Report from Europe – New Dynafit Boot Line


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 16, 2007      

It’s amazing how little changed alpine ski boots are since Bob Lange invented the injection molded plastic ski boot in the mid 1950s. The same goes for randonnee boots. Dig out your old plastic touring boots from the 1970s and chances are they’ll have an overlap cuff, ratchet buckles, a walk/ski touring lock — and of course weigh a ton. At least today’s boots weigh less. And they’re usually more comfortable. But overall, every year it seems like most AT boots prove that old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Thankfully (as in THANK GOD), sometimes a company tries to rise above the fray by revamping most of their line. One outfit doing that this year is Dynafit. For the coming 2007/2008 sales season, Dynafit has invested an immense amount of money and time into creating a boot selection that’s almost entirely new (along with revamping their entire product line, but more on that later). The boot selection comprises nine models that vary from the classic but improved TLT 4 lightweight, all the way up to an entirely new “freeride” boot they call the Zzero C-MF. At the European sales meeting I played around with a sample pair of Zzero, and Fritz Barthel skied them (I tried them on, but the sample size was too small for me to ski). The line is beautifully designed and well engineered, and Fritz was impressed by how well the Zzero skied. Read on.

Dynafit backcountry skiing boots
Zzero above. Yep, this is your basic overlap cuff & tongue boot with a touring latch. Difference is weight vs skiablility. The black exoskeleton on the side is a “Powerstringer” made with true carbon fiber. The tongue also has carbon fiber reinforcement on top. Mechanically attaching super lightweight but stiff carbon fiber to the boot allows use of a thinner and lighter shell. Result, a claimed weight of 1595 grams (27.5 shell) for a boot that may ski as well as any other Dynafit compatible performance boot available. For comparison I weighed other boots we have here at WildSnow.com and take my word for it, 1595 grams is quite light for a performance 4 buckle. Will the final production version be as light? The samples did weigh as stated above (there was a scale at the event), and they appeared to be a real production version rather than a mockup, so my guess is this boot will be a true winner in the weight category.

While making boots lighter for equal performance is exciting, if they hurt your feet who really cares if they save a few sausage slices in weight. To that end, the reinforcement on top of the tongue is the new Dynafit boot’s most interesting feature. The idea is to keep the tongue thin enough to walk well and save weight, while allowing you to slam the buckles tight without deforming the tongue down on top of your foot and producing torture worthy of any medieval dungeon. The idea seemed to work when I tried the boots on, and I’m optimistic things will be similar in real-world use.

Also regarding the reinforced tongue, some boot users I know and respect insist on having the instep buckle located more at the break of the ankle (as with Scarpa) than that of the new Dynafits. I’ve preferred this as well, at least I did prior to Dynafit’s new tongue design. Judging from the way the Dynafit boots felt when I tried them on, at least with this type of tongue design the instep buckle location is now something we won’t have to worry about. However, for the final opinion on that I’ll defer to Bob P. after he gets to try these, hopefully later this winter.

There are only three things about the Zzero I’d change — and they’re not deal breakers. The walk/ski mode selector (lean lock) has two positions, the boot lacks a cant rivet and the bright green color seems out of character for today’s sartorial preferences. At WildSnow.com we’ve always disliked having two lean positions to pick from, as it’s difficult to select the correct one when you’re in extreme conditions, and skiing with forward lean you’re not used to can be strenuous and lead to unexpected falls. But the Dynafit boot designers insist this is something consumers want (I guess we’re non conformists). To compensate for non-adjustable cant the boots have quite a bit of built-in positive cuff cant. That might be good for most of the skiing population, but what if you need neutral or negative canting? In that case, you’ll have to harass a boot fitter to modify the boot. As for the color, hey, Italiano, what more can I say?

While I don’t have space or time to detail all nine Dynafit models, here is a summary: Zzero is also sold in a less expensive model without the carbon fiber (stiff plastic is used for the reinforcements), and in a polyurethane model that’s the stiffest and most aggressive of all the Dynafit 4 buckle models. Beyond that, a couple of three buckle boots are included in the line as well as three models of the TLT lightweights. All the boots look worthy.

Dynafit boots are designed by a group of ex patriots from Garmont who still work in the Montebelluna region of Italy where something like 90% of the world’s ski boots are designed and made. The boot last is similar to Garmont in that it’s lower volume than Scarpa and a bit lower over the instep. More importantly for me (and I believe critical for many skiers), the Dynafit last is very flat under the foot arch, which should make using custom footbeds much easier than doing so with high arched randonnee boot shells such as Scarpa. I met the top Dynafit boot designers and they were sincere upbeat individuals who were passionate about their work. This really is a stunning boot line — an honor to our sport. Sadly, the new Dynafit boots are not up on the Dynafit website, but I’d imagine they will be soon. In the meantime, you’ve got little old WildSnow.com reporting from the source!

Black Diamond Verdict backcountry ski
And for all of you who simply want pure downhill ability, this is the Zzero polyurethane model. It’s semi transparent, a nice shade of red, and stiff as all getout. I tried them on and they felt just like a nice pair of alpine boots.

For all you fanatics who want every drop of into, here is the offical Dynafit press release from December (lightly edited, but still needs a koolaid warning):

Munich, Germany December 2006

Dynafit Zzero Ski Touring Boot Line
For the winter season 2007/2008 Dynafit is launching the lightest ski touring boot in each of its categories with the innovative ZZero. The complete category ski-touring supplier is setting new standards in terms of weight, performance, elegance and fit- from it’s ski touring boot facility in Montebelluna, Italy.

The Dynafit brand places performance first. From a design team focused firmly on athlete feedback- the new ZZero ski mountaineering boot line was born. Years of testing advanced boot design in the worlds toughest proving grounds, the high mountains from the Alps to the Himalaya, has produced a performance driven ski mountaineering boot without rival.

Every detail of the Dynafit ZZero meets the challenges of a ski tour. The ideal thickness of shell has been studied in order to obtain the lightest possible ski touring boot range that is capable of delivering full support and superb downhill performance. Cutting edge material choices from Carbon Fiber to Pebax, is positioned on the boot for real world results.

Revolutionary technology (in select models) provides a full Carbon Fiber Power Stringer for incredible, torsional, downhill support without weight increase. Carbon Fiber is also used in the boot tongue for increased protection of the top of the skiers foot area from the pressure of the two lower buckles.

The Dynafit boot designers have developed the optimum last that matches the anatomy of the foot and created a perfect fit for the most sensitive area of the body.

The new ultra light Dynagrip sole offers maximum performance when it comes to grip and prevention of slipping. Vertical and horizontal grooves increase traction on ice and snow. An ultra light expanded polyurethane layer has been integrated into the mid-sole to reduce weight and increase the insulation thermal effect both from the foot and ground.

The newly developed boot (ZZero) fully complies with the ISO 9532 the compatibility with the standard ski touring binding. The ZZero line offers boot versions of two, three or four ultra light, micro-adjustable, magnesium buckles. The newly patented ski-walk mechanism can be locked in different downhill positions (15° and 21°) and can be unlocked for walking. The total cuff rotation of 30° makes it easier to take longer strides when walking or skinning. All ZZero models feature the new quick-step in Dynafit insert which dramatically increases the ease and quickness of clicking into all Dynafit ski touring bindings.

The Dynafit ZZero is available with TF-Thermoflex or MF-Multiform Liners. The Thermoflex inner boot decreases overall weight while providing improved support and personal custom fit thanks to its thermoform- heat to fit- ability. The new MF inner boot is the lightest and most comfortable traditional liner available and more downhill oriented than the TF Liner. It is highly abrasion resistant and breathable, with advanced materials chosen for the exterior, the padding and on the internal lining.

The new Dynafit ZZero was created in the Headquarters of the Salewa Footwear Division in Montebelluna, Italy, under the supervision of Mario Sartor who has over 35 years experience in making mountaineering, trekking, ski and ski touring boots.

Shop for Dynafit here.



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Comments

33 Responses to “Report from Europe – New Dynafit Boot Line”

  1. Justin January 16th, 2007 10:24 am

    So are the CM-Fs going to be ridiculously expensive with all the carbon fiber? How about the plastic on those, is it that same beefy alpine boot like plastic they use in the Aeros? I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the thermo liner in the current Aeros, are the new generation of thermo liners beefier and do they take up more volume? I have a serious gear problem, can anyone reccomend a good therapist?

  2. Lou January 16th, 2007 10:33 am

    I think they are going to be quite expensive, but the model without carbon will be quite a bit less and almost equal in performance. The thermo liners in the new models are all much better than the Aero liner. In all, these new boots are like night and day compared to the Aero.

  3. Nick Thomas January 16th, 2007 12:51 pm

    Looks interesting. Don’t see why carbon fiber should add much to the cost – they are hardly using a lot of it and I can’t imagine it being a horribly complex layup (if the whole boot was carbon fiber, like the custom randonee race boots I’ve seen a photo of, that would be a different matter).

  4. Lou January 16th, 2007 1:32 pm

    Nick, each boot has 5 carbon pieces, and two of those are quite complex (they bend at a right angle and are molded into the boot under the sole.) How much that adds to the cost is unknown to me, but I believe it is indeed a significant factor.

    I flexed the carbon struts in my hands, and they are amazingly stiff. Many of the racers in Europe use custom made boots with carbon cuffs, I’d imagine we’ll see some production boots with that eventually, but I can guess they’re sometimes too stiff for day-to-day comfort.

  5. Lee January 16th, 2007 5:13 pm

    Megarides are 3.3kg a pair – or 1650g. what place is there then for a Megaride?

  6. Lou January 16th, 2007 5:38 pm

    Megaride and other boots are still contenders. Price and fit are also issues, not just weight.

  7. Mark January 16th, 2007 8:06 pm

    Wow, looks like Dynafit might really hit it out of the park.

  8. Randonnee January 16th, 2007 10:24 pm

    Yeah, baby, this sounds good. Last season and this season I have been touring 3 to 4 days per week on FR 10 skis and the 3-buckle Aero boot, and I like the gear a lot. Looks like next year will be time to upgrade…perhaps to a 4 buckle boot if as light as said to be. Please, Dynafit, have it come out as said to be- the Aero turned out to be heavier than expected, but does perform well.

    Looking forward to hearing about the next generation of Dynafit skis!

  9. grant January 17th, 2007 2:29 am

    any photos of the new race boots Lou?

  10. Lou January 17th, 2007 5:50 am

    Grant, the Race Pro is essentially the same boot at last year. I might have overstated it a bit when I said they revamped the entire boot line, as the TLT models are essentially the same. BUT, the Zzero line includes a couple of really cool lightweights. One is called the Zzero 2 C, has two buckles, and looks really nice for a lightweight option. The only photo I have of that one is a B&W catalog shot, but perhaps I’ll put it up on a blog post later today.

    If I’d known photos of the new boots were not going to be up on the Dynafit website by now I would have taken more photos. Sorry about that. I couldn’t imagine that someone would do a product launch and not have said product on their website! But then, Europeans tend to do overly complex Flash websites that are probably expensive to update — I’m sympathetic to that plight…

  11. Kevin January 18th, 2007 10:29 am

    It seems like most magazines are moving away from critical reviews. Keeps the advertisers happier. I know you have stated you avoid disparaging equipment by only writing reviews on things you like. Which leads to the question, after being treated so well by a company like dynafit or receiving product at a discount like cloudveil, do you find it harder to be critical or feel more motivated to perhaps review a product and give it press time on your website.

  12. Zoran January 23rd, 2007 12:33 pm

    Lou,
    Could you please post scanned pictures of Zzero 2 C and Zzero 3 C? Do you know weight of the boots too?
    Just for the reference, please.
    I would like to see what I could buy this summer. I am interested in Zzero 3 C.

    Kind regards,
    Zoran

  13. Lou January 23rd, 2007 2:05 pm

    Zoran, See the Dynafit post for Jan 22

  14. dana Ivers April 16th, 2007 8:01 pm

    do you know if they make a comparable ladies boot and if they have small sizes??? Thanks

  15. Lou April 17th, 2007 6:06 am

    Dana, try contacting Dynafit Salewa North America, see April 16 blog post for contact info: http://www.wildsnow.com/?p=693

  16. Liam August 24th, 2007 5:35 am

    I Hear that dynafit boots are a higher volume AT boot… Would you recommend them to a bloke with a wide flat foot?

    Cheers!

  17. Lou August 24th, 2007 6:39 am

    The 07/08 Dynafit boots have a new last, and I’m not certain how much wider it is than the normal euro pixie feet shaped last most ski touring boots are based on, so jury is still out on that Liam. You’ll have to find a pair to try on!

  18. Eric Rentschler November 3rd, 2007 11:25 pm

    I recall that Life-Link used to be the importer of Dynafit stuff for North America.

    Who is the Dynafit importer currently?

    -Eric

  19. Lou November 4th, 2007 4:35 pm

    See http://www.wildsnow.com/?p=693 and all the mysteries of life shall be revealed.

  20. Steve November 16th, 2007 8:36 pm

    Hey guys, I just tried on a pair of Zzeros- the red ones that are supposedly one step down from the carbon fibre ones. They fit so well it was unbelievable. My feet are fairly narrow and were swimming in the Spirit 4’s and my Megarides (the reason I have to get rid of them), but the fit was good and tight on the Zzeros. So I guess they tightened up their last.
    Anyway, just general info…

  21. Eric Rentschler November 18th, 2007 9:22 am

    Hi,

    The use of carbon fiber in achieving lighter weights still with good downhill performance is intriguing.

    However I’m one of those boot-fitting poster children with really flat feet and hence protruding inner ankle bones. This has forced me to have to blow-out my outer shells to make room for my inner ankle bones. And, yes, I definitely still need to do this even with thermo liners!

    My question is: is it still possible to blow-out the outer shell using heat on these new boots that have carbon fiber?

    Thanks,
    Eric

  22. ted d November 18th, 2007 10:03 am

    Can”t answer about this boot, but there are two types of carbon fiber used in my profession(pedorthics and orthotics). One is a wet or pregpreg epoxy base carbon which is definitely not heat adjustable. the other is a thermoformable plastic with carbon fibers i that is heat adjustable. The plastic type has generally been inferior, but some new materials are available that are very good. So it depends what Dynafit is sourcing.

  23. mark December 12th, 2007 2:41 pm

    I was told by a shop that the green zzeros are stiffer than the red ones – is that just flat out wrong?

  24. Lou December 12th, 2007 3:15 pm

    As far as I know the red is the lightest Dynafit compatible 4-buckle urethane boot available, and is stiff. It’s as stiff or stiffer than the Green Machine, only the Green Machine is lighter. It has a different feel than the Green Machine, slightly less reactive. For a boot to be light and stiff like the Green Machine, it sometimes feels a bit “springy,” if that means anything…

  25. mark December 14th, 2007 4:45 pm

    Thanks that helps. It sounds like the red ones might be a little bit more durable as in using everyday in area, but still pretty light for weight wary tourers and dynafit compatible.

  26. mark December 14th, 2007 4:45 pm

    Thanks that helps. It sounds like the red ones might be a little bit more durable as in using everyday in area, but still pretty light for weight wary tourers and dynafit compatible.

  27. bowler January 29th, 2008 6:49 pm

    Just wanted to add a mini-review after buying these. I just got a 26.0 ZZero4 CF after being frustrated for the past 3 years in a too-big 27.5 Mega-Ride. My alpine boot is a 26.5 Rossignol B2, which is a fairly narrow, low-volume boot.

    Before getting this boot I tried on a 26.5 Mega-Ride.

    The Dynafit ZZero last is excellent for narrow, low-volume feet. It is snugger all around than the Mega-Ride last. The boot’s fit is outstanding on my foot. I wear 10.5 or 11.0 US men’s shoes for general footwear and I’m in the 26.0 size. My foot is B width in the heel and ankle and lower leg, and C width at the forefoot.

    The forward flex is IMO a bit softer than my 2005 Mega-Ride. The lateral stiffness is way better, though. Amazing lateral stiffness, incredible alpine-boot-like response Unreal.

    A major bonus is the snow feel through the boot sole. It’s better on this boot than on the Mega-Ride. If you like to ski from the soles of your feet like I do, this is a huge bonus.

    I didn’t like biting the bullet on the price as I’m broke and I couldn’t really expect to get very much for my Mega-Rides, but the fit and performance are so amazing that I’ve stopped griping.

    I would love to have an alpine boot made by the same people. This thing hugs my foot.

  28. Lou January 29th, 2008 7:05 pm

    Bowler, thanks for your take. I’m really liking my Zzero CFs, only gripe is that the forward flex is not quite as progressive as I’d like, but that’s the trade for their light weight combined with forward flex support. The trade is okay with me, and once I got used to how reactive they are I’m better with it. I got a really good fit as well, least boot fitting work I’ve had to do on a boot for quite some time.

  29. Bergfuchs February 27th, 2008 6:48 am

    We pretty like these Boots. They are selling sensational in Austria and the Customer Comments are outstanding. Thanks to Dynafit for these sensational Touring Boots. They are quite better than all Dynafit Boots before.

  30. Chris September 3rd, 2008 10:11 am

    Lou,

    Polyurethane boots are said to get stiffer as the temperature cools. If really true, how much of a difference are we talking about – 10%, 50% ? Also, how, in general, does that change in stiffness affect the fit – if at all? The last thing I want is a boot (I am considering the Zzero 4 U-TF) that fits well in the shop but then feels different on snow. I am a bit weary of this since this is something I wouldn’t be able to know until after I already shelled out hard-earned money for the boot. Finally, any general insight into the durability of a polyurethane boot versus a pebax boot would be nice to hear.

    Thanks a lot,
    Chris

  31. John January 2nd, 2009 6:03 pm

    Can someone please tell me the difference between the TF and MF models? I can’t find it on Dynafit’s site and have never explored their boots before.
    thanks.

  32. Lou January 3rd, 2009 2:56 am

    All that complex naming stuff is confusing though it starts to make sense after a while. “TF” indicates thermo form liner, and “MF” indicates multi form non-thermo liner that’s said to be lasted to fit most feet. In our view, boot companies should just sell shells and liner options, but that would be a paradigm shift in how boots are retailed, so that’s probably a pipe dream. Our take: Thermo liners are usually warmer, lighter, and fit better.

  33. John Ehmann January 15th, 2009 2:40 pm

    Hello,
    I was wondering if anyone had any feed back on last years Aeros… Cant quite drop the big bucks on these new boots but found a virtually new pair. They definately seem heavier but I was interested in the overall performance… touring and downhill.

    THanks

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