Dynafit Titan–Long Term Assessment

By:  Sam
September 20, 2010 10:10 pm | Category: Gear Review

Gear Reviews on F.I.S. are from the heart. We go through a lot of gear here, and figure some of you might like to know how it holds up. Look for reviews on items both directly and indirectly related to skiing and mountain adventure. Use our reviews to find out what works, what doesn't, and what you didn't even know you need. Got an idea for a review? Contact us!

Booster Strap Not Standard – This is sold as a top of the line freeride boot from a major manufacturer. I really think it would have been a big improvement to add a Booster strap at the factory. The Booster strap I added dramatically improved the feel of the boot, and I think that a lot of users will be adding one down the road anyway. Had one been shipped with the boots it would have saved a step and a little money for the end user (Dynafit can buy in bulk).

Walk mode – I had my walk mechanism fail on me twice, the first time I had the boots replaced just before I flew to India, the second time (in Kashmir) I was forced to make my own fix. I don’t care if adds weight, this boot, like all AT boots NEEDS a field replaceable walk mode (think Factor, but actually good).

Metal on metal boot sole screws – Sure, you can swap the soles on these boots, but when you actually go to do it, you’ll be appalled to find that the way they attach is with screws that bite directly into plastic. I was originally excited to be able to swap soles regularly, now however, I’m only going to do it when I wear out the tread on these AT soles for fear that I’ll trash the plastic threads in the shell and ruin my $750 boots. Maybe they hold up well to repeated swaps, but it didn’t look like it to me and I wasn’t willing to try. A threaded metal insert would probably solve this problem.

Gap between toe and heel blocks – Try rock scrambling in these boots, it isn’t fun. Sure the rubber is plenty sticky and the tread is good, but there is a huge gap under the ball of the foot where only hard plastic is present. If Dynafit could add a bit of rubber there, any anyone doing long dry-land approaches will be safer and happier in these boots. I’m sure Dynafit had some reasoning behind their design choice here, but in my experience, I found it to be very frustrating if not dangerous. One other thing worth mentioning, if you plan to use these boots in a Duke or Baron regularly, you’ll want to use the alpine soles. I think that this is a problem on Markers end, not Dynafits, but the heel throws slam down with such force that they chew up the AT heels (which are taller than the alpine heels).

Warm weather performance – These boots are rocks during the winter, seriously, leave them out in some cold air (less than 20 F) and the shells can be hard to get into. Try skiing them in warm weather though and it’s a totally different experience: the plastic they used turns rubbery and rather than driving power into the ski, they flex uselessly forward. Are they still better than any other AT boot I’ve skied? Certainly, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t still a problem. I, and many others, do a lot of skiing in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and I’d love it if this boot were able to retain its wonderfully stiff flex through the warm months. Dynafit has experience adding carbon fiber (a non-temperature sensitive material) to it’s Zzero4 boots to increase stiffness and drop a little weight, perhaps adding some to the Titans upper cuff could have produced similar results.

Plastic Cracking – I’m the only one I know of who’s had this problem, so I put it at the bottom, but it’s very very annoying. Salewa has offered to replace my boots under warranty (for a second time now), and I will likely take them up on their offer in the near future. Though I commend them for standing behind their product and being very responsive, I am not looking forward to spending my own money on the shell punch, and thermo-mold process again.

Overall, I’d give these boots a B+. They were the top performer in their category (stiff touring boots) last year when I bought them, and I believe that they’re still near the top, if not at the top. I love them, and despite the issues I’ve had with them, I’m going to continue to ski them this season. The minor problems I’ve hi-lighted above are a little annoying, but in the grand scheme of things, I think this boot is a great value, and certainly well worth the money. In summary: if you’re looking for a boot for both resort and backcountry skiing, or simply a very powerful backcountry ski boot, look into the Titans.

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  1. Comet Jo
    wrote on September 21st, 2010 at 8:05 am  

    What’s the fit like? I ask because I’ve read both that its wide and that its very narrow. Hoping for the former, which seems to be tough to find in an AT boot.

    • Sam
      wrote on September 21st, 2010 at 12:38 pm  

      Dynafit has a pretty narrow last, I’ll have to look it up specifically, but off the top of my head I seem to remember reading 102mm at a 27. I have a wider foot myself, so to tweak the fit I did a number of things.

      First I got custom cork footbeds, they’re pricy, but for someone with very flexible feet (my arches collapse a lot and my toes spread when weighted) they do a lot to control foot motion in the boot and help force into the ski rather than into my collapsing arch. You’ll want some type of footbed regardless of your foot type though. Next, I molded the liners wearing a very thick toe cap, and with a pad taped to my pinky to create more toe room. Finally, after skiing the boots and determining where the pressure points were, I had shells punched out. The polyurethane shells are pretty thick and can offer a good boot fitter enough material to work with.

      So in short they’re narrow, but as long as your foot isn’t super wide they can be made to work. I don’t know where you’re located, but I’d find the best boot-fitter within 100 miles and have them measure your foot and then talk strategy with them. If you’re on the EC and want the best around, I’d seriously recommend race-stock sports in Waterbury VT.

  2. Beef Wellington III
    wrote on September 21st, 2010 at 6:41 pm  

    Thanks for the excellent write up!

  3. Comet Jo
    wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:37 am  

    Sam, thanks for the detailed discussion of fit–it’s especially useful since it sounds like we have similarly shaped feet. Race-Stock sports eh? I was actually planning to go to Alpine Options, just down the road from them in Warren. I spent a bunch of time with them last winter trying to get a pair of Spirit 4s to work, and while we didn’t succeed, they certainly seemed like they knew what they’re doing (they are even listed on the bootfitter.com guide). When I last talked to them the owner said I should try the new Salomon Quests, which he’d seen at a trade show, but it looks like that’s not happening (see here)

    • Sam
      wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:53 pm  

      Jo, I’m glad you didn’t end up with the Quests. As for Alpine Options, I have no personal experience with them, so I can’t speak to their service. Regarding race stock though, I think the shop is pretty widely regarded as one of the best in the country, people literally fly in to get their race boots fit there. It’s not a touring shop (at least that’s not the focus), but if you’re in need of some boot magic, I think it’s the best option in the NE.

    • Beef Wellington III
      wrote on September 25th, 2010 at 6:56 pm  

      Wow, those Solomon boots look like a bad bet, Comet Jo. Thanks for enlightening us!

  4. Comet Jo
    wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:38 am  

    Not sure how it happened that way, but if you click on the closing parenthesis above, you get the link to the thread on the failure of the Salomon quests that I tried to link to…

    • Greg
      wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 8:23 am  

      hey Comet Jo

      something got screwed up in the html syntax on our end. just fixed it. thanks for contributing to the discussion!

  5. Comet Jo
    wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 7:43 am  

    oh, and that’s the bootfitters dot com site, with an “s”

  6. mortimer
    wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:43 pm  

    I’m interested to hear how the titans ski compared to your krypton pros, both in and out of bounds.

    • Sam
      wrote on September 22nd, 2010 at 1:06 pm  

      So to start with, and in all fairness to Dalbello, this won’t be an apples to apples comparison, so please keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that through some fault of my own, I ended up in a pair of kryptons that was at least a size too big. They fit well at first, but ended up packing out quickly, leading to lots of slop, which greatly colored my opinion of how they skied and partially led to me just cannibalizing the tongues from them for use on spirit 3’s.

      So, In bounds – The krypton’s were noticeably taller and heavier than the titans. The height was nice, I felt that it might have given me a little more control, but the weight was unbearable. I tour a lot, and the kryptons pretty much ended up just sitting on a shelf for the last two years collecting dust because they were too heavy and awkward to use. In bounds they were ok, but the weight was still awkward. I’m not a huge guy, so i’ve found that the lighter the setup, the better I seem to do. I ended up just pulling the stiff tongue off the Kryptons and using them on my spirit 3’s for 90% of my skiing (including in bounds) until I bought the titans. The Kryptons only saw use when I was on big heavy skis mounted with alpine bindings. Once I got the Titans, the Kryptons never saw another day of use.

      OB- No contest, In every way the titan is a far better boot, but as I said earlier, this isn’t apples to apples. Dalbello wasn’t designing a touring boot when they created the Krypton, so I can’t really fault it’s lack of tour-ability.

      I hope that answered some of your questions, let me know if I missed something.

  7. Scotty
    wrote on February 21st, 2011 at 10:53 pm  

    Hey Sam,

    Thanks for the write up! Just took my new titans out for the first time this weekend and busted the walk lever. Landed kinda backseat after about a ten foot drop and the cuff rotated all the way back even to the point of the bottom black plastic bulging out from underneath the ankle buckles. Now it wont lock at all which makes any real skiing rather impossible. How easy were they to get fixed/replaced? You mentioned that yours have failed you twice now, is there anything you have found to help this problem?

    Thanks again!

    • Sam
      wrote on February 23rd, 2011 at 8:25 pm  

      I would contact dynafit customer service through their website and email pictures of your problem if possible.

  8. simoncbs
    wrote on October 30th, 2011 at 2:39 pm  

    As I understand it (though I may be wrong), the difference in flex you describe between cold and warm weather is due to the boots being made from PU – soft when warm and stiff when cold and also more likely to crack, as you also experienced. I was disappointed when I first read that these boots were made from PU, as the best boots seem to always be made from Pebax, which is far more consistent in temperature variations, and both stronger and lighter.
    Maybe compromising on materials was the only way to competitively price such an awesome bundle of features.
    But despite this, they are truly great boots – they fit my narrow feet perfectly.
    Cheers, Simon

  9. rangerjake
    wrote on October 31st, 2011 at 10:48 pm  

    I am on my third pair of Titans in 3 years (one sold, one warrantied) and I am in much agreement with the review. The boots ski fantastic and offer what I find to be the best of many worlds in regard to cuff movement, weight/stiffness, customer service, and versatility.

    As for my critiques, I don’t like the liner very much. It is really heavy, and for a moldable liner it gets 1-2 molds before losing rebound.

    I also have busted the walk mode. Dynafit sent me the instructions to fix it, and the instructions involved an awkward manipulation of the lower shell spoiler which in turn cracked (like in your photo). At that point I was just about en route to Colorado for a month, so I stopped and Boulder and traded in for new boots.

    I am in total agreement about the screws into plastic, and I stopped swapping soles as well.

    But their customer service is second to none, and I am hard on lots of gear and have to warranty something seemingly every year, so I would not say the product is poor quality. Just that I am a gear thrashing mongrel with more grit than technique.

    It is interesting to read a few of the above posts yearning for a little carbon here, and some pebax there. Enter the Titan UL (ultralight). Have done some in shop wearing of the boots and I just am not too impressed. Carbon is minimal, and the pebax does not hold that alpine overlap very well. The boot has a greater propensity to “oil can” with a bit of a stiffer upper than lower shell. I do look forward to some demoing of the Titan UL to see how my initial skepticism lines up with performance. But when one loves the Titans like I do, why switch?

  10. Morgan
    wrote on December 11th, 2011 at 12:58 pm  

    thanks for the review.

    what is your normal street shoe size, and can you say what size you wear in the BD Factors or other boots just for comparison?

    Trying to gauge where these fit in, I wear a snug 27.5 in Factor 130s and Garmont boots, with a street shoe size 10


  11. Alan
    wrote on December 25th, 2011 at 6:46 pm  

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for the write up!
    I’m getting some booster straps for the first time. Do you suggest putting the strap btwn the liner and shell like the manufacture suggests? Or do you put it on the out sided of the shell?

    Thanks man!

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