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.
This info might not be so important to someone who get free boots, but several cobblers, including Dave Page Cobbler in Seattle can replace the sole of AT boots for less than $100 shipped. It is more effective before too much plastic is showing, and they can do the front half of the sole only if you are concerned with the toes. My toes are worn about as much as Steves, maybe a bit less, but I am planning doing that to my Zzeros to prevserve the investment in bootfitting I have in them.
I would also note that there is less rubber to wear under the toe sockets on the Zzeros due to the extended metal quick-engagment fitting, so I think these boots exacerbate a problem common to all Dynafit compatible boots.
wow, great post. any tips on tracking down some stiffer tongues for garmont megarides, sorry I noticed you mentioned the tongue swap so I figured I’d ask.
Thanks for the info Harpo.
I would think some of the tongues from the stiffer Garmont models would do the trick. Try calling Garmont.
Thanks Harpo! I totally agree that if the shit is free then the wear is a bit more to stomach. I skied 100+ days this year and if my boot looked like they were going to fuckup after year two…after paying $700.00, I’d be pissed. Get post…I think I will stick with another boot…looks like a bit to much stetchy wear for a year. Yea…~80 of thoes days were BC…
How many days are on those total? Hiking on surfaces other than snow? Climbing on hard surfaces? That’d be useful to know.
I mean, we all generally know what kind of treatment your home range can dish out, but it’d be useful to have parameters.
I’m not sure if it is number of ski days that is important here…but more miles walked on dirt. Between Pico de Orizaba, the Winds and spring skiing in the Tetons…I’ve probably put over 100 miles on the Zzeros hiking on dirt. I don’t really keep track of number of days skied…but it’s probably also close to 100, if not over.
I would be hesitant to say that the Zzeros show anymore wear than other boots after one Randosteve season…and to be TOTALLY honest, I really don’t expect to use my AT boots (full time) for more than one season. I have some old Scarpa Matrix boots that have similar wear…after similar usage. However, I ALSO had to replace one of the buckles multiple times AND the velcro doesn’t hold anymore. Which boot would I rely on more for an extended trip? The Zzeros…no question about it.
One thing to consider is that you can’t expect products to last forever and you will obviously see more wear in lighter weight products than big, heavy, beefy stuff. I know lots of people who own the Zzeros and it would be interesting to hear how their boots have held up compared to mine. Colin?
Nah, I don’t own them, but my primary ski partner is probably going to buy a pair (or so he says). I’m still teleing, although I think a Dynafit setup (or two) is in my future.
I figured you’d put a lot of miles on those soles. I wouldn’t expect most boots to really show any less wear either.
Different Colin. Sorry!
How do the black scarpa tongues tour? Do you swap out tongues for walking/touring? The scarpa tongues will also fit the Garmont megarides. I was thinking of doing the swap, but the black tongues are pretty darn stiff.
Hah. Yeah, NOT this Colin: http://tetonat.staging.wpengine.com/?p=457
I’m in CA, and just happen to really enjoy your blog. 🙂
i’ve been on a pair of Zzeros since January 08, and also tend to wear them on a lot of extended multi surface approaches (word Beartooths), and actually found myself commenting to my buddy today on this specific subjekt.
as with my old Megarides, i’ve found this to be the Dynafit achilles heel. i’m currently on the borderline of required hand easement to trigger the toe (after approx. 75 days of use), which I find to be sub satisfactory, prompting ideas of returning to the Diamir. i’ve also tried multiple types of epoxy on the Garmont toe sole, which would only last for a tour or two at most. resoling seems like the sound solution, in conjunction to delegating Dynafit rigs to the glamour of mid winter Wasatch walks.
To me that’s not too big of a pain in the butt. A lot of the time I’m skiing with the toes locked out…so I’m bending down anyway.
A friend of mine got a pair of the new Dynafit Zzero 4’s this past fall and loves them. However next to the sockets in front on both boots the plastic cracked backwards down to the sole. Did you have any issues with this? Dynafit hadn’t see this before when we called them. The boots did see a very large number of days, skinning mainly but also some hiking/climbing dirt and rock.
Excellent choice on the Spirit 4 tongues, a few people I ski with did the same thing this past fall, including myself.
I just experienced the same problem with a pair of ZZeros after two days of touring (one in pretty cold weather – Champagne Couloir on Mt. Nebo). After I sent them back, the store got in touch with Dynafit, who reported that they had a plastic issue in some of these boots – they’re sending me a new pair. Clearly, if the plastic used for the shells is not to spec and is brittle it could be a big problem…good to hear that Dynafit are stepping up in this case.
How does the fit of your Factors compare to the ZZero? Do you wear the same size, and are there any notable differences? I’ve been wearing BD Methods most of the season, and they fit great after a bit of shell tweaking. Your thoughts? Thanks!
Courtney, my Factors seem to have less volume up front…maybe a bit narrower around the sixth toe too. This year I’m using 26.5 Factors (307 BSL) and 27 Zzeros (306 BSL). The Factors fit great, but I could see a little more material added to the front of the liner for padding/molding/warmth. My Zeros fit like a glove (after shimming to suck-up volume), but I also upgraded to some intuition liners that increase warmth as well as fit and performance. Both boots work great, I like the cuff movement in the BD boot better, but the weight of the Dynafits is muy bueno on bigger days.
Steve, kinda funny but I have Factors in 307, and ZZeros in 306 also. Today I just ordered Intuition power wraps in 28 mondo, and was wondering which Intuitions, (and size), you went with. I pretty much agree with all your points on both boots, but didn’t feel the need to mod the walk mode on the Factors, since I use them primarily inbounds and for side country use. Thanks.
Glad you’re liking your boots. I went with a precision fit high liner…the one’s that come in Spirit 3/4s…in my Zzeros. I used the Factors a ton most of the season, but have been running with the Zzeros most of the time now that the tours are getting longer.
I demoed some Zzeros a couple months ago, and noticed that one boot was stuck in ski mode even thout the lever was in walk mode. If I pushed the lever up a little (there is a spring loaded feel to the last couple of mm of throw)the cuff would hinge.
I went ahead and bought a pair, and 10 days in,same thing happened. I was in the middle of the Ortler and these boots require a spanner to disassemble to repair/modify what ever is wrong. Anyone experience this and know what the problem is? I’m thinking the bar has a slight bend in it which allows the ski mode pin to snag on the holes in the bar.
Bruno…I’ve heard a little of this, but most times just flexing the boot forward and back unlocks it back to walk mode. Either way, I’m sure Dynafit will be able to help you….give them a call.
I discovered the same problem – boot cuff locks when in walk mode – at the beginning of the season with my pair of Zzeros. I just called Dynafit, and the customer service rep that I talked to knew exactly what the problem was and how to fix it.
It isn’t caused by the bar and the repair does not require a spanner wrench. It’s relatively easy to fix, but you need to unscrew the ski/walk mechanism and remove it from the back of the upper cuff, which is a bit of pain since the bottom two screws are rather difficult to access. The gist of the fix is that you need to to gently tap in a slight angle to the two arms on the piece of steel that attach to the pin that snaps into the holes on the bar. The instructions that Dynafit sent me were much more detailed and they included some photos as well. I’d strongly recommend contacting them for this info rather than relying solely on my simplified description here.
It took me about 20 minutes to fix at home with a proper screwdriver – I’d guess that it might take me twice as long in the field and would obviously be less than ideal. I can recall hearing an annoying clicking sound out of the same boot last season that was probably caused by the pin partially, but not quite, engaging in walk mode. If you notice something like that, or have to flex the cuff abnormally (as Steve describes) in order to disengage the upper cuff, that would probably be a good time to give them a call and preemptively fix the issue at home.
interesting julian…and quite timely, because a friend’s pair of zzeros won’t go into ski mode. wondering if it is a similar fix.