I recently had the pleasure of testing out next year’s Dalbello AX 120 boots and, let me tell you, these things rule. Brand-new for 2017-18, the three-piece boot strikes a great balance between touring and freeride prowess, thanks to a variety of well-thought-out technologies. On one side of the spectrum, they’re lightweight (1500 grams/boot) and boast a 67-degree range of motion in walk mode (with an easy-to-use walk-mode lever)—ideal for the up. On the other side, they’re burly enough to really send it downhill; as part of the Lupo family, these are built to perform on big-boy terrain, aided by a solid 120 flex.
A huge detail to know about this boot is that it has a 100-mm last, opposed to the 98-mm last Dalbello often leans towards. And as a guy with a wide foot who doesn’t quite fit into a 98-mm boot, the 100-mm model hits the sweet spot. In addition to that width, a feature I absolutely love about these is the roomy toe box; there’s plenty of space to stay comfortable both on the up and on the down. That fit also helps with blood circulation—something all skiers should know is really important. Building on that comfort is the customizable, heat-moldable “MY Liner,” which held my feet, ankles and shins in place like a well-wrapped burrito, while also boasting fantastic shock-absorption.
If you’re wondering whether these boots are compatible with your bindings or not, the answer is yes, as long as your bindings are GripWalk-friendly (almost all bindings these days). They offer tech inserts, but also fit into a traditional alpine binding no problem. So whether you’re rocking a tech binding, framed touring binding or normal alpine binding, you’re good to go (again, as long as they’re GripWalk-friendly). I’ve found this incredibly useful, as I have various ski/binding setups and am not very keen on switching out toe pieces every time I go skiing. Off the hill, or when trudging through the backcountry on foot, those GripWalk soles are absolutely money.
For a skier like me who enjoys touring but also spends a ton of time just nuking down resorts, this is a total dream boot. It’s light and technical enough to enjoy on the uphill, but badass enough to confidently shred downhill on any terrain. All in all, it’s a great product—which is why it won a “FREESKIER Best of Show” award at the Snowsports Industries America Tradeshow in January and has continued to impress us ever since. Look out for the Dalbello AX 120 come fall 2017 and, for the time being, browse through more FREESKIER gear reviews here. — Connor W. Davis, Online Editor
Note: This boot will be available in a women’s version, too, dubbed the Lupo AX 110 W.