Dalbello has pushed the limits of what is possible with the design and production of an alpine touring boot. Their new Quantum Free 110 Boots are crazy light and yet still incorporate a lock on the ski/walk mechanism, two buckles, Vibram soles and much more. With a 110 flex and 65° of cuff rotation, these boots were made for walkin’ (and skiing).
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
Dalbello’s new Quantum line of boots has spawned out of their previously released Quantum Asolo Boots which we reviewed last season to mixed reviews. While we gave them full marks for their innovation and light weight we did question some of the more innovative design solutions used to create this super light, yet relatively stiff touring boot. This year Dalbello gives us five Quantum options, some with the unique Quick Lacing System (QLS) and Dyneema rope walk/ski mechanism. They are the Quantum Asolo Factory Boots which are a hold out from last year, the new and lightest Alpine Touring (AT) Boot in the Dalbello line—their new Quantum Lite Boots which weigh in at a paltry,750g for a size 26.5 pair thanks to their carbon-reinforced construction. The final three Quantum Boot options use a new forefoot buckle and upper cuff closure system that adds a little extra weight but in the scheme of things is minimal. The Quantum Free Factory 130 is for those who demand a stiffer boot with only slightly more weight than the Quantum Free 105 (for the ladies) and the Quantum Free 110s (for the men) which is the boot we’re going to discuss in detail in this review.
As mentioned above the Quantum Free 110 Boots are an evolution of the Quantum Asolo boots introduced last season but instead, these new boots use more conventional buckles for improved skiing performance. Dalbello categorizes the Quantum Free 110’s as “a lightweight free touring boot with a slightly softer flex (110) for advanced riders who want to enjoy the downhill with emphasis on an easy and efficient uphill performance.”
At only 2460g / 5.4lb for the pair, Dalbello’s new Quantum Free 110 are lightweight ski touring specific boots that border on being Rando ready. For most of us though the Quantum Free 110’s will be used for long days in the backcountry and multi-day traverses which is exactly how I tested them.
The Quantum Free 110’s use Dalbello’s innovative bonded shell construction which creates the shell from two halves. By fusing these two half-shells together Dalbello is afforded greater freedom in the design of the shell and can incorporate an anatomical heel cup which provides better comfort and therefore performance. This design also allows the shell to be lighter as each half of the shell is created with less material. Dalbello chose to use polyamide with carbon fibre for the shell since it’s super light and also incredibly stiff.
This two-piece shell and cuff construction reduces weight while maintaining rigidity and provides an impressive 65° range of motion in walk mode.
Dalbello has upgraded the Hike / Ride Mechanism on the back of the Quantum Free 110 Boots from the one found of the previous Quantum Asolo Boots as well. This new mechanism has a stronger spring action so it closes with authority and the new locking latch ensures it will never become unlatched during descents.
Cuff – Polyamide Composite
Shell – Polyamide Composite
Every bit of the new Quantum Free 110 Boots screams lightweight, from the Polyamide Composite cuff and shell to the two buckle design, and even the minimal power strap. It’s designed primarily as a dedicated touring boot for multi-day traverses, long days in the backcountry or even rando racing. Dalbello reduced weight everywhere they could on the new Quantum Free 110s with the goal of not sacrificing on performance—and for the most part, they succeeded. At just 2460g / 5.4lb per pair for a size 26.5, these are seriously light boots and with a cuff rotation of 65°, they are definitely made for crushing large amounts of vert.
Other boots in this ultra-light category would be the Atomic Backland Carbon boots, the La Sportiva Skorpius CR Boots, Scarpa’s new F1 LT Alpine Touring Boots, Dalbello’s Quantum Asolo Boots, Fischer’s Travers Boots and the Salomon S-Lab X-Alp Boots. All of these boots use a similar two buckle design with either a forefoot buckle or BOA-like system to help position your foot snuggly into the boot's heel pocket.
I personally much prefer the wire and buckle system like that on the Dalbello Quantum Free 110s over a BOA system as it can apply much more force to really clamp down on your forefoot and effectively position your foot. I did, however, find that since the Quantum Free 110’s don’t have a tongue and instead use a softshell fabric and a small plastic piece, my foot would become sore after prolonged use. This could be because of the high arches in my foot or the fact that the 100mm last was on the narrower side for my specific foot shape. For this, I had to dock the Quantum Free 110’s on their comfort but everyone’s foot is unique so this is only my individual experience.
Since climbing ability is an obvious plus for these lightweight boots, let's talk downhill performance. With an impressive out-of-the-box foothold (thanks to the two-piece bonded shell construction) my foot was snuggly seated in the heel pocket which I did find to be more anatomically correct than other one piece shell boots. Forefoot hold was also impressive given the boot’s minimal design so I was able to effectively transition power from my feet via the boots to the skis. Where I would have liked more performance, however, was in the boots flex. I found the Quantum Free 110 a little soft when the snow became variable or the terrain challenging. In untracked pow, of course, there is no problem with softer flex boots such as these and in this weight category, it’s hard to find any boot with a higher flex rating than a 110.
If you are looking to lighten the load and have bigger days in the backcountry then the best way to achieve this is to reduce the weight on your feet—as they say, ‘one pound on your foot equals 10 on your back’. While you may have to settle for a softer flex to achieve this kind of weight savings in a boot you won’t have to forgo any performance due to fit.
Price: $799.99CAN / $649.95
Sizes: 24.5-30.5 on the 1/2 size
Weight: 2460g / 5.4lb (pair at size 26.5)
Cuff Rotation: 65°
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