As predicted here some time ago, Dynafit has taken the TLT-5 form factor and created two new series of boots with similar lack of mass and nimble performance, while eliminating the metatarsal flex feature. The new series are the “One,” more price and touring oriented, and the “Free Touring,” which comprises the Vulcan and Mercury as detailed below.
As far as I can tell, the ethos of “free touring” places as much emphasis on the up as on the down. Yet nearly any other boot in the Dynafit ramuda of plastic horses will work for whatever combo of human power and turn arc you care to invoke.
Thus, shopping Dynafit boots could be a challenge. If your brain flops when considering all this, what I’d do is this: If you want the ultimate mix of efficiency and downhill control, still consider TLT-5 with user modification riveted metatarsal flex. For the top in downhill performance combined with efficiency, consider the “Free Touring” Vulcan & Mercury. Racers already know where they want to go, and if you want more conventional boots, look at the Zzero and Titan options as in the past.
Regarding the new ONE line, Free Touring line, and user mods: Basically, you sacrifice a mere snowflake of flat touring comfort not having the flex, while at the same time trimming mass and enhancing downhill performance (no sag, no bounce, stiffer with no weight penalty). Rando racers have discovered that metatarsal boot flex is overrated — many are now using non-flex boots. Trust me, no-flex will work fine for you as well. And if you’re still a flex fan, don’t despair as Dynafit will still sell their popular TLT-5 series (that’s what I was told, anyway, and I’ll check to see for sure).
More, as hyped by Dynafit, their king of the new boot lines, Vulcan, has design influence from pro Eric ‘Hoji’ Hjorleifson (regarded as one of the best skiers in the world).
To be clear, this is not a cloning of the low volume TLT-5 type of boot, but rather something in volume between Dynafit’s TLT-5, and the Zzero line (all but one of the 3 buckle Zzeros will go away, while the 4 buckle versions will remain.
Features common to the new ONE and Free Touring lines:
– Ultra-Lock (top buckle both closes shell and latches for downhill.
– Double pivot upper buckle stows trimmer to boot than that of TLT-5, less chance of catching on rocks, fits better under pants.
– Stiff and high rear spoiler.
– Additional third buckle over forefoot, for those who just can’t mentally cope with the lack of a buckle down there (can easily be removed.)
– All liners thermoform.
– All liners have optional lace anchors.
– Terrific cuff rotation (claimed as 60 degrees.)
– Lean lock options 15 & 18 degrees (2 degrees less and one more than original TLT-5).
– Shell insulation (high density insulation molded into shell sole)
– All the One series shoes feature a removable tongue similar to that of the TLT-5, but with a bit of added velcro that makes it easier to integrate with your power strap.
– Short & rockered sole for easy walking even without flex.
– Sole works in standard “frame” touring bindings as well as tech.
Vulcan TF (pictured above) is the top of the line, weight 1590 grams (size 27.5), even has a color that won’t inspire North American skiers to paint it darker. Incredibly stiff, perhaps the stiffest boot I’ve ever carpet tested. Official coolaid follows, lightly edited for brevity and clarity:
“Dynafit and professional skier Eric Hjorleifson proudly present a completely new way of thinking about AT boots. The new Free-Touring Vulcan combines big mountain performance with half the weight. Following in the footsteps of the TLT-5 Performance, Vulcan can drive the fattest ski, and climb the highest peak while creating an optimal fit for pillow lines, high speed arcs, or stomping that perfect backcountry hit. With a customizable forward stiffness due to removable shell tongue, 60° walk-ability, and the patented TLT-5 technologies.”
Cuff: Carbon Fibre / Grilamid®
Weight: 1590 g (size 27.5)
Sizes: 25 – 30.5 + 1/2 sizes
Mercury attempts to offer near the performance of the Vulcan, at an easier MSRP. In Dynafit’s words:
“Mercury is the little brother of the new Vulcan backcountry skiing boot, and offers the same top skiing performance. The Mercury has the ability of drive any ski, at any speed, with a custom forward stiffness, and the perfect heel retention for today’s Free-Touring fanatic. This is combined with the walk-ability, the lightness and the patented technologies which made Dynafit’s TLT-5 so popular among the best skiers in the world. The Mercury implements new technology in its cuff construction – a Fiberglass reinforced TPU rear with a Pebax front.
Cuff: Fiberglass reinforced Grilamid®
Weight: 1600 g (size 27.5)
Sizes: 25 – 30.5 + 1/2 sizes
One PX backcountry skiing boot appears to be a more affordable version of the line, with a full Pebax shell, yet is still targeted at the performance touring market.
Dynafit’s description: “First, TLT-5. Now, ONE. The ONE combines the TLT-5 concept with added comfort, ease, warmth, height and increased support. The ONE PX is the perfect choice for all ski tourers looking for the lightest and best performing boot in the backcountry. The ONE PX is loaded with unique features including the Ultra lock buckle system, a short and rockered sole, and a central buckle system for maximum heel retention and superior downhill performances. The ONE PX offers a newly developed TF – Thermoformable liner.”
Shell and cuff: Pebax
Weight: 1490 g (size 27.5)
Sizes: 25 – 30.5 + 1/2 sizes
Bindings: Dynafit Quick Step-In, Standard Touring
One PX Women’s version has a lower and wider cuff shape that’s more suitable for the average women’s leg. Sizing goes down to 22.5 (meaning it could be made to work down to 22 or a bit smaller.) Other than above, it’s the same boot as the male version.
Color: White/Fiji Blue
Weight: 1300 g (size 25,5)
Sizes: 22,5 – 27.5 + 1/2 sizes
Much has changed since this post first aired in 2012. Have a look at Dynafit’s current boots here.
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.