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Dynafit Mezzalama Review

This is the "speed touring" boot that many have been looking for for a few years
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review
Credit: Dynafit
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $800 List
Manufacturer:   Dynafit
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 2, 2022
64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 16
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 4.0
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 9.0
  • Weight - 20% 9.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 10% 7.0
  • Warmth - 10% 3.0
  • Ease of Use - 5% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Dynafit Mezzalama is a real step up from skimo race boots but much more friendly on the uphill and through transitions than many current lightweight all-around touring boots on the market. About 6 years ago, a product entered this niche and converted tons of users. That product has since been discontinued, leaving a vacuum. We have been looking, and the Mezzalama is finally a suitable replacement. If you want light, fast boots for high-tempo skiing on all-around backcountry skis, the Mezzalama is what we recommend. There are some quirks and notable durability concerns that we address below.
REASONS TO BUY
Light
Nimble
Great range of motion
One move transition
REASONS TO AVOID
Thin liner is cold
Limited downhill ski performance
Closure string degrades

Compare to Similar Products

 
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review
This Product
Dynafit Mezzalama
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $800 List
$799.95 at Amazon
$481.92 at Evo
Compare at 3 sellers
$900 List
$899.00 at REI
$850 List
$849.00 at REI
$680 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Light, nimble, great range of motion, one move transitionExcellent downhill performance, lightweight, proven styleLight, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flexBalanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fitWell balanced performance, easy on and off
Cons Thin liner is cold, limited downhill ski performance, closure string degradesModerate insulation, hard to get in and out ofCold, finicky transitionsSki/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versionsNeutral fit is both a pro and a con, flimsy liner
Bottom Line This is the "speed touring" boot that many have been looking for for a few yearsWhether a newcomer adjusting from the resort or a seasoned expert gunning for 100+ backcountry days a season, here is a top of the line shoe contenderBalanced, all-around ski touring boots that lean in the light-and-fast direction; these are optimized, probably, for what you like about the mountainsProven ski boots with modern updates and an overall performance profile that is optimized for the majority of bc riders; if you have high volume feet, even betterA solid, well-balanced touring boot that emphasizes your downhill experience while still allowing most touring paces and giving freedom of motion for mild technical ascending
Rating Categories Dynafit Mezzalama Tecnica Zero G Tour... Scarpa F1 LT Scarpa Maestrale RS La Sportiva Vega
Downhill Performance (35%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Uphill Performance (20%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
9.0
5.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Comfort and Fit (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Warmth (10%)
3.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
Ease of Use (5%)
7.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Dynafit Mezzalama Tecnica Zero G Tour... Scarpa F1 LT Scarpa Maestrale RS La Sportiva Vega
Weight size 26.5, pair 4 lbs 8 oz 6 lbs 0 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 6 lbs 5 oz 6 lbs 8 oz
Weight of one boot shell 0772 g 1119 g 0809 g 1180 g 1220 g
Weight of one stock liner, no footbed 244 g 204 g 214 g 252 g 253 g
Weight of one complete boot, no insole 1016 g 1323 g 1023 g 1432 g 1473 g
Range of Motion; degrees 65 55 72 60 60
Binding Compatibility? Tech only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR Tech only Tech and DIN AT Tech only Tech and DIN AT Tech and DIN AT
Stated Flex Index Not reported 130 95 125 115
Stated Last width 99 mm 99 mm 102 mm 101 mm 102.5mm
Alpine wrap or Tongue Tongue Wrap Tongue Tongue Tongue
Shell material Grilamid with carbon fibers Grilamid Grilamid, Carbon Core Carbon Grilamid Grilamid

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Dynafit Mezzalama would seem to exist in a crowded space with other boots around this weight point. The "1-Kilo" boot options are indeed expanding. But weight only tells part of the story. Weight, it turns out, is a good proxy for downhill ski performance. There are certainly differences, but the boots that we've used that weigh around 1000 grams all ski pretty similarly. However, weight doesn't tell everything about the uphill performance. As compared to other boots that weigh about the same, the Mezzalama transitions and climbs significantly better.

Performance Comparison



dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - this might be the boot you have been looking for. many of you got...
This might be the boot you have been looking for. Many of you got hooked on fast transitions and nimble footwork only to have the best model on the market pulled from shelves. The Dynafit Mezzalama fills that vacuum.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Uphill Performance


The Mezzalama tours very well. The cuff range of motion is huge. Even more importantly, within that range, the friction is very low. It isn't quite in the realm of skimo race boots, but it is way better than other currently available touring boots. Now, Dynafit sells this as a race boot of sorts, but they also mention its potential further afield. It is that further afield function that we are speaking up for here. As compared to boots that really are suitable for long days on bigger skis in varied snow, the Mezzalama is an amazing tourer.


Part of the great touring performance can be attributed to the close fit of the Mezzalama. We will get into the other pros and cons of this close fit and associated thin liner but let us comment on the touring impacts of a low profile boot. Picture technical climbing in your ski boots. It is easy to see how a smaller boot would climb technical terrain better. Not all skiers are tackling steep rock and ice climbing in their ski boots, but every normal step benefits from that nimble feeling.

Weight


We tested the Mezzalama in size 27. As it turns out, we could have downsized to 26 and been happy. At shell size 27 the Mezzalama weighs 1016 grams per boot. That's 2032 grams or four pounds eight ounces for the pair. Of the 1016 grams per boot, 244 grams are in the liner and the shell weighs 772 grams. 244 grams is pretty heavy for a thin ski boot liner. Much bulkier boots have liners that weigh similar. If one could source a very thin, stiff foam liner that liner might chop 50-80 grams off the weight of the Mezzalama. But, then, maybe you wouldn't have the same free-wheeling touring mode.


By overall weight, the Mezzalama is nothing special. About a third of our tested boots have a single boot weight within a few dozen grams of this mark. If you know you will replace the liner (and so many now do, as a matter of habit. Whether that choice is truly warranted or not) the weight of a boot shell is more important. Because of the relatively heavy liner mentioned above, the Mezzalama shell weight sets it further apart. Some of the boots that are close in overall weight are over one hundred grams heavier when comparing just the shell. All this weight-analysis is useful and important, but, as we note above, it isn't the whole story when it comes to touring performance. Of the hand full of 1-Kilo boots that we have tested, the Mezzalama is definitely the best tourer.
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - fast footwork in nimble, low profile, light dynafit mezzalama. the...
Fast footwork in nimble, low profile, light Dynafit Mezzalama. The dextrous touring mode and fast transition earn it our specialized recommendation.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Downhill Performance


They go better downhill than you would think. Our test team used them for skiing 50 degree ice and for high speed powder blasting on 100mm plus skis. There's an adjustment period, to be sure. However, if you remember just how great they go uphill you will be more than willing to make that adjustment. All lightweight ski boots demand centered, "modern" ski technique. You are not going to very well pressure the forward part of the ski. You are definitely not going to do well with sloppy, lunging turns and "back seat" skiing will be immediately punished. If you have well-developed ski technique (and improving that is definitely worth your time, no matter what your current ski ability is) you will readily adjust to the Dynafit Mezzalama.


Let's compare to other boots in this weight class. First, we haven't skied every available boot in this weight range. Notably, new boots with great promise and promotion are constantly entering the fray. That said, the Mezzalama is certainly the best of the otherwise unheralded options. Some boots that weigh the same ski slightly better but some ski much worse. We will keep testing and comparing. Way below we also make specific comparisons in which we "name names".
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - racing sunrise to the top of glory mountain in the dynafit mezzalama...
Racing sunrise to the top of Glory Mountain in the Dynafit Mezzalama and appropriately paired skis. They ski down, even in tough snow, better than most would first guess.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Comfort and Fit


The Mezzalama has a neutral fit. The thin liner and shell materials aren't too conducive to extensive boot work. If you have especially wide feet you will want to look at something with more space and more ability to work on the shell. Narrow feet can downsize their Mezzalama and likely make some room in the toe box as needed.


They need to be fit pretty closely to really ski downhill well. This is the same as for any lightweight boots. As noted above, we mistakenly tested a boot that was a little too big for our test team. All that used it, though, found it to still ski pretty well. We have done some extrapolation but also report on exactly what we tested. When we extrapolate we can tell that the Mezzalama would definitely ski better in a size down for us.
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - the lower shell of the dynafit mezzalama is close fitting and low...
The lower shell of the Dynafit Mezzalama is close fitting and low profile.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Warmth


Here is the greatest liability of the close fit and thin materials required of light ski boots. They don't insulate as well. There has got to be a way to get the shell close to one's foot while also adding insulation on the outside. There are aftermarket products for this, but we are talking about something more elegantly integrated.


Use your Dynafit Mezzalama boots carefully in cold conditions. On cold day trips you are relying on perpetual motion and the ability to glide down and back to a warm car. Push the limits of terrain, temperature, and/or mobility in boots like this and you could pay the price with cold injured feet. Certainly more likely than with sturdier boots.
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - ski this sort of terrain with the mezzalama with proper respect...
Ski this sort of terrain with the Mezzalama with proper respect given to the seriousness of being caught out in such lightly insulting boots.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Ease of Use


Touring mode efficiency plus ease of use are what set the Dynafit Mezzalama apart from close competitors and earn it our Top Pick award. The important ease of use attribute to us is the "one move" ski-walk mode transition. Just like with skimo race boots the skier, after initial setup and daily donning of the boots, flips one lever at every down/up and up/down transition. No other boot in our test in this weight class that skis this well has such a one-move transition.


The upper cuff closes with the aforementioned lever actuating a string cinch. That string is some sort of sturdy aramid core covered with a nylon sheath. Almost immediately the sheath tore off on both boots. We acquired replacement cord (this stuff is way sturdier than what the boot comes with), performed the replacement on one boot, and cut a piece for the other boot to carry in the field. We went on to test the remainder of the season (over a dozen days, each with multiple transitions) without fully failing the original string. The degradation of the string sheath is not confidence inspiring, but the integrity remains intact over a meaningful time period. Of course, we wish nothing about the boots would fail, but nothing is perfect.
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - on the right, the stock string in grey and showing sheath damage. on...
On the right, the stock string in grey and showing sheath damage. On the left, the string we used (and that has shown no signs of wear after a dozen uses) in place of the original cord. To fit the fatter replacement string required some fiddling and the mildest of modifications.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Should you buy the Dynafit Mezzalama?


These are the speed touring ski boots you might have been looking for. Years ago now the now-discontinued Scarpa Alien RS got us all hooked on light boots that skied well, toured very well, and had a one-move ski/walk mode switch. Since its discontinuation, nothing has filled the same slot until now. The Mezzalama should be on your short list.
dynafit mezzalama backcountry ski boots review - the mezzalama, early in its test period, showing both strings in...
The Mezzalama, early in its test period, showing both strings in initial failure of their sheath.
Credit: Jediah Porter

What Other Backcountry Ski Boots Should You Consider?


What else is on your short list? First, there are two major manufacturers promoting upcoming boots that are in this same weight class. We will be sure to get on them as soon as possible. In the meantime, the Mezzalama is now a proven, viable contestant. It should be compared to the Scarpa F1 LT, the Dalbello Quantum Asolo Factory, and the Fischer Travers RS, among others. All of these weigh very close to 1000 grams. First, it tours better than all of these. It is more nimble with a more free cuff pivot. Next, only the Dalbello also has a "one move" transition. Finally, how about rough comparison of downhill ski performance? The Mezzalama is better than the Dalbello, close to the Fischer, and not as good as the F1 LT.

Jediah Porter
 
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