“Green Machine” will again be the main boot in my quiver (with a variety of beef boots and minimalist shoes to round out the spectrum — to be blogged later). This year’s ZZero is virtually the same ski touring boot as last season’s, and still offers perhaps the best power to weight ratio in the business. Only change we could detect for this year is the use of a stiff plastic for the reinforcement cap on top of tongue, rather than carbon fiber. Check ’em out:
My new pair of ZZero is a 27.0, sole length 306 mm. I’ve found I’m between shell sizes in the ZZero, so I go with a smaller than my usual “28” in most AT boots, and instead use the next shell size down with a bit of punching by a boot fitter. By tweaking this way I get the best fit I’ve ever had in an AT boot. Here are some measurements from our developing shell size comparison chart (some don’t make much sense without comparison to other boots, but I’ll share them just for fun):
– Heel Pocket, 9 mm (on the deeper side, which makes the shell longer for some feet).
– Length of footboard, 29 cm (smaller shell than our usual, so we’re not sure how this compares).
– Overall volume, average
– Shell arch below foot, none
– Cuff height above footboard, 212 mm (average for a lighter boot)
– Manufacturer claimed forward cuff lock angles, 15/21 degrees
– Cuff angles from footboard as measured by WildSnow, 6/10 degrees (add ramp angle for total lean, we do not report ramp angle because it varies with fit, binding delta, and even sole wear.)
– Rearward cuff travel, 23 degrees (limiting factor is how tight cuff buckle is against shell tongue)
– Weight same as last year.
Instead of a carbon fiber stiffener the tongue now has a cap of stiffer plastic (to left). Flexed by hand, stiffness appears almost identical and weight is identical as well. Thus, we see this change as a non issue and perhaps even an improvement, as the carbon fiber cap is sensitive to abrasion wear. That said, if you have a high instep the slightly stiffer carbon could cause less of a “crushing” effect on the top of your foot, so keep that in mind if you have that type of foot.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.