For most winter seasons, like with skis, I tend to vary the AT boot model I’m using depending on the type of tour I’m doing. But for this past season, I committed to using the new Dynafit ZZeros 100% and their workout began climbing to the summit of Pico de Orizaba in early November, 2007. Even though I have been teased with many other models from multiple manufacturers in the industry, I have worn this pair of size 26, ZZero 4 Cs nearly everyday I’ve skied over the past 9 months.
In general, the boots have held up well and have driven all of my skis with ease. I substituted the stock tongue for a black Spirit4 tongue for a bit more height and also used some Intuition liners in place of the ones that come with the ZZeros, because I felt they gave me a little more padding across my shins. These mods/substitutions shouldn’t be much of a surprise, since I’ve seen many people use their alpine liners in AT their boots and fine tuning the flex to your own individual liking is half the fun.
Velcro still in great shape.
Starting at the top. Even though I thought about replacing the stock power strap with a Booster Strap, I never got around to it and haven’t needed to. The Velcro is still holding strong and shows no signs of wearing out anytime soon. I can easily see using the one that came with it for another year…at the least. In addition, all buckles work like they are right from the factory, even with them repeatedly being cranked down as tight as possible. There is no movement from wear on the rivets holding them onto the cuff either. The ski/walk mode is still very intact, though I have noticed some resistance of it wanting to actually switch from ski to walk mode…after the switch has been flipped. Flexing the boot forward and back seems to cure this problem quickly.
No problems with any of the buckles.
I know some people have expressed concern over the durability of the carbon fiber stringers on the cuff. Overall, the stringers are in great shape with little to no sign of wear. However, the carbon does show some signs of wear near the rivet holding the cuff to the shell, an obvious place of abuse. The good thing is that it doesn’t look like there is any fear of a cataclysmic failure happening in the field and a small bit of plastic added to the cuff could easily protect the carbon a bit more in future product runs.
A bit of wear on the carbon fiber Stringer…near the cuff rivet.
On to the sole. As many of you know, I am a big fan (to some extent) of hiking in my AT boots over packing them on my back. To me, it seems like this is one of the bigger reasons why AT boots were made in the first place and I have never found a boot who’s rubber could hold up to miles of hiking on dry trails. That being said, much of the rubber right near the toe and heal has worn off, but not enough to affect its ability to engage getting into a Dynafit binding. This is a very important part of the equation, as I have other boots that have worn down so much that one must manually engage the binding toe piece to get it to lock onto the boot. The remainder of the sole has held up much better and probably more an example of real world use than the toes and heel specifically. In addition, I haven’t had to re-tighten the screw holding the heel fitting at all. A good sign, since having it fall off in the backcountry could be a real bummer.
Soles holding up well.
Wrapping up, I’d say that the ZZeros have lived up to their claim of being light and stiff quite well. They have been very durable and I haven’t any problems with buckles straps or fittings, and I would highly recommend them for some wanting solid downhill performance without the excess weight.