The Dalbello Lupo TI ID Is a new boot from Dalbello that integrates Tech fittings into their popular free skiing boot, the Lupo. Working with a variety of skiers from their athlete team Dalbello has reworked their Lupo boot from last year to give it more backcountry versatility by adding rubber out soles and Tech Inserts.
As Dalbello puts it: “The ALL NEW LUPO TI (Tech Inserts) is geared for big mountain chargers who use Tech bindings and spend a significant amount of time skinning or hiking to find their lines. An ultra-burly cuff lock integrated into the Krypton design provides functional striding with the world’s best freeride boot.”
High traction, Hy-Grip rubber mid sole and replaceable toe and heel provide climbing security and durability. If the soles wear out you can replace them. With Dalbello's Contour 4 fit system, the Lupo TI ID boots fit great out of the box. The four common problem areas of boot fitting are addressed at the factory with shell and liner punches at the 5th metatarsal, heel, navicular, and ankle.
I have to say that I have a strong preference for 3 piece or Cabrio Construction ski boots. I have owned Dalbello's Krypton Pro for six seasons and I am still very happy. For an introduction to the three piece general design philosophy read this Full Tilt High Five review or study up on our previous reviews of the Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 AT Boots, the Dalbello Sherpa 2/8 ID Boots and the Dalbello Virus Tour ID Boots.
In my experience, I find 3 Piece boots to have a smooth flex, are easier to get into, and in Dalbello's Krypton and Lupo TI ID Boots, have an interchangeable tongue to dial in the right flex. To make the Lupo, Dalbello modified a few details on the Krypton Pro. They added a ski walk function, rockered soles with rubber out soles, and tech fittings. Even with the changes these boots skied surprisingly similar to my Krypton Pros. The fact of the matter is there is a portion of the ski community that ski tours with very heavy, downhill oriented equipment. They don't want to give up on performance and durability and are willing to sacrifice touring efficiency. I think that by giving this boot tech fittings, Dalbello has given a good level of versatility to the boot. It can be used as a resort boot, a boot for professionals that have both tech bindings and downhill bindings and want one boot to do both.
Lets take a 360° look shall we.
To create the walk mode the lower shell also has a large horn on the outside of the shell just above the heel pocket that the walk mode locks into. The locking mechanism itself is a chunk of aluminum on a pivot that locks into the “horn” on the lower shell. This is a very simple and robust locking system. Simply lean the boot forward and pull the large toggle to switch to walk mode. To enter ski mode you lean the boot forward and push the walk lever back down making sure it catches on the lip of the plastic horn. Unfortunately, changing modes is very difficult without being locked into a ski. The range of motion of this boot is barely adequate in comparison to many ski touring boots currently on the market but it is a noticeable difference from my Dalbello Krypton Pro's. I hope in future models, Dalbello can squeeze in a bit more range of motion in walk mode. I think the main draw towards this boot for this reviewer is that it is compatible with tech bindings. Some people will also like the replaceable rubber out soles on the toe block and heel. There is also the ability to purchase alpine binding compatible sole blocks as well. This will make for a boot that will have the ability to step into almost all touring and downhill binding types on the market.
Clips on the top buckle ladders let you stow the buckle when set loose during touring.
Lightweight buckles with micro adjustments, let you dial in perfect tension.
People who are not used to this 3 buckle design will be very surprised by how precise and powerful these boots ski. The lower portion of the boot does not deform like a classic alpine wrap, which ultimately maintains an optimum fit. The upper cuff is attached approximately 10cm lower than standard boot designs on the market. This lower hinging cuff permits the boot cuff to follow the natural movement of the skier's legs because it has a longer range of forward and back motion. The middle buckle is also attached on the upper cuff on the outside and the lower shell on the inside, preventing a change in fit when the boot is flexed. This maintains a locking heel hold throughout the flex of the boot.
As you can see in the image below, with the rrange tongues Installed this boot is both eye catching and has a very high performance 130 Flex. Most aggressive skiers will therefore find that they are happy with the stiffness and smooth natural flex of these boots. You'll also notice that the bottom buckle is reversed to prevent breakage during touring and accommodates freeride/freestyle behaviour.
The Intuition ID MAX Hike Liner is medium density Ultralon EVA 100% heat mouldable memory foam in the lower with a upper cuff wrap of higher density foam in the top cuff. This liner is quick drying, warm and provides excellent shock absorption. There is also a built in quick pull lacing system that helps with heel retention during a hike. The overlap liners give you smooth contact around the leg, more padding across the shin and more power than a tongued liner. You do lose cuff mobility for touring, but for this boot, these liners are a perfect match.The factory formed fit on these liners is good out of the box, but with the proper stack heater at a competent ski shop you can get an even more comfortable custom fit. Another reason to shop local. I swear by Intuition liners and I am glad to see more and more brands working with this Vancouver, BC based company to produce liners for their ski boots. Go Canada.
The rubber sole blocks are replaceable and the black portion of the grip is a harder material which gives a better transmission of energy and power to the ski.
The Lupo TI ID has non Dynafit standardized tech fittings which I found worked well with my G3 Ion bindings, but there was the occasional mis-step when trying to get into my bindings. The Dynafit Quickstep Inserts are easier to step into and are a more reliable standard with all the different Tech bindings on the market today.
- Three-piece Cabrio design
- Ski/hike switch
- Tech inserts
- I.D. Max Hike heat-moldable wrap-style liner
- Center-balanced Rocker stance
- Dynalink rearfoot retention and inverted forefoot buckle
- Canting, flex, and lean adjustment
- Interchangeable tongues
Here's a close up of the ski/walk mechanism, super beefy.
Overall, I really tried to love this boot because it does ski better than any touring boot I have owned before. However, since this is a backcountry skiing web site I have to acknowledge that it has huge short comings in its walk mode. If I could give bonus points for the way the Dalbello Lupo TI ID skis, I would give this boot 2 extra points for an overall score of 9/10. This is definitely more of a slack country ski boot with Tech Fittings than a dedicated elevation churning alpine touring boot. For a more touring focused boot from Dalbello check out this review of the Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 AT Boots.
Price: $800 US
Weight: 2010g / 4.4lb (per boot)
Size: 24.0 – 29.5 M's and W's
Shell Width: 98 MM
Flex Rating: 130
Liner: Intuition Max Hike 98 Lupo, High Density/Medium Density Overlap.
Colour: Lime, Orange, Black, White or Orange Tongue.
Warranty: 1 Year
Cuff Rotation 1/2
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.