Lighter and more agile-feeling underfoot than older versions, the graphically new Panterra 120 continues to please our crew with a re-styled walk mode and a more streamlined exterior. A new mold last year gave the Panterra a ripped new look borrowed from medium-width DS’s Power Cage construction, and on snow testers thought this newest 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 ranked in the top 5 hike mode boots for most room last season).
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.
Two years ago Dalbello stripped out the unneeded heel inclinator mechanical 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 none of that drastically altered the performance character of the Panterra 120, other than the lighter weight quickened up the pace of turns, they said—an improvement over the previous generation 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—testers gave the Panterra 120's Edge Power its highest score of the five last year.
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 now rockered GripWalk soles come mounted on the boot for use with GripWalk compatible bindings.
“One of the most initially comfortable boots I’ve had on thus far. Great first impression. Roomy but not sloppy. Marvelously easy to get into! If an easy on easy off boot is your desire look no further. A big foot boot that isn’t a dull mush bucket. ” -- Marc Stewart
“Wow great boot. Easy to get going. Has a smooth easy flex to start. Then tilt it on edge and go. New plastic has made this lighter and gave it way more energy. ” -- Kevin Gabriel
“Probably a bit better than its predecessor due to lighter weight--a bit more agile, less clunky still very solid feeling.” -- Mark Elling
“Make sure your bootfitter knows about Irfran plastic before you let him or her stretch this thing!” -- Mark Elling