Retro — The State of Dynafit Boots 1994

Post by blogger | November 30, 2012      
Dynafit Tourlite Tech 3, 1994- 1995.

Dynafit Tourlite Tech 3, 1994-1995. The red plastic is repair and beefing mods done by yours truly. The boot skied ok but was quite soft, so we were always messing around with franken-boot stuff. The shell tongues on this model broke frequently; you can see the red plastic at the instep that repairs one such break. Click all images to enlarge.

Richard C. sent over a 1994/1995 Dynafit catalog to grace our archives with its retro vibe. Behold, I also have a pair of 1994/1995 Dynafit Tourlite 3 Tech here in the museum. Time for a retro post!

Wondering about the origin of the term “tech” for Dynafit boot fittings? It began with inventor Fritz Barthel calling his company “Low Tech.” Then, in this 18 year old catalog you can see they were already calling the boot with fittings the “Tech” model, while the one without fittings was just a Tourlite 3. Weight of my mondo 28, BSL 315 boots is 57.8 ounces (1638 gr) per shoe with the Dynalite liner option. That’s only an ounce heavier than some of this year’s offerings — but they skied about half as well. At the time, however, these things were state-of-art. I skied a bunch of extreme routes with them, cramponed a lot of couloirs, and walked a lot of dirt. Speaking of which, the sole on these boots might be the best sole I’ve ever seen on an AT boot. In terms of durability, anyway. Super thick hard rubber at the toe held up to I don’t know how many miles and vertical of rocks and scree. My son even inherited them for a few years, and we passed them on to some other folks before they came floating back into the office.

1994 Dynafit Tourlite boot sole was one of the best ever.

1994 Dynafit Tourlite boot sole was one of the best ever. Note the thick black rubber at the toe. This was used and abused for years and all it did was chunk out a bit. This type of sole is definitely heavier, but could be worth the couple of grams.

1994-1995 Dynafit Catalog, page 18.

1994-1995 Dynafit Catalog, page 18. Click to enlarge. The Gore-Tex liner was interesting. It worked amazingly well to wick sweat away from your foot, but definitely was not a thermo liner like we're used to. It was more like a climbing boot liner. I just realized we don't have a good version of the pictured 1994 binding in our museum. Working on it.

Dynafit catalog 1994 page 19

Dynafit catalog 1994 page 19. Thanks Richard C. for sending the catalogs over for the archive. Click to enlarge.


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23 Responses to “Retro — The State of Dynafit Boots 1994”

  1. Charlie November 30th, 2012 11:57 am

    Huzzah for history. Wish my ZZero soles had held up even half as well as those on my TLT4s.

  2. Scott Allen November 30th, 2012 12:12 pm

    These are the boots that launched me into the world of Dynafit. Bought a used pair for $100 and bindings for $250 mounted on Black Diamond Arc Ascents.

    The boots didn’t fit well, but the light weight engineering of the binding set up started my eventual slide away from telemark skiing and towards reading everyday now and dreaming of recreational rando racing!

  3. Mike Wehmeyer November 30th, 2012 1:08 pm

    I have a pair of the purple bindings. They have about as much wear as your boots. Let me know if your interested in them for the museum. I would trade for a different vintage with the same amount of wear because I keep them around for spares.

  4. Florian November 30th, 2012 2:57 pm

    Funny, you still see these bindings quite a bit in the Alps. Always wondered about those weird colors, but never thought about the possibility that there used to be boots that fitted to that.

  5. Lou Dawson November 30th, 2012 5:44 pm

    See, you’ll learn something new every day at!

  6. Lou Dawson November 30th, 2012 5:46 pm

    Mike, thanks, but I’ve got some…

  7. Nick November 30th, 2012 5:51 pm

    Interesting that they were available in a version without the tech fittings. Were those ones cheaper?

  8. Tim November 30th, 2012 7:14 pm

    We used to call those boots “Donotfit”…

  9. Bar Barrique November 30th, 2012 9:33 pm

    The best thing that Dynafit ever did was to sell their boot fittings to other boot manufacturers. This seemed to motivate them to build better boots. True all AT boots of the past were much worse than today’s stuff, but Dynafit boots trailed the pack. I seem to remember Lou retrofitting a set of early Scarpa Denalis with some scavenged fittings.

  10. Lee Lau November 30th, 2012 11:07 pm

    Oh my god. The colours are still eurotastic!

  11. Mark December 1st, 2012 8:07 am

    I remember coveting those boots and bindings the first time I saw them, I think at Carson Pass. I was using my own first ever rando gear: “state of the art” Dachstein Tours – red and purple color scheme – and Emery High Altitudes mounted on BD Vertige skis – all bought straight out of the BD catalog.

    Stuff did work. I wish I could see a picture of those boots, because they were funny looking.

  12. Fred Stolar December 1st, 2012 9:39 am

    My wife still use one 🙂 . Nice reading Lou thank you for publishing.

  13. Gregg Cronn December 1st, 2012 10:43 am

    That is great seeing these pictures. State of the Art in the day. I remember my buddy showing up for a BC traverse out of Nelson with these and Atomic Tour Caps in the early “90’s. I was so jealous and couldn’t wait to get my own Dynafit set up.

    Photo of Trevor Holdsworth and Barry Blanchard prior to the start

  14. palic December 5th, 2012 3:11 am

    Nick – yes, there were available a lot of Dynafit boots without TLT adaptors… starting even more in the history with Dynafit TLT2 boots. I used exactly the same boots as you have in the museum 🙂 Instead of the “hard way” of repair you have presented we used a piece of sleeping pad.

  15. Wookie1974 December 5th, 2012 8:07 am

    I had some of these!
    I guess it was a start – but I had never skied tele,and it was my first backcountry setup. I kept thinking: “I must’ve bought the wrong boots – nobody could ski in these things!” I spent years and lots of money trying to find something better. I never really did until about 2004 or so.
    I eventually learned. Man – did they HURT!

  16. Tomasz Konik February 7th, 2013 5:10 am

    I have a question about related Dynafit gear.
    I have just bought a pair of “new” Dynafit Tour Lite Rally from late 90. They are “only suitable for TLT bindings” – I would like to pair them with 3-pin cable with riser (I have a few). Description of these ski is rather pour. I have found only one piece of info:

    “construction: Low density HP core with wood binding reinforcement and Bi-directional torsion box construction”.

    Do you have knowledge/experience about construction of the Dynafit Tour Lite Rally under foot?

    Your help will be very appreciated.

    Regards from Cracow, Poland;-)


  17. Lou Dawson February 7th, 2013 6:46 am

    Sorry Tomasz, I don’t have any specific information, but I can tell you that mounting telemark bindings on a dedicated Dynafit randonee ski like that would be ridiculous. Lou

  18. Tomasz Konik February 11th, 2013 7:47 am

    ridiculous? IMO: rather hazardous/chancy (sorry for my pour english I hope you can realize me). These skis are “only suitable for TLT bindings” in case of wood reinforcement layout. I hope if I match the tele riser plate layout to wood reinforcement layout It will works. My problem is: I do not know the localization of the reinforcement on the lenght of the skis.
    Anyway thank you for your response.

  19. Splitboard November 29th, 2016 2:20 pm

    Hi Lou,
    have you ever heard about a Dynafit Tour Lite MTL 4 Boot? A boot withour buckles but with shoelaces? There is one on ebay but I cant find any further informations. Do you know more? I’m looking for a soft low-tech-boot for splitboarding.

  20. Hristo Ezhovski December 31st, 2016 8:07 am

    Hello. I have a question. I got Dynafit Tour Lite 2 boots for free. They look a lot like TL 3. Is it safe to use them with marker barons? 🙂 (Last year I toured with Salomon preforma 5, so I think this will be better option :D)
    BTW, I love 🙂

  21. Lou Dawson 2 December 31st, 2016 8:52 am

    If your boots have a toe shape the same as Tour Lite 3, the same as most other ski touring boots, then they probably will work in a frame touring binding such as Baron. Adjust correctly and test binding performance on workbench. That said, it’s not wise to ski in antique boots. Would you use 25 year old tires on your car? Lou

  22. Hristo Ezhovski December 31st, 2016 10:09 am
    Here is a picture of the boots. Thank you for the reply. They are almost unused. Why is it unwise? Is it a safety issue or boot performance issue? To me they feel like they have a stiffer flex than the performa’s which is 65-70 flex begginers alpine boot. Again, thank you for the swift reply and keep up the good work 😉
    P.S. Once I get some proper boots, I can mail them to you if they are worth for your museum 😉

  23. Lou Dawson 2 December 31st, 2016 11:44 am

    Classic! Actually, most certainly antiques at about 30 years old. As for why using them is unwise, can you think of a couple of reasons why you would not use 30 year old already used car tires? Same reasons.

    I have a pair of those in museum, and just as yours they lack the tech fittings, what I actually need is a pair of these red boots with the tech fittings, if anyone has any…

    ‘best, Lou

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