2017 Brand Profile

No other boot brand has done more with the 3-piece, external-tongue shell design than Dalbello. Dalbello didn’t just copy the Raichle design they adopted; they improved on it. They optimized its performance properties by playing up its strengths: a stout spine and sidewall construction extending from the lower shell; correct pivot location, a key element in this design’s successful execution; and a ribbed external tongue to manage flex and forward energy transmission.

From a performance standpoint, the brilliance of the 3-piece “cabrio” design is the way it blends lightning lateral reaction with a progressive flex that’s well suited to handling the shocks of off-piste skiing at speed. If this doesn’t sound like your kind of skiing, fear not: Dalbello makes several very different flavors using the 3-piece shell as the foundation, from super cushy ladies’ slippers to rugged Alpine Touring iterations, in fits that range from tugboat wide to daringly close-fitting.

Dalbello would have a complete collection if they stopped there, but they also have an end-to-end line-up of four-buckle overlap shells for all-mountain skiing, a race boot series and a catalog of kids’ boots that sell like candy. The overall line accommodates so many foot shapes in so many different shell structures, it’s meaningless to say, “I like how Dalbellos fit.” With Dalbello, you have to be very specific about which shell and liner combo intrigues you, for they cover so many distinctively different fit environments and performance attributes.

In 2017, almost every model in the line will incorporate some degree of customization. The majority feature MyFit, Dalbello’s umbrella term for boots that include among their attributes a heat-moldable shell. (Note that any polyamide (PA) external tongue won’t be affected by heating, which is as it should be.) Any MyFit shell includes either a partially moldable inner boot (Instant Fit) or a 100% moldable EVA liner (Intuition Dalbello).

Dalbello’s take on heat molding is that it’s a fallback position when its already well-mapped boots aren’t comfortable right off the shelf, but it never hurts to cook shells and liners a tad to accelerate break-in and ensure a blissful first day. The MyFit package of heatable shells and liners are found across the high end of Dalbello’s 2-piece, four buckle boots and its signature 3-piece, 3-buckle cabrio models.

The most significantly altered shell in the 2017 Dalbello stable belongs to its 98mm, 4-buckle DRS race boots and their DMS clones. The basic stance geometry is patterned on the DRS World Cup (93mm), with a slightly less athletic stance but otherwise the real deal with a monoblock lower shell. The entire shell and liner of all DRS and DMS models are heat moldable. Women get their own narrow boot, the DMS W 100, with a Thinsulate liner for extra insulation.

Two other new models bear mention, the Avanti AX 120, a wide (103mm) version of the standard, medium Avanti 120, and the Lupo Carbon T.I., an unadulterated hiking version of the Lupo 130 T.I. in a Grilamid shell.

Many 2017 models with regular DIN replaceable toe and heel pads can be retro-fit with a heavy-tread, rockered WalkGrip sole that meets the ISO standard for AT boots, making it easier to walk even if you’re not an actual hiker.