Dynafit – Scarpa – Garmont — Fit Comparo

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 30, 2007      
Backcountry skiing boot comparison.
The backcountry skiing boots at hand.

Shop for Dynafit, Garmont and Scarpa AT boots here.

Through the good graces of boot distributors and makers, we can compare fit between a Dynafit Zzero “Green Machine” (size 28 and 27), as well as Scarpa Laser and Matrix in 28. We’ve got experience with Garmont Megaride 28 as well, so I’ll also comment on those. (Note we’ve got some of this year’s Scarpas coming, so we’ll do a more specific report on Scarpa fit when they’re here.)

First off, let it be known that trying to actually measure boot volume is a tedious and time consuming affair. For example, nearly every surface on a boot curves, plastic varies in thickness, and even the rocker of the footboard influences how your foot responds to actual boot volume. Thus, I measured inside length (even that is a bit subjective due to curving surfaces), but will report more on an overall impression of volume and fit rather than specific measurements.

Also know that Dynafit is not sold in half sizes, while Scarpa is. This is not as big a deal as it sounds, as the shell sizes of both brands are designed around full sizes, and the 1/2 size increments are created by the liner. For half sizes, Scarpa simply provides liners that are pre-molded to the 1/2 size. This is no doubt more convenient for the customer buying boots in a shop and trying to fit liners and boots. Conversely, any good boot fitter knows that you should fit a boot by the shell size and after that simply mold a liner to tune the fit, so having 1/2 sizes is not as big a deal as it sounds, and can even confuse the issue.

So, since I’m working on getting a good fit from the Zzero Green Machine, I’m playing around with two shell sizes: 27 and 28.

Interestingly, Green Machine 28 has a sole length of 316 mm, while a 28 in Scrapa Laser and Matrix is 314 mm (and the Garmont Megaride 28 has a whooping sole length of 320mm). More, Green Machine has a noticeably deeper heel cup. Result is that a 28 in the Dynafit, in comparison, is slightly larger for its labeled size and I end up between sizes. (Dilemma for me, but equally of benefit to a person who’s been between sizes in the past and can now find a better fit.) If I go to the 27 with a sole length of 306 mm, I can stack two fingers behind my heel (foot in shell with no liner), but it seems slightly short based on much previous experience with the shell fit I need.

On the other hand, with no liner in the Dynafit 28 I can nearly stack three fingers and it feels large when fitted with the unmolded liner. I want performance out of these boots. The shorter size 27 is definitely going to ski downhill better for me, and it’s a better fit for all the skis I’ve previously mounted for my Scarpas. More, the longer your boot is the less efficient for uphill skiing and dirt hiking. So I’ll be working with the Dynafit 27. I’ll create more length during molding by making sure I force my heel back in the pocket, and using spacers on my toes. Only risk with that is the toe area will be cold for my sensitive toes because of compressed foam, so if possible I’ll mold in a chemical boot warmer pocket during the process. I may punch out the shell a small amount as well — a procedure that’s common in the ski world and that any competent boot fitter should be familiar with.

Now for specific comparo. Overall, it’s obvious that the Garmont has the least volume, with Dynafit next in line and Scarpa having the most. This is due mostly to the height of the toe box and configuration of the heel cup. But don’t mistake volume for width. Dimension at the ball of the foot is similar (27 Dynafit and 28 Scarpa) in all these boots with an edge to Scarpa for slightly wider width. Also, the boots all have slightly different mold shapes that result in a different feel when testing foot in shell with no liner. This is the reason some folks will call a boot “narrow” and some will call the same boot “average” — testimony why if you want the ultimate fit it’s best to get your boots at a shop where you can try on sizes/models/brands. As for the Green Machine 28, it does have slightly more room side-to-side than the 28 in Scarpa and Garmont — which goes along with my initial impression of it being a somewhat larger boot for its stamped size.

Aside from how you define a given size, my biggest impression of these boots is that the Zzero shell has a deeper heel cup. Like anything else in boot shape this will help some folks but be less useful for others. For example, if you find you always need better heel retention this could help you a ton (as it does me), but if you tend to get pressure points on your heels you might need some tricks when you mold the liner to compensate for that. Again, normal stuff that any competent shop or boot fitter can deal with in their sleep.

FYI, I did measure the inside length of Zzero and Scarpas. 28 Laser, Matrix and Zzero all have a similar measured inside length, but the deeper heel cup of the Dynafit adds more real-world length. The 27 Zzero inside length is 1 centimeter shorter (as far as I can tell in dealing with the curved surfaces and such), which matches the difference in sole length between the 27 and 28.

ONE OTHER THING: Remember you can still register to win a pair of free Dynafit Zzero boots. Check it out here! Remember, as far as any of us can tell this early in the game these boots are indeed incredibly light for their performance — possibly the best mix of those factors ever produced. Some folks think they look pretty cool as well. After all, earth tones are so 1990s?

I’ll be happy to answer specific questions about the boots in this comparo (leave questions as comments). Also, I know many blog readers have vast experience with the fit of AT boot brands, so please leave comments with your take if you feel the call.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


42 Responses to “Dynafit – Scarpa – Garmont — Fit Comparo”

  1. goob October 30th, 2007 10:02 am

    What if you just line the boot with a plastic bag, fill it with water, and measure the volume?

  2. Lou October 30th, 2007 10:10 am

    Goob, I thought about something like that but the question is at what height do you top off the fill? Each boot is different, with no set place where the lower shell “ends.” Also, when you think about it, it’s clear that the amount of volume a shell has is only a part of the picture, where that volume is located is perhaps more important. That’s why it’s important to note that the Scarpa has more volume in the toe box, while the Zzero has a deeper heel cup; stuff like that…

  3. goob October 30th, 2007 10:41 am

    good points.

    I guess you’ll just have to fill those suckers with plaster then, and saw off the shells for analysis.

    In the name of science!

  4. Tom G October 30th, 2007 10:50 am

    It’s great to see this kind of comparisson. Of course we would all prefer to buy boots at a retail store (and have the ability to pay retail prices), but the truth is that many of us must buy discounted equipment online. It would be great to see a table that lists the dimensions/measurements for all of these boots side by side, and includes some of the other boots like the Dynafit Aero and Scarpa Spirit & F1. Lou, perhaps you could also measure the cuff height (from inside the boot) and give your impressions of how the cuff fits thick or thin legs.

  5. Nick Thomas October 30th, 2007 11:04 am

    The biggest issue for me is the shape of the toe box. My big toes are much longer than all the others and are very straight. This completely rules out Scarpas for me as they seem to have a very rounded, almost symmetrical toe box. Garmonts are better but still not ideal. Lowas were best but don’t come with Dynafit fittings.

    What shape is the toe box of the Dynafits Lou?

  6. thomas October 30th, 2007 11:14 am

    Did you ski them?
    or this review “sole”ly for boot fitting purposes? 🙂

  7. Nickites October 30th, 2007 11:31 am

    Have you had an opportunity to compare the green machine to the other 4-buckle dynafit boots? One reviewer on TGR thought that the red (PU) last was slightly different than the green machine. I wonder this because I too am between a 27 and 28 in the green machine and I wondered how the red machine would compare.
    I think it might be handy for comparison to check out the other versions (PX and PU), even the non-thermoform liners.
    Thanks for all the great info!

  8. Lou October 30th, 2007 12:11 pm

    The Dynafit toebox is similar to the Garmont. And yeah, I ski the Green Machine though I’ve not been on them much yet as we’re waiting for the season to really hit. Skiing the Green Machine: http://www.wildsnow.com/?p=920

  9. Lou October 30th, 2007 12:25 pm

    Whoa Nicktes, let’s leave some of that stuff for the magazines, we have to throw them a bone now and then so they have something to do with all that wood pulp!

  10. steve romeo October 30th, 2007 2:26 pm

    I had to size down from Scarpa sizing to fit in the Dynafits. Normally 26.5/27 shell in Scarpa…26 in Dynafit.

  11. Kirk R October 30th, 2007 3:06 pm

    Good to know, I ski a 29 MegaRide and nobody has anything bigger than 28 here in the states, so that might not be a deal-killer after all.

    Now I just need to figure out if the performance upgrade (or not) combined with the Gollum-like appeal of shiny new boots are equal to or greater than the price of purchase!

  12. Dirk Peters October 30th, 2007 4:39 pm

    This article was a super idea, something that could really help out many of your readers. Why not take it a step further, having access to all the gear that you do, and make some kind of chart with interior and exterior lengths for different sizes, midfoot withs, cuff height, weight, and several subjective catagories. (Feels wide, feels long, feels sexy, etc.) To my knowledge this does not exist in any publication. Such information would be easier to digest in a more visual format, rather than prose. Even here in gear=status Boulder, my local ski shops do not stock many AT boots. You could help us out even a little more!

  13. Stephen October 30th, 2007 7:08 pm

    Could you please comment on the new Dynafits’ relative instep height and heel/ankle/shim width? Thanks, Lou!

  14. Lee Lau October 30th, 2007 9:40 pm

    For what it’s worth, I can fit and tour in a Dynafit Zzero CF, Scarpa F3, Scarpa Spirit 4 and Garmont MegaRide all sizes 27 with no liner thermofitting without pain!

    All boots were 2007-8 vintage except for the MegaRide which was 2005 vintage.

    I have previously tried a Scarpa Denali and Scarpa Laser in Size 27 without success as both the ankles and toe-box pinched and were too narrow

  15. Arch October 31st, 2007 4:32 am

    Don’t shoot me down if this is totally ridiculous, Lou, but is it possible to measure total volume of a boot by putting a fairly lightweight polythene freezer bag into the boot, filling it with water and then measuring the volume of water in the bag? Just a thought!

  16. Lou October 31st, 2007 6:07 am

    I’ve thought about the water idea over the years, but the thing is there is no way to standardize how high up you’d fill the shell and get any meaningful comparison between boots.

  17. Kevin October 31st, 2007 9:01 am

    Okay, this sizing stuff is nice, but “if the shoe fits.” What I want to know is what goes downhill the best. I was ready to get the new dynafits, but after flexing them in the shop, I couldn’t justify giving up my Garmont megarides. I am not looking for endorphin style downhill support, but it stills seems like the tongues/cuff could have a little more progressive flex. The dynafits seemed fairly soft with a definite hinge point above the ankle. Why can’t the boot makers come up with a light boot that does not need the tongue swapped out with a raichle flexon tongue or something?

  18. Lou October 31st, 2007 9:11 am

    Kevin, the qustion of what skis downhill the best is nearly as subjective as what fits best. But your more specific points about progressive flex are well taken. Tounge swapping is alive and well and a great way to tune flex, hint is that the Scarpa black stiff tounge fits on quite a few different boots.

  19. backinaustria October 31st, 2007 10:51 am

    Hey Lou, as fate would have it the Dynafits fit me exceptionally well.. the problem I’m facing now is choosing amongst 4-buckle models. I’m pensive about ThermoLiners (never had one) as I hear they don’t breathe well, aren’t robust, blah blah blah.. so what’s the deal?

  20. Kevin October 31st, 2007 1:07 pm

    Thanks for the tip. I am going to order a set of black scarpa tongues. My megarides are the original version and I did upgrade to the current tongues, which are a little stiffer. I was planning to purchase a pair of green boots, but since my garmonts seem to have a slightly better flex pattern, for not much of a weight penalty, I think I’ll invest in new intuition liners and some black tongues.

  21. Justin October 31st, 2007 2:06 pm

    We always seem to focus on the forward flex (stiffness), partially because it is by far the easiest to test (particularly in the store). My Megarides have very stiff tongues in them, to the point the are almost too stiff in forward flex. However, I often wonder if part of my problem with them is that they are laterally softer than I’d like. I’ve been playing around with the green Zzeros, and they are softer in forward flex than my Megarides, but the cuff certainly feels much stiffer than my Megarides. Hard to tell for sure without skiing them. My point is, I wonder if many people (including myself) put too much emphasis on the forward flex of boots, when a stiffer lateral flex would actually be just as or more beneficial.

  22. Marc November 5th, 2007 6:03 pm

    Scarpa tongues fit Zzeros?

  23. Lou November 6th, 2007 8:25 am

    Marc, I’ve heard that they might.

  24. Marc November 6th, 2007 9:34 am

    Thanks Lou. I just got a pair of the “Red Dogs”, Dynafit Zzero U and they look great! In the living room flex test they feel quite a bit like my old Adrenalins, but a tad lighter. I may stiffen them up with a Scarpa tongue, but so far I’m not sure I need it. I too had to down size from a Garmont 28 to a Dynafit 27, and hope that boot fitting will take care of the slight pressure on my big toe. I’m on the fence about the Dynafit TF liners; I’ve always been an Intuition fan, and just might throw some in the Red Dogs. How about you Lou? Do you ski the stock liners or something like an Intuition?

  25. RobinB November 6th, 2007 2:51 pm

    Hey Lou-

    To clarify, what is your actual measured Mondopoint foot size?

    I am exactly a 29, and am hoping the the Dynafit 29 will be a nice fit for me. I can’t imagine that I will be able to size down a whole size to fit the 28.

  26. Mac November 18th, 2007 10:02 pm

    This may be a dumb question but if the sole length is longer on the Zz’s than on Lasers, will the bindings need to be repositioned or adjusted?, Also, does anyone know where to get the three buckle carbon Zz’s in the U.S.?? I’m too little and deathmarch too much to ski the stiffer & taller 4 buckled Zz’s

  27. Lou November 20th, 2007 7:32 am

    Mac, the Dynafit bindng’s length adjustment should take care of the difference, but the only way to know for sure is to try the boots in the bindings. Call Salewa NA about the 3 buckle Zz’s.

  28. Lou November 20th, 2007 7:34 am

    Marc, I try to use the stock liners when I’m testing the boots, but usually end up with an Intuition liner, mostly because I like the wrap-around style better than having a tongue.

  29. Dominic January 15th, 2008 5:46 am

    To measure general volume in a boot you use coffee beans and a ruler to measure the depth of the beans in the boot (either fill all the comparable boots up to the same level on the ruler then pour the beans into a measuring jug, or use the same amount of coffee beans and see how high up the ruler they go). It is a worthwhile comparison between equivalent boots. It doesn’t replace the measurements of heel, arch, forefoot etc but is a good way to augment the review process. Makes the boots smell nice too (and funny tasting coffee!)

  30. Lou January 15th, 2008 8:20 am

    Hi Dominic, I know it seems simple, but it’s not. For example, one brand size 27 might be longer than another brand’s 27, and thus would measure with different volume even though they might be of similar width, or one might actually be narrower than the other, etc. Thus, I’m just not convinced this is a meaningful measurement.

  31. Dominic January 15th, 2008 6:00 pm

    Hi Lou,
    taking all of that into account, it is just another part of the fitting equation. This is how volume is measured with walking boots. It might be of more use for measuring internal liner volume than shell volume, with ski boots but as you say – there are so many other variables.

  32. peter June 24th, 2008 6:57 am

    hey the shoes seems like some super hero’s shoe while he is in chase of the main villain. colorful though.


    Size 28 Clothing

  33. K.S. Bala Murugan June 30th, 2008 12:07 am

    sodaltech are the pioneers in paper cone machine, paper cone machines, paper cone machinery (Editors note: Don’t ask us why a paper product spammer would hit WildSnow.com — life is strange. Perhaps they’re planning on making paper ski boots or something.)

  34. Patrick October 27th, 2009 6:22 pm

    My wife is skiing Scarpa Magics in 25.5. They causes her pain on long tours at the outside of the balls of her feet in spite of being punched out in that area. She is looking to upgrade. Possibilities right now are Scarpa Star Lite or Garmont Mega Star. Any info on toe width between these two boots?

  35. Lou October 27th, 2009 6:58 pm

    Patrick, that might be an issue of how the boot last interacts with her foot as much as it is width. You should definitely try switching brands if you’ve not had success with custom boot fitting. But make sure she’s not in too small a boot, nor too big…

  36. J November 10th, 2010 1:38 pm

    Ok. I read this post and comments, but 1) it is a bit old, and 2) I am not sure I followed it all. (I am an AT newbie.)

    So, I wear a street-shoe size 9.5. I have a fairly narrow foot. I like my boots fairly tight, and will be doing 50% downhill, 50% touring.

    What Mondo Size Dynafit-compatible AT boots should I be looking at for:

    1. Dynafit
    2. Scarpa
    3. Garmont
    4. Dalbello
    5. Black Diamond

    All help / thoughts much appreciated.


  37. Lou November 10th, 2010 2:05 pm

    J, what size ski boots do you already own? That would the your starting point…

  38. J November 10th, 2010 5:52 pm

    Well, in fact, I have not previously owned a pair of ski boots. When I’ve rented, I usually get size 9.

  39. Lou November 10th, 2010 5:52 pm

    J, you can find a Mondo conversion chart here:


  40. J November 10th, 2010 6:24 pm

    Hello again — Thanks. But I have been advised that the 27 or the 27.5 (which the chart you link to gives for U.S. shoe sizes 9 and 9.5, respectively) would be TOO large — at least in Scarpa boots, and maybe in other brands. I have also been told that one brand’s Mondo sizing is not the same as another brand’s. So, I am trying to get a bit more nuanced information before committing to an online purchase (that may be my only means of buying). Any help / experience will be useful. Thnx much!

  41. Lou November 10th, 2010 6:32 pm

    J, buying boots online frequently necessitates at least one return/swap, keep that in your budget. I’d just pick a boot you like, and order your best guess. Perhaps someone here uses boots in that size range and can give you some beta. As for me, to give you more information I’d have to be sitting in a shop with a storeroom full of boots so I could compare all the brands and models (bear in mind that the models within a brand often fit differently.)

  42. Alex R November 10th, 2010 8:49 pm


    I wear a 9.5 (42.5 Eur) HiTeck cross trainer and also have a narrow foot (B width).

    Last season I tried on BD Factors, Dynafit Titans, and a Garmont and Scarpa boot as well.

    I ended up with the Titans in 27.5, and they worked out pretty good. Shell fit was big for alpine standards, but probably on the tight side for AT (two fingers behind the heel). I will get a little work done on them this winter to give me just a tad more width at the very front of the toe box, but that I did use them about 21 days last spring so its just a tweak. I used the boots in Dynfit bindings, and used them for everything from climbing with crampons, to hiking a couple of kilometers from the end of the snow to the trail head, and never had any big issues with comfort or fit.

    I did not like the feel of the Factors more from a stiffness/flex/touring mode point of view than the fit, so I do not remember what size I tried on.

    I found the Scarpas way too roomy just about everywhere on the boot that fit my length of foot, but I can’t recall if it was 27 or 27.5.

    I really don’t remember the Garmont much because they did not have any of the stiffer models in stock so I was not too serious about getting them.

    I know the shell sizes for Dynafit are the same for 27 and 27.5, only the liner is different, and if you search this site you can find out how the other companies break up thier sizes because at least one company does it the opposite way.

    Sorry for the long post, but if you can’t get to a shop and try anything on, it might help you out a bit. Also if you want to compare, you could order two sizes from Backcountry.com and just return the one that does not fit since they have a great return policy.


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