A race boot can be many things, but first and foremost, they’re light and minimalist. Dynafit’s DNA is ready to play in the race and uphill fitness scene. But this svelte, beautifully designed boot might have a comfort range when speed objectives in the mountains are in play. Here’s a first look.
In the last ten years, Dynafit has had quite a rollercoaster of boot models, features, and fits. From the classic and loved TLT6 and Vulcan to the Speed Nose years with the odd and forgettable TLT7, non-Shift compatible Hoji Free, and racy PDG. There’s now a resurgence with the excellent Radical Pro, TLT X, and DNA/Mezzalama race models. It seems like Dynafit escaped the Speed Nose era, simplified the buckle systems, and moved to a friendly, medium-volume fit that should work for many.
The DNA and the Mezzalama — the boots making up Dynafit’s race line —share a similar design layout with a Twistfit (BOA-like) lower and a single throw cord/bayonet-style ski-walk mechanism. The DNA sports a carbon cuff and carbon-loaded Grilamid lower, while the Mezalama adds about 120g for a full carbon Grilamid construction. If this sounds a lot like a Scarpa Alien, that’s because it is similar in design basics. I would place the DNA as a solid middle ground between the Alien 1.0 and Alien RS in terms of weight and harsh stiffness (the DNA feels a bit softer and more progressive than the crazy stiff Alien 1.0).
The DNA Stats
Weight Size 29.5/39: 998g with footbed.
Construction: Carbon cuff, carbon-infused Grilamid lower.
Closer Systems: Twistfit for the lower, and a race lock throw for the upper.
Sizing: Make a note Dynafit lovers, the DNA sizing brakes on the 1/2 size. The 29.5 and 30 have the same size lower.
Range of Motion: 60 degrees of frictionless striding/walking.
Liner: The liner is race specific.
Forward Lean: Adjustable 10 or 13 degrees.
Price: A cool $999.95
Looking at the DNA Sequence
The DNA boot comes with a bikini-style, backless liner, with only foam around the back of the cuff for padding. The minimalist design provides a near-frictionless walking experience but definitely impacts comfort and downhill skiing ability. I’m already looking forward to trying an Intuition Tour Mod or Palau Ultralight Race liner to get back a little of that downhill performance I imagine I’ll be missing.
I was immediately impressed with the Twistfit closure design on the lower clog. The cable system tightens on a plastic plate, providing sufficient and even pressure across the entire instep. I have low-volume feet and a low instep, and I often struggle to get boots snug across my instep, so I appreciate the ease there.
I’ve read a few complaints about the gaiter zipper, which makes the on/off process pretty easy/painless. My theory is that by only zipping/unzipping with the Twistfit tight, stress on the zipper is minimized, and hopefully, it will last. The upper cord closure feels robust and a bit more refined than Scarpa or Gignoux iterations I’ve played with. An aluminum catch on the front of the cuff with a molded plastic piece protects the cord and firmly snaps into place. I’m not sure I’ve totally dialed the cord length adjustment; the boots come routed with a munter hitch-esque pinching system. Based on my experience with the Alien RS, this is a set-and-forget length for me, so I’m not sure of the downside of keeping it simple with an overhand knot here.
A few other notes on fit, the lower clog feels mid-low volume but solidly medium width. Unlike the narrower forefoot of the Alien RS, it isn’t immediately apparent that I’ll need 6th toe punches in these shells. Also of interest, the back of the upper cuff has a tight radius at the back, and my calves (pretty skinny) are too broad to seat nicely into. The calf fit seems to effectively increase forward lean in a way that I might like. However, it is an area I’ll probably add some foam to fill in the gap and get a bit more support.
The Test Rig
My main setup for testing the DNA boots will be the ZAG Adret 85 skis and GRIZZLY.SKI Olympic bindings for a super light fitness-traverse-mountaineering setup.
So long as downhill skiing on the ZAG 85’s goes well, I’m looking forward to pushing these boots with wider skis like the Blizzard Zero G 95, Ski Trab Neve, and maybe the 4FRNT Hoji if conditions are perfect. I’m also planning to do some liner experimentation to see how much friction I add with a full liner vs. the bikini and how much I can push the downhill performance of these impressive little race boots.
Gavin is a mountain guide and gear fanatic based in Jackson, WY. His endless pursuit of gear perfection led to starting a pack company, Apocalypse Equipment in 2019. He has a degree in Nordic skiing and mechanical engineering from the University of New Hampshire and worked as a ski shop tech prior to getting his dream job as a WildSnow contributor.
Love the review. I’m very curious about its slightly chunkier big brother the mezzalama. I tried it on and it felt pretty good. Potentially an ideal fitness touring boot.
Im also intrigued by the Mezzalama, but the carbon cuff and lower weight of the DNA won me over in the end. On the contrary, I recently purchased a pair of Zero G Peak boots with the grilamid cuff over the fancier carbon version – I have been loving the more progressive flex on those, and wonder if the Mezzalama would provide a similarly excellent ski experience. The “finish” of the Peak flex is quite stiff, and I think that plays a big role in how well they ski – I wonder if the Mezzalama would provide enough of a stiff finish to prevent the dreaded folding or collapsing feeling that makes me fear for the safety of my achilles.
Gavin, I bought the Zero G Peak Carbon. Haven’t got them on snow yet as I had to locally backorder. I loved the flex in the shop compared to my TLT X Carbonio. That TLT is very binary, either on or off, and I’m hoping the ZGPC is more progressive so that I can carve more cleanly across a broader range of conditions. I hope you write a review for that ZGP too! Also, when you unbuckle the ZGP, do you just let the buckles hang loose? I love the ultra lock buckle on the TLT series as its very quick to transition. The ZGP series seems a bit more fussy. I’ll have to try on the Mezzalama again to compare as well. Not sure I’m competent enough to drive the DNA at the same level I could drive the Mezzalama, besides, I also don’t want to have to buy another liner.
I skied pretty much all of last season on these boots and was super impressed with the performance. Once I got a handle on them, I felt significantly more in control than even my atomic backlands. And they are as easy on the uphill as any boot out there. I can unfortunately attest to the failure of the zipper system which, even when treated very gently, completely gave out on me. Dynafit was nice enough to ship me a set of their updated clogs which feature some minor tweaks to the hem of the gaiter and to the zipper itself and do certainly seem improved over the first edition.
For what it’s worth I skied these mostly on Ski Trab Magicos (178cm/84mm) and would say that for the amateur racer or anyone who gets out daily on sub 90mm skis and is looking to go fast and ski fast these are a fantastic choice.
Hey Gavin (or anyone else rocking the DNA/Mezzalama) – can you give a few more comments about fit? I really wanted to try these boots but was afraid they would be too narrow after watching this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bRUs9dQ5qs and ended up going w/ the F1 LT. That boot fits my medium-width flat-ish feet quite well, but I’m not in love with the two-step transition to ski mode and back again.
Everyone at the ski shops I contacted told me the DNA/Mezzalama was the narrowest fitting boot they carried, which seemed to contradict much of what I read online. Thanks for any further insight you can provide!
I would peg them as slightly wider, but perhaps lower volume than the Alien RS/F1LT clog. The forefoot height is quite low – I’ve been wresting with this a bit as I experiment with beefier liners. I haven’t felt any need for 6th toe punches, which I needed in the alien RS, that is usually my telltale differentiatior between a narrow and medium width boot. Also note that I am in a size 30 (311mm) in this and the alien RS (which was a little big), vs a 28.5 in the Zero G Peak (308mm)
Thanks, that *really* helps me out. Sounds like I might fit better in this boot than I had thought, especially given your point about not needing the 6th toe punch.
Really nice review! Really good to know that those are on wider foot size since sometimes it’s hard for me to find something that doesn’t feel uncomfortable(wide feet problems)…