Dynafit Zzero Has Landed — First (real) Look


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 2, 2007      

SHOP FOR DYNAFIT.

When the UPS guy hands you a randonnee boot box, you expect to heft some weight. Today he handed me a box containing a pair of Dynafit Zzero backcountry skiing boots, and the thing felt like it was filled with goose down. The numbers prove it. Our weight comparo chart tells the big story, but know that in the Zzero C4 we have a 4 buckle stiffy that weighs in at 57.9 ounces (1644 gr). While not the feather weight of something like a Scarpa F1, that’s at least 4 ounces lighter PER BOOT than most other randonnee shoes in the Zzero’s class (in our size, 28).

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
Just how stiff laterally are these puppies? I couldn’t find any nearby snow to ski them today, but the highly engineered monkey wrench test tells a story of amazing rigidity. It’s like these boots knocked back a half dozen of the little blue pills, resulting in a virtual priapism of stability.

Dynafit Zzero Backcountry Skiing Boot.

Quite the boot.

This is real carbon fiber used in these boots, not the fake look-alike you see sometimes in the sporting goods industry. The stuff is amazingly rigid, perhaps so much so that building a whole ski boot out of it involves a difficult design challenge in getting enough give and flex to make it feel “right.” Thus the idea with this boot. Its got a fairly light and flexy Pbax shell, with carbon reinforcement in two places: Sides of cuff and tongue. It could possibly have too easy a forward flex for some radical skier’s take, but in terms of lateral stiffness and a tongue that can handle buckle pressure, those parameters are covered — in spades.

Beyond that, Zzero warms my heart as one of the more customizable boots I’ve seen. The low arch lends itself to custom foot beds. A removable spoiler could easily be tweaked by a boot fitter. The lean lock is easily removable for mods such as making it have only one position rather than the stock two. Strangely, the Zzero lacks a cant rivet. That is a mysterious omission as such are just as easy to include as a regular rivet. This is a disappointment for our team here at WildSnow HQ, as we all need to align our boot cuff before our boots feel “normal.” It’s not like I haven’t installed a cant rivet before, but hey, I want to ski these things not stand there in the workshop hacking on them. As compensation for not having a cant rivet, the Zzero cuff does have quite a bit of built-in angle (top biased to outside), which combined with a well tuned footbed will probably work for most people. As for any mods we’re forced to to — oh well, everything has a price.

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
The low arch of this boot is a welcome change from ski boots that feel like you’re standing on the end of a baseball bat.

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
As most of this boot is made from thinner and fairly flexy plastic, it does have a somewhat relaxed for/aft flex. To compensate for that, the Dynafit designers included flex limiters in the cuff (as well as a rigid lean lock similar to that of other randonnee boot brands). The simple plastic stops shown in the photo above impact the lower boot cuff in forward flex and give you some forward support in extreme flexion. The efficacy of this is debatable as the feel is different than that of a a totally progressive flex, but the stops can easily be skived away if they feel too abrubt.

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
Front Dynafit sockets include the lead-in notch that only Dynafit boots have. These do help with getting the binding toe closed properly, but are not essential. Funny thing, the two dots on the shell indicating the socket position are probably more important — and appreciated.

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
Detail of rear spoiler. Grind out the rivets and it comes off for mods. Nice touch.

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
“Power Stringer” on the sides of the cuff and rear lower shell is the real deal — not cosmetic, though it does look sort of cool.

Dynafit Zzero Carbon backcountry skiing boot.
The other carbon fiber application is on top of the tongue. This results in strong shell above your instep. Buckle down tight and you get much less distortion than with many other boots.

In all, the Zzero is an exciting iteration of the classic overlap cuff 4-buckle ski boot. Is it light as a feather but skis like the bomb? I got to check these out in Europe last winter, and the production model looks even better than the samples I worked with back then. Yep, we suspect the “Green Machines” will do quite well — but we need to get out and ski these things and report back. Might do that soon as we’ve now had three snowstorms in Colorado, so some of the higher altitude permanent snowfields are probably ready for early season turns. Meanwhile, they look good, eh?

SHOP FOR DYNAFIT.



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Comments

22 Responses to “Dynafit Zzero Has Landed — First (real) Look”

  1. steve romeo October 2nd, 2007 4:46 pm

    Nice Lou!

    The local UPS guy better watch out…I’m on HIGH ALERT for my own pair of “Green Machines”…arriving any day now (I hope).

  2. Lou October 2nd, 2007 4:55 pm

    Rando, you’re probably out there on your bicycle chasing the guy down, as a traning exercise. Just remember to wear your heart rate monitor when you unpack the boots.

    We’ll all be interested in your take on the Green Machines.

  3. Lewis October 2nd, 2007 8:17 pm

    What are the liners like? Pray do tell. I was thinking about trying out the Spirit 4s this year though I’m fairly happy with the Megarides. Weight, volume and comfort on the Megas are good; some extra stiffness would be great. What’s the volume like on the Green Meenies? Closer to Gmont or Scarpa?
    Thx,
    =L=

  4. Jerimy October 3rd, 2007 5:04 am

    I was thinking of buying the ZZero C4s, but the reviewers in Backcountry did not seem too impressed with these boots. I am curious to see what you and Steve have to say about them once you ski in them.

    I was also concerned about the carbon fiber on the inner boot cuffs. This would be a prime spot for an errant ski edge to hit the carbon fiber and possibly cause a deficiency to the rigidity of the boot. Carbon fiber is a very stiff and rigid material but not all that resistant to damage especially from sharp ski edges.

  5. Lou October 3rd, 2007 5:10 am

    In volume and last the Dynafit boots are more similar to Garmont than Scarpa, though all these boots are made by guys who drink coffee together in the same area of Italy, so they tend to be somewhat similar.

    The heat mold version of the liners are medium density, with extra panels of foam on tongue and rear. They have an extra piece of thin soft foam behind the calf that appears intended to ease chafing for folks with larger calf muscles.

    The Zzerro boots also have the option of a non-thermo liner they call the Multiform or “MF,” which are very nicely designed and made.

  6. Lou October 3rd, 2007 6:49 am

    Jerimy, that’s a good point about the ski edges causing damage. I’ll probably keep a layer of duct tape over that area at first and see what happens. My boots don’t tend to get too chopped up from ski edges, but each person is different that way.

  7. pete anzalone October 3rd, 2007 7:08 am

    So what you’re saying (priapism reference) is that these boots are hopped up on viagra; they sure do look sexy.

  8. Kirk October 3rd, 2007 10:59 am

    Blast Wildsnow.com! Like I need something else to covet and drool over!

  9. Danny B. October 3rd, 2007 12:45 pm

    Is there a flex index for rando boots like for alpine “resort boots”? (i.e. 120-130 for an alpine race boot)

  10. Chris October 3rd, 2007 1:18 pm

    Lou –

    If you don’t mind, can you share where you got your boots from? I am looking at the Zzero 2 for a lightweight setup but have been having a devil of time finding them. Dynafit USA refers me to a local retailer who has one to look at (unfortunately not my size) and says they have no idea when the rest of their shipment is supposed to come in.

  11. Sky October 3rd, 2007 3:20 pm

    Express ship those puppies to Seattle and I’ll test ’em in deep pow before the weekend, Lou!

  12. Lou October 3rd, 2007 5:32 pm

    Chris, they came direct from Salewa USA. Call them and find out what’s up on distribution. See http://www.wildsnow.com/?p=693

  13. Grant October 4th, 2007 12:19 pm

    Will be interesting to hear what you think of the CF’s, I skied on on pair of Zzero4 PX TF which I think are really good. For me I feel they were a good stiffness (stiff than my Matrix w/flexon tongue and a lot more than my F1’s). Also got on a pair of Zzero3 PX MF, which I found alot softer (low cuff?). The MF liners are pretty nice, but I do prefer the TF. Over all super nice boots, but maybe a hard fit down here as most kiwis have fat hobbit feet……

  14. Lee Lau October 4th, 2007 3:32 pm

    Danny,

    Here is a flex index put together by some consumers of some AT boots.

    http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78437&highlight=boot+flex

    Lou,

    Thanks for a very comprehensive review

  15. Chris October 9th, 2007 3:56 pm

    FYI – the Dynafit USA customer service rep told me not to expect to see the Zzero 2 here in the states much before mid December. Anyone have any idea how the fore/aft and lateral stiffness compares between Zzero 2 C and the Zzero 3 Px and/or how well either of these boots hikes? The weight difference between the two is fairly small (40g/boot) and would probably be insignificant if I removed the lower instep buckle…

  16. Dostie October 9th, 2007 5:28 pm

    Love to see some of that light weight, stiff technology translated over to teleboots. Still want the supple flex in the bellows, but everyone seems to want big boots for lateral control. Can’t help but think that using some of whay Dynafit is doing here on the cuffs of boots like Garmont’s SynerG, the Scarpa T2 (the old blue ones), or the Crispi CXP could make it possible to save weight but still deliver power when needed with out the weight factor. Just dreamin’

  17. JS December 7th, 2007 10:00 am

    Lou,
    Any updates on the Green Machines? It’s been dumping in your neck of the woods. Mostly, I’m wondering about being too stiff for scrambling w/o skis. Buying new boots soon…

  18. Lou December 7th, 2007 10:12 am

    JS, with the stock liner they feel fine for scrambling, with a stiffer liner they were a bit much, though they skied great either way.

  19. Randonnee January 2nd, 2008 12:40 am

    So far, I am impressed with and enjoying my Zzero4C TF on my FR10 skis. They are noticeably lighter touring than my old Aero 3-buckle boot. The features and details are high-quality. I find the transition to be excellent both in performing it and in the excellent transition from buckle-down stiff to wide-open for touring.

    My feet fit without cooking the liners. After about three full days of touring, the boot liners packed out slightly and dropped my foot down slightly and caused pressure. So, I put in some 1/2 sole length wedges to lift my heel a bit and that seems to have solved it. That slight mod with an ever so slight cant in the insole on my ACL- less- knee-side, similar to my PT- made orthotics, makes it a good fit and position so far.

    One small problem, more of a binding thing, is instant toe binding release when making smooth carved turns on hardpack piste. The toe release problem on piste is probably exacerbated by the stiffness of the Zzero4C that just transmits energy that much more efficiently to the toe. I compensate the problem by locking the toe in order to stay in on hard piste or hard granular snow. I seem to come out easily enough, anyway, with full toe lock.

    This Dynafit toe release on harder snow is a problem that I discovered on my 1st generation Tri Step, and even to a lesser degree on the 2nd Generation of that binding. The current toe that released is a Comfort. I am big enough, heavy built, and I have carried around 220 lbs plus since 18 years of age as a logger, pro patroller, ski tourer, etc., so there is some strength required to move that bulk. Anyway, after a dangerous release of the Tri Step while in a fast controlled carved turn on refrozen smooth granular in the backcountry, I went to the shop to troubleshoot the problem. I learned along with the guy at the shop that I could actually stand in the bindings, skis on the carpet, and cause the old and the new then 2nd generation binding toe to release simply by pushing down with the ball of my foot. I will add that when I first owned Fristches, set on the max DIN I could just rotate out while walking in walk mode, so I had to concentrate a bit on straight alignment while walking. Similar to other large guys, my first day on Dynafits resulted in turn after turn of releasing the heel in a turn, then stomping it down while skiing. The heel thing made me ski in a more balanced fashion- away from the forward pressure habit. That smooth style complements my AARP-eligible age : )}.

    Anyway, I am waiting for my Zzero3C TF to arrive to use with my new Seven Summit skis. That should be a sweet “conventional” setup that is light for touring.

  20. Court March 23rd, 2009 11:14 am

    Lou,

    Comparative fit-ology question. How do the ZZero boots fit compared to the BD boots? I’ve been skiing in a BD Method most of the winter, and with a bit of shell work, it fits great. Am I likely to ski a ZZero size the same as my Method size? How do the lasts compare? How about Matrix to ZZero? Your thoughts?

    Many thanks!

  21. Lou March 23rd, 2009 4:24 pm

    Court, I’d say the sizes correlate to some degree but no way to be sure. The BD boots have a bit more volume in my opinion, though the Dynafit tend to be a bit large in the shell for my usual size, so I have to downsize and punch for the toes otherwise my heels swim.

  22. Ben December 1st, 2009 2:38 pm

    Interesting, the photos on this thread show carbon fiber on the tongue. I purchased my Zzeros last season -09 and they do not have this on the tongue. Only a black square of plastic. Is this something that was changed on this model boot? I am not overly impressed with the rigidness of this boot compared even to a much lighter 3 buckle boot and wonder if this could have something to do with it? Really I feel like I could have stayed with my 3 buckle Garmont Mega-lite and gotten the same performance out of them.

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