Dynafit Vulcan Free Touring Backcountry Ski Boots — On Snow Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 8, 2012      

Photos by Lee Lau unless otherwise noted

Toby S testing the Dynafit Vulcan

Toby S. testing Dynafit Vulcan.

Vulcan is part of Dynafit’s “Free Touring Line” which, as far as I can see, is ski-touring the way that I and many others would usually ride in British Columbia, i.e., with gear that is relatively big and oriented to touring for powder. Reading the marketing materials this Free Touring line (including Vulcan, Mercury, and One boots in that line) is in contrast to Dynafit’s generally perceived mission to be an obsessive gram-shaving product company.

The objects at hand, Dynafit Vulcan backcountry skiing boot 2012-2013

The objects at hand, Dynafit Vulcan backcountry skiing boot 2012-2013. These are the pre-production samples we tested. Dynafit says these are slightly less stiff than the coming production model, but otherwise identical.

Dynafit engaged the services of pro skier Eric Hjorleifson to help design a boot that would combine the incredible free-floating touring performance of last year’s wonderboot, the Dynafit TLT5 Performance, with downhill skiing performance. For those of you who don’t know of him, “Hoji” is a skiing wunderkind. He’s one of those skiers who pop up every generation or so who ski inconceivable lines with such aplomb and finesse that one is first in awe and subsequently intimidated into thoughts of hanging up the snow sticks and taking up lawn bowling.

Did the Dynafit Hoji partnership succeed? Will the Vulcan levitate you to new heights? Will angels sing and scatter powder as you straightline impossible faces? Will you be the most rad-gnar bro-brah on your hill? To summarize, on the uphill I found the Vulcan to be the touring dream it promises. Downhill, this boot is a very good boot but not the ultimate wunderkind that fan boys have anticipated. As often happens with athlete endorsed or designed sport products, the fact that Hoji can ski the lines he can ski says a lot more about Hoji than it says about the Vulcan. Thus, we have an excellent boot from Dynafit that deserves to be hit next season — but something that is not necessarily a game changer.

An Endless Spring Day from Darcy Turenne on Vimeo.

The branded content video above has been floating around for some time now, but it’s fun to watch and worth noting that not only is the Vulcan boot featured, but so is Trevor Hunt. Trevor has some degree of competence and seemingly much to his surprise has bagged many serious descents.

Despite saying that looks aren’t everything, let’s get it out of the way and say that the Vulcan is one sharp looking shoe. Mostly black with some dark green, this look is a no-nonsense and a refreshing change from Euro-tastic explosions of neon buffoonery. Lou’s already covered most of the features in his WildSnow Dynafit boots preview article so lets just add the data about real-life weights and look at the boot closer with pictures, as well as actual testing.

Weights for the 27.5 boot tested (boot sole length 304mm)

– 1590g actual (with stock liner and tongue, identical to manufacturer claimed weight)

– Stock liner is 308g (I used an Intuition liner in the boot in size 27 – weight 220g)

– Tongue is 73g (I skied with and without the tongue)

Vulcan backcountry skiing boot can be used with or without tongue.

Vulcan is a three buckle boot that can be used with and without a tongue. The upper buckle is a one buckle closure to go from walk to ski mode. Buckles are elegant looking wire closures all of which are constructed in a way that they cannot be detached and hence lost (improvement over the TLT5P). This stiff performance shoe being a '3 buckle boot' is a good example of how we need to get away from rating boots according to how many buckles they have.

Side view of Vulcan boot showing power strap and buckles.

Anemic power strap is included. Lou is always ranting about not using a power strap; in this case perhaps he's right as you might not notice it's gone. Rivets in the forefoot and heel hinge look beefy and reinforced (but wait for the longer term test). Soles are not removable and thus tough to quickly replace if destroyed on sled decks or scree. DIN-ISO standard shaped sole can be used in frame bindings such as Fritschi and Marker. The third buckle in the forefoot was cosmetic at best for the way these boots fit my feet (I left it loose), and can easily be removed. It appears some effort was expended to design buckles that are less prone to accidentally open when you're post holing or rock scrambling. More field testing will be necessary to prove that.

Rear of Vulcan backcountry skiing boot cuff.

Note the carbon in the high rear spoiler (more than cosmetic and adds a decent amount of stiffness). Lean lock options are 15 & 18 degrees (2 degrees less and one more than original TLT5P). Cuff rotation is a ridiculous free-floating claimed 60 degrees, which we do not doubt.

I offer a few comparo photos below. Beyond this, given that I’ve tried dozens and dozens of AT boots due to review writing as well as personal shopping, comparison questions are welcome (in the comments) .

Maestrale (and Maestrale RS which is identically lasted) and Vulcan.

Maestrale (and Maestrale RS which is identically lasted) and Vulcan.

Maestrale and Vulcan ski mountaineering and backcountry ski boots.

Maestrale and Vulcan ski mountaineering and backcountry ski boots. Or are they free skiing boots?

Vulcan to left with Dynafit Titan Ultralight to right, free ski for sure.

Vulcan to left with Dynafit Titan Ultralight to right, free ski for sure.

TLT5P, Vulcan and Titan UL

TLT5P, Vulcan and Titan UL, thanks to Steve R for these last couple of comparo shots.

From the rear, left to right, TLT5P, Vulcan, Titan UL freeskiing boots.

From the rear, left to right, TLT5P, Vulcan, Titan UL freeskiing boots.

I have a traditional Asian foot; which means that my forefoot is wider then most and I have almost no arch. The Vulcan is most decidedly NOT the same last as the TLT5P which had what at least one Dynafit designer called ‘performance’ fit but what most people would call tight. I fit a 27.0/27.5 Vulcan which is the same size as I squeeze into for ZZeus, Titan and ZZero4C. Note that there’s no cuff alignment (cant) adjustment. Vulcan’s boot board is flat so you can play with more padding to get the fit or interior delta you want.

As stated earlier, I used my own Intuition liners with the Vulcan and had no problems. Note that the OE Dynafit liner is deliberately tightly lasted to allow for a thermo-molding so don’t despair if the boot feels uncomfortably tight during in-store carpet testing. The Dynafit liner is a capable inner boot being made of the same material as the TF-X of the Titan UL. This served me well last winter so the Vulcan version should last for quite a while (I squeezed 50 days out of a Dynafit TF-X liner in previous years).

All in all, most people will fit a Vulcan with minimal to no tweaking. I fit the same size 27 Vulcan as other Dynafits and Scarpa boots (for example). In terms of having to remount skis, the Vulcan’s 304mm bsl wasn’t that much different than the Titan and ZZeus’s 313 bsl so, from the point of view of redrilling skis, changing boots will be for fine for anyone who isn’t using an older TLT Speed or similar tech binding without much fore-aft adjustment.

Vulcan backcountry skiing boot interior

Innards of the Vulcan. Note the rear spoiler is actually in two pieces. The inner piece is what Dynafit calls the 'driving spoiler' which is supposed to slide inside the cuff allowing for free and smooth rotation when touring. The fasteners visible inside rear spoiler allow flipping the lock fitting to change forward lean. When the upper buckle is closed the rear spoiler is locked with the cuff and builds a stiff downhill structure resisting fore-aft movement. It works.

Vulcans equipped with Intuition liners.

Vulcans equipped with Intuition liners. Thanks to Escape Route of Whistler for being my go-to shop for all things backcountry

Performance — Touring & Uphill

Booting Mt. Matier in the Vulcans.

Booting Mt. Matier in the Vulcans.

Vulcan is a terrific touring boot; certainly the best in its class. The free-floating cuff and relatively light weight is really all you need to know about why this is the case. Note that the full benefit of that wonderful stride is obtained when you have the tongue removed although you still do get a fantastically long stride even with tongue inserted in the boot. As with other boots which have such wonderful touring mechanics the most benefit one gets is when you can glide a bit so you’ll really feel the free-floating effortless stride on flats or gentle uphills (hint, mohair skins to enhance this effect). When on steep skin tracks the Vulcan feels like any other light boot with reasonable cuff articulation.

The free-floating upper touring buckle, middle buckle, and lower buckle stay out of the way when boot-packing– nice touch as all I had to do when wearing crampons or boot-packing is to simply pop the skis off and go. There’s no need to worry about buckles flopping around and you will get some ankle articulation when climbing; but of course, don’t confuse these boots with alpine climbing slippers. This attribute (the clean arrangement of the buckles) is a feature that also lends itself to fast transitions as you can tighten the buckles to the tightness you might want for the downhills and simply unbuckle for the uphills or bootpack.

Performance – Downhill
Vulcan is the stiffest boot Dynafit currently makes. It is stiffer than the Titan UL. It only has 3 buckles so those who can’t get around the psychological barrier of 3 buckle boots (wait till I remove a buckle – that will blow minds) might think the Titan UL is stiffer but even a single day of skiing led me to this indisputable conclusion. Indeed, there may well be quite a few skiers out there for whom the Vulcan is _too_ stiff.

With the removable tongues installed, Vulcan is incredibly beefy. I’ve often said I’m not big enough to really drive a boot hard inbounds so here’s some input direct from Toby S. of Whistler (former East-Coast skier, 8 year Whistler full-time resident with family, business etc. who skis 100+ a year and who tears my legs off whenever I do a run with him. He’s big (200lbs or so) and built like a brick house:

“I’ll start by saying I hate AT boots. Most are too soft for my weight/style. I just suffer through long backcountry days on Lange RS 140 plug boots with Intuition plug liners. The Vulcan is as stiff laterally as my Lange plug boot. Not kidding. The forward flex obviously is less, but in a good way. It has a nice predictable flex pattern and I didn’t feel like I was going to fall flat on my face. The relatively high cuff also gave me quite a bit of power in the back for finishing my turns. I felt super quick edge to edge and felt like I was driving the ski, rather than just hanging on. Not something I have ever felt with an AT boot before! I was so stoked on the boots, I decided to get into some rowdy terrain and see how that went. A couple 10-15 ft cornice drops onto steep variable conditions and I was sold. The rear/inside cuff is stiff like a brick wall and pretty high up, so it is extremely supportive. No joke. I landed a 10 footer in the back seat, expecting to blow an ACL, but stood right up and skied out of it no problem.”

Now that’s a ringing endorsement but here’s an interjection from me in the 160lb weight class. I found that the Vulcan was fine with the stiff tongues but I had to drive them really hard in the sense of driving with the forefoot and ankles (very old-school!) to get max performance out of them. I also had to ski very aggressively, deliberately channeling old ski coaches and trying to lay trenches in the spring corn. Conversely when in softer snow, I found the boot with tongues to be so stiff that I had to remove the tongue to get the benefit of that “nice, predictable, flex pattern” that Toby describes above. However, in unpredictable variable snow, I found the boots to be knocked around without tongues and I had to resort to re-inserting the tongues.

To expand on the above, you cannot fault the Vulcan when it comes to lateral performance. When laying this boot on its side it’s as strong as anything I’ve ever skied. Fore-aft I did not feel as much love and found that I needed the support of the tongue when snow conditions got tough. I wish I had the benefit of the slightly stiffer prototype to settle the mind on this oh-so-subjective subject of feel. In this, it’s worth noting there are no hard stops in the Vulcan’s interior. Fore-aft stiffness is entirely an artifact of the boot’s construction (and tongue, if used). With the tongue inserted the Vulcan skis without a lot of progression (i.e., like most other AT boots). Without the tongue Vulcan skis better but then has a tendency to fold forward. To me that means the tongue adds most of the fore-aft stiffness — not the boot. I’d hope the stiffened version of the production boot mitigates this “folding forward” aspect.” Until we test the production version, all is speculation.

And down the NW face of Matier we go.

And down the NW face of Matier we go.

To summarize, a big powerful skier gives Vulcan the “game-changer” endorsement. A smaller weaker skier (me) is a bit more reserved but still be pretty stoked about this boot. Consider this: Vulcan will be MSRP $999 (Mercury will be $ 799 and One $639). For that kind of eyepopping price I expect a lot so I’m necessarily picky. The big question will be durability and the actual real-life stiffness and feel of production Vulcan boots. What is interesting is that this line of boots will cannibalize sales of Titan and ZZeus. Consider that for a few hundred dollars more you get a boot that walks better, is a lot lighter and has not many other downsides other than the lack of replaceable soles. Good dilemma for the consumer.

Lee’s personal biases and test conditions
I weigh 165 lbs and ski mainly in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia in the Vancouver/Whistler area. My skiing is usually in fairly high moisture-content snow and I am not a finesse skier. Accordingly, my preference is for bigger skis and boots. I ski about a 100 days a season, 70% of which days involves some backcountry skiing. As of this review I’ve spent 7 days on the Dynafit Vulcan boots with 2 inbound days and the rest touring in spring conditions. My personal skis are G3 Zenoxides, BD Zealots and Atomic TM:ex (to be replaced with G3 Spitfires). My personal boots are the Scarpa Maestrale and the Dynafit ZZeus.

(Guest blogger Lee Lau is an avid skier and outdoorsman embarking on many adventures with his loving, and sometimes concerned wife, Sharon. He has more than fifteen years of experience backcountry skiing and dabbles in mountaineering. In the “off-season” he is occasionally found working in his day job as an intellectual property lawyer when he is not mountain biking. As a resident of Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Lee’s playground extends mainly to Western Canada, including South West B.C. and the Selkirks. Lee and Sharon share experiences at www.sharonandlee.net)


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146 Responses to “Dynafit Vulcan Free Touring Backcountry Ski Boots — On Snow Review”

  1. Mike June 8th, 2012 10:04 am

    Any idea of the weight of the powerstrap and toe buckle? Going without the tongue, strap, and extraneous buckle, along with swapping to a lighter liner, seems it could cut the weight by quite a bit.

  2. Lou June 8th, 2012 10:09 am

    I grabbed a similar buckle and power strap from the shop, per boot the power strap & buckle weight 2.6 oz, 72 g, since it’s lifted weight you get a bit more bang for the savings.

  3. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 10:48 am

    and Mike – I guarantee you won’t miss it.

  4. Josh June 8th, 2012 12:19 pm

    You talked about it being looser than the tlt5 fit-wise. Could you elaborate on how the fit compares to the titan? I’m assuming you found it similar because you just swapped liners and were good. I’m just curious.

  5. boz June 8th, 2012 12:36 pm

    so there goes a thousand bucks……Cant wait to get a pair.

  6. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 12:42 pm

    Josh – almost exactly the same. I swapped in liners and voila. Someone will ask the last and I don’t know as I don’t have calipers.

    boz – sorry! LOL

  7. Karl June 8th, 2012 12:54 pm

    Is the Vulcan compatible with step-in AT bindings (e.g. Duke, Fritschi), or is it tech bindings only (like the TLT5)?

  8. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 12:58 pm

    Karl – as specifically noted in the review – yes to compatiblity with step-in AT bindings.

  9. Lou June 8th, 2012 12:59 pm

    Karl, that factoid is indeed buried in Lee’s novella (grin), but I’d better check, as that’s important. And yes, the sole of Vulcan is DIN/ISO to the ski touring boot sole standard, so yes, it works with any frame type touring binding such as Fritschi or Marker. Lou

  10. Josh June 8th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Thanks Lee,

    I’m less interested in the last as I don’t think it relates to fit in AT boots. Look at the TLT5, 100+mm forefoot last, but it’s a tighter fit that most performance alpine boots.

  11. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 1:10 pm


    Agreed – the TLT5 had a tight heel and midfoot pocket

  12. Lou June 8th, 2012 1:15 pm

    As we’ve been writing about quite a bit here (see Cosmos review), there is no real industry standard for last measurement, in the alpine or touring boot industry. This is because what they quote for the last dimension has to be for a certain size shell. 27 shell is common for the last measurement, but you never know for sure. In my opinion, what probably goes on with TLT-5 is because of the thin liner and downsized shell, most people are actually ending up in a smaller overall last size then they’re used to, so it ends up tight. In other words, they might be using a 27 in the TLT-5 when they’d normally be in a 28. Or whatever. My point being that with no real industry standard, as well as so many different kinds of feet out there, before you decide a boot is too tight or doesn’t fit in a given size, you’d better know what you’re doing or else retain the services of an expert.

  13. Justin June 8th, 2012 1:18 pm

    How about the Vulcan vs Maestrale RS comparison? Does the Vulcan without the tongue ski similar to the orange Maestrale?

  14. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 1:20 pm

    Maestrale RS is say 90% as stiff as Vulcan (w tongue) that I skied in every dimension (fore-aft and laterally) . Vulcan without tongue skis probably about the same as orange Maestrale – that’s actually useful to think of that way.

  15. Kirk Turner June 8th, 2012 1:20 pm

    Any idea what the tongue weighs? This boot minus: 3rd buckle, power strap, and tongue, with an intuition liner=pure lightweight awesomeeeeeeness possibly below 1400g?

    Come September, anyone want some lightly used Titan ultras….?lol might be a hard sell now.

  16. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 1:25 pm

    Why as at a matter of fact I do!!

    From the review “– Tongue is 73g (I skied with and without the tongue)”

    Guys I know there’s a lot of pent up interest about this boot but please do take the time to read the objective parts where I’ve tried to list quantifiable points

  17. Abe June 8th, 2012 1:26 pm

    So, vulcan or meastrale rs? I have the meastrale, and love it, but I’m 18 and ski like it, so I could use a bit more boot when the snow gets heavy and deep. You’ve skied all three, how would you compare them? Especially with the silly front buckle removed on the meastrale.

  18. Abe June 8th, 2012 1:30 pm

    Specifically with regard to fit differences.

  19. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 1:31 pm


    Those last forefoot buckles are total head fakes. Rip it out but don’t forget to plug the hole.

    I won’t sugarcoat it because its my opinion. If money’s an issue get the Maestrale RS. AT MY WEIGHT, I can’t tell the difference in stiffness. A bit more touring stride out of Vulcan but it won’t make or break my day.

    That Maestrale RS is one butt-ugly boot but I hope I’d mostly be skiing pow so won’t have to look at it,

    It’s kind of cool to have such good choices though. They’re both such step ups from say 4 – 5 y ears ago..

  20. Lee Lau June 8th, 2012 1:39 pm

    Abe – didn’t see your last comment. That assumes they both fit the same. Remember fit is all important. My boring average feet fit both Scarpa and Dynafit lasts. I even fit the TLT5 (barely

  21. Kirk Turner June 8th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Oops sorry I feel silly now.

  22. Lisa June 8th, 2012 2:54 pm

    Kirk, you’re excused, especially considering you just finished a tough week at school. Best of luck on the review!!

  23. Jordo June 8th, 2012 3:50 pm

    Will be interesting to see the long term durability of this Grilamid stuff. Don’t want to shell out a grand for something that’s gonna get chewed up really quick . . .

  24. Ben June 8th, 2012 3:56 pm

    No cuff adjustment? bummer.

  25. Sam F June 8th, 2012 4:16 pm

    Looks like a boot fitting nightmare, so i guess it better fit well. And, as it turns out, you do want to be able to pronate/supinate to get proper edge feel(ea cant adjustment and CONTROLLED lateral flex).

    I saw Hoji multiple times this last winter on a modified TLT 5, never the vulcan.

  26. Ben June 8th, 2012 4:28 pm

    ^My understanding is that Hoji does not have Vulcan’s because his shoe size is different than the prototype. Most/All shoe/boot companies that I know of make prototype last in a set size for all their models.

  27. Lou June 8th, 2012 4:46 pm

    Thanks Lee for all the info!

  28. sb June 8th, 2012 5:21 pm

    This is shaping up to be a hard decision between garmont, dynafit, and la sportiva. Tlt5 didn’t fit, and scarpa hasn’t in the past, although I guess I should at least try maestale.

    The only thing that is certain is that ill be on something lighter with more cuff articulation with a little decrease in downhill performance from my current radium. I’m excited, since I’m super interested in ski mountaineering right now, so the down is a secondary consideration.

  29. Fede June 8th, 2012 11:09 pm

    Lee, the boot you’ve been skiing on is coming from the first injected shells, sales mens samples. They were not ment to be uses for any kind of review as it can be very misleding compared with the final boots which will be delivered. Nearly all the parts of the shell has been deeply modified… Shell, cuff, tongues, cuff insert reincforcments, new cuff buckles, different velcro strap attachment and at the end completely new liners.
    So i can guarantee that the performances will be much higher, the weight only a few grams extra.

  30. Kirk Turner June 9th, 2012 12:15 am

    Thanks Lisa! This weekend should be a nice change of pace for both Louie and I, skiing would be better but with marginal conditions climbing will have to suffice. I hope nether of our academic efforts the last nine months have gone unnoticed by the powers that be…. best of luck to Louie as well! I hope we both get good news Tue/Wed/whenever it is….

  31. Josh June 9th, 2012 7:07 am


    Is it possible for you to speak about the fit changes that were alluded to in the “One” boot review? Something about the heel pocket being too tight and loosening that up. Will that be a liner fix or are you actually changing molds.

    Also, you’ve posted before on here or TGR that you can’t easily compare different boots’ fits because there are quite a few variables. Would it be possible for you to at least describe how different parts of the shell fits in relation to other models that we might have tried or owned?

  32. Chuck June 9th, 2012 8:43 am

    When will this new “free touring line” be available for the consumer in US/CO?
    Thanks for all the reviews and info Lee Lou Lau. Sometimes too much info. (but really, the more the better). I wish I could do my own on snow testing and comparisons to figure it all out for myself with out shelling out +$2,000.00 for three different boots. (Need another tester?) I’m around your size Lee so really interested in the Mercury and One boots. Keep up the good work guys.

  33. Scott June 9th, 2012 9:00 am

    I am a 175lb expert skier who switched from Race boots to softer AT boots about 4 years ago. I am enjoying myself more and skiing way better! Currently I Alpine on BD Factors and tour on TLT5 Mountains. I found the Titan Ultra Lite to be much too stiff, even for Apline. I am looking forward to the Mercury! Depending on your weight and ski style, the Vulcan may be overkill. Stiff is not always better!

  34. Lou June 9th, 2012 9:09 am

    Hi Chuck, some of the boots are already available, but the new models are usually part of the product cycle where they’re available in the fall.

    Scott, some of us are good enough skiers to enjoy softer boots (grin). Seriously though, it’s all about style and what floats your boot. I ski my TLT-5P without the tongue, and do fine, but if I was going faster with bigger skis, that wouldn’t work…


  35. Bar Barrique June 9th, 2012 9:55 pm

    One of the things that “Western” skiers neglect is tuning their skis. It doesn’t matter when the powder is perfect, but backcountry doesn’t always work that way.
    A well tuned pair of skis can make a lot of difference in hard or icy snow conditions, and, many folks may be blaming their boots for problems that could be rectified by tuning their skis.

  36. John Gloor June 10th, 2012 12:32 pm

    What makers are using Grilamid now? Is it just Dynafit and Garmont?

  37. Lee Lau June 10th, 2012 1:08 pm

    Scarpa too – from the Maestrale RS review -http://www.wildsnow.com/7233/scarpa-spitfire-maestrale-review/. Polyamide/Grilamide is used

  38. Justin June 12th, 2012 12:44 pm

    Has anyone been on the Mercurys? I wonder if they hit the flex sweet spot for guys like Lee. Maybe just a bit softer than the Vulcans? Hard to imagine the carbon cuff does a lot for the forward flex (I’m sure it helps the lateral and rearward stiffness). Saving a couple hundred dollars sounds good too…

  39. Lee Lau June 12th, 2012 3:27 pm

    I’ll probably try the Mercury’s at some point Justin but not till next season

  40. rangerjake June 12th, 2012 8:49 pm


    I was lucky enough to have a pair of Vulcans for about 25 days of skiing this spring. I must say I agree with most of your thoughts on the boots. I am a bit heavier than you (170lb) and I used an Intuition Pro Tounge. With the plastic tounge I found the boot to be of great stiffness for resort skiing performance. Hard pack snow, and really driving the ski. So laterally stiff, way more so than my Titans. I prefer a boot that has a bit more flex in powder or softer snow. So I skied without the tounge and for some snow it was great, but no real forward flex to speak of.

    I took off the powerstrap almost immediately, lost zero power.

    But the fit just wasn’t great for me. I had a hard time getting the low volume fit in the calf to work for me. The heel pocket was nice and tight, and the fit over the instep was pretty excellent. The forefoot width for me is just way too much. The Intution helped to take up some space, but it was so much roomier than any of the Zzeus/Titan/TLT 5 predecessors. If you are one who liked previous Dynafit forefoot lasts this is quite a departure. I skied a day in the Mercury with stock liner before getting this boot and I really wouldn’t spend any time in them. They could work but I was totally swimming without my Intuition.

    Your toungless Vulcan = Maestrale analogy is pretty spot on. Haven’t skied the RS. Sounds like a good compromise.

    Bottom line, I think the Vulcan is a super burly boot that has some great performance characteristics in an unbelievably light package that tours like a dream relative to it’s chops. But I warn that it is probably too stiff for the vast majority of the market (and is so expensive to rule out said market). I think the Mercury will be a hit. As long as the lateral stiffness of the super tall carbon cuff can be replicated well with the Pebax or Grilamid that will be the upper of the boot.

  41. Kathy June 15th, 2012 12:12 am

    Those boots are great. Hope to have one as a gift for my boyfriend 🙂

  42. Ben June 30th, 2012 12:09 pm

    Does anybody have comments on the Vulcan vs the zero green machine which am skiing and touring very happily.. Similiar weight it seems and both have carbon for stiffness. A significant upgrade?

  43. Lee Lau June 30th, 2012 10:09 pm

    Ben – pretty significant

  44. Fede July 9th, 2012 6:51 am

    Ben, Vulcan tours much better than the zzero green machine and are at least twice stiffer. As somebody already mentioned they might be too stiff for the vast majority or people especially if skiing on variable snow not at full speed 🙂 … the target is really high level skiers going very fast and with very solid skis or of course all those heavier and very powerfull skiers which always complained touring boots being to soft.
    Mercury is a more versatile boot, still stiffer and better for touring compared with a Titan or Titan UL.

  45. Ben July 10th, 2012 3:34 pm

    Thanks for that Fede, looks like I’ll be upgrading, bring on the verbier winter!

  46. Stefan September 14th, 2012 12:49 am

    I have tested the Maestrale (The orange ones) that you say perform about the same as the Vulcan however I did eventually buy the Dynafit TLT5 Performance that in my opinion is much more rigid and ski-able than the Scarpa Maestrale!
    I was in fact both shocked and surprised that the much beefier looking Maestrale was that less stiff.
    Any comments of my observations?

  47. Lou Dawson September 14th, 2012 6:38 am

    I think the question in all this is how stiff a boot do you really need? To those of you who want stiffer boots, will you be on a quest for new boots till they are made from stainless steel? Or is the stiffness of a World Cup slalom plug boot stiff enough? Seriously, all this seemingly endless quest for stiffer boots begs that question.

    For me, nearly any of the better quality AT boots on the market are stiff enough. What I look for is walking comfort, less weight, warmth, easy buckle, easy entry and exit — stuff like that.

    But that’s just me, of course.

  48. Lee Lau September 14th, 2012 9:42 am


    I said no such thing. I said that the Vulcan and Maestrale RS are comparable – at my weight. The Maestrale and Maestrale RS are quite different

  49. Ty September 14th, 2012 2:28 pm

    Soooo… just picked up a pair of Mercuries from Bent Gate (awesome shop by the way- super helpful)… these boots are quite stiff, and will drive my 182 chargers just fine. Dont rip that power strap off right away when you get em… It adds signifigant stability with the tounges removed, if you want to tour without the tounge ( very feasable, pretty stiff w/o the tounge). Removing the tounge makes em feel like a tennis shoe while walking around the house- skinning will be a dream. Havnt skied them yet (obviously) but feel they will be a slight upgrade from my ’05 aero freerides, considering the walk mode lock and upper buckles became unfunctional last season! cant wait…

  50. Ty September 14th, 2012 2:33 pm

    and yess Lou, I needed a stiffer boot! I hear ya about ergonomics being just as important…only complaint about the mercuries is the anticipated fiddle factor of the buckles/removable tounge and liner/overlap interface. seems a bit fiddly

  51. Ben W September 15th, 2012 9:52 am

    Stefan- regarding TLT5’s vs Maestrales- TLT5 P’s are stiffer than Maestrales, but I believe they don’t ski nearly as well if you sufficiently tighten the power strap on the Maestrales. Without the strap cranked pretty tight the Maestrales ski about a well as the old Spirit 3’s. With the strap tight the boot has a very natural, progressive flex, while the TLT5 P’s have that on/off feel that has plagued so many touring boots over the years.

  52. Lee Lau September 15th, 2012 10:58 am

    Ben – agreed on both counts. Boy the TLT5p skis like poo. Fyi the Maestrale RS isn’t so dependent on buckle and powerstrap tightening

  53. Gray Petty September 17th, 2012 9:15 pm

    Lee, Lou, anyone else with experience a couple of questions;

    All questions assume that fit is at least acceptable in each boot

    1. Can you order the new boots (Cosmos, One, Vulcan, Maestrale, Maestrale RS) in order of tourability starting with the best?

    2. Order the same boots starting with best in Skiability?

    3. If you could choose any single boot what would you choose?

    Any elaboration is also appreciated. Thanks

  54. Ryan September 18th, 2012 12:57 am

    Lee, do you have a 28.0 in Maestrale and fit the 27.5 in the Dynafit? Any idea how long your foot is?

  55. Lee Lau September 18th, 2012 5:02 am


    have not tried One or Cosmos.


    -Maestrale and Maestrale RS tied


    – Vulcan and Maestrale RS tied (remember I’m a light guy)
    – Maestrale

    Picking boot (pat answer is whatever fits the best – most important thing no question_

    – If money no object Vulcan
    – Otherwise Maestrale R

  56. Lee Lau September 18th, 2012 5:07 am

    Ryan – no idea re foot length. Right foot is slightly longer than the other

    – Fit a 27 and 27.5 Vulcan, Maestrale and Maestrale RS
    – Unusually for most I also fit a TLT5 performance

  57. Lou Dawson September 18th, 2012 5:34 am

    I’d agree with Lee. And if you’re considering the Dynafit One, our review is here: http://www.wildsnow.com/7345/dynafit-one-boot-review/

  58. Joe September 18th, 2012 5:20 pm

    Lee (and everybody else out there) – I’m a newbie to these BC forums, so first I want to thank all of you who contribute and comment so that the rest of us have at least half a clue.
    I’m still a little shy of getting a good feel for the stiffness of the Vulcan/Mercury, as well as the other new offerings coming this year (Garmont Cosmos, Scarpa RC, etc). And I’d like to see some more on how they compare to some of the older beef boots.
    Some time ago I picked up a thread on TGR that developed a stiffness comparison list for AT boots. The thread was WAY helpful for me to get some kind of feel for stiffness – by comparing to other, more common and widely used boots. So I thought it might be helpful for myself and others if I’d resurrect it. NOTE that this thread was started by Tony(?) and I have left much of his descriptions in to show what the list was originally based on.
    I have added to the list based on a continuation of the original thread, plus other info I have picked up on other forums and reviews. The updates that I added are highlighted and I would like some comment/discussion/confirmation on where I’ve placed them in the list. The original list was based on the stiffness ratings used on older Sollie alpines, so it allows some comparison between AT and alpine boot stiffness. But, for strictly comparing AT to AT, it really doesn’t matter what it’s based on anymore as the list is populated enough. See below:

    “AT Boot Flex Comparative List by Model

    The list has been (un-scientifically) compiled by:

    a) Maggots’ input comparing their stiffest AT/Freeride boots’ flex (Endorphins, Tornado, Aero Freeride) against their alpine Sollies. A single alpine boot brand’s flex range (in this case, Salomon) makes for better comparability in contrast to mixing flex ranges from Lange, Tecnica or Nordica.

    b) Once the stiffest AT/Freeride boots flex ratings have been established, the ratings of the softer AT boots were established down the flex range fine-tuning up or down according to, again, maggots’ input.

    Alpine boots used for comparison

    100 – Salomon X-Wave 9
    95 – Salomon Gun
    90 – Salomon X-Wave 8

    THE LIST (stiffest —> softest)


    120 – Garmont Shamen*

    110 – Garmont Astral*, Dynafit Vulcan?

    105 – Scarpa Mobe

    100 – Black Diamond Factor, Dynafit Titan/Titan UL, Scarpa Hurricane*, Scarpa Maestrale RS?, Dynafit Mercury?, Garmont Cosmos?

    95 – Scarpa Typhoon/Skookum (stiff tongue), Garmont Endorphin, Garmont Axon, BD Quadrant?

    90 – Garmont Radium, Dynafit ZZeus, Dynafit Aero Freeride (4-buckle), Garmont Orbit?

    85 – Scarpa Tornado/Pro (black tongue), Scarpa Spirit 4 (black tongue), Garmont Adrenaline, Dynafit Zzero CF 4-buckle, Black Diamond Method, Salomon Ellipse e2

    80 – Scarpa Denali XT/TT, Scarpa Spirit 4 (green tongue), Lowa Struktura Rodeo/Pro, Dynafit Zzero PX 4-buckle, Scarpa Maestrale, Dynafit TLT5P

    75 – Scarpa Spirit 3, Garmont Megaride/G-Ride, Lowa Struktura Evo, Dynafit Aero Speed (3-buckle), Dyanfit Zzero CF 3-buckle

    70 – Scarpa Matrix, Old Scarpa Denali (4-buckle red shell), Dynafit TLT 700

    60 – Scarpa Laser, Garmont Dynamite, Dynafit TLT 500 (2-buckle + strap), Scarpa F3

    50 – Scarpa F1, Garmont Megalite, Dynafit TLT 4 Evo (3-buckle), Dynafit TLT 4 Lite (2-buckle + strap), Dynafit Zzero 2C (?)

    40 – Scarpa F1 Race (2-buckle, no strap), Dynafit TLT Race Pro (1-buckle + strap)

    (*) You can argue that these are not proper AT boot as they lack a walking mode. Nevertheless, they are not alpine boots either as they have Vibram/rubber soles.

    Last edited by Tony (originator of this list – thanks!) on 11-22-2009 at 01:21 PM.”

    Joe added Dynafit Vulcan/Mercury, Garmont Cosmos/Orbit, Scarpa Maestrale RS, BD Quadrant on 9-17-2012

    So…..anyone want to give some comments about where the newer models are shown…

  59. Lou Dawson September 18th, 2012 5:52 pm

    Joe, interesting effort on that! I’d say there is some validity to the chart, but perceived boot stiffness while you’re skiing is also a function of fit, and a simply liner swap can also make a huge difference. Thus, I’d offer that trying to differentiate between, say a Vulcan and a Shaman might be splitting very subjective hairs….

  60. Joe September 18th, 2012 6:27 pm

    Lou, understand. But I think that this chart still has validity – I’m just trying to use this as a high level comparison of stock boots (no changing out tongues or swapping liners) to get me in the ballpark of understanding what range the boot manufacturers are hitting. All of the fine tuning/tweeking/hair splitting would follow from there.

    So, to get into the spirit of this thing, I’d love to see someone’s take on where I have the Mercury in this list (i.e. is it in the range of the titan?).

  61. Lou September 18th, 2012 6:38 pm

    Joe, yeah, for a ballpark comparison it’s probably ok. Would be better if it was a bit less fine grained. More realistic that way. Also, one has to wonder how many people that contributed to this had skied 4 or 5 pairs of fitted boots extensively enough to come up wtih some sort of flex number comparison between them all. More, one has to wonder how many industry folks suggested a boot along with a fairly high flex number just so their own offering could rank higher on the chart.

    Thing is, you’ve got your stiff boots, medium boots and soft boots. Easy to figure out what those are from reviews and industry PR. Fit those for comfort, vary the flex with some mods, and that’s how you find the best boot for yourself. This chart isn’t going to do you any better than that.

  62. Joe September 18th, 2012 7:36 pm

    I see where your coming from now Lou. But, so you know, the chart was developed over several years, with input from some pretty knowledgable folks (Lee Lau for one). Also, the flex index numbers are all inputted by users after substantial debate – and usually concensus (the manufacturer’s flex number wasn’t use or considered).

    In the end though, I think you sum things up pretty well and I’m probably over thinking this whole thing.

  63. Lou Dawson September 18th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Indeed, figure out what category you want to play in, then figure out what fits your foot best and perhaps goes uphill the best… after all, this is WildSnow.com not heliski.com (grin).

  64. Joe September 18th, 2012 8:26 pm

    If only. I’d settle for catski.com.

  65. Lee Lau September 19th, 2012 1:20 am


    I agree its still a useful list if only that it adds one data point that is a relative comparison of many boots. Like Lou said changing liners, changing tongues and other mods can make quite a bit of difference though

  66. Lou Dawson September 19th, 2012 6:41 am

    The big one is that depending on the size of the boot, your body weight, and the size of your leg bones, boots will feel different in stiffness, and that difference isn’t even across brands and models due to the differences in how boots function. In other words, a given brand of boot, in comparison to other boots, might feel stiffer to a smaller person, or perhaps there is a boot out there that does better with larger people.

    So, yes, somewhat of a comparison can be made between boots and this chart is a good effort, but at a certain point the variables overcome any fine divisions in the numbers.

    A mechanical test can be done (there is a video of Black Diamond’s somewhere), but even that is not ideal in terms of making fine divisions in what the boot is actually going to feel like. And again, some independent testing agency would need to test every model out there, in a standardized size. And, you can bet that some boot company would come up with a shell design that was incompatible with the test machine. And so on.

    All these issues come up when bindings are tested for sideways rolling deflection. When I did my own crude binding test, it was easy to see where the “grain” of the test failed to accommodate fine divisions in flex. Even so, my binding flex ratings are useful just as this chart of boot flexes is useful. But both are not that big a deal, as so many other wants and needs come into play when choosing a boot or binding.


  67. Joe September 19th, 2012 10:19 am

    Lou – So you know, up to now I’ve been 100% tele for my BC. But this year I’ve decided to add the AT option. I’ve invested in some fairly big skis that I have skied alpine, but never AT. My alpine boots drive these skis very well and, as I know those boots well, I’m trying to get a general feel for what AT boots would be in a similar stiffness zone. I know that flex is very different from boot to boot/construction style to construction style/material to material. But first I wanted to get in the general ball park for stiffness – i.e. “the list” – then I would look at boots within what I find to be the relative stiffness range I’m looking for on the list. At that point I would start to demo (or at least try on in the store) the boots in my decided stiffness range.

    I thought that, for other people in my situation – not having a spent lot of time in different AT boots over several years – the list was a helpful way to cut through some of the noise (all of the reviews/forrums/blogs/etc). Because, as you say, the feel of a boot is very dependent on the user and a list like the one above is the only way I’ve found so far to try for an “apples to apples” kind of comparison of all (or at least many) of the boots that are available – at least for flex anyway.

    However, I’m beginning to think that you have a very valid point in that, picking a flex range on the list and just trying those boots might be limiting me to other, perhaps better options, like choosing a boot based more on fit/weight/tourability and then swapping liners/tongues/etc, as opposed to just trying to hit a flex range.

  68. harpo September 21st, 2012 4:24 pm

    So Ty, how does the stiffness of the production Mercury feel compared to that of other AT boots and where does it fit on Joe’s/TGR’s list?

  69. Matt Funk September 25th, 2012 7:07 pm

    Great review, thanks! Like a few others, I’d love a comparison to the Cosmos. Cheers!

  70. Ty September 25th, 2012 11:45 pm

    hmmm…the Mercury is quite stiff. I am 150 lbs and am not sure I would want a boot much stiffer…Not sure about that list. They are way stiffer than my old Aero Freerides that had broken buckles and permanent walk mode, to say the least!

  71. Ty September 25th, 2012 11:49 pm

    …I do have a pair of Hurricanes and I would say the Murcury is a bit more burly, but I dont have both pairs in front of me

  72. Matt Funk September 27th, 2012 8:04 am

    Also wondering which binding from Dynafit’s new crop you’d recommend for these Vulcans.

  73. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 8:08 am

    From the “new” crop? That would probably be the Radical FT… with rotation stop pin removed from heel unit and with external anti-rotation stops installed.


  74. Mark Schwartz September 27th, 2012 11:33 am

    I’d appreciate a comparison between the forward flex of the Titan UL (which I tour/ride) and the Vulcan/Mercury. I am curious about how progressive the flex Vulcan and Mercury as well as relative forward/aft stiffness. Thanks!

  75. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 11:36 am

    Mark, I can’t give you much of a read on the stiffness comparo, but can tell you from my various try-ons that the Titan probably has a slightly more progressive flex. I can also say that the Vulcan is incredibly stiff overall…

    Perhaps Lee or someone else can give a better take. And Louie, who skied Vulcan the whole time he was in SA, he has more than 30 days of ski mountaineering on the boot.


  76. Mark Schwartz September 27th, 2012 11:43 am

    Thanks Lou. I am also interested in the comparison with the Mercury.

  77. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 11:50 am

    Mark, we’ll have to see if someone else chimes in. Lou

  78. Lee Lau September 27th, 2012 11:55 am

    Haven’t tried the Mercury. Vulcan was stiffer than the Titan UL fore-aft and laterally. With tongue the Vulcan is stiff like a brick wall; without it’s on the soft side. Recall its a pre-production I skied so the production may well be different.

  79. Justin September 27th, 2012 2:46 pm

    Sounds like Louie has more time in the Vulcans than just about anyone. How about a review Louie???

  80. Matt Funk September 27th, 2012 7:03 pm

    I realize that the point of removing the tongue is for climbing — but does the boot remain descent-able without the tongues and/or could you soften up the flex by modifying the tongues?

  81. Lou Dawson September 27th, 2012 7:05 pm

    Matt, yes, you can leave the tongues out or mod them. On my former TLT5s, I actually removed the factory attached tongue and riveted in the swap tongue. With my current ones, I just ski without the swap tongue and rarely feel the need for it (though I do jam my fused ankle now and then due to lack of forward support…) Lou

  82. Matt Funk September 27th, 2012 7:15 pm

    Cool Lou, thanks, think that seals the deal for the Vulcans for me. I’m in.

    And thanks for fielding my inquires simultaneously in two different threads!

  83. Ty October 7th, 2012 11:10 pm

    went for a hike with my new mercuries…really uncomfortable foot bed in the mercuries…I will be getting a custom foot bed…. and they felt a little tight. I was unable to buckle the boot with an intuition wrap liner. Prediction: a lot of people will be buying an $800-$1000 boot that is uncomfortable

  84. Matt Funk October 18th, 2012 7:48 pm

    Would love to hear any compare/contrast thoughts on the Vulcan vs. the Scarpa Skookum — yes, a bit of time travel required, but Scarpa is slinging the Skookum’s for less than $450, including Intuition liners. Would be interested in hearing how that value proposition sounds in light of the Vulcan’s $1,000 price tag. Thanks!

  85. Lee Lau October 18th, 2012 8:03 pm

    matt – like I said in the other review i need context

  86. Lou Dawson October 18th, 2012 8:15 pm

    Matt, I can tell you that very few boots have the kind of cuff travel and action during the uphill that the Vulcan/Murcury/TLT Dynafit boots have. Not to mention the one-motion lean-lock and buckle system. On the other hand, Skiookum is an excellent boot and has created thousands of smiles since it came out. I think anyone would be quite happy with it. Oh, and as Lee alludes to, this isn’t that easy of a comparo. The two boots are quite different and not apples-to-apples. Lou

  87. Matt Funk October 19th, 2012 11:18 am

    Sorry for lack of context Lee, don’t mean to bore with too many details, but here’s some revised backstory I posted to Lou’s blog several weeks ago:

    I’m a 6? 0?, 200 lb., 44 year old economist, and old-school bump and powder skier. Raced SL, GS, and DH through high-school (Colorado Rockies) and logged a dozen great seasons at Mammoth Mtn., CA. I learned to ski both moguls and powder on skinny (67mm, if I remember correctly) mid-80’s Blizzard Thermo SL 205?s — would buy them in a heartbeat if I could find them in a museum somewhere!

    My only AT experience was a month-long NOLS Mountaineering course in Eastern AK when I was 17 (1985!). Plastic-shelled Kolflach boots with sketchy wire-around-the-soles bindings. With 70-80 lb packs, the skiing wasn’t the highlight — but this may be the time for me to give AT another go:

    Finances dictate that I’m searching for a single boot-ski-binding set-up that maximizes value.

    I’m teaching ski school on weekends this seasons (thus tech bindings are not an option), so I’ll be spending a lot of time in my boots, I’d also love to hit two hut circuits — one in Maine, the other in Quebec — this year (and perhaps Charmoniox — Zermatt in a year or two), so AT seems right for many reasons. But for now, I’ll be riding chair lifts 90% of the time. I’ll also be teaching my 2 year old daughter to ski this year — again, AT boots seem better equipped for this task as well.

    Ski-wise, I’m considering (somewhat in this order) the K2 Wayback, BD Aspect, and Blizzard Kabookie — binding-wise, Fritschi Diamir Freeride Pro seems to be the best non-tech option, which brings me back to my initial inquiry (hopefully with some meaningful context this time!): Although I’m able to acquire a very enticing Aspect, Fritschi Diamir, and Quadrant set-up directly from BD, the Vulcan appeals to me most — but at $431 direct from Scarpa, the Skookum may fit my value orientated quest.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, in light of the fact that I don’t have any experience with these boots, would my uphill experience feel like travel in a Model T Ford while Vulcans glide by like Ford F150’s? Or is the difference less revolutionary? Lou’s comment above (thanks Lou!) seems to suggest that I could be pleased and well-served for 3 or 4 seasons in the Skookums — but if it’s more of a night/day comparison, perhaps I should bit the bullet and go with the Vulcans?

    Thank you!

  88. Richard October 19th, 2012 2:51 pm

    Thanks for the solid, unbiased review. At 210(+) I might have to rely more on Toby’s impression.

    I’m a regular visitor to your website for the trip archive and reviews. You are living the life I wish I could so my biggest question is: what is the secret to getting 100 days in while maintaining a day job? 🙂


  89. Lee Lau October 19th, 2012 6:43 pm


    No kids.

    I’ll update too when I get the production Vulcans and the Mercurys so I can put together some impressions

  90. Lee Lau October 19th, 2012 8:30 pm

    Matt – that’s what I’m looking for. Answers in a vacumn are so difficult.

    Based on what you said the Skookum would do fine. That’s a crazy price. Don’t get me wrong; the Vulcan is amazing but it needs to be pretty much do your dishes and tuck you in at night to be worth $ 1000 if you know what I mean; so I guess what I’m saying is that I’d have been disappointed if the Vulcan weren’t amazing.

    The Skookum is still an incredibly worthy boot. It was the best boot that Scarpa made till they made the Maestrale. But Maestrale is not as stiff as Skookum. Maestrale RS is probably in the same league if not a bit stiffer but you won’t be getting discounts there.

    Heads up on the Skookum though that it’s got a lot of forefoot volume by the more modern boot standards so try before you buy if you can

  91. Matt Funk October 20th, 2012 9:59 am

    Thanks Lee, that was exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. And thanks for the head’s up on the forefoot volume — fitting is tricky for me here in Atlantic Canada — the nearest retail outlet is a 4 hour drive and $50 bridge toll away, and shipping & customs from U.S. is $$$, so I have to try to dial in my fit pretty accurately. Streetwise, I typically run between a 10.5 and 11.0 — Mondo between 28.0 and 28.5. I understand the Skookum has a last measurement of 104 — but, as I understand it, that measurement would be larger on 28 or 28.5, right? Any guidance you’re able to offer along these lines would be most appreciated as well — and if there’s a post somewhere that describes the best means for obtaining an accurate last measurement, that would be great, too. Thanks again — if the Skookum fits, think I’ve found the boot.

  92. Drew October 25th, 2012 2:23 pm

    Speaking of Skookums and forefoot volume… I’ve put 3 seasons in the Skookums and love them. They are pretty heavy and don’t travel uphill nearly as well as some of the newer models. I have started taking the tongue off for longer uphills, which makes skinning much nicer!

    Anyways, I’m looking for a newer and lighter boot that tours better and skis just as well as the Skookum. Easy right? The Maestale RS or the Vulcan! The reason that I love the Skookum is because of the forefoot volume. Any boot, including the Skookum, I have to punch the hell out of. I’m looking for the boot that I will have to do the least work on. It sounds and looks like the Maestrale RS has less forefoot room and width than the Skookum. On the other hand, it sounds like the Vulcan might have a little more forefoot room than a traditional Dynafit (that has never worked for me). My current Skookum is a 27.5/28.

    I have a huge forefoot in every direction, huge arch, and small heel…any suggestions? Anyone?

    ps I tried to read everything so hopefully this hasn’t been asked or answered!

  93. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 2:28 pm

    Drew, with huge foot volume I’d suggest at least for your initial fitting stick with Scarpa. If the shell fit looks good then, money. Lou

  94. Drew October 25th, 2012 2:43 pm

    Thanks Lou! That’s what I thought. Any idea on how much less forefoot volume the Maestale RS has than the Skookum, since I know you have a pair in your “boot quiver” 😉

  95. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 3:01 pm

    Seems about the same to me. Looks smaller because the Grilamid plastic is thinner…

  96. Matt Funk October 25th, 2012 7:13 pm

    Drew, I don’t have any experience with these boots, but the final three in my search selection came down to the boots you own and the two new ones you’re considering — In addition to the great advice I’ve received here, I’ve been communicating with Scarpa and they’ve related the following: Forefoot measurements remain true through size 28 — the Skookum measures 104mm and the two Maestale models run 101. The measurement I find for the Vulcan is 103, but I haven’t confirmed that holds true for the Mondo 28. I’m going with the Skookum because the price is right — does the 28.0 Mondo sound like it’s in the ballpark for a U.S. men’s size 10.5-11.0? Cheers!

  97. Lou Dawson October 25th, 2012 7:43 pm

    Guys, when comparing between boots remember that these numbers may be obtained slightly differently by different manufacturers. More, due to shell size break issues and more, they may choose to measure a shell other than a 27 (informal standard) to obtain the last measurement. Within the same manufacturer its better, but you never know for sure. Sometimes the marketing people get involved and if they think a narrower last sounds better, they might knock a millimeter or two off the number. In the end, you have to put your bare foot in the shell and see how it fits your foot.

    As for 28 mondo, yes, that would be a good try for men’s 10.5 to 11.0.



  98. SB November 20th, 2012 4:54 pm

    Just received my Mercury’s. They are an impressive boot. They are very tight over the instep, and I don’t have high volume feet, so many may have a problem with this. I plan to mold with a little pad at that point on my foot. Plenty of toe room, so they should be warm.

    They felt pretty good without the tongue, so I may ski them that way. The tongue is super stiff, btw, so adds quite a bit of stiffness.

    I don’t expect them to ski as well as my Radiums, but they seem to be as stiff on the carpet. I do expect them to be way better for ski mountaineering than the Radiums, although I may need to punch out the length of my big toe, as I’ve found extensive crampon work in properly fit ski boots will make you lose your toenail. Or maybe that is from skiing with a 50lb pack?

    Surprisingly, in my size (25.5) I weighed the following:
    Radium: 3lb 10oz /boot
    Mercury: 3lb 4 oz./boot

    The surprise being that my Radiums are lighter than I thought. I don’t have the spoiler on them, though.

  99. Charlie November 21st, 2012 4:29 pm

    SB – Why do you think the Mercury won’t ski as well as the Radium??? I am hoping to upgrade from Radiums in terms of both touring and downhill performance. Was thinking the Mercury would be quite a bit better on both fronts. I especially don’t like the walk mode on the Radium.

    Also, do you find that the same length in both works? I have 24.5 Radiums and plan to get 24.5 Mercuries. 24.5 has been the right size in boots that share 24/24.5 in the same shell.


  100. Ryan December 27th, 2012 10:23 pm

    has anyone heat punched the mercury yet? any reports on how well it held the stretch, any issues or otherwise to report? was wondering about the little triangle that’s riveted on the toe, does it get in the way or cause issues stretching either forefoot width or toe length?

  101. Ryan December 27th, 2012 10:24 pm

    sorry I meant the vulcan (or the mercury I guess, not sure if the plastic is the same?)

  102. Scott January 7th, 2013 1:25 pm

    I heat punched the Vulcans, if you do it right, they punched nicely. Looking at 25 days of touring on the boot thus far, best boot I have ever owned.

  103. Marcel March 17th, 2013 10:19 pm

    Anything to report back on durability? It was pretty scary the first article with a broken buckle and a lot of wear on ~30 days. Did you guys have a chance to check it out on the production boots?

  104. yamajo March 27th, 2013 1:51 am

    anyone tell me when and how to use the footbed came along with valcun?

  105. david April 5th, 2013 1:55 am

    I recently bought the vulcans and am very impressed. However, I’ve been having pain in my inside ankle, right where the ankle bone pokes out. I looked inside the boot shell, and it seems like there’s a screw inside that’s covered by some tape. The liners provide some protection, but I can still feel the screw on my ankle, which gets pretty painful after several hours of up/down skiing.

    Has anyone else had the same problem?

    Any suggestions on how to protect myself?


  106. Lou Dawson April 5th, 2013 7:11 am

    I have the same problem on one foot with most boots. I usually either punch that area out a bit on the shell, or when I heat mold the liner I place extra padding over my ankle bone so it molds a larger pocket. Basic boot fitting stuff. Are you doing any fitting of the boots, or just grabbing them out of the box and skiing them? Lou

  107. david April 5th, 2013 7:18 am

    Thanks for the reply Lou!

    I did a “light” liner heat molding in the shop, as things seemed to fit reasonably well and a shell punching didn’t seem necessary. Maybe I’ll try to heat mold again with some extra padding in the ankle.

    In any case, the fit seems easier than my last boots (zzeus), and I am amazed at how much nicer they are on the uphill, both in terms of weight loss and mobility.

    Besides the ankle screw problem, my only other complaint is how much effort is required to remove the boots. It’s like a long, violent dance in the parking lot each time…

  108. Lou Dawson April 5th, 2013 7:34 am

    The key is to just never take your boots off.

    As for the metal rivet, sometimes it does protrude a bit on the inside. I the old days we’d just put a mandral on the inside and beat the outside of the rivet with a hammer, but do that with the Vulcan as the rivet may have a bushing and other parts inside there that could be ruined. Instead, you indeed have to depend on the liner and/or shell to provide room for your ankle.

    If you’re feeling the rivet through the liner, you probably need a slight punch of the shell. BUT, sometimes how your ankle is pronated can cause the ankle bone to protrude. You might make sure your foot is correctly supported on professionally made footbeds before you make shell mods. More, sometimes you can just raise your foot up inside the boot 1/8 inch or so, thus relocating your ankle bone so it finds a better spot to enjoy.

    This is all stuff a good boot fitter can do in their sleep.


  109. Hank April 11th, 2013 10:14 pm

    Hey guys, I have a pair of lightly used Vulcans for sale on TGR and Denver craigslist if anyone is interested… I got a size too big, otherwise this boot is amazing and I will be getting another pair next season. At 180lbs they are almost too stiff in the pow with tongues in. I skied them with tongues out in the BC and tongues in a couple days at Silverton. Not sure why anyone would need anything stiffer… Unless you are waiting for that new stainless steel boot Lou was talking about!!! LOL!!!

  110. vince May 9th, 2013 5:48 pm


    Like you I have wide Asian feet and my F1 Races have been killing me in the midfoot section. Even though the last is reportedly 102mm the taper leading back to the cuff is too aggressive for my wide midfoot. Do you think the Vulcans are the lightest boots available right now that a wide midfooter can handle? Or is there something lighter for us wide-footers? It seems when a manufacturer decides to make a boot superlight weight, they tend to go super narrow. My main concern is weight – downhill performance is a low priority.

    PS Thanks for your great review!

  111. vince May 9th, 2013 5:50 pm

    *Edit: I meant heel, not cuff.

  112. Lee Lau May 9th, 2013 6:09 pm


    I think so. FWIW the F1 Races were too narrow for me even with cooking so my feet might be wider than yours. Keep in mind the Dynafit liners can handle a very aggressive cook so if they’re tight in the store maybe try them with your own liners

  113. manny June 27th, 2013 11:22 am

    just got a 2014 version of the vulcan. i noticed two little changes:
    1) washers on the strap are now bigger so they don’t tear out as easily
    2) two little stoppers on the inside of the carbon cuff. shell has little holes drilled in from the outside and stoppers get blocked at a certain point into to green shell. might be in order that the cuff doesn’t “over rotate” in walking mode. i.e. not too much forward rotation or more direct flex for skiing. not really sure.
    the rest seams the same. meaning: bootlaces will tear out, straps on liner at the top will tear out, caution with top-buckle, high wear of sole.

  114. jose luis troncoso September 23rd, 2013 9:44 am

    Hi guys.
    Would you say that the fit of the vulcan is very similar or the same that the scarpa boots?
    I have scarpa spirit 3 and it`s time to renew but my problem is that the only boot that fit me so far is the sacarpa and garmon masterlite.
    But this new dynafit vulcan looks sick.
    I would appreciate any input for you guys or any body for the community
    By the way i`m from Chile, so no option for size thing up.

  115. Lou Dawson September 23rd, 2013 11:02 am

    Jose, no. Vulcan has lower volume, narrower last. Lou

  116. Richard October 26th, 2013 12:48 am

    I have some Titans that are pretty much done. I am usually 25.5 in alpine boots but the Titans feel like they are half a size too small and each time I do something big in the Titans I lose either or both of my big toenails.

    Is the Vulcan appreciably bigger in size than the Titan or should I upsize to 26.5 when I upgrade?

  117. Brian A November 22nd, 2013 11:31 am

    The newest version of the Vulcan has removable forward stops mounted inside the carbon shell that limit forward motion, as mentioned by Manny above. Comparing the flex of no-stops-with-tongue with stops-no-tongue, the stops are definitely not as progressive. But they mean that I don’t even consider needing the tongues

  118. Peter January 17th, 2014 4:00 am

    HI Lou Hi Guys !!!
    have a quick question about compatibility of Vulcans in regards to step in alpine bindings ???????
    best regards

  119. Fat Man January 17th, 2014 5:53 pm

    Hey all,
    Re: the bolt-in flex stops and skiing without the tongue on the Vulcan.
    I’m a big guy (6’4″) with a well rounded beer gut bringing me to 230 lbs these days and I’ve found the Vulcan actually skiis quite well with the stops removed and without the tongue as well. No powerstrap either! I’ve got the forward lean adjusted to the more upright position. I might start using the tongue in the spring on hard snow but for powder I just haven’t found I necessary. Hopefully Dynafit will keep making this boot or something very similar for awhile. It’s almost perfect for me.

  120. Lee Lau January 17th, 2014 8:24 pm

    Peter- Vulcan is not officially compatible with alpine bindings. You can make them work but it might not be pretty

  121. louis dawson January 18th, 2014 12:23 am

    To be more on this, I don’t have a list in front of me showing alpine bindings that adjust well to touring boots, but the Marker that shows as a banner ad occasionally in our header is designed for just this purpose?

  122. Peter January 19th, 2014 12:17 pm

    Thank You Very much Lou for confirming that. Thats what I thought so anyway .

  123. Alex February 3rd, 2014 3:21 pm

    I had first test with my vulcan (20 minutes ski touring and short downhill).
    At the evening started slight pain on the outer arch / foot bone on my left feet. Today is a second day I still have slight pain when walking in the office.

    I purchased vulcan 2 months ago and boots were thermo molded in the shop on my feet. There I estimated the boots rather for downhill, it was perfect fit, although I noticed kind of tightness.
    Probably I should have first ski with them on the piste before doing even 20 minutes of touring (can’t really call it so!)

    Should I go back to the shop and re- mold the liner using thicker socks, or several wraps around the sensitive area? I have impression that the boot is rather like hull of a boat and I don’t step on that flat sole when walk.

    I absolutely never had any issues with any ski boots, normal one, climbing shoes, whatsoever. My feet are absolutely universal for any shoe!! But this time I got it with most expensive ski boots I ever purchased 719 euros.

    Lou, I hope on advise from you, or any other who might help.
    Thank you!

    ANd… just of curiosity I will mention that when I purchased the boot (brand new) the buckle ensuring ultra-lock walk mode had big part of it eaten! I attached hi-res photos of how it looks like now (just a several clips after single 1/2 a day testing).

    As you can see the buckle hits the border of the hole- seems to be not precise enough!

  124. Lou Dawson February 3rd, 2014 4:16 pm

    Start over again with a boot fitter who will do custom footbeds. Lou

  125. jim September 25th, 2014 11:31 am

    Long shot – any size 29.5 or 30 Vulcan owners from last year who felt the boot might be too stiff for their needs – interested in a trade for a size 30 Mercury? I skied the Merc last year and loved it. But could use a little more stiffness and torsional rigidity. Hoping maybe to find a trade.

    Any ideas?

  126. Matt Franzek October 2nd, 2014 6:32 pm

    I’m a tad confused about boot binding interface for the Vulcans. I know Vulcans work with pin type AT bindings. On Jan 17 2014, in comments Lee states Vulcans are ‘not officially compatible with alpine bindings’ which I believe contradicts what Lee and Lou say on June 8 2014, where Karl asks if they will work with step in frame bindings, specifically Dukes. Lee and Lou mention they will work with frame bindings.

    I was under the impression Vulcans were DIN/ISO touring boot sole standard, which was not compliant with alpine bindings.

    Which brings me to my two questions:

    1) Are Vulcans compatible with frame AT bindings that have alpine bindings, specifically Dukes? And if they are compatible with Dukes are they compatible with FKS18’s and similar Alpine bindings? (This would save me a ton of money being able to have 1 pair of boots or buying a pair of Marker AT/Alpine bindings and moving them between 3-4 pairs of skis (yes I have a quiver problem, if too many skis is an issue)).

    2) Does WildSnow.com have the standards for each, touring and alpine, boot soles listed, (and what boots are compatible with what bindings) or is a similar list on TGR or another online resource? (If not I may have found a project for my self.)

    Thanks for everything Lou and crew. I started backcountry skiing last winter after moving from NYC to the rockies and you guys have been an awesome wealth of knowledge.

  127. Matt Franzek October 2nd, 2014 7:15 pm

    Please ignore the question about FKS18’s. Just found new (actually old) info that the Dukes are adjustable for touring and alpine bindings. Sorry for the back to back posts.

  128. Lou Dawson 2 October 3rd, 2014 7:10 am

    Matt, the boot/binding compatibility scene is indeed a mess. For those of us involved for years with it, we’ve kept track and know what’s going on, but for the newcomer it must look like a nightmare. This is where good retailers come into the equation.

    Main things to remember:

    1. “Frame” bindings have a platform for your boot with binding heel and toe units mounted on the platform. The platform attaches to the ski for downhill mode, and unlatches for touring.

    2. There are two DIN/ISO ski boot sole shape standards. One for alpine, one for ski touring. And there are boots that don’t use either standard. Thus, a boot could be any of THREE shapes/configurations. For example, Scarpa Maestrale has a DIN touring sole, an Atomic alpine boot has an alpine sole, and the Dynafit TLT line has a non standard sole shape.

    3. Tech binding fittings on ski touring boots have become somewhat of a defacto standard, but Dynafit Beast uses its own boot heel fitting even though it’s a tech binding. This fitting can be retrofitted to most boots, but not all, and there is no way to make a listing of this that could stay current as each boot would need to have the heel fittings removed and physically examined to determine if the Beast fitting could be retrofitted.

    4. Marker Kingpin needs boots with standard DIN ski touring shaped soles, but only needs the tech fitting in the toe. It can also be used with non DIN boots such as TLT by installing an adapter on the boot heel.

    5. Idea of Dynafit Vulcan is it does have a standard DIN/ISO ski touring shape sole, as well as tech fittings, so it’ll work in a Marker Duke frame binding, Fritschi Freeride frame binding, Marker Kingpin or a “standard” tech bindings.

    6. Boots with DIN ski touring soles will NOT work in most alpine bindings. For the rockered, rubber sole of a touring boot to work with an alpine binding you need plenty of toe height adjustment and highly functional AFDs at both toe and heel. Marker claims their Lord model is the only alpine binding that’s actually designed to do this, though there are Alpine bindings out there with adjustable toe height which people press into service for use with AT boots. Sometimes simply grinding some rubber of the boot sole to make it flatter does the trick, but again you need the right AFD configurations to keep things safe. Race ski coaches and workers use AT boots with alpine bindings quite a bit.

    In the case of FKS18, I’m pretty sure it is designed to accommodate some variation in boot toe height and perhaps you could fit an DIN ski touring soled boot in there with some grinding. But I wouldn’t recommend that. Marker Lord is designed to work for this situation, it exists.


  129. nik October 3rd, 2014 8:20 am


    Have you send the Atomic Warden 13 MNC? I am trying to figure out how they compare to the Marker Lord Bindings. One thing i notice is that the AFD is not adjustable on the Warden.

    I am trying to get a set of multi-sole compatible bindings that will fit BD Quadrants.

  130. Lou Dawson 2 October 3rd, 2014 8:40 am

    I haven’t seen anything about Lord that turned me off, but yes, it looks like Warden is an option. Personally, I’d probably just shop by price between the two. Lou

  131. Jeremy C October 3rd, 2014 10:03 am

    I have the Marker Lord SP’s, and skied them last season. I bought them so that I could use one pair of boots (Atomic Waymaker Tour), and swap between them and skis with Radicals, without swapping the boot soles.

    Form the skiing viewpoint they are just like using Griffins or Jesters. I believe the heel is mechanically the Jester unit.

  132. Matt Franzek October 3rd, 2014 9:44 pm


    Thanks! I previously presumed DIN/ISO applied only to alpine boot soles. My pair of Dukes have adjustable toe and heel units to accommodate both style boots. I need to learn to adjust them for touring boots since Ive been using them with my alpine boots.

    When my alpine bindings need to be retired, I will rotate in Lord SP’s (or something similar if it’s available). Or convert to touring bindings, maybe someone will come up with a combo of some sorts by then.


  133. Lou Dawson 2 October 4th, 2014 7:57 am

    DIN/ISO just refers to the standards, there are thousands of them for everything from toasters to automobiles. There is a set of standards for alpine ski boot sole shapes, and another set for ski touring (AT) boot sole shapes. Both are more similar than different, but the AT standards allow for sole rocker as well as rubber sole. The AT standards are sometimes ignored, as they constrain making efficient shorter soles such as those of the Dynafit TLT series boots.


  134. Justin October 6th, 2014 8:43 am

    I feel like the middle buckle on my Vulcans is too far down/forward on my foot. It would help pull me back into the heel pocket if it was up a bit. Looking for help on that… On the medial/inside of the boot the buckle in on that green strap. It looks like if you dismantled both boots and switched the straps right boot to left boot that would move that part of the buckle up a cm or so. But on the other side I dont see any great option other than just drilling a new hole in the shell and remounting the buckle. Can that safely be done there? I dont really want to destroy my ridiculously expensive boots…

  135. Lou Dawson 2 October 6th, 2014 8:53 am

    Justin, remounting buckles in a new hole works if you’re not in the habit of using your ski boot buckles as an X-fit workout, and if you’re of average build so while skiing you don’t put huge stress on everything. Backing up the new mount with a good sized fender washer is good if possible. Of course you’re voiding the warranty as well as perhaps making a situation where the buckle mount could pull out.

    The question is, did you work with a boot fitter on this issue? Sometimes a bit of work on the liner can change the way it feels when you buckle.


  136. Justin October 6th, 2014 12:24 pm

    Yeah, maybe I’ll see if the I just need some more foam to take up volume over that part of my foot before moving buckles around… Swapping those straps would require drilling out the cuff pivots, then replacing them too…

  137. Oli R January 13th, 2015 2:00 pm

    You were talking about a fairly high cuff at the Vulcan boot. I’m a very tall, aggressive skier and weigh 205 lbs. I’m looking for a powerful, stiff AT boot (tec inserts ideally) to replace my Dynafit Titan’s. Is the Vulcans cuff as high as it gets or do you have any other suggestions? Could you grind the sole to get lower into the boot? Which alpine ski boots, you can think of, have an exceptional high cuff? Thanx.

  138. Ponderosa May 19th, 2017 10:45 am

    Hey Guys,
    So i was just doing the end-of-season gear inspection and noticed that the upper edges of the carbon cuffs on my Vulcans are worn and in one spot on the left boot especially is delaminating/shredding a little bit.
    Should i just dab some epoxy on there and hope for the best? File the delaminating spot down a bit? Bought these boots in fall of 2012 and theyve held up well but i’d like to squeak a few more season out of ’em. I’m a bit concerned with catastophic failure of the cuff . . .
    FWIW, I’m pretty sure the wear i’m seeing is just due to the way i tend to kick the boots off at the end of the day, so if anyone is trying to baby their boots along maybe take it easy . . .

  139. Ponderosa May 21st, 2017 12:21 am


    No one’s ever had a similar thing happen and needed to make a repair to one of the most popular boots on the market? Lots of carbon cuff boots out there, pretty sure.

    Getting the most out of a piece of equipment isn’t cool anymore? Not very marketable i guess?
    Just throw down another cool grand and join the cool kid club? Really?

    Despite the high-end tendencies in the market, not everyone is a dentist or even white-collar. I need to make this boot last for another couple seasons.

  140. Lou Dawson 2 May 21st, 2017 8:12 am

    Easy there pardner… after you’ve calmed down, just smear some epoxy on the damaged areas to prevent fraying and such, clean first with some rubbing alcohol. Lou

  141. See May 21st, 2017 9:10 am
  142. Ponderosa May 22nd, 2017 9:41 am

    Thanks for the reply!

  143. Ponderosa November 8th, 2017 5:01 pm

    Hey all

    I gotta admit i’m i slacker and haven’t gotten around to actually working on my boots till just now.

    So while diddling around with the vulcans: the little metal reinforcing plate on the carbon cuff that the ultra-lock buckle pin thingy sticks through just fell off. Metal plate was riveted in originally.

    Went to the hardware store and got some little screws and nuts. First set of screws were too long and kept the ultralock buckle from fully closing, so went back and got shorter screws. New screws are just a little too short. I can get the nuts threaded on only about halfway so i’m concerned about how strong it’ll be. I did put some blue loctite on the threads.
    Not to mention i’m not sure if the screw-n-nut method is such a great idea or if i should just rivet it again? Never rivetted anything and don’t really want to go buy the tool plus i really don’t know what rivets to buy?

    Any ideas here would be great, thanks folks!

  144. Ponderosa November 8th, 2017 5:04 pm

    I find the timing for this question very ironic considering the post for the new HOJI boot …

  145. Lou Dawson 2 November 8th, 2017 5:22 pm

    Screws and nuts can work fine, but when small they do tend to work loose, sometimes the only way to lock them is with epoxy on the threads. Most of the rivets in boots require special machinery to do right. Lou

  146. Ponderosa November 8th, 2017 11:34 pm

    Thanks again.

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