Reboot for Dynafit

Dynafit has gone back to the drawing board with its new selection of ski touring boots available for the start of the 2007/8 season. Reflecting a redesign from the sole up the range has been aptly called Zzero. While Scarpa and Garmont are focussing on the sidecountry market with heavy touring boots that owe more to alpine designs Dynafit is keeping the accent on light weight.

dynafit 2008 boot range
Dynafit 2008 boot range

Dynafit has maintained a core following amongst lycra clad ski mountaineers with the Race Pro TF but that is a fairly small market with strong, if not stiff, competition from Scarpa in the form of the F1 Race (and forthcoming Scarpa F3). However their foray into the fast expanding free-touring boot market in the shape of the Aero range was not an unqualified success. The boots were heavier than announced and did not fit a wide range of feet.

To correct these sins Dynafit have hired no less than top Italian ski boot designer Mario Sartor to direct the project. Mr Sartor has 35 years experience building walking, mountaineering and ski touring boots and was formerly project manager at Garmont. Mr Sartor holds patents in ski boot design dating back to his days at Technica, Nordica and Lowa. Oh if that were not enough the team is based in Montebelluna in Northern Italy. It is a bit like developing a new single malt in the glens of Scotland rather than Osaka, Japan.

We’ve had a close look at the whole range and put them on our scales. However these are prototypes not the final product. We have already seen with the Aero range that the production boots got heavier. We were assured that this would not be the case with the Zzeros and the models we saw did look almost ready to go. We did not ski the boots but do hope to get some production samples before the end of the season. The fact they were not the final production boots was shown up by a glitch with the buckles on the U-MF. In their slackest position the forefoot buckle would not tighten at all. Nothing major, this just needs a repositioning for the production model.

Top of the range is the Zzero 4 C-MF and C-TF. TF stands for thermo-fit and MF for the more traditional and slightly heavier laced liner. This is a high four buckle boot aimed at the FreeRando market. It is aimed at skiers using wide skis such as the Dynafit Mustagh-Ata and looking for performance and control. The first thing that surprised was that the boots tipped our scales at a shade under 1600 grammes in size 27.5. That’s 600 grammes lighter than the equivalent Scarpa Spirit 4.

How have Dynafit achieved lightweight with performance? By the extensive use of carbon fibre, in particular the powerstringer, an exoskeleton that follows the line of the ankle and wraps under the heel arch. Dynafit have used exoskeletons on earlier incantations of their boots and this means that the C-TF can be made from thinner material without losing stiffness. Dynafit claim this is the stiffest boot in its class. Carbon fibre is also used on the tongue to reinforce this part and distribute the force exerted by the two buckles. The tongue has a pleat at the ankle which enables walking, something that can be a nightmare in stiff freerando boots. The buckles can also open right out to give the lower leg freedom of movement. The boot gives 30 degrees of forward flex. Buckles are made of lightweight but strong Magnesium alloy.

Both types of inner boot - the heat mouldable TF and the more traditional laced MF look comfortable and really well made but the MF high inner boot sets new standards. It weighs just 100 grammes more than the thermoform inner (360 grammes). The exterior uses Cordura and seems hard wearing and it should breathe better than a thermoform boot. It will put a smile on hire shop managers as well as people who prefer or are returning to more traditional inners.

dynafit zzero4 ski touring boos
Dynafit Zzero4 C-TF

All this comes at a cost. The C-MF/C-TF will retail around an eye-watering 519 euros. This price will be justified if the boots are good quality, performant and last a number of seasons tough skiing. If that is a bit too steep the Zzero 4 PX-TF is the same boot but there is no carbon and the powerstringer is made out of Rilsan, a polyamide manufactured from Castor beans so it is 100% natural. Not a lot of people know that. We weighed the boot at 1595 grammes in size 27.5.

The Zzero 4 U-MF replaces Pebax with sexy clear red Polyurethane. It looks like something that Apple might have designed. The boot was a bit heavier at 1850 grammes but should offer good downhill performance given the flex characteristics of Polyurethane.

dynafit zzero3 ski touring boots
Dynafit Zzero3 and Zzero2

The Zzero 3 C-TF is a three buckle boot which weighed just 1470 grammes on our scale in size 27.5. It is similar to the 4 buckle C-TF with a carbon fibre powerstringer but with a lower cuff. It is a true ski touring boot. In the same theme the Zzero 3 PX-MF and PX-TF replace carbon fibre with Rislan for lower cost. Weight is similar. Finally the Zzero 2 C-TF is a two buckle ultra lightweight touring boot weighing a claimed 1395 grammes (this was one we didn’t put on the scales). Apart from that it is similar to the Zzero3 C-TF.

All boots naturally come with Dynafit inserts and also feature the new DynaGrip sole that complies with the new ISO9523 standard. The boots will work with all current and forthcoming touring bindings. There are no canting adjustments. If you are particularly knock-kneed or bow legged you will have to get your bindings packed accordingly (and have a left and right ski). The boots come with the usual ski/walk function but also have a 15/21 degree forward lean that can be dialled in by the user. We remember a similar switch on the first versions of the Scarpa Matrix but it wasn’t wonderfully usable. Dynafit says their switch uses patented technology but we will have to see how well this works out on the mountain.

Assuming these boots live up to expectations they will give serious competition to the Garmont/Scarpa world and reverse a trend towards increased bulk that we have seen over recent years.

Further Information

Posted by davidof on Wednesday, 28 March, 2007 at 07:54 AM

Sounds great ..... if any Guinea Pigs are required for testing or appraisal I will certainly volunteer.

Posted by  on  Thursday, 05 April, 2007  at 05:12 PM
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