You guys asked for it, so I got in touch with Paul Parker of Garmont, he shared the beta on the latest Garmont boots.
Thanks for writing up the Axon, we’re excited about bringing that boot out and it’s good to see the interest. Here are some main points of comparison between Axon and Endorphin:
— The question of the Axon just being an “Endorphin with Dynafit fittings” is one I can clear up. In ski boots, there is rarely such a thing as “just.” Certainly the concept was born from the Endorphin, and the excellent walkability as well as skiing performance are Endorphine trait. But the two boots are are entirely different molds since the sole configuration, zeppa (footboard), fit, and Dynafit fittings are all unique to the Axon.
— Regarding having swappable soles AND Dynafit compatibility. This would be great in a perfect world and was something that we indeed researched. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room to have both and stay within DIN norm. The plastic sole that is part of the interchangeable-soled shell would have to be thicker to accept the Dynafit fittings, which would take it out of norm.
— The big benefit of the Axon is the “package” when it’s combined with a Dynafit binding. Great skiing, great touring. It is stiff, its plastic is the same same stiffness as the Endorphin. In a traditional step-in AT binding the Axon will ski similarly to an Endorphin. In a Dynafit binding, which holds the boot especially securely (as Lou has pointed out many times here on WildSnow), it skis with the precise feel of a full-on alpine setup. (For that precise alpine feel, the Endorphin does have the option of using the ISO Alpine sole, which is compatible with an alpine step-in and doesn’t compress like a rubber touring sole does.)
— New liner in the Axon is significantly improved. It uses a new design with a separately-sewn sole that sits flatter in the boot, your footbed sits flatter in the liner, and the liner gets the most width out of the shell without increasing volume. It has a low-profile lacing system which is especially nice for touring. It has an improved fit before thermoforming, a plus for trying on boots and evaluating fit before molding (though of course they should ALWAYS be thermoformed before use).
— Axon has a removable micropore footbed (zeppa) like an alpine boot, adding insulation, and easily modified by a bootfitter.
Known as a gear designer and writer, Paul has vast experience in the ski equipment industry. Safe to say he’s probably one of the top dozen guys in the world when it comes to designing ski boots.