Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour vs Vulcan — Ski Boots Comparison

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 17, 2018      

You guys were asking, thought I’d do more bench touring seeming as it’s 82 degrees outside.

Vulcan and Hoji geometry are clearly more similar than different. Not clones. Kind of like comparing your feet to those of your sibling. DNA and all that sort of thing. Vulcan can be had for a song, discounted all over the place (including by our post sponsor Cripple Creek Backcountry). So why buy the Hoji Pro Tour instead of Vulcan? Glean a few reasons below.

The objects at hand. Vulcan to right, spankin' new Hoji to left.

The objects at hand. Vulcan to right, spankin’ new Hoji to left. It is common knowledge that the Hoji designer’s point of departure was the Vulcan. So, it is asked, what’s different?

In my view, the over arching item is the “Hoji Lock” cuff lock system boasted by the Hoji Pro ski touring boot. Benefits: Probably a true “one motion” touring/downhill lock, but more importantly, stiff yet progressive flex in downhill mode, with minimal to no bulging when you drive your knees forward. Read on for additional comparison details.

Demonstration boot white plastic does good job of showing the Hoji Lock cuff stop slots.

Demonstration boot white plastic does good job of showing the Hoji Lock cuff stop slots. This is an evolution of the Vulcan cuff stops.

With Vulcan fore-aft cuff angle set to what they call “15” degrees, I compared to Hoji using an angle gauge off the footboard. While Hoji is specified as “11” I could not discern any significant difference. Perhaps the Hoji liner is slightly thinner at the calf, that would drop you back a few degrees. Takeaway, by adding or subtracting material behind your leg, you could easily tune these boots for identical cuff lean angle. That is if they’re not there already.

For the purpose of comparison, Hoji ski touring boot cuff angle.

I’ve never been certain as to how the industry measures cuff angles. Who really cares? To keep it clear, I measure with an angle gauge using the interior boot board as base line, and average out the heel cup and spoiler. In many years of experience, this method gives a “real world” idea of how one boot will feel in comparison to another.

Interior cuff angles plotted, right ray is Vulcan at 7.5, left is Hoji at 9. Vulcan has slightly adjustable forward cuff lean, for this measurement it was set to relaxed angle, if set to steeper angle it would end about a degree steeper than Hoji. Such variations are easily tuned by adding or subtracting material behind your calf at the rear of the liner cuff, or just molding the liner more aggressively.

Interior cuff angles plotted, right ray is Vulcan at 7.5, left is Hoji at 9. Vulcan has slightly adjustable forward cuff lean, for this measurement it was set to relaxed angle, if set to steeper angle it would end about a degree steeper than Hoji. Such variations are easily tuned by adding or subtracting material behind your calf at the rear of the liner cuff, or just molding the liner more aggressively.

Cuff height is similar, Hoji slightly taller at rear.

Cuff height is similar, virtually the same at sides.

Hoji cuff taller at rear.

Hoji cuff taller at rear, to the extent you might notice it, but not a critical difference in my view.

Controversial Speed Nose of the Hoji.

Controversial Speed Nose of the Hoji. We give this a 50/50 chance of making it as a success in sales, most important effect is the tech fitting is located about 3 millimeters farther to the rear than most other ski touring boots. This causes a slightly better more ergonomic touring stride, due to the binding-boot pivot being located closer to the ball of your foot. How much difference does this make in real life? I’ve always like the effect. How much faster it got me up the hill is probably insignificant. As we’ve been covering in other posts and the comments, the Speed Nose has issues with binding compatibility.

Soles are virtually the same thickness, tech fittings at heel at same height.

Soles are virtually the same thickness, tech fittings at heel at same height.

Vulcan (R) has a bit more rocker at the toe, with tech fittings a few mm higher.

Vulcan (R) has a bit more rocker at the toe, with tech fittings a 1.5 mm higher. This might result in the Vulcan having a bit more forward delta (heel higher than toe), but the amount of that effect depends on the actual interior sole shape and thickness at the ball of your foot, as well as use of insoles. At these small amounts, easy to tune with basic boot fitting techniques.

Moving on to what's important (ha). Ski touring boot last width.

Moving on to what’s important (ha). Ski touring boot last width. Comparing width measured at exterior, Vulcan shell appears to be about 3 mm narrower at the metatarsal.

A better way of comparing last width is to measure the "ghost molded" stock liner width.

A better way of comparing last width is to measure the “ghost molded” stock liner width. Vulcan pictured here showed what I measured as fully 4 mm narrower than the Hoji liner. My research indicates the Vulcan last width is “103 mm” while the Hoji is “103.5,” I’d disagree with that, the Hoji clearly provides significantly more space at the ball of the foot. You can see it, and you can feel it if you do a shell fit. Now, for those of you who like tight boots, can the Hoji liner fill up this space adequately? In my opinion, probably. But that depends on the density of the liner foam — or the skills of your boot fitter. Main point for us here at WildSnow, Hoji is clearly a warmer boot.

Both boots are not exactly pleasant to put on and take off.

Both boots are not exactly pleasant to put on and take off. But once you’re buckled in, it appears the Hoji lock can indeed provide the relaxing “pants down always” one-motion locking feature. Easy to carpet test for yourself. Note that Vulcan requires its removable tongue to achieve uber stiffness, an added hassle that is never appreciated, thankfully not something you need with the Hoji.

Some of you who actually ski tour (smile) might inquire of rearward cuff mobility.

Some of you who actually ski tour (smile) might inquire of rearward cuff mobility. In my opinion, the Hoji is below average in that regard, for a ski touring boot. Hoji in front of photo, above, with Vulcan behind, both flexing rearward. They’re specified as 55 and 60 degrees “rotation,” respectively. While again who knows exactly how some guy in Montebelluna actually measures “rotation,” I’d just call it as the Vulcan having full movement range in touring mode, while the Hoji is limited in comparison, though still functional and better than certain competitors in the same “beef boot” space.

One other thing: Vulcan has user removable cuff stops, which combined with the Dynafit Ultralock cuff lock do major fusing of cuff to lower shell. Hoji Lock clearly evolved from this, only it eliminates the up/down locking action of the Ultralock in lieu of a rear lean lock that only resists rearward movement, with the forward “lockage” taken care of by the advanced technology cuff locks of the Hoji Lock.

Weights (per single boot) because I know you’ll ask:
25.5 Hoji, 1346 grams — shell no liner 1134 g
25.5 Vulcan, 1448 g (with removable tongue) — shell no liner 1220 g

I found it interesting the Vulcan 25,5 shell clocked in as 86 grams/3 ounces heavier than Hoji, as that’s near the exact weight of the removable tongue.

27.5 Hoji, 1478 grams
27.5 Vulcan, 1590 grams (with removable tongue)

Sole lengths:
Hoji 27.5 vs Dynafit TLT6 in 27.5, TLT specified as BSL 297, Hoji 301. When measured on bench, the distance from Hoji toe tech fitting to heel fitting is ~3mm longer than TLT.

BSLs of our Vulcan 25.5 and Hoji 25.5, 284 and 281, respectively, which goes right along with the Hoji toe tech fittings being located about 3 mm back from those of the Vulcan, due to the Hoji Speed Nose.

Conclusion: If you’re thinking of making your Darwinian path that of Hoji from Vulcan, you’ll be able to configure Hoji with ski touring ergonomics you’re familiar with. Only remember to do a side-by-side carpet test with one model on your right foot and one on the left (both with liner and without). And if you’re a stickler, do the carpet test while clipped into a pair of skis. You’ll probably discover you’re good to go. If not, your mods will likely be minimal.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


27 Responses to “Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour vs Vulcan — Ski Boots Comparison”

  1. T September 17th, 2018 10:23 am

    That thar Hoji is a heavy boot.

  2. mp9 September 17th, 2018 10:30 am

    I’m really liking what I’m seeing of that metatarsal width and toe box shape, it looks like they finally made a boot that’ll fit a human foot. Too bad it’s not compatible with a Salomon Shift binding.

  3. XXX_er September 17th, 2018 5:09 pm

    yesturday there was a 1 hr “ask Hoji anything” live interview on 4frnts FB page where you could ask a question online on any thing you wana know

    so of course I asked if there was any chance of a boot without the speed nose?

    He laughed and answers the question at about minute 31 in the interview and it sounds like maybe

  4. mp9 September 17th, 2018 7:18 pm

    Thx for XXX_er!

    Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long!

  5. Kent M September 17th, 2018 9:43 pm

    As I await delivery of my Hojis you have answered several questions – and with the snow already flying up here in the Canadian Rockies it is even better to know this is a warm boot and not as upright as advertised (or spoiler or heal lifts easily getting into old,school range). I may be in minority, but like the speed nose! Thanks!

  6. Lou Dawson 2 September 18th, 2018 7:17 am

    The DIN/ISO ski touring boot sole shape is a real standard. In the retail product world, one ignores a standard at their peril. Taking risks is admirable, trend setting is cool, Dynafit has done plenty of both. Like I said, I’m 50/50 on the Speed Nose. Beyond crampon hassles, the big downer is it doesn’t work with certain desirable bindings. If Fritschi changes the Tecton so it’ll work with Speed Nose, that’ll be a thing, for certain. Lou

    We do have a blog post that details the DIN/ISO standard for ski touring boots.

  7. XXX_er September 18th, 2018 8:22 am

    6 years ago Dynafit hit it out of the park with Vulcan , since then all the other players have upped their game so there is a lot of competition in that big boot category

    So i do not understand designing a boot that doesn’t fit in the most popular freeridey type bindings, doesn’t fit the crampons a user might already own

    I can understand the how/why of speed nose but it is the wrong app for a freeride boot and will cost Dynafit market share


  8. mp9 September 18th, 2018 2:12 pm

    ^ Well said @ XXX_er!

  9. Dabe September 18th, 2018 2:24 pm

    For a vertically integrated company like dynafit, could be a wise move not to provide consumers a path away from their binding offerings? Tho I’m curious what binding of theirs in their minds is Hoji/Vulcan/Khion meant to be skied in? Hence why I keep asking what Hoji himself is using. IMO just having his name on it is going to probably make up for the North American market share that X’r talked about.

    Another interesting part will be watching dynafit be on the other end of not holding the key patent(s) (e.g. vipec side releasing toe) in the years that come.

    That said, just like the TLT 5 was a pretty damn good boot and paved the way for some legendary boots (TLT 6, Vulcan) the Hoji-lock has serious potential once they come up with a better scaffo to mate it to.

  10. Bill September 18th, 2018 3:34 pm

    That approach might work if this boot was far and away superior to the competition. Unfortunately for dynafit, the rest of the market has more than caught up and building a closed loop system will likely just keep folks from considering this boot let alone buying it.

  11. Terry September 18th, 2018 6:38 pm

    Lou, do you know how the BSL for the Hoji compares with the TLT5?

    I’m planning to get the Hoji and am wondering how much remounting I’ll need to do, especially for my Speed Superlites, which have no adjustability?

  12. XXX_er September 18th, 2018 10:17 pm

    ” For a vertically integrated company like dynafit, could be a wise move not to provide consumers a path away from their binding offerings? Tho I’m curious what binding of theirs in their minds is Hoji/Vulcan/Khion meant to be skied in? ”

    exactly ^^ what Dynafit or any binding is a Hoji user going to use with a big freeride boot on a big wide ski , not kingpin,not Salomon shift, not any frame AT binding

    as always Lou can only report but everybody is thinking the same thing and pointing at the “emperor’s new clothes ”

    at a PE sesh I once told an IBM manager I didn’t think the emperor was wearing any clothes, he told me I should relax cuz i scare the other managers

  13. Lou Dawson 2 September 19th, 2018 9:41 am

    Xer, I did address the binding question to at least some degree, perhaps those sentences didn’t get saved or something. Most serious freeride touring skiers I meet on the trails, especially those in Europe, tend to use fairly minimal classic tech bindings, Hoji will work fine in those. (Don’t confuse with freeride skiers who do quite a bit of resort lift skiing — Hoji probably isn’t beefy enough for them anyhow…).

    So, for freeride ski touring using Hoji, the Dynafit Rotation bindings would seem to be appropriate, as would the G3 Ion, and if you’re seeking the minimalist route, perhaps ATK or Plum have the requisite strong toe springs and so forth.

    But yeah, I wish the Tecton worked with the Hoji, that would seem to be a match made in heaven.


  14. Lou Dawson 2 September 19th, 2018 11:31 am

    Terry, my bad for not doing a few BSL comparisons. I added to the post. I compared to TLT6, I don’t have any 27.5 TLT5s here. My guess is a same size Hoji, compared to same size TLT5, would be similar in BSL, probably enough to enable just a few mm of binding adjustment. Contact one of the full-service backcountry ski touring shops to help you get certain. Lou

  15. LePistoir September 30th, 2018 10:36 am

    One problem with the otherwise-excellent Vulcan was breaking the cuff buckle at least once a year. Any solution on the Hoji?

  16. BobbyTooSlow October 5th, 2018 7:52 am

    I’m excited about the Speed Nose,” and how the tech fittings being moved ~3mm aft gives a “…more ergonomic touring stride, due to the binding-boot pivot being located closer to the ball of your foot.” Scarpa did this with their F1 Race boot, and Silvretta’s Pure binding had a “30mm set back” pivot.

    Do you all know of any boots/bindings that have taken this to a further extreme? Or any studies that tried to quantify it? I’m sure the manufacturers have their own proprietary test results.

    It makes a lot of sense; bike pedal axles, to maximize efficiency, typically go under the ball of the foot. So why haven’t even skimo race bindings evolved more in this direction? Of course for every mm back the fittings go, the binding pins need to move a mm higher (for toe clearance). And binding lock levers would need to be redesigned. But it seems like Dynafit could’ve put the fittings on their P49-Pintec system anywhere they wanted. Maybe it has to do with guaranteeing a reliable release? Or the biomechanical efficiency benefits have been found to not make up for the added weight?

  17. PEZ January 30th, 2019 4:30 am

    DYNAFIT HOJI FREE HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED! Lou have you got any more details? Cheers

  18. Lou Dawson 2 January 30th, 2019 5:29 am

    Sure, we spent the last few days at a press event with Dynafit. Hoji Free is a 20% stiffer Hoji Pro, with a DIN toe instead of Speed Nose. To keep the toe DIN compatible, they used a Quick Step In insert instead of a Master Step, while using the superior Master Step at the heel. They say the last is “2 mm narrower” but that could just be marketing spreech, and the liner is slightly denser and thicker, but perhaps it’s slightly narrower, thus making 50% of skiers happier, and the other 50% needing a few punches. The boot looks super nice. Main point:
    If it’s not too stiff for you, Hoji Free will make a nice quiver of one that can be used on the resort and in the backcountry. It uses the same “Hoji Lock” cuff lock system as the Hoji Pro, and will thus have a “best in class” sweet flex. Available fall 2019. Lou

  19. Eli February 4th, 2019 7:58 am

    And the Hoji pro only comes in the less roomy Vulcan last? If that’s true….BUMMER!

  20. Lou Dawson 2 February 4th, 2019 8:46 am

    Eli, The Hoji Pro is plenty roomy. See if you can get an opportunity to do a carpet fitting and let us know what you think, but remember that without molding liners, a fitting is only approximate. You could also do a sock/foot comparo without liners in the boots. Lou

  21. Lou Dawson 2 February 4th, 2019 12:38 pm

    Bobby, having the pivot slightly farther back from the standard tech binding position is more efficient, but not by much, according to some folks I’ve spoken with over the years. It’s cool, but not a reason to buy boots. Fit and how they ski should be shopping rational, and weight. Lou

  22. XXX_er February 5th, 2019 12:31 pm

    I was talking to a bud who sells Dynafit, apparently the Hoji pro has been selling well but he figures he missed out on 8 sales cuz the pro was not compatible with the ski/bindings combos he had sold that customer last year and they just couldn’t bring themselves to fork out for another binding … maybe those people will buy the Free next year ?

    I been on Mercury / Vulcan for 5 years and have yet to break a buckle, maybe make sure the top buckle is latched all the way forward when undone cuz I think if you hit that buckle when its sticking out … it will break

  23. travis February 5th, 2019 1:07 pm

    Lou, any updates on the much rumored TLT8? I’m very curious.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 February 5th, 2019 3:00 pm

    Travis, it’s not a rumor, the pre-retail ones are out there in demo, and moving to retail for fall 2019. I’m sure a few hard breathing gear bloggers are all over them, or, in them? It’s similar to a TLT 7, has Speed Nose, but uses what they call “Ultra Lock 4.0” without the breaking cable. It has a claimed last width of 103, which is wider and will be appreciated by neuroma and cold foot sufferers worldwide. Other than the Speed Nose, it looks good. If you can live with the Speed Nose it appears to be a keeper. They also added a Speedfit Pro (stiffer cuff), which is essentially a TLT 6 without the removable tongue (as the Speedfit is). It looks good as well.


  25. travis February 5th, 2019 3:10 pm

    Thanks, Lou! I’ll poke around the interwebs.

  26. Eli February 6th, 2019 9:01 am

    Sorry Lou 2 I wasn’t clear. I was saying its disappointing that the Hoji Free looks to be the narrower vulcan style fit, from the trade show coverage we’ve seen.

  27. Lou Dawson 2 February 6th, 2019 10:02 am

    Update: Stay tuned, the last widths I have might be different.

    Eli, it’s not a big deal. Hoji Pro claimed last width is 103.5 while Free is 102. I venture to guess the 1.5 mm difference is from slightly thicker plastic in Free. And, 1.5? That’s the difference between a thicker or thinner sock. Either way, the Grilamid is putty in the hands of a boot fitter. What everyone needs to keep in mind is that for every person a last width is good for, there is another person for who it is not. Also, much of where this obsession has come from is liners that don’t mold well and are too soft. Adding to that, I’ve been told that depending on market, some boot companies actually just estimate their “last width” with bias to a number they think sounds good. The proof is first in doing a shell fitting, but with an eye to some modifications. And, lucky you if a boot fits out of the box. Lou

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