Expert Review: Dynafit Radical Pro Ski BootsPublished on 06/23/2022 · 12 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the boots, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
All photos courtesy of Luke Hinz
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the boots, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
The Dynafit Radical Pro is a savvy, efficient, and do-it-all touring boot for advanced and expert backcountry enthusiasts searching for a light and comfortable boot on the uphill that sacrifices nothing on the downhill.
About the gear
- Model: Dynafit Radical Pro 2022
- Size: 29.5
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Street shoe size: Mens 12
- Experience: 25+ years
- When I bought these: February 2022
- Days tested: 2
- Skis: Blizzard Zero G 105
- Bindings: Armada Tracer Tourlite
- Where I’ve used it: Utah backcountry
- Terrain: Trees, Steeps, Powder
How it performs
What I was looking for
I spend the vast majority of my ski days every winter earning my turns, which usually translates to long hours of slogging uphill in ski boots. As an ex-racer, I have been unwilling to sacrifice downhill performance for a more lightweight, uphill-friendly touring boot, and instead have continued to cling to stiff, aggressive hybrid resort/touring boots for backcountry. But after another season of uncomfortable feet and struggling to keep up with my backcountry partners, I decided it was time for a more well-rounded touring boot.
Why I chose this gear
Dynafit has earned a solid reputation in the touring/ski mountaineering arena for producing innovative and high-quality gear, but for a long time, much of their product was aimed at skiers and mountaineers clamoring for lighter gear for the uphill, which didn’t really fit what I was looking for. Dynafit has produced softer versions of the Radical for several years now, but there was common consensus across the industry that it was always just missing the mark: too heavy, not enough downhill performance, etc. Then, for 2022, Dynafit released the Radical Pro with much fanfare, and everyone claimed that Dynafit had finally broken through; so I wanted to give it a go.
What I love about it
- Accuracy of Claimed Stiffness: Ski boot flex ratings have an almost ethereal quality in the ski industry: one brand’s idea of a 120 flex boot can be very different from another brand’s 120 flex boot. Even worse for all us skiers is that there is no one regulating it whatsoever. So when a lightweight touring boot claims anything from 120 and above, I am immediately skeptical. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Radical Pro boasts a fairly robust cuff that easily stood up to the force I was exerting on it during turns. For such a light boot that walks uphill so well, it is also stiff and allows me to ski aggressively. I have also skied the infamous Hoji Free 130, and I will note that the Radical Pro feels significantly softer and more forgiving than the Hoji, so either the Radical Pro is not a true 120, or the Hoji’s stiffness is off the charts. Either way, I still found the Radical Pro’s stiffness confidence-inspiring.
- Accuracy of Claimed Fit: I tried the Radical Pro in a 29.5 and it felt very true to size. I wear a Mens 12 shoe and my feet felt secure inside the shell. One of the standout factors of the Radical Pro is the overly wide last at 103 mm. Most touring boots don’t really factor in the various different shapes of human feet and often require a healthy amount of post-purchase modification. Not so with the Radical Pro. This is one of the roomiest toe boxes on the market and gives me plenty of space to wriggle my toes, curl my toes, and even play ‘This Little Pig Went to Market’, when I’m feeling so inclined.
- Comfort: The Radical Pro is marketed toward the mass touring crowd and that certainly shines through in the comfort and design of the boot. There were massive complaints about the old Radical’s ankle pocket being very constricting and painful, so for the new Pro, Dynafit molded out the ankle pocket for a more voluminous fit that holds my ankle securely in place. They also fit the Radical Pro with a fully heat-moldable liner, allowing the skier to customize the liner to their exact feet. The Radical Pro proved to be very comfy while hiking uphill for hours on end. For once, I never gave my feet any thought while in the backcountry, which is an experience I have never faced.
- Flex: The flex on the Radical Pro is impressively progressive and smooth. A myriad of touring boots, as well as the Radical Pro, are built with Grilamid, a plastic known for its impressive weight-to-strength ratio, as opposed to other plastics used in resort-style boots. But Grilamid can also be quite fickle; it has proven to be less durable and often does not provide a very linear or progressive flex. To combat this, Dynafit overlaid the Grilamid cuff with glass fibers to strengthen it, and it works shockingly well. The tongue and cuff on the Radical Pro feel light and almost flimsy compared to a resort boot, but the flex feels powerful and uniform through turns. I was able to drive my ski smoothly both in powder and over ice, and it felt really good to drive a touring boot as if it was almost a resort boot.
- Weight: Again, Dynafit has always been on the forefront of pushing innovation in touring and mountaineering, and it shows up in the Radical Pro’s dumbfounding area on the weight spectrum. Weighing in at 1450 g in size 27, the Radical really does punch far above its weight for how well it skis.
- Ease of use: One of my favorite aspects of the Radical Pro is how easy it is to put on and take off. Dynafit utilized the Cabrio 3-piece design for the Radical, meaning it includes a shell, cuff, and a separate tongue. Although the tongue is one long, solid piece, it hinges right up near the toe, meaning I can completely move it out of the way of my foot when stepping in and then promptly prop it back in place. The design works, because slipping into the Radical Pro is akin to slipping into my bedtime slippers—pop the tongue open, slip foot in, pop tongue back closed, then reverse order for the exit. It's that easy and painless, and is a backcountry skier's dream when returning to the parking lot after a long day of hiking. That being said, it did take a bit of time to get used to the Hoji Walk Mode features, which are quite unique. But once I got the hang of it, as I will explain further below, it was oh-so-worth it.
- Backcountry: This boot absolutely thrives in the backcountry. It’s light, it’s comfortable, and it has an amazing walk mode that makes it perfect for stringing together pow laps in my favorite backcountry stash. When I first skied the Radical Pro in the backcountry, after so many years of suffering through either painful, stiff boots or comfortable, weak boots, I really felt I had reached some higher level of consciousness. They perform that well in the backcountry.
- Walk mode: This is where the Radical Pro really stands out amongst the competition. The Radical was constructed with the Hoji Walk Mode, named after its creator, ski phenom Eric Hjorleifson. Simply put, the Walk Mode is designed to switch the boot from walk mode to ski mode with the simple flip of an external lever on the rear of the boot, and it's actually quite ingenious. The upper buckle on the cuff and the powerstrap are all connected to the lever, so they all move as one. What it translates to is this: at the beginning of my ski day, with the boot in ski mode, I step into the Radical Pro and buckle my boots as if I was about to ski down. Once everything is as tight as I like it, I flip the lever to walk mode, and it releases not only the top cuff for 60 degrees of rotation, but it also releases the tension on the top buckle and the powerstrap for a full range of motion in my ankle. Once up top, a simple flip of the lever back to ski mode not only locks the cuff in place, but tightens the buckle and powerstrap without me having to do anything. In terms of time and ease, being able to flip from walk mode to ski mode with one simple motion is a game-changer. I have stood by, ready to ski down, and silently watched partners fumble about as they buckle down the shell and readjust their straps on other boots such as the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro. It did take some trial-and-error to find out how tight I wanted the top buckle and powerstrap to ensure the best fit when I flip the switch, but now that I’ve got it dialed, I absolutely love the walk mode on the Radical Pro.
- Grip: Pomoca is a company known throughout the ski industry for its incredibly lightweight and sticky climbing skins for touring. However, Pomoca also made a name for themselves in the 1950s by manufacturing rubber soles for shoes—I had no idea! So Pomoca returned to its roots by teaming up with Dyanfit and constructing the hard rubber sole for the Radical Pro. The result is an ultra-grippy ski boot that just feels good. I really enjoyed walking around mountain ridges in the Radical Pro. I can confidently walk on rock and ice without fear of slipping. Even better, the rubber soles give the boot more of a ‘cushy’ feeling than a regular alpine sole—my feet feel like they in a plush shoe rather than a ski boot, and the rubber sole makes walking on hard surfaces a delight. Now I wish I had a Pomoca sole on all my shoes…
Issues I’ve encountered
- Resort: The prior iteration of the Radical had a ‘speed toe’ design, which was an ironic name because all it really involved was completely removing the toe from the boot altogether. Dynafit claimed it would make clicking into tech bindings way easier and provide a more natural stride when hiking. In short, it was a disaster, and to this day Dynafit will deny any knowledge of it if pressed. So for the new Radical Pro, Dynafit brought back the toe, then went a step further by conforming it to all MNC bindings, meaning the Radical can click into a large volume of resort bindings—which is pretty rad. Even so, the Radical Pro just doesn’t quite reach the lofty stability and confidence found in a resort ski. The cuff still exhibits some elasticity that I would rather not feel on a high-speed groomer and the boot does not quite stand up to a stiff resort ski with metal construction. But for someone who likes to make shorter, more controlled turns in the resort, the Radical Pro could work as both a resort boot and a backcountry boot.
- Park: A boot like the Radical Pro has too many delicate moving parts that would not do well getting banged around in the park. Plus, the Grilamid material would quickly be used and abused in such a high-octane environment.
- Durability: The durability of the Radical Pro has become a hot topic, and not where I thought it would be. Initially, the many moving parts of the Hoji Walk Mode scared me—there were just too many connections, too many cables, too many points of failure, and if one went down, the whole system went down. But the Hoji Walk Mode proved to be surprisingly resilient. Instead, the liners have become an issue, and I have heard about it from several Radical Pro Owners. After a very short amount of use, the Radical Liners have already begun to wear and tear on the cuff and are starting to show signs of potential holes in the toe area. I have inferred about this with other owners, and they all showed me the same wear and tear in their liners. I am confident it will be covered by warranty, but it is still a bit frustrating considering these are not cheap boots. The outer shell, meanwhile, has held up incredibly well to abuse.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this boot was when I was first touring uphill in the backcountry with them on. I vividly remember looking at my partner and saying to him, “Oh. So this is what walk-mode in a touring boot is supposed to feel like!”
Value for the money vs. other options
The Dynafit Radical Pro is not a cheap boot by any means, but it sits very neatly with other touring boots of similar value on the market, such as the Scarpa Maestrale RS. That being said, I would argue that the Hoji Walk Mode on the Radical makes it a much better value than the Maestrale. Also, why the Radical does suffer from poor durability in the liner, I have seen firsthand many instances in the field where the Meastrale has suffered catastrophic breaks in both buckles and in the shell.
The Dynafit Radical Pro is arguably the end-all, be-all touring boot with an incredible combination of both performance and comfort in a hard-charging boot. With its incredibly comfy and roomy 103 mm last, the nifty walk mode, and a stiff and progressive 120 flex, the Radical will satiate a wide variety of skiers, from the most intense ski mountaineer all the way to the new and burgeoning backcountry enthusiast.