The title sounds like a cyber-style remake of a “Rocky” movie, or the next sequel to one of the many super hero type movies out there. But it’s not that far fetched. And more importantly, it’s about skiing.
Last fall I had a post titled “Ski Boots—Year of the Boot.” In that post I made mention that I would get out another post about differences between 3-buckle cabrio and 4-buckle overlap boots. So here is that post.
So you better understand the starting point, both boots were used pretty much “out-of-the-box.” The liners in the Krypton Pro boots were heat fitted. I did not heat fit the DS 130 boots because they felt great right out of the box. In each boot the factory provided footbed was replaced with a Sidas 3Feet custom footbed, sold at Avie’s Ski / Sports.
For the past few seasons I have been skiing in a pair of Dalbello Krypton Pro 130 boots. These are a 3-buckle cabrio boot with a 130 flex rating. They are very snug fitting, high performing boots.
Cabrio style ski boots have 3 buckles, making for very easy foot entry, and exit. It is almost as easy as slipping into a regular pair of shoes. Seriously. No grunting or groaning or twisting and turning of the foot to try and jam it into the boot. Pull apart the liner and in the foot goes.
But this year Dalbello came out with the new DS line of boots, whose design is taken right off the mechanical drawings for their DSR race boots. The Avie’s sales rep for Dalbello, Scott Heald, took us through how DS boots are put together from different injection molds to add stiffness while reducing weight. Scott had been skiing in Krypton Pro 130s and made the jump into DS 130s. So I figured I would try the same, see what I thought, then pass that along to you.
Krypton Pro 130 is a 3-buckle, cabrio-style, freeride, 98 mm last (width) ski boot. The boots are stiff, narrow, and high performance. They provide progressive flex as the tongue of the boot is pressured by the skier. The progressive flex allows the skier a great deal of finesse in how power is applied to the ski. The boot and liner are also designed to be more impact absorbing. These are great assets for those playing in the park, the bumps, and the woods.
DS 130 is a 4-buckle, overlap-style, 100 mm last (width) ski boot. They are a stiff, high performance boot designed after the Dalbello DSR race boot. That little bit of extra width provides for a little bit more comfort. Power transmission to the ski is nearly immediate, and precise. These are great assets for corduroy carving control freaks who want a bit more comfort than that provided by traditional race boots.
In The Shop
Entry | Exit
The first difference I noticed is that the DS 130 boots, like all 4-buckle overlap boots, were way less fun to get my feet into. I admit I was a bit out of practice after sliding my foot oh-so-sweetly into that pair of Krypton Pro boots for the past few years. Round One—ease of entry and exit—definitely goes to the Krypton Pro. Hand downs, no questions asked. Not even a close comparison.
Fit | Comfort
Once in the DS 130, the fit is quite nice. The newly redesigned liners are plush and comfortable. Despite the extra 2 mm of width—which I thought might be too much space—the boot fit incredibly well. I always had just a bit too little room in the toe box of the Krypton Pro boots, especially for my left foot, which is a bit bigger than my right foot. It’s not that Krypton Pro is uncomfortable, but they are not comfortable. The DS 130 fit was quite comfortable. That made up for the struggle to get into them. Round Two—comfort without any fitting—goes to the DS 130 boot.
Heel Hold | Positioning
While the DS 130 boots were very, very comfortable—no worries about keeping them on all day long—I did wonder if that extra 2 mm would be too much once clamped in and I was flexing into the front of the boot and tongue. But once I clamped down and adjusted the micro-adjusting buckles for a snug fit, I found my heel to be nestled nicely in the heel pocket of the boot. When I flexed forward and tried to lift my heel, it felt no different than the response in the Krypton Pro boots. Round Three—foot position and heel hold down—was a tie.
Standing around in the lodge or living room or ski shop in a pair of ski boots is a bit different than having them out on the slopes and clicked into a pair of bindings attached to skis. So off I went with the Dalbello DS 130 boots to the slopes to give them a workout.
On The Slopes
I have skied the DS 130 boots a couple times now. Each session was on my “go to” Volkl RTM 84 skis so that I had a good reference point for comparison to the Krypton Pro 130 boots. I skied on beginner, intermediate and expert trails. In all instances a big focus was on carving, and how the boots would make the skis respond and perform. That’s how I normally play on the slopes, so it makes for a fair comparison. Conditions were typical New England conditions—packed powder groomers that had hard crust underneath, with patches of ice here and there on the trail.
On slope, a first, and quite noticeable difference was that the DS boots put me up over the skis more so than the Krypton Pro boots. This is likely due to the slightly different forward lean characteristics of each of the boots. The stance puts the skier in a more positive position for controlling the skis quickly and powerfully, as a ski racer would want and need.
There is a distinct and definite difference in how the boots make the skis respond. Krypton Pro 130 gives a more subtle command to the skis to respond, reducing that subtlety in a progressive fashion as pressure into the front of the boot is increased. DS 130 produced more or less immediate response from the skis when pressure was applied. Increased pressure to the front of the boot pushed more power into the response of the ski, but in a very immediate way with the DS 130 boots.
Krypton Pro 130 allowed for a bit of relaxation; I could get in the “back seat” a bit and not have the skis decide they could have their own way. Not so with the DS 130 boots; there was a definite “tipping point.” When I backed off, relaxing just a bit too much in my stance over the skis, control was diminished, and quickly.
I thought I could carve a ski pretty good in my Dalbello Krypton Pro 130 boots. And I could. But not nearly as well as when my feet were slipped into the Dalbello DS 130 boots. The 4-buckle overlap style boots gave complete and immediate control so I could tip the ski and bury the edge into the snow quickly and with great power. In the Krypton Pro 130 boots, tipping the skis into the snow was a slower, more progressive action that ended in a carve, but one that was not nearly as forceful and complete as from the DS 130 boots.
Krypton Pro 130 is a winner because of their ease of entry and exit, and because of their progressive flex nature. They allow me to totally control, with a great degree of finesse, how I want to power the skis.
DS 130 is a winner because of their greater width and comfort, and for their ability to power the ski the way I want immediately and forcefully.
So which boot wins Round Four—Control? Each boot handles control in a rather different fashion, so it would depend on any individual skier to make that judgement. That’s a good thing because it gives skiers some interesting options.
You can already see the endpoint of this debate—there is no single “winner.” Because the contest really isn’t equal. The winner will be whatever boot style best fits your style of skiing. But how might you decide which boot style—cabrio or overlap—is the best for you?
What’s Best For You?
Check out Avie’s Ski / Sport website page for ski boots: “Skier Need To Know—Boots.” This page will help you think through and then find the ski boot that might be best for you.
Which Is Best For Me?
After all this, what’s best for me? Honestly, I don’t know. I have worn the Krypton Pro 130 boots for several seasons, and so they feel like an extension of my legs at this point. Not so for DS 130 because I have only skied them a few times. So I know I need more time in them to really get a feel for how they behave, and how I get along with that behavior, in a broader range of conditions.
I love the snug fit of the Krypton Pro boots, and the easy going but highly responsive nature they show across the mountain, in all conditions. I adore the ease of entry and exit. But they are not what I would call a “comfortable” ski boot.
I love the comfort provided by the DS 130 boots. And I adore their ability to quickly and powerfully drive the skis into deep, graceful, powerful carves. They leave me speechless in that department. But I am not a fan of putting them on, or taking them off. But once the feet are in them, oh such comfort!
I am going to keep the DS 130 boots close by, and use them as much as possible over the remainder of the season. I am very much looking forward to clicking them into my Blizzard Quattro RS race skis. That ought to be a match make in heaven. But I don’t intend on making planters out of the Krypton Pro 130 boots. I plan to take them out here and there to refresh my memory, and to compare.
But my feet sure do love that comfortable feeling…