“Tech” Inserts Press Release from Dynafit


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 28, 2010      

Editor’s note: To help clarify the tech boot fittings situation, we offer this PR from Dynafit. My copy wasn’t dated, but it’s current to a few days ago.

Press Release from Salewa/Dynafit
Dynafit Inserts – Important information

With reference to the recent announcement by Salomon that some of their boots are being recalled due to potential incompatibilities with low tech touring bindings (e.g. Dynafit, Onyx, ATK), Dynafit has been asked to clarify its position.

We wish to inform the public that Dynafit’s patent on “standard inserts” has expired and that several companies have developed and manufactured their own inserts. Dynafit cannot guarantee the quality of third-party inserts. Compatibility information are public info and available also at the TUV.

In addition Dynafit wishes to clarify that starting January 1st 2010, the company is not supplying Dynafit-developed and manufactured inserts to Garmont anymore. Dynafit “standard inserts” are available to companies upon request and are currently used only in boots carrying the Dynafit, Silvretta, Scarpa and Tecnica brands.

By contrast, Dyanfit’s innovative and patented “quick step-in” inserts are used both in Dyanfit boots and in Scarpa boots on an exclusive licensing basis.

Editor’s note continued:
In my view the important thing here is that the performance of a tech binding such as Dynafit or Onyx depends on the boot fittings being done correctly. Yet in all but the case of a few boot makers supplied with fittings by Dynafit, binding companies have no control over the boot fittings, and there is no international standard (ISO, DIN etc.) for the boot fittings.

When a tech binding fails due to bad boot fittings, the general public in my opinion will almost always blame it on the binding. Without a standard, such blame is difficult to correct. More, the situation works against the consumer as it makes problems much more difficult to trouble shoot (as in, is my boot popping out because of the binding or my fittings?).

As I’ve said before, the binding companies may have shot themselves in the foot on this one, since they didn’t work harder years ago to establish a tech fitting standard that boot makers could use to get the fittings right — and be held accountable for. The tech insert dimensions etc. are available at TUV (the testing and certification organization that verifies standards compliance), but how extensive that information is or how refined is in my view somewhat questionable when it comes to the shape of the boot toe inserts.

If you think it through, one has to wonder if a better business move by Dynafit over past decades would have been to supply fittings at their cost to any boot maker who asked. Hard to know, but an interesting thought, eh?



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Comments

35 Responses to ““Tech” Inserts Press Release from Dynafit”

  1. Zeb April 28th, 2010 8:03 am

    Could someone explain to me what technical fittings are? Is it the bottom of the boot that came with my boot –or some kind of aftermarket purchase? I have Garmont Mega-Rides. Is the bottom of the boot a technical fitting? Thanks.

  2. Jason Mitchell April 28th, 2010 8:06 am

    Holy smokes! I’m not sure how this could be allowed to happen. The Salomon Quest boots are great boots (I’ve tested them). If this issue isn’t resolved and tech inserts standardized, we will continue to see failures–thus putting people at risk in the backcountry.

  3. David Butler April 28th, 2010 8:17 am

    Valuable info, Lou. Thanks for posting. Glad I bought my Radiums before 1/1. In the future Garmont will be off my radar until the situation changes.

  4. Jonathan Shefftz April 28th, 2010 8:26 am

    Zeb, all of this is in reference to the two little divots on the side of the boot toe and the metal interface at the back of the boot heel. Yours were made by Dynafit. But every now & then, check to ensure that the screw on the boot heel interface has not play, and that the toe fittings have no gouges.

  5. Jonathan Shefftz April 28th, 2010 8:28 am

    “Dynafit “standard inserts” are available to companies upon request and are currently used only in boots carrying the Dynafit, Silvretta, Scarpa and Tecnica brands.”
    — Since when is that heavy & soft Lowa X-Alp boot that’s rebranded by Tecnica compatible with Dynafit bindings? Or is the Tecnica name finally going to be put on a decent AT boot?

  6. Pete April 28th, 2010 9:58 am

    It would be useful and helpful to hear from Garmont on this since they have a popular lineup of AT outfitted boots and what seems to be a generally good reputation for quality so I’d imagine they want to reassure their buyers that they are not compromising on safety or quality in any way. Other AT boot manufacturers should weigh in on this too.

  7. XXX_er April 28th, 2010 10:03 am

    one has to wonder if a better business move by Dynafit over past decades would have been to supply fittings at their cost to any boot maker who asked. Hard to know, but an interesting thought, eh?

    IME in the servicing business ,having to make parts from an outside source was always more problems than if the manufacturer would sell you the genuine parts … quality was always suspect

    I think Dynafit should make money on the fittings just like any other product for sale , if the bootmakers are smart they will buy the best fittings available , advertise their boots have real dynafit fittings and just pass the extra cost on to the end user r

    Lou, you seem to have contacts at dynafit ,could you find out what a set of dynafit fitting for a boot costs a scarpa or a garmont sized mfger mfger who buys in a large quantity?

    since scarpas’s boots are not any more expensive than others I can’t see it being a huge amount of $

    I don’t plan on buying dynafits but if i was … I would NOT buy a boot without dynafit fittings and we should all be on that program IMO

  8. SB April 28th, 2010 11:02 am

    If Dynafit wants to make money off of selling their fittings, they should come up with a branding campaing. Somthing like “Intel Inside”. They could put a sticker on boots with a “Dynafit Approved” moniker or something. Boots that don’t use their fittings don’t get the extra advertising/consumer confidence bit.

    The way things are, the average buyer doesn’t know and doesn’t care, which leads boot manufacturers to not want to spend the extra coin. It seems like Dynafit is hoping that the problems might drive sales of their own boots, but I think that is wishful thinking since the overal perception of the binding will go down as third parties have issues. They should have driven this with some kind of branding and certification process, in my opinion.

  9. Lou April 28th, 2010 11:12 am

    A few people have told me recently that they’ll only buy boots with genuine Dynafit fittings such as Scarpa. I don’t think that level of caution is necessary, BUT, if using tech bindings my advice would be only buy boots that have stood the test of time, such as Garmont and Black Diamond. Let someone else do this kind of gear testing… perhaps in a workshop with an ANSI crowbar.

  10. Lou April 28th, 2010 11:15 am

    exer, the cost of the fittings would be incredibly difficult to get an accurate number on. That’s just the sort of thing that would be spun every which way and any info I got would be suspect. Dynafit does charge a premium for their’s, hence the tendency for other companies to go it themselves.

  11. Smokey April 28th, 2010 11:23 am

    Lou,

    Do you know if Black Diamond has been using Dynafit tech fittings or have they been producing their own. On issues so far on my Methods, but curious if anything will change in there 2011 line up.

    Thanks in advance…

  12. XXX_er April 28th, 2010 11:48 am

    “”A few people have told me recently that they’ll only buy boots with genuine Dynafit fittings such as Scarpa. I don’t think that level of caution is necessary, BUT, if using tech bindings my advice would be only buy boots that have stood the test of time, such as Garmont and Black Diamond. Let someone else do this kind of gear testing… perhaps in a workshop with an ANSI crowbar. “”

    well now its a few +1 more

    Choosing to only buy a boot with dynafit bindings WOULD BE a standard …at least the designer of the system would have the control as they always did

    At least Dynafit will sell to the competition ,we had to source our own parts when a manufacturer wouldn’t sell to us because we were competing for the same contracts … wrong material ,wrong size there was always some reason why you couldn’t trust the parts

    Salomon has proven to me that perhaps such a level of caution IS necessary … consider that NONE of this would have happened if Salomon had sourced the fittings from Dynafit

  13. John April 28th, 2010 12:21 pm

    An opinion question for those with more insight than me – a pair of Radiums purchased in mid-February of this year was likely manufactured prior to Jan. 1, no? I can’t imagine the process goes from plastic pellets to on my feet in six weeks, but others might think differently….?

  14. XXX_er April 28th, 2010 1:05 pm

    I would bet that boot was made last year but you could probably find a date stamp molded into the plastic somewhere on the boot

  15. Bar Barrique April 28th, 2010 1:29 pm

    Hopefully recent events will help the various parties to realize that it is in their interest to come up with a standard for “tech” bindings. It should be possible to achieve a standard even if Dynafit does not participate (I don’t know that Dynafit would not want to participate).

  16. OMR April 28th, 2010 2:49 pm

    Forgive the downplay, but this could be another Toyota accelerator issue: a relatively small number of problems and paranoia takes root.. My Radiums are awesome and it’s another powder day in the Wasatch.

  17. slave.to.turns April 28th, 2010 3:25 pm

    BD makes thier own, and with their many years of metal work (crampons, screws, ice axes, climbing gear) I actually trust them as much as I would, say, Dynafit brand insert. This was also BD’s PR message to the ski community when they launched and tested the boots. We’ll make our own, we know metal.

    Now, if they could just fix those buckles….

  18. Warren April 28th, 2010 4:06 pm

    “this could be another Toyota accelerator issue: a relatively small number of problems and paranoia takes root.”

    No. Every single Dynafit-compatible Quest boot is dangerous. The toe fittings themselves are weak, and to make it even worse, the fittings are attached weakly to the boot.

  19. Carl April 28th, 2010 4:40 pm

    Lou-
    Do you know what the compatibility info available as public information or from TÜV is? Curious if this information is incomplete or some manufacturers just haven’t bothered to use it. TÜV is a group that does, among many things, ISO compliance testing.

  20. Lou April 28th, 2010 6:35 pm

    It sounds like TUV is keeping the info available so they can test according to it, even though such testing is not for ISO compliance but rather by request of manufacturers so they can get an independent test (too bad Salomon opted out of that). I don’t know if they charge to provide it. It is unknown how complete their information is. I’ve heard they have a dummy boot sole and some numbers, enough stuff for a boot maker to do a good job if they want to look at that as well as reverse engineer a Dynafit boot/fittings.

  21. davidn April 28th, 2010 10:51 pm

    “consider that NONE of this would have happened if Salomon had sourced the fittings from Dynafit”

    That’s not necessarily true: they’d still need to embed them in the boot properly, with enough plastic underneath, so that they don’t just pop out. A standard would have to cover the whole system, not just the hardness and shape of the divots.

  22. Lou April 29th, 2010 6:39 am

    A healthy dose of caution should always be the rule with gear your life depends on, especially if such gear isn’t certified under any sort of standard. If this Solomon stuff causes people to be more careful with their purchases instead of panting over every new boot on the market like a pack of rabid dogs, then good.

    My take-away is exactly where we’ve been going the past couple of years, in that as a blog I’ve been backing away from the “blogger frenzy” to be the first to come back from beer floated tradeshows and blog every last new boot like it’s going to make every skier out there ski twice as good. I still like to do those first-looks, but more and more I don’t panic over them. In other words, a bit of healthy skepticism combined with the boosterism will continue to be our trend.

    The Salomon tech fittings debacle of 2010 is a coming of age for the tech system. Not only does it drive home the point that we need a standard, but the starry eyed worship days are over for this stuff.

    Some of you might remember (grin) how over the years I’ve dissed telemark for exactly what happened with Salomon: Poorly tested gear that broke; no standards; consumer test programs without the consumer knowing. We’ll, the finger is now pointed our direction and I’ll be the first to admit that our industry has done the exact same thing with the beautiful and incredibly effective tech system. Shame.

    What is ironic is due to my approach to this stuff I didn’t pant over the Salomon Quest and thus never got around to a first-look (though one of our guest bloggers eventually covered it.) If I’d gotten a review pair, perhaps we would have caught the problem, but perhaps the problem would have been caught by my son going out and charging on the boots and getting hurt like Dalton. Lord.

  23. pal April 29th, 2010 9:09 am

    I am a little surprised to hear that Scarpa uses Dynafit toe inserts. I have Spirit 3’s and comparing them to Dynafit boots the inserts do not look the same; the Scarpas seem substantially less stout. I have also had a problem develop similar to other Scarpa Spirit 3 users where the binding toe clamps spread out under downward force. A close inspection of the insert show a small gouge on the problem boot. I hope I can get Scarpa to warranty these boots as they are 1.5 years old…

  24. Lou April 29th, 2010 10:08 am

    The Scarpa thing is recent. Hard to know exactly what was going on a year or two ago but I’d send the boots back right away. Also know that anything can be defective, even Dynafit stuff (grin).

  25. Simon Isbister May 7th, 2010 8:15 pm

    So, how would a guy go about getting a single tech insert, short of buying a used boot, and cutting it out? I want to use it to make a waxing profile, so I can just pop my ski onto the insert.

    Do any of you Vancouver area readers have a single, mostly trashed boot that I can cut the toe box off of?

  26. Ben June 20th, 2011 10:13 am

    Lou,

    How can I get a set of dynafit inserts other than scavenging a pair from used boots?

  27. Lou June 20th, 2011 10:23 am

    The used boot scav is usually the best way to get them, but ones from companies such as Tecnica or Garmont are probably easier to obtain and the Tecnica ones are nice because they’re strong and have holes in the toe fitting ready to go for attachment with through bolt. You’ll have to network your way into the industry to get them, start with customer service or up higher if you’ve got the c ontacts. If I had specific source that would retail I’d share, but I do not. Industry folks, feel free to chime in here.

  28. Gus October 28th, 2011 1:09 am

    Is there a reasonable way to replace a damaged/gouged insert

  29. Lou October 28th, 2011 6:52 am

    Gus, no. Not for the boot toe inserts. Heel insert in most boots is easy to swap.

  30. Gus October 28th, 2011 8:04 pm

    So boots with a damaged toe insert are essentially trash?

  31. JW December 12th, 2011 2:31 pm

    Currently dealing with Radium’s purchased Fall 2010 which have developed a gouge/flair on one of the right boot’s toe inserts. As far as I can tell from my testing, this damaged insert results in the right toe piece wings spreading slightly when even light to moderate amounts of edge pressure are applied on that ski. Somewhat unnerving as the toe piece on the ski attached to that boot will ‘click’ slightly open/close on each edge application under conditions as simple as skating on a cat track. Switching skis to the other boot seems to verify that the issue is related to the right boot only. Fortunately it hasn’t resulted in a pre-release, but the potential is still quite concerning. From what others have commented earlier it appears replacing the boots is the only solution.

    If anyone know of a less costly solution I’d love to get the feedback. Thanks.

  32. Lou December 12th, 2011 3:14 pm

    Replacing the boots is the only solution.

  33. JW December 12th, 2011 4:43 pm

    Thanks Lou. I appreciate the information. Any comments as to whether Dynafit boots have superior (strength-wise) inserts over other non-Dynafit supplied boot inserts? I’d hate to replay this pricey scenario of replacing boots after a single season again because of a failed toe insert. Thanks

  34. Lou December 12th, 2011 5:32 pm

    JW, since no official or industry agreed standard exists for things like the type and hardness of the tech insert steel, let alone their actual shape, it’s somewhat of a mystery to know what’s good and what is not. More, sometimes you’ll see even a Dynafit boot with defective fittings that obviously missed heat treating or something like that. Dynafit tests all their fittings before they get molded into the boots, but no testing process can catch everything. Main thing to remember is that Dynafit and Scarpa both use Dynafit fittings. Garmont and BD make their own, and both companies now appear to make fittings just as reliable as Dynafit’s. Garmont’s heel fitting could even be said to be stronger, and BD’s look good as well.

    Ultimately, my advice would be to buy any major brand/model of boots that suit you, and test the tech fittings by just using them and watching for undue wear before warranty is up.

  35. JW December 13th, 2011 7:09 am

    Thanks Lou

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