, and report back.

    Likewise, if a boot has too much rocker it’ll probably be a minimal amount, easily fixed by removing a few millimeters of sole material over the AFD.

    BUT, in the case specifically for Sportiva, in my opinion, their multi-compatible tech fittings at the toe are _not_ compatible with Shift as the protruding part of the fitting rides against the Shift binding toe wing rollers.

    Another thing regarding the toe fittings. If you are using your boots in Shift only, I’m certain you could simply grind the toe tech fittings smooth and they’d still work fine in the Shift, though you wouldn’t want to use in bindings where the safety release depended on the fittings (though perhaps they actually would work, I’ll experiment).

    I’ve been working on a blog post about all this, but production is going slow due to, yeah, the confusing and conflicting infos coming from the players.

    Lou

  45. Pez December 7th, 2018 7:09 am

    @LOU The amount of knowledge and expertise is amazing on your site both from you and other readers! Cannot thank you enough! Pez

  46. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2018 8:05 am

    Thanks Pez! And everyone, let us not forget the Tecton. The Fritschi offering is an option, and has a ton of side elasticity at the toe as well as vert at the heel. Shift might have slightly more, but for most people the difference is meaningless. Plus, the way Tecton utilizes the tech fittings for both up and down modes is genius. All “toe wing” alpine bindings, including Shift, have potential problems when boot toes are worn and-or dirty. Tecton eliminates much of that concern. Lou

  47. Collin December 7th, 2018 8:41 am

    @Lou, thanks for the updates and testing the Maestrale fit. My biggest takeaway from your site has been that touring bindings of any type are not highly refined idiot proof products; users should really investigate them, bench test them, and see where potential problems arise. Its not so easy to make a thing that going up lets you move and going down locks you in. There will always be some compromises. Looking forward to the latest blog post!

  48. Vald Bogdan December 7th, 2018 9:40 am

    “BUT, in the case specifically for Sportiva, in my opinion, their multi-compatible tech fittings at the toe are _not_ compatible with Shift as the protruding part of the fitting rides against the Shift binding toe wing rollers.”

    Man, thats a bummer! I just got mine this week and they looked pretty ok. After reading this i check the binding and yes, that toe tech fitting its the fist thing touching the rollers… 🙁 That looks like hard metal, i tried to remove some with a metal saw but does not work…
    Any sugestion? havent had the chance to ride the setup yet but its a freeride setup, its not meant to go easy, and now i dont know how safe it is… :(.
    Any suggestions will help.
    Thanks!

  49. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2018 9:54 am

    Bench test for safety and watch for wear on the rollers. The way to smooth off the insert is a disk grinder, water cooled, probably with a sanding disk. Danger is that the modified fittings won’t hold while in touring mode. Like I said, I’ll try this eventually but not today. Lou

  50. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2018 10:00 am

    Just evaluated Dynafit Beast boot with Master Step, due to shorter boot toe lip, the fittings are directly under the rollers, with raised area of the fitting under the roller. I’m not comfortable with this setup. Interestingly, the papers that come with the boot say it is “TUV certified boot-binding system in combination with Dynafit” Radical ST and Beast bindings. That means they paid TUV to “certify” to their own standard. Which is good, but does not mean the boot is certified to any DIN/ISO norm. It also means Dynafit is implying you only get “certified” performance if you use Dynafit bindings. This extrapolates to my take, that the Beast boot is _not_ compatible with Shift. Clear as mud? If not, blame the ski industry (smile). Lou

  51. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2018 10:05 am

    It’s interesting to me that all you guys are trying to force touring boots to work in a binding that’s really just a “semi” touring binding. There are plenty of boot options for you, just look for boots such as Lange XT Free and Tecnica Cochise. Most importantly, you want a boot with the old style tech fittings, basic, smooth, no fancy notches or ribs. Or, like I wrote, it appears some of the boots with Quickstep (not Master Step) will work, such as the Scarpa Maestrale I evaluated. Lou

  52. Vald Bogdan December 7th, 2018 10:14 am

    Lou, you’re gold! the sand paper does the job. I did a bit by hand and after 5 min looks like it works.

    I dont think that the fittings will not hold. I also have a la sportiva spectre first version and it did not have those wings and they worked ok.
    This is just some silly R&D from La sportiva. Looks like they are not considering these boots to be used with alpine bindings… my guess.

    I think ill smooth the wings off to be sure the boot fits correctly in the binding :).

    Thanks again and cant wait for you”re update on this!

  53. Vald Bogdan December 7th, 2018 10:17 am

    Another detail, i also have some markers baron and the toe piece of marker is way more pronounced and the boot looks like it stays better in there.
    What i want to say is that Shifts have a thinner toe piece with less edge hold 🙂

    Over and out! 🙂

  54. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 7:59 am

    Much of the compatibility of the various Dynafit type fittings and the Shift binding have to do with the length of the boot toe “duckbill.” If the duckbill protrudes far enough, it prevents critical portions of the fittings from being under the small rollers on the Shift binding wings. Or, shorter, and the fittings end up farther under the rollers. Easy to evaluate on workbench. Lou

  55. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 8:06 am

    BTW, just thinking outloud… Salomon apparently has already sold an enormous number of Shift bindings. One has to wonder how many of those are being happily used with boots that have Quick Step or Master Step…

    Also thinking… I’ve always been a fan of the original type Dynafit toe insert. Fun to see the poor disparaged little thing again become so desirable (smile). The boot companies that have to use it instead of Quick Step or Master Step, due to cost and restrictions of licensing, must be laughing, as now their boots are entirely compatible with Shift, while Dynafit’s boots have a big question mark.

    Man, this industry is a never ending soap opera!

    Lou

  56. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 8:26 am

    Hey Collin, regarding your comment: “My biggest takeaway from your site has been that touring bindings of any type are not highly refined idiot proof products…”

    Actually, alpine bindings are pretty funky as well. If you took the average ski slope full of skiers, grabbed say 50 binding sets and tested, you’d discover that a good percentage are either adjusted incorrectly, or don’t function properly due to boot wear, dirt, or icing.

    Lou

  57. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 8:47 am

    New post, specific to the G3 Zed stomp pad issue:

    https://www.wildsnow.com/25544/g3-stomp-pad-zed-ski-binding/

  58. Greg Louie December 8th, 2018 9:16 am

    “For example, with all the confusion about the Dynafit Quickstep fittings, rather than listening to all the blather I simply grabbed a pair of Maestrale, put them in my Shift bindings, and check function. They work fine.”

    Lou, I came t the same conclusion this summer playing around with a Maestale RS in a Shift, but I have several emails from people in the Salomon NA organizaton saying the combination is a “no go.”

    As we all know, the luxury of having a binding manufacturer back up a shop in an injury lawsuit and being able to release adequately in 98 out of 100 falls do not necessarily go hand in hand, but for people who depend on a shop to mount and adjust their bindings it’s a factor that needs to be considered.

  59. Greg Louie December 8th, 2018 9:37 am

    PS I doubt that Master Step compatibility is much of an issue – is there any Master Step equipped boot that actually has an ISO 9523 spec toe lug?

  60. Pez December 8th, 2018 10:14 am

    Ok, just checked inserts on my wife’s atomic backland carbon and they don’t protrude like spectre ones, they are flush. Haven’t checked if they are ok with shift because haven’t mounted the bindings yet!

  61. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 10:18 am

    Greg, good point about if any 9523 boots actually have the Master Step inserts. Let me know if you see any at Evo, I’ll check my usual sources of info. Thanks, Lou

  62. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 10:24 am

    Pez, yeah, some of the inserts are set into the boot toe a bit, and so forth. As most ski touring boots are _not_ specifically built to any ISO standard, you’ll find all sorts of toe shapes when you start looking at the details. The Backland, I recall, has a shorter toe than 9523 so it would not be compatible with Shift.

    Tecton, Tecton, long live the Tecton. Something made me want to say that (smile).

    Lou

  63. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2018 10:34 am

    Greg, you are exactly correct about the indemnification issue. Shops need to know the facts, and what is _approved_. Presently, from what I see there are two very different stories out there, both being attributed to Salomon. This is an aspersion on Salomon and Atomic’s systems of promulgating information. It appears they need to get their voices aligned, internally and without. Or, perhaps I’m just misunderstanding things. Am in the process of getting it sorted out. Lou

  64. Michael C. December 8th, 2018 5:16 pm

    First broken Shifts reported on TGR, heels to blame. “Don’t use 1st year tech bindings” seems to be impacting more than just the Zed.

  65. Greg Louie December 9th, 2018 11:08 am

    Master Step inserts. Every boot we carry with them has either no toe lug or a shortened sole, to my knowledge.

  66. Ray Blum December 9th, 2018 6:02 pm

    Anybody with experience with Scott Cosmos and Salomon Shift?

  67. J Griess December 14th, 2018 5:44 pm

    Ray

    I ski the Shift with a pair of Scott Cosmos 2.

    I haven’t experienced any issues as far as binding/boot compatibility – they have released when I wanted them to, and haven’t when I haven’t wanted them to. The AFD adjusts fine to them.

    One thing I have noticed mounting and adjusting the Shifts has been the fact that there is a small black tab on the toepiece, that the front of the toe rests against. If the AFD plate is adjusted too low, the boot toe will actually sit below this tab, and the binding is NOT adjusted correctly. The top of the toe lug should sit up against the toe wings of the binding. I pointed this out to our rep, took a look at his bindings, which do not appear to have the tab (maybe pre-production?). Odd little thing to keep an eye on.

  68. Lou Dawson 2 December 15th, 2018 6:21 am

    Thanks Griess, appreciate folks helping each other here.

    I have some Cosmos here, and a Shift, but my Cosmos have a trimmed toe so I can’t test in Shift. Nonetheless I would add that the stock Cosmos is clearly an ISO 9523 boot and is thus is a boot specified by TUV in their certification of the Shift binding.

    MAINLY: Any boot/binding combination should be thoroughly tested by an experienced technician before actual use on snow. Otherwise, it is all theory; do you want a theory to protect your bones from exploding into fragments?

  69. Collin December 15th, 2018 9:01 am

    I received another response from Salomon regarding Scarpa boots. However, as Lou said a qualified person really needs to verify the boots fit in the binding properly. Here is the reply:

    The SHIFT MNC 13 binding answers to ISO 13992:2015, ISO 9462:2015 and ISO 11087:2016 standard requirements with the following ski boots:

    Ski boots for alpine skiing (DIN ISO 5355)
    Ski boots for alpine ski Touring (DIN ISO 9523)
    Touring ski boots with tech insert according to Dynafit specification for ski boot compatibility edition 25.09.2009
    As I had a lot of questions from the market concerning Scarpa boot, we discussed directly with Scarpa brand concerning the compliance of their ski touring boots with ISO 9523 standard and with Dynafit specification about tech inserts.

    Scarpa company confirmed us that these parameters are fully respected by following Scarpa boots:

    Freedom
    Freedom RS
    Freedom SL
    Freedom SL Woman
    Maestrale
    Maestrale RS
    Gea
    Gea RS
    Flash
    Magic

  70. Lou Dawson 2 December 15th, 2018 10:47 am

    Collin, I’ve been working on this issue. To clarify, the Shift has TUV certification to ISO norm 9523, with a note on the certificate indicating boots can have tech fittings conforming to “Dynafit specification for ski boots compability (sic) edition 25.09.2009” which is a voluntary specification provided by Dynafit, for their Quick Step fittings. Clearly, a boot with the old style tech fittings will also work in Shift, but there has been some question about how the Quick Step and Master Step fittings do. I bench tested, and while in my opinion the Quick Step indeed works fine, as indicated by the TUV cert, the Master Step does not. Note that Master Step is only provided on a few Dynafit brand boots, so not a big deal, but a bit ironic. More details forthcoming.

  71. Lou Dawson 2 December 15th, 2018 10:50 am

    P.S., I have a copy of “Dynafit specification for ski boots compability (sic) edition 25.09.2009” to verify, as the name of the document doesn’t specify which of the three tech fitting variations are now in use. Lou





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  • 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.

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