This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.
We did experience the Hoji Free at a press event a few weeks ago — and I was privy to much in the way of the development process thanks to industry insiders. It is a beautiful boot. Lots of questions from you so I’ll file a “first look” (once I get over my gear blogger hyper ventilation and clean my keyboard). Next review you’ll see will be from a few months testing.
Salient points: Same overall construction as Hoji Pro but “20 %” stiffer and a narrower last though we need to verify that with actual measurements and sources. I’m told Dynafit is still working on the retail liner. I’m optimistic about that, as word is they’re attempting to up the liner game, not simply imitate Intuition. Not that imitating Intuition is a bad thing, but it’s high time that ski touring boot liners received the kind of attention shells have been getting for the past few years. One other thing: this boot is truly a “quiver of one.” Use it as an alpine boot in the appropriate binding, and tour with it, you will be happy.
The Dynafit Hoji press release is good, following is a condensed version with commentary in double parenthesis.
DYNAFIT HOJI FREE SKI TOURING BOOT
THE REVOLUTION CONTINUES:
SKI HARD – WALK EASY((Pants Down — Always!))
The Hoji Pro Tour ski touring boot has gained a sibling: DYNAFIT for winter 2019-20 is launching the Hoji Free – a ski touring boot that will take free touring to a new level. With its increased rigidity, a narrower fit and the customizable Hoji Free Liner from boot-fitting specialist Sidas, the Hoji Free will be the first choice for ski touring enthusiasts who focus in particular on first-class downhill performance. Powder hounds won’t forgo uphill comfort and freedom of movement, however. The boot is compatible with alpine ski bindings, in accordance with DIN ISO 9523 and therefore especially versatile ((meaning by by Speed Nose)). Thanks to the Hoji Lock System, cuff and shell are integrated into one cohesive unit. Using a cable system ((which doesn’t break)), the ski/walk system’s mechanism is integrated with the buckles and the Ultra Lock Strap. Just one quick hand motion saves mucking around, and the boot transforms from an efficient, lightweight climber into a powder specialist with the sensation of high-end skiing and optimum power transfer. ((This “one motion” system works for nearly anyone who takes the time to learn it, but it’s not intuitive. Where I love it most is for short tours with lots of walking to/from restaurant or parking. Just reach down and pull the rear lever, and bam you’re in total walk-tour mode.))
With its increased rigidity ((said to be 20%, possibly too beefy for some skiers, if so use Hoji Pro)), thanks to a unique Grilamid material with fiberglass, and its progressive flex of 130, the Hoji Free possesses all of the characteristics to deliver the best power transfer and top downhill performance. With a last width of 102 mm, three micro-adjustable buckles and the Ultra Lock Strap, the foot sits ideally positioned ((last might actually be narrower than 102, I’m checking)). In downhill mode, the Hoji Free locks out at a forward lean of 11 or 17 degrees thanks to a spoiler at the cuff that can be taken on and off. On the ascent, free tourers also get extra benefits: The V-shaped tongue and a cuff rotation of 55 degrees means maximum freedom of movement, flexibility and comfort. Weight 1,550 grams.
Hoji Free comes equipped with the POMOCA Free Sole. This sole has impressive grip and optimal hold when walking out of the binding and at the same time is especially sturdy and long-lasting. Thanks to the toe lug the ski touring boot is compatible with fully automatic crampons. Last but not least, the Hoji Free is also equipped with the proven Quick Step-In insert for easier entry into the frameless tech binding even on rougher terrain ((also, the excellent Master Step fitting at the heel)). The Hoji Free, just like other models in the Hoji family, is made completely in Italy. Sizes: 25-29.5 — MSRP: 750 Euro ((only available in unisex version, Grilamid — fine by us))
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.