I reviewed the Dalbello Virus Tour ID Alpine Touring Boots a few seasons back. Those boots had treated me very well, and I was eager to see what was new from Dalbello this season. Dalbello has refined the Virus Tour ID boots (which are no longer being produced) into the new Sherpa Line. This new line is comprised of three boots: the Dalbello Sherpa 2/8, the Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 and the Dalbello Sherpa 7/3. What do all the numbers at the end mean? These signify the ratio of touring to resort skiing that the boots are designed for. This review describes the Dalbello Sherpa 2/8 ID Alpine Touring Ski Boots which are designed for the skier who wants to ski the backcountry 20% and the resort 80%. The Sherpa 2/8 Boots have the same Cabrio three piece shell design with three buckles and split tongue as found on the earlier Virus Tour ID boots. This design combination simply works so why mess with it.
Start off with a few glamour shots.
The Dalbello Sherpa 2/8 ID Apline Touring Ski Boots are the heaviest boots in Dalbello's AT line up at 1912 grams per boot. Move up to the 5/5 and you have a weight savings of approximately 240 grams. Go up one more level to the 7/3 and you save a further 49 grams. This weight savings is primarily due to the switch from HEM Polyurethane construction to a lighter weight Pebax plastic. The lighter Intuition lace-up liner on the 5/5 and 7/3 save some weight over the beefier wrap around Intuition liner of the 2/8. The Cabrio three piece shell design is consistent with all of the Sherpa boots, as are the three buckles and split "bio-stride" tongue. Other than weight savings the only real differentiator is the inclusion of tech fittings on the 5/5 and 7/3 versions. Interestingly enough we learned at the 2013 SIA show in Denver that the Dalbello Sherpa 7/3 is not in the line up for the 2013/2014 season - only the 2/8 and 5/5.
Shell: Polyurethane Cabrio construction
Low cuff hinge for increased skinning mobility
Buckles: 3 micro adjustable Aluminum buckles
Soles: Vibram Sole with Quadrablock Stability Pylons and rockered geometry, lugged Vibram rubber outsole helps for walking on rocks
Ski/Walk Mode: Twin hinge ski/walk mechanism for extra long glide range
Cabrio Design: Glen Plake's design continues relatively unchanged in the Sherpa line and the Cabrio three piece shell is at the heart of it. Stiffer, more rigid plastics are used in the lower shell which increases the support around the foot and lower leg, and also helps reduce distortion as the boot flexes, making it more stable at high speeds. Shin bang is also reduced and the Cabrio design provides a more aggressive forward flex while still affording an easy on and off.
Bio-stride stride-double hinge tongue: A three piece hinging tongue design gives added flex to the rear when touring up steeper skin tracks and softens the boot for longer strides.
Dual Dynalink: This is Dalbello's rear foot closure system that works to hold your foot firm and keep your heel in place for a better fit. The middle buckle is placed over the arch of your forefoot to pull the foot down and back into the heel pocket of the Intuition liners. It also helps to limit the boot's shell distortion for better control and performance.
ID Thermo Pro Liners: These liners were developed jointly by Dalbello and Intuition Sports and are reported to be "the lightest, warmest and easiest to fit" according to Dalbello. While this is a hefty claim I can attest to the fact that after skiing in them for a few months these liners are in fact warm and easy to fit. The option to heat mould the liners greatly improves the fit for your foot as well as the fit of the liners to the shell.
I really love these boots for ripping the hill. The heel hold is great, thanks to the Intuition wrap liners. The simple three buckle design (with a decent walk mode) and a nice stiff shell (flex rating of 90) makes them amazing on the down. One main draw back, however, is no tech fittings. The Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 is essentially the same boot with the addition of the tech fittings, but lacks the Intuition wrap liners of the 2/8. These liners are definitely the way to go if you're skiing the hill the majority of the time, as there are no laces to tie up and they fit the Sherpa 2/8 nice and snug. Being conscious about weight I was hoping to review the Dalbello Sherpa 7/3 boots as they are the lightest of the Dalbello touring boots. However, after sinking my feet into the Sherpa 2/8's I am sold. These boots are a big improvement over the Dalbello Virus Tour ID Alpine Touring Boots we reviewed previously. There is much more room in the toe box, with better overall fit and heel hold. I give most of this credit to the Intuition wrap liners and of course our master boot fitter Rob of the ROAM shop here in Nelson BC.
Although the Sherpa 2/8's are designed for 20% touring / 80% resort, don't assume that these boots weren't made for walkin'. They are, just not in tech bindings unfortunately. After a few months of resort and backcountry skiing in the Dalbello Sherpa 2/8 Boots I think they should re-name these the 10/10's. They perform equally as well at the resort as they do outside the ropes. The walk mode is as generous as previous Dalbello boots, however they could use more flex at the front when in tour mode. They have a decent range overall, especially with the Bio-stride hinge feature activated, and are not overly heavy on your feet for the up. Given that they perform well in bounds you would be correct in assuming that they slay pow lines equally well out of bounds. The Sherpa 2/8's provide enough power to steer longer, wider, big mountain powder skis through deep powder, chop and crud. Bring it on!
I can not say enough good things about these boots and other than the lack of tech fittings (I will stop going on about this now). The only other area for improvement is the buckles. As with the buckles on the Dalbello Virus Tour ID Boots those on the Dalbello Sherpa 2/8 still suffer from not enough 'gription' for your gloves to easily open them. It is nice that they lie flat on the shell but some extra room to pry them open is desperately needed. While I'm griping about the buckles, it is worth noting that all of the buckles on the Sherpa line are reverse functioning. This means that the wire clasp is stationary and you move the notched end of the buckle itself. I prefer the traditional buckle design and am not sure why Dalbello would have reversed this, but it becomes a minor point after the first few buckle-ups. I am still a big fan of Dalbello Boots for resort and touring.. way to up the ante on this new offering!
Price: $650 CAN
Weight: 1912g / 4.2lbs (per boot)
Colours: Yellow / Black
Includes Tech Fittings: No
Forefoot Width: 100 mm
Number of Buckles: 3
Binding Compatibility: ISO Touring
Warranty: 1 Year
Great heel hold and fit, minimal buckles and no power strap. Plenty of flex in walk mode, big toe box and supper comfy Intuition wrap liners.
Bumble Bee colours, no tech fittings, buckle design is hard to open and reversed.
Cuff Rotation 2/2
Quality / Price 1.5/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.