Dalbello is well known for their alpine ski boots and when backcountry skiing became popular they ventured into the world of Alpine Touring (AT) Boots with each year's offering evolving and getting lighter and lighter. The Dalbello Virus Tour ID was the first AT Boots we reviewed almost a decade ago, this was followed a few years later by the Dalbello Sherpa series of AT Boots which included the Sherpa 2/8 ID and Sherpa 5/5 Boots and finally the Dalbello Lupo TI ID and Lupo Carbon Ti Boots a few years ago. All of these AT boots used Dalbello’s famous three-piece (tongue, cuff, and shell) Cabrio Shell Design, and while light, none of them broke the three-kilogram weight barrier. That is until now. Dalbello has integrated some radical new thinking and design into their new Quantum line AT Boots which are the lightest they’ve ever produced and join the lightweight ranks of the Arc'teryx Procline AR Carbon Boots, the Salomon S-Lab X-Alp Boots, and the newly released Scarpa F1 LT Alpine Touring Boots.
With a radical new design, Dalbello's Quantum Asolo AT boots ski as good as they look. Check out the following video review to better understand all of the Quantum Asolo Boot's features.
Dalbello’s new Quantum line of boots consists of the Quantum which uses fiberglass-reinforced polyamide to achieve an impressive 2,300g / 5lb per pair for the size 26.5. The Quantum Asolo version uses the same fiberglass-reinforced polyamide but shaves 180g off the Quantum version. If you want the pinnacle of the line then that would be the Quantum Asolo Factory Boots which weigh in at only 1,900g / 4.18lb thanks to their use of carbon-reinforced polyamide. (At the time of this review there were no official flex ratings from Dalbello for any of the Quantum Boots.)
All of Dalbello’s Quantum Boots are constructed with an innovative dual bonded shell that uses a durable fiberglass-reinforced polyamide composite that provides impressive lateral strength. The two-piece mold allows Dalbello to this harder material which helps reduce weight and increase rigidity, it also allows them to create much more anatomical heel and toe boxes for a better fit and increased comfort.
In addition to the bonded shell, Dalbello also created an entirely new forefoot lacing retention system with their QLS or Quick Lacing System. This QLS system provides uniform pressure and an excellent foothold thanks to the 45-degree lace in the instep area. To micro-adjust the QLS tension it’s as simple as opening the lever and twisting the knob in the tight or loose direction.
With an impressively minimal weight of just over 1 kilogram (1,060g for the mondo 26.5 size), you know the ascents will be effortless but that does not mean that the Quantum Asolo Boots sacrifice any performance on the descents.
Shell and Cuff: Polyamide composite
Liner: ID Touring Sport
Dabello’s new Quantum Asolo Boots are chock full of innovation and the brand took plenty of risks integrating these new and unproven technologies into this new lightweight AT boot—for the most part, they nailed it.
Dalbello’s two-piece bonded shell construction is an industry first, it uses infrared light to seamlessly bond the two lower shells into one. This process allows them to use a durable polyamide composite material that cannot be extracted from a single mold in one piece. It also allows them to create a unique toe and heel box that is otherwise not feasible in a one-piece mold. I was skeptical that this process would be rigid and durable enough to resist the stresses that the lower shell of the boot has to endure while skiing hard, but it works incredibly well and is indistinguishable from a regular single-piece lower shell.
Next is Dalbello’s QLS Quick Lacing System which I find to be far superior to the industry standard BOA system that can be found on the Scarpa’s new F1 LT Boots. The QLS system has an integrated pop-up lever that provides much more grip and leverage which is needed to really tighten up the lacing system in order to provide a better overall foothold. The only downside of this QLS is that there is no hard stop, if you over loosen the mechanism, it just starts tightening up again with no tactile or visual cue that you are at the end of the lacing wire. On the plus side, this system saves on weight and provides a really good lower foothold. Is it as good as a more traditional buckle system like that found on the new Scarpa Maestrale XT Boots—no, but for the weight, it sure provides an impressive amount of foothold and it is far easier to use than the BOA system which does not incorporate the pop-up lever.
The other big innovation that you simply can’t miss on the Quantum Asolo Boots is the use of Dyneema SK78+ Black Technora rope that is used to close the dual-link cuff. By pre-tensioning the rope through the cam cleat and then locking down the walk mechanism you are able to get a very firm upper cuff but this does take some experimentation to perfect. The Micro adjustment to tension the upper cuff is simple to use but I found that since the cleat closure is positioned upwards it actually loosens off the Dyneema rope (just a little) as you close it. I’d prefer to see the cam cleat flipped so that as you close it downwards so that it actually tightens the system a few millimeters rather than loosen it. Dyneema rope was used for its impressive strength to weight ratio and while it is reported to be very, very durable it is taking me some time to confidently rely on such a flimsy-looking system to maintain the boot's stiff upper cuff. This is something I'll get used to I suppose, and the fact that it provides a huge weight saving over a power strap (which you typically find on AT boots) is a major plus.
The fit of the Quantum Asolo Boots right out of the box is impressive for my average to slightly wider foot given that the last is only 99mm. The toe box is very generous and the heel pocket is snug and supportive which effectively holds your heel in position, even without any boot fitting. After a quick liner cook and some minor adjustments, the Quantum Asolo Boots felt like lightweight AT powder slippers.
With a 65° range of motion, climbing on the skin track in the Quantum Asolo Boots was pretty much effortless, the flex was huge and unimpeded with every stride. Tighten down the walk mode into ski mode, however, and you were treated to a relatively stiff (for a boot of this weight) flex, I’d guess it was between 105 and 110. However, for my skiing style which is by no means aggressive I’d prefer something in the 120 flex range, perhaps what the Quantum Asolo Factory Boots offer. At just over 2 kilos, the Quantum Asolo Boots provide a ski experience that you’d expect, capable yet not overly aggressive. They are meant for long, big vertical days or multi-day traverses, and are not for those who like to huck backcountry drops and stomp landings.
Bravo to Dalbello for taking such innovative risks in the design of their new Quantum Asolo Boots, they pulled it off with only minor grievances. Hopefully, some of these will be improved upon in the 2.0 version that is (fingers crossed) going to carry on this new lightweight category for Dalbello.
Price: $799.99CAN / $699.95US
Sizes: 22.5-30.5 in half sizes
Weight: 2,362g / 5.2lb (pair of size 27.5)
Flex Rating: TBD
Cuff Rotation: 65°
Cuff Rotation 2/2
Quality / Price 2/2
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