Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour Ski Boot – Freeride – Allride


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 11, 2018      

Gary Smith

  (This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry)
The Hoji Pro Tour tested where it belongs -- below the powder. Silver Couloir, CO

The Hoji Pro Tour tested where it belongs — below the powder. Silver Couloir, CO

Last March was the perfect time to acquire a pair of limited edition tester Hoji Pro Tour boots, and begin dialing them for spring. Colorado was finally getting frozen precipitation, while avalanche danger was reducing at about the same rate as my workload.

I had been following Hoji’s ski touring boot tinkering for years, and had gotten first hand info on his and Fritz Barthel’s “Little Machine” project over a hut brew, in the fabled dining hall of Argentina’s Refugio Frey a couple of summers ago. In Hjorleifson’s observations, the limitations to skiing performance in touring boots come from the lock system between cuff and shell. The various systems all rely on a static catch that allows for play as well as uneven distribution of power from the cuff to the shell. Enter the Hoji Lock. I’ll defer here to Lou’s excellent description of the Hoji Lock system as Lou was privy to the development of this boot since near its conceptual genesis.

Hoji. True skiing performance in a touring boot, coming from an incredible skier with a knack for gear adaptation, and aided by ski touring’s most revolutionary gear developer? The backstory is as great as the boot.

The limited release Hoji Pro Tour tested (left) and the 18/19 production model (right).

The limited release Hoji Pro Tour tested (left) and the 18/19 production model (right).

First a little about fit, and unexpected changes in the 18/19 offering. As a boot fitter I’ve observed that 70-80% of you think your feet are “weird” or “strange.” You vehemently inform me of this when trying on ski boots. The truly anomalous feet however would be in the less than 5% range. In other words, most of you are perfectly unique creatures stomping around on somewhat normal feet. I am lucky to classify myself in this very normal end of the uniqueness spectrum: small ankle; medium to wide forefoot; average instep height and have never had any major fitting issues. Most ski boots just fit me.

That said, without modification the limited release Hoji Pro Tour was far from a great fit for me. The toe box was enormous, instep height awkwardly low, and ankle space loose in heel hold while crushing the medial malleolus. I tried the stock liner, an Intuition Pro Tour and a Scarpa F1 Intuition liner, all with limited success. Furthermore, I ended up with a crack in the forefoot of the shell due to maxing out the front buckle over the cavernous forefoot volume (due to the thin liner). An ankle punch took care of the inner ankle. While a heated opening and grinding of both the shell and the underside of the tongue provided space over the navicular area. I then taped and glued copious amounts of foam to the stock liner around the ankle and forefoot, and placed a 2 millimeter shim under the front 3/4 of the liner to snug it up. (This much modification is not an ideal start to any ski touring boot fit. Had I not had the impetus to test the boot, something with a better out-of-box fit would have been the choice.)

Dynafit is known within the industry for their commitment to prompt inline product improvements when shortcomings become apparent. Upon unboxing my newly delivered 18/19 Hoji Pro Tour, I’m happy to report the liner has been completely redesigned and is largely an improvement. The former, limited edition liner was a hastily adapted thinner Vulcan liner that did not mate well with the more spacious shell design. The new liner has a much thicker and seamless forefoot and toe box, a pronounced horse-shoe ankle lock, and is more reactive to heat molding.

The 18/19 Hoji boot feels more snug and comfortable out of the box, mostly a testament to the purpose-built liner. My front buckle went from not able to tighten enough, to latching snugly on the first ladder hook. The fit I would call mostly average, with a (still) slightly lower than most instep, tight ankle, and medium to wide last which feels more snug than the listed 103 millimeters. I am a euro size 43 street shoe and am slightly downsized into the 26.5, which I ski in all brands. A quick eight minute heat mold further dialed in the fit where a mold of the limited edition liner was unnoticeable.

Old liner padded on left, 18/19 improved liner on right, I like the seamless toe box

Old liner padded on left, 18/19 improved liner on right, I like the seamless toe box.

The one regression I see is the practical elimination of a liner flex zone in the rear of the ankle area. This was a result of improving the heel hold, but may have come at too much cost in walk feel. The eight baffles of a softer material have been replaced by a single baffle of the same closed cell foam that makes up the bulk of the liner. Usually this area of a liner will break in after a few tours, but as of now stomping around my living room in one of each boot, the new liner is noticeably more inhibited in rearward flex. (It is possible the lack of flex zone could be remedied with a few judicious gill cuts, stay tuned.)

Improved heel hold in the new liner on left, but at the expense of the flex zone on the right.

Improved heel hold in the new liner on left, but at the expense of the flex zone on the right.

As for the shell and tongue, there are fewer changes. The tongue has a deeper slit, covered with a softer neoprene-like fabric which appears to be an attempt to counteract the less flexible liner. Note that the Hoji Lock provides all of the forward flex stop, so the shell tongue is just a cover — in many cases it could probably be lighter and thinner. The lower shell opening appears to be more along the lines of what I created with a heat gun and a grinder, giving more room above the arch. Dynafit also added a slight protrusion in the plastic above the power strap to keep it from riding up while walking.

So when the skis hit the snow, how successful were Fritz and Hoji with their goals? I was able to put roughly thirty solid days on the limited release Hoji Pro Tour model last spring in the Colorado alpine with a few 14er skis and some freeride sending missions in the local range. Feeling confident in the boot I then took it on a Pacific Northwest volcano skiing trip last May.

(For reference, I’m 6′ 150 lbs and was skiing the Dynafit Beast 108 ski in a 181 length for the powder sessions, and the 179 cm Black Crows Navis for the mountaineering objectives.)

Walk mode is as good as it gets for a boot that skis this well. The Hoji has a practically uninhibited forward walking range and a rearward resistance only felt on flat skin tracks and road exits (though as mentioned above, a flex zone in the liner would improve this). The Hoji walks and skins slightly better, albeit heavier, than the randonee oriented Scarpa F1 I have skied a lot in, mainly as a result of the forward range. The Pro Tour model weighs in at 1396 g in my 18/19 26.5 with a Superfeet footbed. A minimalist buckle design and thin Grilamid plastics offset the weight of the Hoji Lock system quite nicely.

A good boot disappears on your feet, but pops in the morning light (left)? I did like the all white limited edition coloring. Mt. Hood, Oregon

A good boot disappears on your feet, but pops in the morning light (left)? I did like the all white limited edition coloring. Mt. Hood, Oregon.

The one drawback in the Hoji Boot’s design is the unfortunate inclusion of the Speed Nose. I have no doubt that the elimination of a toe lug, thereby bringing the tech fittings tech fittings slightly rearward in comparison to most boots, creates a mathematically more efficient skinning stride. However, the inability to use an automatic crampon is not worth the imperceptible stride gains of the Speed Nose. And the few grams lost are certainly no excuse. (As Lou often does, if you don’t need the full duckbill on your boots you can grind a few millimeters off the front edge, the enormous weight reduction from doing so is always appreciated).

I ended up installing the TLT 7 crampon adapter to my Camp XLC Nanotech crampons last spring and was then equipped to tackle some steeper booters in the Hoji. My $220 high end automatic crampons were now transformed in to a semi-auto offering that I was never able to get fully dialed . This culminated in a dangling set of spikes about two thirds of the way up the Fürher Finger portion of a Mt. Rainier ski. Re-fastening a now semi-auto crampon is about the last thing I wanted to do while dodging the rockfall from the igneous formation slowly crumbling above us in the morning sun.

Dynafit is releasing their answer to this issue with the Cramp-In crampon this year. A small hook has to be installed on the underside of the toe by cutting out a marked section of sole, drilling two holes, and bolting the piece on. You will then hook the front of the Cramp-In there and secure with a traditional heel lever. This simple aluminum design will possibly be the lightest crampon on the market. I do have my concerns about this being a viable option for technical icy terrain, but should be plenty adequate for simple steep snow travel. Packed or iced snow around the hook would seem to be an inevitable nuisance as well. The snub Speed Nose also results non-compatibility with bindings employing an alpine style toe piece. This is not a great concern of mine, but will rule the Hoji out for some, particularly you Salomon/Atomic Shift adopters.

Climbing Torrey's Peak, Colorado in the Hoji with adapted crampons

Climbing Torrey’s Peak, Colorado in the Hoji with adapted crampons.

Transitions in the Hoji are a breeze, and yes folks, it is technically possible to ski with your “pants down, always.” The single rear lever locks the upper buckle and power strap where you previously set them for downhill tightness. The idea is you have one lever to throw, like many randonee race boots, and you’re on the go. To achieve this you must position your pant gaiter at the top of the boot above the lock mechanism as to not interfere with its function. The main takeaway here is that transitions are simplified, but pulling your pants up for 30 seconds never really hurt anyone not on the Pierra Menta course. When it’s time to push your pants down and ski, the positive engagement of the Hoji Lock is reassuring. The pretensioned system locks you into perfect forward lean with zero play fore or aft. Now THAT feels like a ski boot.

Finding a few seconds for a “Pants up” adjustment (left) on Mt. Rainier’s summit

Finding a few seconds for a “Pants up” adjustment (left) on Mt. Rainier’s summit.

How about skiing performance? Raise your hand if you want to ski beautiful backcountry lines fast and/or aggressively on bigger touring skis! The flex achieved by the Hoji Lock system is phenomenal. Whether you are going for the big missions in style or want nothing more than a solid ski touring boot with the most even flex available, the Hoji is a wonderful innovation. I haven’t skied an alpine boot in over six years, and had forgotten the feeling of zero play and smooth flex when those alone are the design objectives. Fritz and Eric achieved this feel in a capable uphill boot. Most touring boots in the beefier end of the spectrum tend to flex reasonably well until you hit a wall in the motion. The Hoji flexes evenly throughout range, allowing touch and finesse in the deepest part of the turn. This is especially noticeable during high speed turns or in steep terrain, when you need to fully flex the uphill boot in order to pressure the important downhill ski while staying centered.

Our days on Mt. Rainier this past May were my best Hoji testing of the entire spring. After pushing through the aforementioned morning meteor shower, we gained the summit, then cruised down the Nisqually glacier back to the Fürher Finger to find it in perfect corn condition. It’s not often that you and your buddies get to treat the steep section of a classic descent like a giant slalom course. The Hoji boot drove my Navis’ with both power and finesse on one of my favorite ski descents ever. We spent several days on Rainier and I was glad to have the extra boot beef while skiing with an overnight pack in the hot and heavy spring snow.

Approaching the roll into the Finger with speed and confidence in the Hoji Pro Tour. Mt Rainier, WA

Approaching the roll into the Finger with speed and confidence in the Hoji Pro Tour. Mt Rainier, WA

The Hoji is certainly stiff enough for most applications, but not the stiffest ski touring boot out there. A couple of times I was able to push through the flex and bottom them out. These scenarios were front seat landings and encountering an unexpected bump or change in snow quality at higher speeds, or heavy spring snow while carrying an overnight backcountry pack. I would attribute these instances to reckless skiing. Better or more conservative skiers at anywhere near my height and weight should find the boot plenty adequate.

Hoji has said this is not a purpose built freeride boot, and there may be a freeride model in the future. I would offer, however, that to Eric “freeride” is strictly what he and his counterparts are doing on-camera with speeds in excess of 50 mph, giant multi-stack pillow lines, and stomping enormous hucks. To me and most WildSnow readers, backcountry freeriding means skiing with an elevated style and aggression beyond simply descending a slope. That is, something like speeds creeping over 30 mph and Napoleon Dynamite perceptions of air, which are well within the realm of the Hoji Boot’s capabilities.

The Hoji Pro Tour is the best touring boot I have ever skied. I will continue to use the lighter Scarpa Alien RS for big days, faster travel, with smaller skis, and on more technical routes. But my feet will spend significant time in the Hoji this season, as it is an excellent tourer that you can ski without babying or adjustment in style. When it is time to pull out the bigger boards and ski with purpose, the Hoji will be my slipper of choice.

(Wildsnow guest blogger Gary Smith is an avid backcountry skier and ski mountaineer residing in Eagle County, Colorado. You can find him at Cripple Creek Backcountry in Vail when he is not in search of steep lines or face shots. Visit @ghostrider.gary on Instagram for ski shots and snippets of mountain life.)



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Comments

69 Responses to “Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour Ski Boot – Freeride – Allride”

  1. Kent M September 10th, 2018 12:45 pm

    Good review and i have some on order, hope the heal hold is tight and the boot warmer than a TLT7. That said, I remain puzzled by the reference in reviews and boot specs about rearward range in tour mode?? Maybe I am doing it wrong but on flats I require very little and on climbs the back of my legs barely touch the boot! More assessment of forward range is needed – the forward freedom on TLT7 and 6 are pretty poor actually….i wish they moved forward as easy as they move back!

  2. Gary Smith September 10th, 2018 1:37 pm

    Hi Kent- It sounds like you’re doing it right! The rearward limits of a touring boot are tested on flats and when you are using too much climbing aide for a given slope. If you feel restrictions forward, try a higher climbing aide if your binding has options. Also, sounds like you will be pleased with your Hoji. I just threw on a TLT 7 in the shop and your new boot will have a noticeably better forward range, and more natural hinge point. It will have reduced rearward range compared you the 7. Comment back when you get to compare!

  3. Dabe September 10th, 2018 2:18 pm

    Lol @ Napoleon air. The Hoji 2 (hopefully with a toe lug and lighter tongue like Gary said) is gonna be super dialed.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 10th, 2018 4:01 pm

    I can testify that at least out of the box, Hoji squeezes my skinny heels like a vise, I actually need to ease it off a bit, probably with the heat molding. Lou

  5. David B September 10th, 2018 6:14 pm

    I tried to fit into the Hoji but my wide forefoot, high instep and high arch didn’t like it. Way too much pressure on the instep. I did prance around the store in it to try to get a feel. It sure did feel solid.
    Ended up with the Scott S1. It seems my feet are a perfect match for the Garmont / Scott last. Which has been my go to for many years. Even when I tried to break the mould so to speak anatomy stepped in:)

  6. Andy Carey September 10th, 2018 7:47 pm

    I keep hearing about cracks (some explosions) on the lower shells of new TLT7s, now one on the pre-release Hoji. Any data or ideas on this? I have friends that returned the boots under warranty but definitely would not take another new Dynafit; they switched to other brands.

  7. Kent M September 10th, 2018 8:04 pm

    Re the TLT7s – small sample but a few of us have em and no issues after a wide range of use across temperatures, snow types and rock types, inc agreessive front pointing (no resort use – but who would use these at the resort?).

  8. Travis September 10th, 2018 10:59 pm

    Any suggestions on how to modify the boot to make it compatible with a Fritschi Vipec Evo Toe? I don’t understand why this finding is not compatible with this boot given the pins only nature. I know the Pivot Point has something to do with it but imagine that some kind of a tow bumper might be able to offset this? Has wildsnow done any testing yet to close the compatibility Gap?

  9. Dabe September 11th, 2018 4:12 am

    Is Eric H still skiing on beast bindings? I assume while filming the MSP piece he was on his modded vulcan and beasts. What about now? Is he in a production Hoji boot and back on radical FT?

  10. Pablo September 11th, 2018 5:31 am

    #Travis.
    The Hoji is not compatible with the Vipec Evo because the shape of the “speed nose” push against the toe locking lever when locked in ascent mode.
    This lever is designed so that the tip of the boots push against it and release the boot in case of forward fall when we are in ski mode.

    The special shape of the speed nose does that when in climb mode, with the toe lever blocked, if we fall when skidding the skins, the “speed nose” can push with too much pressure on the lever, being able to dent the “speed nose”

    Tha’s why they are not compatible: You can dent your Hoji boots if using Vipec Evo

  11. Lou Dawson 2 September 11th, 2018 9:55 am

    Hi Palblo and Travis, I would concur, while you can tour Vipec Evo or Tecton using Hoji, the boot toe does tend to encounter the binding too early in the stride, and during a “knee fall” can indeed get damaged. The Hoji exacerbates this effect, not so much because of the shape of the Speed Nose toe but because the tech fittings at the toe are a few mm farther to the rear than “standard” boots. Stay tuned. Lou

  12. Gary S September 11th, 2018 11:36 am

    Andy-
    I mentioned a crack that developed from what I think was over tightening over a still loose space. Before I padded out the old liner it was so thin that a maxed out low buckle left me shy of snug. This resulted in a crack in front of the buckle where that force would translate. I was told by Dynafit that molding processes were being adjusted. The shape of the area looks the same to me though materials, temperatures, and heating/cooling times can all be tweaked. I do think the full liner will eliminate this awkward force, but will keep this thread posted of anything occurs.

  13. Gary S September 11th, 2018 11:46 am

    RE Bindings:

    The two setups I mentioned skiing with the Hoji have Superlite 2.0 heels. One has a Speed Radical toe and the other an Atomic Backland toe. No compatibility issues. Lou notes the recommendation against the Tecton. My two double ejections in two hours on the Kingpin resort testing confirms Dynafit recommendation against Kingpin.

  14. Harry Oettinger September 12th, 2018 11:48 am

    Has there been any attempt to use the Marker Kingpin metal adapter plate to make the heel compatible? My understanding is that the fitting in the rear is not removable on the Hoji PT.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 September 12th, 2018 12:27 pm

    You can remove the Hoji tech heel fitting but no, the Marker adapters we have here will not swap in. Not sure that’s the solution, would be interesting to try. Whatever the case, why are we even talking Kingpin here? It’s going to take a whole season of bold consumers vetting it before anyone should trust it. I still like the concept… Lou

  16. Kyle J September 12th, 2018 1:33 pm

    Great review.

    Speaking of Fritschi tech toe compatibility… I’ve heard that an updated toe lock lever could be released early this season… Perhaps it will remedy the issue with some boots? All boots? Has anyone else heard about this? My source was BD customer service.

  17. Lou Dawson 2 September 12th, 2018 2:02 pm

    Yes I did hear a rumor, and allude to it above… it would not surprise me, and we’ll be sure to cover it, though this take will still stand for the 1st gen Tectons that will float through the universe for at least several years hence… Lou

  18. Ricardo H September 12th, 2018 3:50 pm

    Thinking of replacing my tired Vulcans with these (and also saving a couple of hundred grams per foot). I have 2 pairs of skis with Beast bindings. Will these boots work out of the box with the Beast heels, or do they require the horseshoe heel adapters?

    Sorry if this question has been answered elsewhere, but I couldn’t find it.

  19. Harry September 12th, 2018 7:21 pm

    Lou,

    The Kingpin is still a very popular binding that one will encounter a lot, especially here in the NE. Many of the alpine companies/reps put them on their backcountry demo skis. We have sold more of them than all our other pin bindings combined for the last two years. Despite the recall consumer confidence remains high. There is a lot more excitement about the Shift, but pre-sales have still favored the KIngpin.

    FWIW we have not seen any toe problems since the initial issue with the first release. We have seen multiple failures of the heel plates. The worst was on my personal binding when interface for the forward pressure worm screw stripped, and would allow the heel to “jump” one ledge back. I couldn’t figure out why I was pre-releasing until I recheck the forward pressure, assumed I had set it incorrectly in some moment of haste, then ran into the same problem the next day. Marker replaced my tracks and sent me an extra. I inspect it a few times a season now. We saw a similar problem with the first spring-loaded Dynafit heels after a few seasons of use, except those stopped returning to the original position after being bumped back.

    Also compared to the first Vipec release, all of these problems have been a breeze.

    For actual touring, we try to steer as many customers as possible towards a SpeedTurn like binding. We exhort the virtues of simple, no brake, no funny stuff bindings, but most of our customers want the option to ride it in the resort. Often their primary resort ski is 80-88mm underfoot, but their touring ski is 100-108mm. They don’t want two “wide” skis, so the ability to use their touring setup as their resort powder ski, or their travel “out west” ski is very important.

    I was impressed with the Hoji when I skiied it for a few hours last year, but these compatibility issues prevented us from stocking it. I have been thinking about replacing my worn Mastrale RSs with a pair, but without at least Kingpin compatibility there would be too many circumstances when I would be going back to my old boots.

    I want this boot to work and be successful. I think in 20 years this is what most ski boots, touring or otherwise, will be like. They will ski well enough, walk as well as a hiking boot, and be no more cumbersome than mickey boots.

  20. Cody September 12th, 2018 8:59 pm

    Harry, you consider a miss application of locktite and then Fritischi completely solving the problem the next year with a piece of spring steel WORSE than an official recall, tons of toe pins shearing over MULTIPLE years, and the heel track problem?

  21. Dabe September 13th, 2018 7:02 am

    What binding is Eric Hjorleifson skiing on and is he skiing the actual Hoji boot? Radical FT? Rotation 12? Or is he still using his Hoji-lock equipped Vulcans in Beast 16’s?

  22. Lou Dawson 2 September 13th, 2018 7:53 am

    Dabe, I hope that’s a rhetorical question. I’m sure the guy uses a variety of bindings, and some are modified. Ditto for boots. Marketing folks of course want us to all think pro skiers are on gear you’d buy online from the brand’s own website, mount yourself and run stock with no mods. Perhaps sometimes… Lou

  23. Dabe September 13th, 2018 4:58 pm

    Not really rhetorical, maybe I should have set the parameters, and asked what setup he films on? And I asked here because I know you, Gary, maybe some others have skied and or talk with him? And dynafits consumer bindings seemingly have moved away from free-ride tech?

  24. Kyle September 13th, 2018 7:12 pm

    In some of the older vids he was on the vertical ST’s i think, for some of the segements that he was actually touring for.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYvM6j56IBk

  25. kyle September 13th, 2018 7:15 pm

    But as noted , i’m sure since then he’s been on pretty much everything

  26. Harry September 13th, 2018 7:21 pm

    Cody,

    Yes.

    I wasn’t even thinking of the pin issue.

    The Vipec release was miserable. Not a single one that we sold from the first release was still in use by the original purchaser by the end of the second season.

    As far as the people we interact with, the Kingpin recall has not had a noticeable effect on their confidence in the product, probably influenced by not experiencing the pin problem themselves. That we haven’t seen it is not meant to downplay the seriousness of it. The reaction has been the same as if their car had a safety recall, when can I have it fixed and can I use it until then.

    The Kingpin and its ilk often exist on the border between the Wildsnow world and the downhill world. By downhill standards it doesn’t seem to fail at a particularly high rate. All bindings break, a lot, when used to ski at high energy levels in the resort. Next to our mounting bench we have a trash can, a recycling can, and broken bindings bin to be stripped for spare parts every few weeks. Broken mounting plates and heels are not uncommon. It isn’t the inexpensive NXs or AAtack 11’s or Z bindings that populate the bin. The presumably stronger Pivot, SPX, STH, and Griffon type bindings are the most common inhabitants. Woebetide to the owner of a 4 your old system binding that fails from a non-current rail system.

    This is not because those bindings are inherently weaker, but because those people using it are selecting stronger bindings because they will be exposed to circumstances that cause breakage.

    If the Shift binding breaks at a similar rate to the STH binding, will we call it a dangerous failure?

    Again, I am not excusing or defending the problem with the Kingpin toe, but as far as consumer perception goes it exists in a twilight alpine world, along with Mastrale, Hoji boots ect., where things break, things are recalled, and it is not shocking.

  27. Kent M September 25th, 2018 10:24 am

    My long wait is over and the Hoji boots arrived. A quick bit of feedback for what its worth, perhaps offering a different perspective than the already well documented reviews provided.

    The “Last“ is an amped up Dynafit last IMO. The 103mm does not feel sloppy nor any wider than my TLT7s, however the toe space is bigger in all directions. The heel hold in my view is “vice like” and more snug than any other Dynafit I have had on in the past 10 years. Snug to the point I may be worried about blisters (though a good heat molding would help). Of note is a feel that has become more pronounced for me with Dynafit over the years…the sensation of my heel being slightly suspended in space above the foot bed when the boot is all done up. This void is easily filled with your custom footbeds and/or heel lifts if needed. Bottom line, the tight heel hold is something to be aware of if you plan to use the stock liners and may not have the option of returning your order easily.

    Hoji lock – its great and even greater if you really don’t want any play when locked down…this is not an important feature for me when touring and in fact I have enjoyed softer and softer boots as I have aged…(skiing mostly DPS may be the culprit?). Does it have a progressive flex? sure, but to me it actually has no flex! I don’t huck more than 5 feet in the BC on purpose though.

    Pants Down – this is where the Hoji enthusiasm turns to disappointment for me. Lets be honest – the integrated power strap simply does not work as advertised, at least for any sustained touring. If the power strap is tightened enough to actually be effective in ski mode (e.g. not loose), the integrated lock in tour mode simply does not create enough slack in the system to enable proper striding. Perhaps if you are just touring from your favorite quad chair to duck a rope it would be fine, but if you are doing any real earning of turns, the power strap will be ripped open after the first kick turn! If that is not enough, taking the power strap off is a complication – I am sure Lou and others can do it in a few seconds, but seems like a hassle (I have not toured with a power strap in in 20yrs, so perhaps this is just an old habit that needs to be reversed).

    The other “feature” which makes the Hoji questionable for sustained, heel lifter skinning is the interesting but high quality and stiff “wrap around” plastic wings on the liner. These stiffeners have not really been discussed, but they are extra plastic that wrap the front of the tongue of the liner. The issue is, if you want to skin with the power strap and top buckle undone, the liner tongue will be pushed past the “wings” and your shin will be left hitting said plastic wings. These could easily be cut off or heat molded to curve out….but more mods definitely needed.

    I also find the Hoji lock systems does not open the top buckle enough for real sustained skinning, thus inhibiting what would otherwise be wide open, friction free front range of motion. Unfortunately when the front buckle is undone for a bit more movement, it sticks out more than the old Dynafit ultra lock.

    Given points 4 and 5, the Hoji boot does not seem designed out of the box for real sustained gaining of vertical. It certainly would be perfect for the quick hits some (many?) folks would do from a resort. To that end, I join the previous commentators questioning the use of the speed toe. I like the speed toe, but the Hoji is certainly not optimized for the speed toe, tech only crowd IMO.

    Final point of disappointment, though highly subjective and potentially easily addressed, is the 11 degree forward lean. This boot feels very upright and is pretty much a deal breaker for me. I am an old school skier who needs more forward lean – more than a heal lift and spoiler would offer me with the Hoji…(adding a spoiler will also take some craftmanship given the Hoji system).

    In the end, with no downhill testing, the Hoji will likely be returned and I will continue my search for a warm, “mid light”, simple touring boot with a Hoji like heel hold (Movement Alps are now on order..)

  28. Bill J October 15th, 2018 10:44 pm

    Hi Gary,
    I am looking for a replacement for my 2014 Dynafit One PX’s. The Ultra lock worked well for me, and like the Hoji lock concept. Having a low instep/ low volume foot I was hopefull for the Hji Pro Tour. I tried on a 28.0 in the Hoji Pro-tour (I believe it was the new 2018/19) yesterday for about an hour in a local shop yesterday. Most attributes of the boot were looking good until I tried to flex it. I am a bit puzzled by your comment that the Hoji “flexes evenly throughout the range” . When in ski mode the upper cuff is indeed stopped dead against the lower unit so I could not get the upper cuff to move/flex at all. An absolute wall. Any “flex” was only achieved by my leg moving in the cuff (especially if I left the buckle loose or even undone). Shop owner is a 30 year bootfitte and he could not figure out how to get any flex either. I am wondering if I tried the same version you reviewed? Also, wondering if there is a mod to allow the cuff to actually flex a bit by grinding away the lower cuff wings that the upper locks against? or cutting a relief slot in the lower cuff wings so they give a bit when the upper pushes against it? Too expensive an experiment for me to take on, but I would be interested to hear other opinions on the flex of this boot. Thanks, Bill

  29. Lou Dawson 2 October 16th, 2018 1:19 am

    Hi Bill, it’s intended to be a stiff boot. If you’re used to something like the One, Hoji is stiffer with a different kind of lock. If you don’t like the flex, or it feels way too stiff, then you probably need to look at other boots. Mods are possible, but yeah, detuning an expensive boot makes little sense when there are dozens of other options. Lou

  30. swissiphic October 17th, 2018 12:02 pm

    Not one to totally judge a boot by it’s ‘in store’ fit and flex test, I was a bit disappointed with the Hoji when doing a lengthy a/b comparison with my one year old Vulcans.

    Tried the Hoji with both stock liner and my intuition luxury liners; similar results. I found the flex of the hoji both less progressive and too ‘springy’ compared to the Vulcan with no tongue or flex stops…the stock Vulcans felt smoother, damper and more progressive…which doesn’t exactly translate to the same perception on snow though.

    For the past season of skiing, I modified my Vulcans with plug and play rubber bumpers to allow even more forward ankle flexion and to truly produce a user adjustable progressive flex feel. Plug rigid plastic pieces in to restore normal function if desired.

    Perhaps the Hoji could be tweaked using the same general concept?

    Come on Lou, start the mods!

  31. Ricardo H October 25th, 2018 11:54 am

    In answer to my own earlier question;

    “Thinking of replacing my tired Vulcans with these (and also saving a couple of hundred grams per foot). I have 2 pairs of skis with Beast bindings. Will these boots work out of the box with the Beast heels, or do they require the horseshoe heel adapter”

    The answer is neither. The Hoji just will not work with Beast Bindings. I received the following from Dynafit;

    Karim (Dynafit)
    Oct 19, 11:02 EEST

    Hi Richard,

    thanks for writing to us.
    here is the UK website for the delivery & purchasing platform: https://www.dynafit.com/en-gb/

    The Hoji´s wont work, sorry.
    The speedifts, the khions, the beasts and the Radicals will work.

    At your service !

    Ky
    Team DYNAFIT

    So, a bunch of unwanted boots will work with the Beast bindings.

  32. Gary S October 30th, 2018 9:46 pm

    Hey Bill J,

    Ya what you are feeling is the full intention of the lock- no play. Flex is still a result of bending plastic, just not as a result of bulging pivot points. Floor testing will always feel stiffer than skiing. You can ask the shop to clip you into a ski on a carpet to get more leverage and a better skiiing feel. If that still feels too much like a wall then that’s great, you can probably save a couple of hundred grams and go with a boot in the sub 1200 gram realm like a TLT with a more generous flex.

  33. Gary S October 30th, 2018 10:00 pm

    Dabe-

    Thought I’d throw you a bone here after a recent Dynafit event and chatting with Eric. Lou’s answer to you is on point, these guys, especially someone as involved as Hoji are way out ahead of production. When we met 3 years ago he was testing a binding he didn’t know the name of- what is now the TLT Speed. Last year he skied this Hoji Pro Tour boot almost exclusively with a Radical 2.0 toe unit and a speed Turn heel piece with a larger spring installed. This year he’ll be testing further evolutions of a Hoji boot with other cobbled bindings and potentially beast 14 if he can tweak the heel a bit. Main take away here is that if a guy that goes that hard can ski a TLT speed or speed turn “12”, we should all be comfortable charging in lightweight gear and avoid the weight penalties of “freeride bindings” as much as possible.

  34. Dabe November 1st, 2018 6:43 pm

    Hey Gary, thanks for the bone! I certainly didn’t doubt Lou, and your answer is great; helps me better understand Dynafit’s position regarding so-called “freeride” tech bindings.

  35. James November 27th, 2018 10:28 pm

    In fitting the Hoji the upper cuff is too tight around my lower leg/calf with all adjustments maxed out. Any way to extend the length of the cable in the cuff to accommodate a larger lower leg? Engaging the lock mechanism was quite a bit of work and resulted in a tourniquet on my foot.

  36. Lou Dawson 2 November 28th, 2018 10:22 am

    James, did you mold the liners? They usually relax a bit, especially if compressed after heating. This is often a problem, in your case a benefit. If you’re suffering from the “try boots in shop, but without molding liner, end up with false impression” syndrome, try to get the ski shop to help you out by molding, the liners can be molded several times. Lou

  37. Michael December 5th, 2018 11:26 am

    Excellent Review, Gary. I am wondering if you could compare the fit of the Hoji to the Scarpa F1? I currently ski the F1, but I’m looking for a little more width in the toe box. Do you wear the same size in the Hoji as you wear in the F1?

  38. James December 7th, 2018 6:33 pm

    @Lou Dawson 2: Great point, yes this is such a dramatic issue that significant space is needed, molding the liners will not resolve them. Tried a ltw skimo liner to see how much it would help… Still need a cable modification.

  39. Gary S December 21st, 2018 4:31 pm

    Hi All,

    Thought I’d throw in a brief update here with about 15 days on the production Hoji Pro. The liner is much more stout and thicker around the toe box when new, however it does eventually yield to the 103.5 last. In store fittings can be a bit misleading given the initially tight toe box and always tight heel. Rest assured its a wide forefoot boot.

    The new liner does in fact limit range in touring as compared to the limited model tested last year. Still haven’t gone with the gill cut in the rear but I think its coming. As for skiing, this thing rocks. I have a season pass at the local hill here and have been lucky to enjoy the banger start we’ve had. I mounted up a pair of K2 Pontoons (136mm underfoot) with an Ion and can ski them as hard as they want to be skied with the Hoji. Have seen zero breakage issues thus far in the shop with the 50 plus pairs we’ve outfitted.

  40. Andrea December 28th, 2018 3:58 am

    @Michael
    I have thr Scarpa F1 and (since last week) the new Hoji in the same size.
    It works

  41. Lou Dawson 2 December 28th, 2018 9:24 am

    Gary, likewise, my Hoji Pro testers are doing well. I’d still prefer a regular toe, and I’m finding the one-motion feature of the Hoji Lock to not always function perfectly, but they do have a nice downhill flex, and are quite stiff with reasonable weight. I like the last, as I need a warm boot for my lifestyle of cabin work and casual ski touring. My days of trying to trim a hundredth of a second of my World Cup slalom run are long past, though if I felt the need I’d just add some dense foam to the liner and suddenly have a 99 mm last (smile).

    Ditto on the ION, it is hereby declared a WildSnow classic.

    Lou

  42. cmac December 31st, 2018 10:25 am

    I demo’d the Hoji Pro Tour at Loveland recently – ended up being an expensive experience. I bought them the next day. 100g heavier than my La Sportiva’s 4 buckle, but the performance benefit and the all day comfort was beyond compare. I also picked up the Voile Hypercharger, and the combo could replace my regular alpine setup.

    The forefoot definitely takes time to to break-in. The first several days of skiing the boot I did so without a footbed, as my foot was constantly falling asleep. I prefer not to heat mold liners, as I’m a believer that the motion of skinning and active skiing does a much better job of proper molding. You simply can’t re-create this in a shop. Note – I have typical low-volume, paddle feet.

    But I agree with Gary S’s on snow evaluation. They ski almost as well as my alpine boots. A much more “natural” foward flex, great lateral transfer, and highly responsive (I’ve skied a nice mix of both resort, and mixed backcountry conditions).

    Uphill performance works great for me. The simple walk/ski unlock mechanism is brilliant. Plenty of articulation and – personally – I like the shortened toe. For my gait, it seems to help reduce any tendency to “lift” the ski when skinning. I’m not as hardcore as many on these pages, so crampon use isn’t a concern to me.

    I did lose the use of one set of ski’s mounted with Marker Kingpins, but honestly, I prefer the Hyperchargers and Zed binding combo (more than offsets increased boot weight too! ).

    Thanks to Wildsnow and all the participants for helping make informed equipment decisions. Hopefully my review helps someone down the road. Happy New Year .

  43. Mark W January 3rd, 2019 9:10 am

    The Speed Nose is simultaneously cool and irritating. Why should I get this boot while not being able to use my current crampons? I wonder how long this Speed Nose will prevail. I’ve seen a fair amount of grumbling about it.

  44. XXX_er January 3rd, 2019 4:04 pm

    I haven’t heard when exactly but Dynafit are sposed to be coming out with a 20% stiffer Hoji with a narrower last and without the speed nose

    which sounds worth waiting for … maybe next year ?

  45. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2019 12:49 am

    Others are blogging about the Dynafit Boot lineup, so a brief take from me. For Fall 2019 there is the Hoji Free, about 20% stiffer, with a regular DIN shaped sole. The Hoji Pro flavors all continue with the Speed Nose, as do the TLT now 8, and the PDG. whilst Neo, Speedfit have the classic sole shape, though I’m not sure the Speedfit sole is actually DIN dimensioned (not a big deal, we like the “trimmed DIN” sole concept.

    The Hoji Free is super stiff. Definitely in the upper part of the “free tour” category in terms of stiffness.

    Most interesting to me?
    For the Hoji Free they’re using a Master Step heel fitting but a Quick Step In toe fitting. Our evaluations a few weeks ago indicated the Master Step toe fittings are not as compatible with Shift binding as we would have liked to see. Nice to observe Dynafit taking heed, no doubt the influence of technicians Fritz Barthel and Hoji having something to do with it.

    Overall, there is no good reason I can see not to use the Master Step heel fitting in all of Dynafit’s boots. It is vastly superior.

    Lou

  46. Andrea January 31st, 2019 4:13 am

    After using the Hoji a few days I put the upper buckle in the other hole, because I have very slim calfs.
    I can skin up with closed buckles and theoretical I need not to close anything when I ski down, that s good. The bad is that NOW (after I shifted the upper buckle) I can t press down the lever of the lock System. Even not when I try it with both hands, or ask a strong man. Now I must open the upper buckle, than close the lock System and than close the upper buckle again.
    Has somebody the same problem? ( And maybe a solution?)
    Tx

  47. Christopher February 14th, 2019 11:10 am

    Apparently hoji is compatible despite what was dynafit repsonse in a previous post.

    Rickardo H:

    This is according to The label on the boots :

    https://www.freeride.se/photo/view.php?id=156302

  48. Rickardo H February 15th, 2019 8:24 am

    Well that’s all rum. Via my ski shop at home the UK rep also confirmed that the boot was not compatible with the Beast binding. Seems that the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.

  49. Mitch February 15th, 2019 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the thorough review as usual. I’ve had a tlt7 for two seasons but have not been able to get rid of some pressure on the top of my foot due to a high instep/arch. Does the Hoji have a noticeably higher instep? I’ve remolded my Intuitions multiple times to get as much space as I can but still too much pressure which causes numbing after a couple hours in the boot.

  50. bill February 22nd, 2019 5:05 pm

    Hey Mitch. What happens on your TLT7 if you loosen the buckle over your arch?

  51. Mitch February 22nd, 2019 7:32 pm

    Hey Bill. The buckle is completely loosened via the micro-adjustment and there’s still pressure. I’ve tried just unbuckling altogether but get too much heel slippage to make it work.

  52. Cody February 22nd, 2019 9:19 pm

    Mitch those TLT’s have always had a lower instep and a crappy hell pocket (been there, gotten those blisters). The Hoji definitely has a little more room, but not like if you switched to a Atomic Hawk XTD.

  53. Mitch February 22nd, 2019 10:14 pm

    Right on, thanks Cody. I haven’t tried the Atomics yet. Tried Zero G Guide Pros, MTN Labs, and Maestrales and the TLT7s seemed to fit the best volume wise and have the highest instep. Haven’t had an issue with the heel pocket unless the boot is completely unbuckled. Just seems an extra 4-5mm of space at the instep would do the trick. Maybe I’ll give the Hoji a try.

  54. Arnie February 23rd, 2019 2:51 am

    Hey Mitch,
    Are you running a tongue or overlap liner? I have switched to overlap and it has helped with instep pressure/space. Agree Atomic are generally more voluminous in the instep/arch than dynafit(although not tried Hojis)
    Cheers Arne

  55. Mitch February 23rd, 2019 9:12 am

    Hey Arnie, that’s an interesting thought I haven’t explored. I’m running the Maestrale liner in the TLT7s currently. What wrap liners have you been touring with? Noticed any loss in mobility while touring?

  56. XXX_er February 23rd, 2019 9:20 am

    yup ime the tongue of any liner (including intuition) will bug the top of my foot,

    for my high instep the wrap liner is the only option that will work

  57. Mitch February 23rd, 2019 9:42 am

    Got ya, wel maybe I’ll go with the wrap liner first before dropping some cash on the boots. Any experience with the Tour Wrap?

  58. Lou Dawson 2 February 24th, 2019 9:29 am

    I’ve got lots of experience with the wrap liners. They do cause slight resistance during stride compared to tongue, but not too much. They can be too thick in the front if you don’t buckle boot with moderate pressure during the molding. Indeed nice for the high instep, though remember to first be sure you foot isn’t being shimmed up by extra insoles or orthotics, and consider a bit of molding and-or cutting of the boot shell opening above the instep. Lou

  59. Mitch February 24th, 2019 10:27 am

    Hey thanks Lou,

    Regarding my foot being shimmed up with extra insoles or orthotics. Are you referring to during the molding process or just make sure I’m not skiing my current liners with an extra insole? I have custome footbeds but they’re pretty thin in the areas below my instep so not sure there’s much I can do regarding those.

  60. Lou Dawson 2 February 24th, 2019 12:18 pm

    Mitch, the idea is that very small increments can have a big effect on instep encountering boot shell. First step is take those footbeds and put them on a belt sander until they’re as thin as possible, then remove the boot board if there is one, and thin it down as well. Next, sometimes the liners remain quite thick under the foot due to the imprecise heat molding process. And yes, you have to make sure you didn’t accidentally stack insoles, but that’s unlikely. Getting it right is tricky. Another factor is where the buckle is located, sometimes moving it takes just enough pressure off to solve the problem. Lou

  61. Arnie February 25th, 2019 9:10 am

    Hi Mitch sorry for the delay..been skiing!
    Lou, of course, pretty much covered it.
    I’ve been using the palau ultralight(5mm) this made tlt5s tolerable and I got a good fit with tlt6s (even gotmy green superfeet in there). Oh yes I removed the “boot board”This was with some shell work as well.
    I’m now in backland carbons and may go to the 7mm thick ultralights. As the old ones are pretty trashed and I have some heel lift. Again removed the boot board and was able to sizedown.

    Really like the look of the tour wrap but think they’d be too thick in this pair of boots. So same question anyone tried them?

  62. Arnie February 25th, 2019 9:21 am

    Oh yes I have changed the “instep” buckle position on all three. For me they seem to press down on the instep. The best I’ve found is a scarpa ratchet buckle and strap(like they use on the maestrale et al) You can usually change the cuff rivets for bolts and just use those to attach the scarpa strap. On the atomics I’ve used a cycle shoe ratchet which looks better but probably isn’t as effective. I can sent you pics if you’re interested Lou

  63. Lou Dawson 2 February 25th, 2019 10:02 am

    Arnie, sounds like you’ve done some good work. Send a few pics to the contact email on nav menu above. Thanks, Lou

  64. Mitch February 25th, 2019 10:10 am

    Great, thanks Lou and Arnie. Looks like I’m going to have to find a friend with a belt grinder and go from there. Maybe I’m just not creative enough but relocating the instep buckle on the TLT7 doesn’t seem possible. Now if I could make these TLT7s ski like Hoji’s…

  65. Arnie February 25th, 2019 12:24 pm

    Mitch,
    Fwiw, I think the tlt7 is in “the” optimal poition as it pulls through the line of the cuff bolt. Not tried them as I was seduced by the memoryfit mouldability of the backlands. If it has a boot board, ripping it out would d be my start point it’ll give you 2-3mm extra depth. Then shave/grind the insole. Simply because they’re the cheapest optoons. Then try a wrap liner.
    Cheers

  66. Mitch February 25th, 2019 12:54 pm

    Good to know Arnie. Did the memoryfit work as advertised? I have been curious about that tech and Atomic Backland or even Salomon MTN.

    Also, sorry all for the thread drift.

  67. Arnie February 25th, 2019 1:12 pm

    Mitch,
    Mostly!
    Baked shell and liner (palau wrap)as per..instructions and Lou’s post on here. This gave the me a pretty good fit. The best first fit I’ve ever had, if you consider it’s no more hassle than a liner bake with any other boot. After skiing a couple of hours I then decided I needed a “local”–“traditional” punch, same spot on each boot. Approached this with some caution as I’d already got a reasonable fit. 1cm water in the base of the boot, cool packs and a plumbers glass cloth to protect the areas I didn’t want to change. Careful heat and go steady. To paraphase Lou millimetres matter!
    Cheers

  68. Deb Morton April 17th, 2019 2:36 pm

    I tried on the Hoji Pro Tour women’s ski boot yesterday. My feet are wide at the toebox, the boots seemed comfortable. I am concerned about the 11 degree forward lean. This seems low. Any thoughts about this?

  69. Gary S April 18th, 2019 3:31 pm

    Hi Deb,

    I generally adjust the forward lean all the way forward when thats an option. Haven’t wished for anything more in the Hoji. Hope that helps!





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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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