The 2019/2020 Dalbello Panterra 120 was tested in the men's On-Off Area wide category at Silver Mountain Resort by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.
Lighter and more agile-feeling underfoot, the new 2020 Panterra 120 pleased our crew with a re-styled walk mode and a more streamlined exterior. A new mold gives the Panterra a ripped new look borrowed from medium-width DS’s Power Cage construction, and on snow testers thought this new version was crisper and stronger than its predecessor, without the turbo-lag of old. The fit still remains generous in the toebox, forefoot and up through the instep (where it ranks in the top 5 hike mode boots for most room).
Dalbello calls this a 100-102 for its set-and-forget, backward latching VVF (Variable Volume Fit) bottom buckle that will close the lower boot from a 102 to a 100 mm via a crafty expansion slot which the buckle can tighten up like a, well, like a buckle. It's cool because once that buckle is set the way the skier likes, he doesn't mess with it anymore, and just gets in and out with it closed—lock it up and throw away the key. But the real point to this is that this boot really fits like a 102 mm. It's a wide ride. It has a tall fit over the instep and a big wide tube of a forefoot and toebox, so big thick feet (and legs) do well in the Panterra—it's one of our testers' particular favorites for a high volume instep fit.
Last year Dalbello stripped out the unneeded heel inclinator bootboard (it went up and down like an Impala low-rider's rear end), gave it some new grippy soles, tractiony mid-arch cladding and a scuff resistant shell exterior—all useful changes that also shaved excess weight. The switch to an Irfran (polyolefin) shell and cuff material similarly shed some poundage, but testers still say that didn't drastically change the performance character of the Panterra 120. The lighter weight quickened up the pace of turns, they said—an improvement over the previous Panterra's sometimes ponderous transitions, but the lighter package didn't seem to undercut classic Panterra power to the edge, which remains torquey and stable—giving the Panterra 120's Edge Power its highest score of the five.
The cuff release is simple and effective for gaining some stride with the Dynalink buckles undone and testers report that the soft versus hard flex setting adjustment works well, though too soft for most in the soft mode. There are options available to upgrade to an Intuition (I.D.) liner and to swap on rockered GripWalk soles for use with GripWalk compatible bindings.
“Has a very padded interior feel, but firm enough for a performance hold. The stance sets you up for success in all conditions and there's plenty of damp diesel throttle on tap—a working man's boot. ” -- Mark Elling
“Seems like it's got the ability to stand up to a big man pushing this around. That's a plus for a wide boot. Lots of room over the instep to suit a thick foot.” -- Steve Cohen
“Not a very anatomical last shape--straight and open. Built for Fred Flintstone and Barney in tandem!” -- Marc Stewart