Dynafit Zzeus Boot Review: 2009-2010 TF-X
Yes, it finally happened. After years of dissing all touring boots for being soft and wimpy, I finally broke down and got a pair. We had a lot of volcanoes to climb and ski, making a lighter and comfier set up start to look pretty appealing. Hell we even put less-baggy pants on! The weapon of choice… the 2009/10 Dynafit Zzeus TF-X.
Me, The Tester
A whopping 145 lbs. Agressive slackcountry and backcountry skier, used to the feel and performance of top-end alpine boots like the Lange Banshee Pro. Hesitant to convert to AT. Narrow foot, high arch.
The Tech Stuff
Dynafit’s new ZZeus TF-X has a bunch of notable features that caught my attention. It was Dynafit’s flagship burly boot in 08/09, and back by popular demand.
As one of the only (if not the only) touring boots made with a Poly Urethane plastic (Zzeus and Dynafit Titan), these boots enjoy the same stiff material used in alpine boots that other touring boots miss out on. Sure it adds some weight, but they’re still plenty lighter than a full alpine boot, and the performance beats those old touring boots. Man up and carry the extra grams uphill, it’ll pay off on the descent.
The Alpine Overlap cuff with opposing buckles is unique to dynafit, aimed at giving you a better fit in the front of your boot without clamping down like a vice-grip.
The Triple Binding Sole would definitely come in handy if you want 1 pair of boots to do everything for you. Dynafit provides 2 sets of sole blocks or ‘pucks’ in the box: 1 set of Dynafit ‘Quick Step-in’ blocks with a grippy rubber sole, and 1 set of regular sole blocks for alpine bindings. Both of these work with ISO touring set-ups like Fritschis and Marker Dukes.
They held up to some solid abuse this summer.
The TFX Thermoformable Durable Liner allows you to heat up the liner and mold it closer to your actual foot shape. Great in theory, and they sure as hell are durable and well built, but make sure you size these boots right! I have a habit of downsizing my boots to ensure they fit my narrow feet, then doing a bunch of toe punching work to seal the deal. The catch? These liners are so damn tough that no matter what you do to the shell, the liner won’t budge to fill out the space. Hence why there’s a different set of liners in these photos – I swapped them out. If however you size the boots right, you should be in good shape, and these could well last a lifetime. They’re bomber. Too bomber in my case.
The liners – fit them right!
On the Snow, AKA – The Good Stuff
Going Up – Wandering up Shasta, Hood, Rainier, and Adams in less than a week, damn was I glad I wasn’t rocking alpine boots. I would have been even more stoked if I’d actually boot-fit these suckers properly before the trip, but hey, hindsight is 20-20. No pain no gain.
While they’re heavier than Dynafit’s ZZero series, they’re comparable in weight to other stiff touring boots, and still the lightest boots I’ve ever had to deal with on my backpack. And the walk mode was both easy to flick on and off and a pleasure to have for 10 hours of skinning. Sold.
Going Down – With some fat and light skis on my feet (G3 El Hombre’s and Onyx bindings), these boots definitely got the job done for the summer touring missions, encountering some pretty darn varied conditions along the way – schmoo, crud, ice, etc. My toe’s were wishing I was surfing instead, so like I said, get the right size!
However once I switched to winter conditions in Chile, brought out a bigger and heavier pair of Freeride skis (ZAG Heli Gold 189), and started skiing like loose cannon, things got a bit funkier. Granted I was using my loosey goosey liners instead of the stock TBK’s, but nevertheless I couldn’t control my skis quite like I can with a stiff and well fitted pair of alpine boots.
Milkin’ it in the Super C Couloir, Portillo, Chile.
Dynafit’s answer? The Dynafit Titan, new for 2010. As an AT boot newbie, I should have gone for broke with the stiffest boot available. The Titan is only 50 grams heavier than the Zzeus, and is a true 130 flex boot. Stiff enough for ya? Read Lee Lau’s review for more info on the Titan, or watch our Dynafit Titan Sneek Peak Video.
The Last Word
Yes, I’m somewhat converted, knowing now that Dynafit (and a few other companies) are finally making boots that perform well in the backcountry while still being lighter and comfier on the way up.
Is it a one and only agressive freeride boot – no. If you really want to tear-a-new-one into the resort and slackcountry, just buy some burly alpine boots as well, or try out the Titan for yourself and see what you get.
As for sizing – learn from my mistake! Get the size that fits well in the toe area, and let the thermoformable liner works its magic around the rest of your foot.
Note they sure weren’t the only brand of boot on the trip. Unfortunately every other bone-head on the trip fitted their boots like me, so there were a lot of purple toes on the trip, and even some blood. I came out better than a few of’em…