We tested the 2019 DaleBoot ST in the Frontside category because it's the stiffest model DaleBoot makes, and testers thought it fit right in there alongside other race-bred powerhouses. Testers liked the power-to-weight ratio the ST brings to the table—stiff and strong with a close-feeling connection to the ski and snow surface.
The guys at DaleBoot set up our Frontside test model as a narrow last to better match the other boots in the category, and they also chose to load it with their higher density liner option for a firmer, more transmissive Frontside feel—both choices that were favored by testers who gave the painted-on, custom fit the double thumbs-up. However, the ST could be built as a medium or a wide, and with a variety of different Intuition liner styles and densities. Similarly the height of the cuff is variable—selected for the particular skier the boot will be made for. The flex feel of the ST is pretty rigid—again, DaleBoot's stiffest set-up—and that appealed to testers in this particular category, though for bigger, taller guys the ST is a good All-Mountain option too.
The ST's rigid cuff design allowed testers to bury the rail at high speeds and on hard snows, but did so without loss of a tactile feel for the snow. Testers liked the way the three-quarter length, adjustable bootboard supported the rear foot and set the ramp angle but left the forefoot to sit directly on the thin shell base—as close as the foot can come to ski. Very high durometer (stiff) polyether plastic is used to make the lower boot rigid but with an unusually thin shell wall. This gives the boot a feely, connected character but without being flimsy. Light and sensitive but strong on edge—a unique combination, testers agreed.
The three-quarter length bootboard is adjustable laterally to better support the rearfoot or provide mobility there and can be set up for use with a posted or non-posted custom insole. A large part of the DaleBoot customizing process, beyond just fit, is ensuring that the skier's stance is dialed, and their unique, snap-on canted soles are a quick and effective way to fine-tune the boot's performance.
“It pretty well nailed all my fit issues on the first try!” -- Mark Elling
“Custom mold could be done again with better idea of how I want final result to be. Overall very comfortable with a smooth flex--easy to engage the ski. ” -- Kevin Gabriel
“Perfect foot contact from toes to calf. Precise energy transfer felt immediately. Good stance set-up. Quick pressure to the ski tip. Reminds me the importance of fit in the skiability connection. When the boot matches the foot perfectly the quality of the skiing goes up.” -- Jim Schaffner
“The softer than category norm flex would take a little time to figure out.” -- Kevin Gabriel
“The model I tested (somebody else's build with liner molded for me) had too low a cuff and too high a ramp angle. Both issues that are easily remedied with a bit more time than I had available.” -- Mark Elling