Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SCARPA Alien 1.0 vs. Dynafit Dy.N.A EVO

Having skied a fair amount in both the SCARPA Alien 1.0 and the Dynafit EVO and having been asked by enough people which is better,  I feel a brief review might be useful.  To start, both boots are amazing.  The walk mode on both is light years ahead of the Dynafit TLT5.  Given that the TLT revolutionized the uphill game, this means something. They both almost feel like a running shoe.  The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse champions from last year actually ran about 10K in the Aliens and say they are running shoes.  I spent the last half of the 2012 season in the EVO and absolutely loved them and have half of this season in the Alien 1.0 and feel the same. So which is better?  Here's a brief side by side (all numbers are from a size 27.0).
Andy on White Baldy
Alien 1.0 shell:  610g  Liner: 111g   Total:  721g/boot  (1.58lbs)
EVO  shell:  566g  Liner:  124g  Total:  690g/boot  (1.52lbs)

Sole Length 
Alien 1.0: 287mm
EVO: 289mm
EVOs on a speed run up Mt. Rainier
Cuff Height
A picture is much better than a written description

Upper Buckle
Vertical throw vs horizontal throw.  Both work, some say the Dynafit is more reliable, other say the vertical Alien throw is faster.  I think they're both reliable and both fast.  It's really whatever you're used to.  Cutting a hole in a pair up pants is a bit easier for the Alien though.

Lower Buckle
I suppose the BOA gives you a more uniform fit but nothing too superior over the standard buckle on the EVO.  The EVO buckle is much improved over the TLT buckle and actually works.  I also like the mini gator that the EVO comes with. It certainly keeps more snow out of the boot than the BOA.

This is a hard question to answer after one season.  I skied the EVO pretty hard including a fairly long boulder hop down the Nisqually river bed.  This same scramble absolutely destroyed Andy's Stratos (mulitple quarter sized holes in the shell) but the Evo held strong - very impressive.  I haven't abused the Alien in the same way but will soon and will post an update.  Looking at/fondling the Alien the main difference I notice is the cuff pivot.  Why can't Dynafit put metal on metal pivot points on their carbon cuff?  Rumor has it they screwed this up again on the TLT 6. With that said, after a season in the EVO there isn't much wear on the carbon but with my prior TLT experience I fear it's coming.
What appears to be metal on metal, hard to tell without pulling it apart
Metal on Carbon
Forward Lean
Who cares?  I don't really.  I hear the 2013 Evo has an adjustable forward lean but can't find what the range is.  The 2012 model has a fixed lean of 15 degrees. The Alien has two settings either 13 or 18 degrees.
I think there's a pair of Aliens in there.  Both EVO and Alien are plenty of boot for powder.
They're both expensive.  Check out for current pricing.  Luckily both the Evo and the Alien 1.0 have cheaper versions - the Dynafit PDG (great reviews by A. O'keefe and Layne Caldwell) and the SCARPA Alien (not the 1.0).  From what I can tell they are both very similar to their expensive big brothers but just a little heavier and not quite as stiff.

I would give the nod to the Alien 1.0.  I think the skiablity gained with a little higher cuff more than makes up for the open front, especially since the snow problem is easily solved with a gaitor or stirrups on your pants.  As an added bonus (although unproven) I suspect the cuff/pivot point wil hold up on the Alien a bit better.  Anyway, both are great and everyone should have a pair of super light weight boots.  Once you try them on you'll never go back to the clunky bricks you've been lugging around.

Tom Goth, Aliens, White Pine Drainage


  1. Jason, thanks for the use comparison and weights. We were comparing Dynafit PDGs with Alien 1.0 side by side on Saturday, but had no scale handy.

  2. Dynafit made a few minor updates to the 12/13 model that added a bit of weight to the boot. My size 26 shell liner combo came in at 694g. Details

  3. Many thanks for the detailed comparison.
    Just two a few comments:
    - As Jerimy notes on his blog, the EVO got a wee bit heavier for the 2012-13 season as rubber was added to the entire outersole (in anticipation of upcoming ISMF regs).
    - “The EVO buckle is much improved over the TLT buckle and actually works.” Agreed, although the irony is that this is just the same buckle from the 2009-10 season on the original DyNA (like Jared and I have).
    - “Looking at/fondling the Alien the main difference I notice is the cuff pivot. Why can't Dynafit put metal on metal pivot points on their carbon cuff? Rumor has it they screwed this up again on the TLT 6. With that said, after a season in the EVO there isn't much wear on the carbon but with my prior TLT experience I fear it's coming.” Although a certain blogger started that rumor, as Jerimy also notes on his blog, the EVO & TLT5 pivot was changed for 2012-13. Easy to miss at first glance, which is probably why that blogger missed it while looking at the TLT6. Whether it works better, only time will tell. I have about half a million vertical on my original-generation DyNA, and about the same on the TLT5. Although they do loosen up with use, over the summer I ship them back to Salewa in Boulder for repressing, and then they’re good as new again for another season.
    - “I hear the 2013 Evo has an adjustable forward lean but can't find what the range is. The 2012 model has a fixed lean of 15 degrees.” Dynafit specifies a three-degree differential, and that feels about right to me (both comparing/contrasting 2011-12 vs 2012-13 EVO boots, and also upgrading one DyNA and TLT5 at a time). I’ve always felt the DyNA/TLT5/EVO had a wee bit too much forward lean, and now it feels just right to me. (The new part is $20 plus $15 shipping ... and saves about 0.1 oz per pair, hah!)
    - I don’t think you mentioned fit? I’ve heard the Alien is a wee bit roomier than the EVO?

    1. Fit is a tough question given the differences on everyone's foot. For me they both fit similarly. The EVO is much roomier than the TLT 5. I'm not sure if it's the actual shell or just the lower volume liner. I think the Alien is a bit roomier to start but with the BOA you can dial it down tighter than the EVO. Both don't cramp my feet at all like the TLT's did.

  4. Jason,
    Thx for comparison

    Any thoughts/comments on fit please?

    I'm seriously looking at both boots and have shell fit and carpet tested both but without molding liners its a bit of a guess.
    To me the alien feels roomier and shorter but shims and the boa seem to work well. I think the Dynafit last is more sculpted.

    Also I was surprised how much the alien lower shell deformed when flexing (at room temp) not sure how much it stiffens outside in cold.


    1. I posted a few fit thoughts (although probably not that helpful above). As far as the shell deformity goes, were you in an Alien or an Alien 1.0. Comparing the EVO to the 1.0 the shell deformity is much less in the 1.0. The area of the shell surrounding the pivot point is reinforced with carbon and is much harder to deform. I'm not sure I noticed a difference in the cold, maybe I just haven't paid attention.

  5. Good review, thx. I'm in the market (next year) for some "modern" boots. I have 3 pounders right now, I it makes me ill to think about how clunky they are in comparison to what's available.

    1. Get a pair! You'll love them. in fact, why don't you just buy my EVO's? For you, good deal...

  6. Any tips on crampon compatibility?

    1. For the Alien 1.0 that is...

    2. I'm using the petzl dartwin with a BD toe bail and it seems to fit well. I've spent a few day climbing ice in them and haven't had any problems. The CAMP 290's also seem to fit pretty well although I haven't used them yet.

  7. Curious how the Alien 1.0 boot soles are holding up for off-trail scrambling?

    (Background in case you want to win over a Dynafit user: I've now become addicted to my Dynafit DyNA EVO for consolidated-snow ski mountaineering, but the boot sole wear rate is unsustainable. My pair was bought this past fall as new-old-stock 2011-12 boots, so they lack the full-rubber future-ISMF-compliant sole, but they seem to be otherwise the same as the current 2012-13 EVO. Although I have over 200,000' vertical on them, until this spring their ascent use has all been skinning (plus the usual parking lot walking). Yet now after six spring ski mountaineering outings, even though only a trivial portion of the cumulative 48K+ vertical was on our notorious New Hampshire granite, I've already lost eight sole lugs. I knew they wouldn't hold up like my TLT5. But the sole pattern *looks* like my original-generation DyNA, which got plenty beat up back in the spring and summer of 2010, yet even now three years later the original-generation DyNA are in way better shape than the EVO after only six demanding outings.)

    1. Hey Jonathan, sorry to hear about all the wear. I haven't had any trouble with the Alien 1.0 and I'd say I skied in them 30-40 days with intermittent scrambling. I haven't done much walking on trails which might be where the problem occurs. I'll keep you posted as I do more off-snow travel throughout the spring.

  8. Jonathan, I have a pair of Scarpa Alien 1.0 now in their 4th season. They have around 550,000' vertical on them, including running on tarmac, up and down rocky access tracks and traversing granite ridges. Virtually every training session involves tarmac at minimum, and I have to say the way the soles (and boots) have stood up to all the punishment is nothing short of amazing. The only perceptible sole wear is on the heel - here's a photo:

    I'm now on my second pair of liners, but the shells have stood up to all the punishment superbly. There's a small amount of play in the ankle pivot, but that can be tightened up. All in all I've been amazed by these boots. Highly recommended.

  9. Has anyone had problems with the alien 1.0 carbon cuff wings cracking? Mine did out of the box the first time I tried them on! Curious if people are just extra careful with them or if it was a fluke. Those carbon wings cracked right where they a riveted to the main cuff. That carbonnis paper thin!

  10. Not on mine, bought in 2012 and subjected to a high work load since ;-) I haven't treated them any different to any other pair of boots I've had. To me it doesn't sound right that yours have cracked, suggest you check it out with the retailer/Scarpa.

  11. Thanks, they are in the process of getting fixed under warranty. More just curious about how careful I need to be from now on. It happened while spreading the wings open to get my foot/liner inside the shell. Happened on both boots too...

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