Let’s get something straight. Any current boot that weighs more than about 1,500 grams in size 28 is not a “ski touring” boot. Despite what PR people and gear review websites would have you believe. More, any boot that doesn’t provide more cuff mobility in walk mode than rearward to around 90 degrees is not a ski touring boot. Things in the industry have changed, fast.
Thus, we give a nod to the Zero G as a “freeride touring” boot — a quite nice one. Yet, this is not the true ski touring shoe we like to float around the mountains with when mechanized means are not involved. So, for those of you who want overlap backcountry ski boots that can double as a ski resort shoe, you know who you are. Read on.
Tecnica says this boot is made with a “frame of lightweight Triax 3.0 plastic that is 2.5 times stiffer and 30% thinner than conventional boot material.” They’re probably comparing to PU, because touring boots made of Grilamid or stiff Pebax are probably about equal in weight class. Main point here is this is indeed a lightweight overlap 4-buckle boot. Pick it up in your hands and you notice the lack of mass.
We did do an on-snow test of the Zero G Guide. Conclusion was that it’s not particularly stiff, perhaps a “120” to be kind, but that’s to be expected from thinner plastic and what is clearly a rather minimalist liner. If the boot was fit correctly and had beef added to the liner it would ski like it looks. Of more concern was the uphill testing. While overlap cuff boots can yield good cuff mobility, the Zero G is a bit limited. If you’re used to modern touring boots, you’ll notice a lack of rearward travel. To be fair, the lean lock on these boots is beefy, thus giving you a very solid cuff in downhill mode. We think the lean lock is why the cuff doesn’t have a few more degrees of rear travel in touring mode. So ok, a tradeoff. Carpet test a pair and decide for yourself.
Paraphrase from our main tester: “I skied a pair of the Zero G boots as a tester for a local shop. My opinions: Too heavy for real touring with no significant performance improvement that could justify the extra weight over today’s “real” ski touring boots. A quiver of one for the freeride touring crowd who can handle boots of average stiffness, and who like the feel of an overlap.”
Our 28.5 size weighs 1652 grams per boot. Compare to another freeride touring shoe that’s stiffer, in a shorter shell, that fully weighs 1996 grams yet has decent rearward cuff articulation. Significant? But which way is the significance? If you’re going to ski a big overlap cuff boot would you want some extra weight for the last word in beef? Or do you want a boot that saves noticeable weight with less stiffness and less cuff articulation? We report, you decide.
Zero G Guide Pro, MSRP $900
Zero G Guide, MSRP $660
Zero G Guide W (women’s specific model), MSRP $660
Note: Tecnica Cochise series boot models remain their real “beef” boot offerings.
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.