2020-2021 Dalbello Lupo Pro HD

Boot: 2020-2021 Dalbello Lupo Pro HD

Test Locations: Crested Butte & Summit County, Colorado

Days Skied: 60+

Stated Flex: 130

Available Sizes: 24.5-29.5 (half sizes only)

Stated Last (size 26.5): 98 mm

Stated Range of Motion: 67° (w/o tongue)

Stated Forward Lean: 11°

Size Tested: 26.5

Stated Boot Sole Length: 307 mm

Blister’s Measured Weight (size 26.5):

  • Shells, no Liners: 1589 & 1596 g
  • Liners, no Footbeds: 266 & 267 g
  • Tongues: 158 & 158
  • Shells + Liners + Tongues = 2013 & 2021 g
  • Shells + Liners = 1855 & 1863

Buckles: 3 micro-adjustable aluminum

Powerstrap: 40 mm cam-style

Shell Material:

  • Rear Cuff: Carbon-reinforced Polyamide
  • Shoe / Clog: PU
  • Tongue: Polyamide (Dalbello’s “B” tongue)

Soles: Grip Walk (alpine soles available)

Binding Compatibility: Grip Walk; MNC Bindings; Tech / Pin Bindings

Tech Fittings: Yes

Skis Used: too many to list…

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Lupo Pro HD, which returns unchanged for 20/21.]

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  Intro //  Weight & Comparisons //  Design & Features //  Fit //  Uphill Performance //  Downhill Performance //  Bottom Line

Intro

Dalbello’s Lupo series of ski boots has served as their “Freeride Touring” line for a few years now. The 3-piece boots have removable tongues, walk mechanisms, tech fittings, and lightweight materials — all of which are designed to make the boots work well for people who like to work for their turns.

We’ve received a lot of requests for reviews of the Lupo boots, and now we’re finally reviewing one — the Lupo Pro HD. Debuting for the 19/20 season and returning unchanged for the 20/21 season, the Lupo Pro HD is reportedly a beefier, 130-flex version of the other Lupo boots designed for patrollers and hard-charging big-mountain skiers, but it still maintains many of the other Lupo boots’ touring-friendly features.

Weight

Dalbello is targeting the Lupo Pro HD at skiers who value durability and skiing performance, but who also want a boot that they can tour in and that works with tech bindings. The Lupo Pro HD comes in a bit heavier compared to other boots that target the same group of skiers (e.g., Tecnica Cochise Pro 130, Full Tilt Ascendant, Nordica Strider 130, Lange XT Free 130).

The Lupo Pro HD is significantly heavier than dedicated touring boots like the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, Scarpa Maestrale XT & RS, and Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro. And it also comes in a couple hundred grams heavier than the stated weights of the Lupo Factory and Lupo 130C. Overall, the Lupo Pro HD falls on the heavier end of the spectrum when it comes to boots with walk mechanisms, though, with its tongue out, it’s pretty similar in weight compared to other “50/50” boots.

Weight Comparisons

For reference, below are a number of our measured weights for some other notable boots (keep in mind the size differences). Our measured weights show the size of boot, then the weight of each boot + the weight of each liner, then the total weight for shells + liners, listed in grams:

Scarpa Maestrale RS (24.5 / 25.0): 1053 & 1057 + 244 & 245 = 1297 & 1302 g
Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro (26.5): 1099 & 1100 + 210 & 211 = 1309 & 1311 g
Dynafit Hoji Pro Tour (26.5): 1169 & 1174 + 214 & 215 = 1383 & 1389 g
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, 19/20 (26.5): 1130 & 1132 + 276 & 282 = 1406 & 1414 g
Salomon MTN Explore (26.5): 1126 & 1135 + 281 & 281 = 1407 & 1416 g
Scarpa Maestrale XT (26.5 / 27.0): 1258 & 1258 + 247 & 252 = 1505 & 1510 g
Head Kore 1 (26.5): 1132 & 1136 + 392 & 393 = 1524 & 1527 g
Salomon S/Lab MTN (26.5): 1257 & 1246 + 288 & 303 = 1545 & 1549 g
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, 20/21 (26.5): 1147 & 1150 + 403 & 404 = 1550 & 1554 g
Fischer Ranger Free 130 (26.5): 1204 & 1204 + 348 & 351 = 1552 & 1555 g
Roxa R3 130 T.I. (27.5): 1319 & 1320 + 263 & 263 = 1582 & 1583 g
Dynafit Hoji Free (27.5): 1317 & 1332 + 331 & 325 = 1648 & 1657 g
Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 (26.5): 1242 & 1249 + 408 & 410 = 1650 & 1659 g
Salomon QST Pro TR 130 (26.5): 1389 & 1391 + 273 & 274 = 1662 & 1665 g
K2 Mindbender 130 (26.5): 1428 & 1427 + 346 & 348 = 1774 & 1775 g
Lange XT3 130 LV (26.5): 1407 & 1410 + 368 & 368 = 1775 & 1778 g
Nordica Strider Pro 130 DYN (27.5): 1445 & 1440 + 363 & 373 = 1808 & 1813
Lange XT Free 130 LV (27.5): 1472 & 1473 + 376 & 376 = 1848 & 1849 g
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD w/o Tongues (26.5): 1589 & 1596 + 266 & 267 = 1855 & 1863 g
Full Tilt Ascendant (27.5): 1613 & 1615 & + 308 & 311 = 1921 & 1926 g
Tecnica Cochise 130 DYN (25.5): 1493 & 1496 + 440 & 441 = 1933 & 1937 g
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD w/ Tongues (26.5): 1747 & 1754 + 266 & 267 = 2013 & 2021 g

Construction

The main thing that sets the Lupo Pro HD apart from the other Lupo boots (and many lighter touring boots) is that the Lupo Pro HD uses a PU main shell, rather than the Grilamid and Irfran shells used in the other Lupo boots. Dalbello says that the PU shell used in the Lupo Pro HD is the same plastic used in their race boots. The idea behind using PU in the Lupo Pro HD is that the boot will offer better skiing performance and durability, at the cost of an increase in weight.

The Lupo Pro HD’s rear cuff is made of carbon-reinforced polyamide, and the boot comes stock with Dalbello’s “B” tongue, which is their stiffest stock tongue. The tongue has an easy-to-grab tab that lets you easily take it off / put it on, which is convenient for touring. As we’ll discuss in the full review below, you can also purchase softer tongues through your Dalbello dealer.

Liner

The Lupo Pro HD uses a tongue-style liner with a flex zone around the Achilles area.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD — Liner

If you’ve used Intuition liners in the past, the Lupo Pro HD’s liner should feel pretty familiar. The foam material in the Lupo Pro HD’s liner is pretty dense and stiff (I wouldn’t call it particularly “plush” or squishy), and it’s also fully heat-moldable.

One noteworthy aspect of the Lupo Pro HD’s liner is its quick-lace system. It has a cord that can be quickly cinched tight for a close fit, and easily loosened up when taking off the boot. One thing I really appreciate about the Lupo Pro HD is that it has a high gaiter on the shell that not only keeps out water / snow, but also serves as a tidy place to store the long strands of the quick-lace system.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD — Liner

While I like the quick and easy functionality of quick-lace systems like that on the Lupo Pro HD, I hate having long strings hanging out of the shells of my boots. So I like that the Lupo Pro HD offers a way to keep things tidy.

Walk Mechanism

The Lupo Pro HD, like the other Dalbello Lupo and Panterra boots, uses a very simple external walk mechanism. It consists of a piece of plastic that wedges between the rear cuff and lower shoe / clog of the boot. Unlike the walk mechanisms on many overlap-style boots, the Lupo Pro HD’s walk mechanism only affects rearward range of motion as there’s no latch or attachment that restricts forward range of motion.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD Walk Mechanism in ski mode (left) and walk mode (right)

The Lupo Pro HD’s walk mechanism has proved to be very easy to use. It’s got a small toggle that’s easy to grab while wearing mittens, and you just need to flex the boot slightly forward to engage / disengage the walk mechanism. It’s also pretty easy to know when the walk mechanism is or is not engaged simply by leaning back.

Dalbello claims that the Lupo Pro HD offers 67° of range of motion (aka, “ROM”) with the tongue removed. The tongue is an important caveat, as the Lupo Pro HD offers very little forward ROM with the tongue installed. But the tongue on the Lupo Pro HD is very easy to remove (more on that below).

Buckles

Rather than a more traditional 4-buckle layout, the Lupo Pro HD has one upper cuff buckle, one lower buckle, and a cable-style buckle that goes over the ankle / instep.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD

The Lupo Pro HD’s lower buckle is reversed in orientation in order to help prevent it from being flipped accidentally while hiking, and it works pretty well in this regard. All of the Lupo Pro HD’s buckles are micro-adjustable, and have been easy to actuate while wearing bulky gloves.

Power Strap

The Lupo Pro HD has a large 40 mm power strap that uses a cam-style closure. We’ve become fans of cam-style power straps on many other boots, so we’re glad to see this included on the Lupo Pro HD.

Soles

The Lupo Pro HD comes standard with Grip Walk soles, and standard alpine soles will be available for purchase.

Fit

First and foremost — please go to a bootfitter to see what boot will work best for you. Fit is the most important thing with ski boots, and is where you’ll want to start. With that said, here’s how the Lupo Pro HD fits my feet.

For reference, I have pretty average-volume feet overall, but I have large lateral splats which mean my midfoot widens when I am standing / skiing, and I often get pain on the outside of my forefoot and midfoot when running, skiing, skinning, etc. I have a low instep and an average to low arch. My feet tend to work best with boots that offer ample room in the midfoot and have lower insteps (e.g., the Salomon QST Pro 130). Since my toes taper significantly (i.e., my pinkie toe is much shorter than my big toe), I’ve never needed a 6th toe punch in any boots.

The Lupo Pro HD uses the same last and mold as the other 98mm-lasted (not the “AX” versions) Dalbello Lupo and Krypton boots. So if you got a good fit with any of the 98mm-lasted Lupo or Krypton boots, your feet should work well with the Lupo Pro HD.

I typically resort to medium- to higher-volume boots to deal with my wider midfoot, so I was worried that the 98mm-lasted Lupo Pro HD would be too narrow for me. But right out of the box, the main thing that stood out to me with the fit of the Lupo Pro HD was how comfortable it felt on my feet.

The toe box of the Lupo Pro HD feels average in terms of length, but above average in terms of overall volume for a 98mm-last boot. I have plenty of room to wiggle my toes in a 26.5 (my standard size). The Lupo Pro HD’s toe box is way higher-volume than the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD’s, and feels pretty similar to the Nordica Strider 120 and Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro in this regard.

The midfoot of the Lupo Pro HD also feels a bit higher-volume than most other 98mm-last boots. I’ve been able to comfortably ski it all day, as long as I unbuckle the instep buckle and lower buckle while skinning, hiking, or riding a lift. I still get some pain around my midfoot if I keep the buckles tightened for a few hours, but I have been surprised by how well this boot fits my foot, given that my feet rarely work well with 98mm-last boots. 

Overall, the midfoot of the Lupo Pro HD feels pretty similar to the Nordica Strider 120, and maybe a bit narrower than the Salomon S/Pro 130.

The Lupo Pro HD’s instep feels quite high. With my low instep, I wouldn’t mind it being much lower, but people with high insteps should take note. 

The Lupo Pro HD’s heel pocket feels pretty average, if not slightly above average in terms of overall volume. I can get a fairly snug fit in the ankle, which is aided by the instep buckle doing a good job of snugging my foot back into the boot. That said, I have gotten some blisters around the inside of my heel after skinning / hiking in the boot for about 1.5 hours, and combined with the boot’s high instep (and my low instep), I’ve had some issues with heel lift while skiing in the boot. 

All in all, the Lupo Pro HD seems like it’s higher-volume in most areas than many 98mm-last boots I’ve used.

Bottom Line (For Now)

With more people becoming interested in touring, it comes as little surprise that Dalbello has chosen to expand their touring-friendly Lupo lineup. The new Lupo Pro HD brings uphill-oriented features to a burly package that seems to put it in competition with the many other “50/50” boots designed for both resort and backcountry use. Blister Members can check out our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review linked below, and then stay tuned for our full review.

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Lupo Pro HD for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.

FULL REVIEW

Since we got the boot last year, I’ve now put somewhere between 60-80 days in the Lupo Pro HD. I spent a bit of time ski touring in the boot, and then I used it as my primary inbounds boot at Crested Butte this year, so it’s seen a lot of chairlift rides and aggressive resort skiing.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

I’ve also been experimenting with different liners and tongues, so I’ll go over a few of the different setups I’ve used with this boot.

Uphill Performance

In terms of range of motion (ROM), the Lupo Pro HD is actually really good — once you take out the tongues.

With the tongue in, the Lupo Pro HD offers very little forward ROM. Unless I’m doing a short bootpack, walking between Blister HQ and the lifts, or skinning for less than ~20 minutes, I’ll take the tongue out of the Lupo Pro HD for any sort of uphill travel.

But with the tongue out, I basically never felt like I was limited by the ROM of the Lupo Pro HD.

Even compared to much lighter boots like the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, I didn’t feel like the Lupo Pro HD sacrificed much in terms of range of motion (especially forward ROM). Instead, I think its weight is much more of a limiting factor when it comes to earning your turns. Even with the tongue out, the size 26.5 Lupo Pro HD still weighs over 1850 grams per boot, which is much heavier than a lot of really good, 130-flex touring boots currently on the market. And while I’m not someone who tends to be extremely focused on the weight of my touring gear, the weight of the Lupo Pro HD is very noticeable compared to something like the Atomic Hawx XTD, Tecnica Zero G, and Scarpa Maestrale series.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

The Lupo Pro HD also is one of my least-favorite touring boots to use for technical scrambling, which comes down to its GripWalk soles and heavier weight (the latter of which just makes it feel pretty cumbersome / imprecise). The GripWalk soles are the main factor though — I don’t like having plastic sections under my toes that offer very little grip on rock. I feel the same way about all GripWalk soles I’ve used, and the Lupo Pro HD is totally fine for walking on smooth, hard surfaces (a bit better than boots with flat alpine soles). But I don’t love climbing up or down rocks in any boots with GripWalk soles.

That said, because of how much I enjoy skiing (and landing) in the Lupo Pro HD, I’m still happy to take it on backcountry days that don’t involve long approaches and instead consist of building jumps and falling off them. And I think it’s an awesome boot for a “50/50” (or 60/40, 70/30, etc.) ratio of resort / backcountry skiing. I’ve pretty much been using the Lupo Pro HD as a “90/10” boot, and I really like it for that. But given how good a lot of the current crop of lighter touring boots are in terms of downhill performance, I’d much prefer a lighter boot if I was primarily going to be using it for human-powered skiing.

Transitions

The Lupo Pro HD requires an extra step during transitions: putting on / taking out the tongues. This doesn’t take long (like, 30 seconds) and it’s pretty easy to get the tongues attached and to line up the tongue, liner, & shell. But if the weight of the boot didn’t make this perfectly clear, the Lupo Pro HD is not for those whose first priority is efficiency in the backcountry.

Other than getting the tongues on / off, transitions in the Lupo Pro HD are straightforward and pretty easy.

Downhill Performance

Now to the fun part. If you’re seriously considering a heavier AT boot like the Lupo Pro HD, you’re probably most concerned with how it skis. And the good news is that it skis really well.

I spent many days skiing the Lupo Pro HD in its stock configuration (apart from my custom insoles): stock liner + Dalbello’s “B” tongue.

But, as I’ll get into below, I thought I could get both a better fit and better performance for my feet & my skiing style by changing some things. So I experimented with the Lupo Pro HD by swapping for Dalbello’s softer “C” tongue, and also tried it with a few different liners, including the Intuition Tour Wrap and Intuition Power Wrap (we’ll be doing a separate review of several of Intuition’s liners in the future).

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

The ability to get different tongues for the Lupo Pro HD is a nice feature for those who might not want / need the very stiff “B” tongue but who like the sound of the rest of the boot, since the only other Lupo boot with the heavier PU shell is the “110-flex,” 100mm-last Lupo AX HD.

So with all that said, I’ll discuss how the Lupo Pro HD has performed with each of those different combos. But first, I want to discuss a few things that I noticed no matter which tongue or liner I crammed on / into the boot:

Downhill Performance — General Impressions

The main thing that stands out when comparing the Lupo Pro HD to the numerous lighter touring boots on the market is how much better the Lupo Pro HD mutes out / dampens impacts and vibrations I experience while skiing.

While the lightweight touring boots these days are really good when it comes to offering strong flex patterns, most of them still feel pretty dang harsh when you’re skiing hard through rough snow (i.e., the kind of skiing many people do in the resort). The Lupo Pro HD feels much more similar to a good alpine boot in this regard, which is why I’ve been skiing it so much in the resort at Crested Butte. And given that many dedicated alpine boots are getting quite light, the Lupo Pro HD is actually better than some boots without walk mechanisms when it comes to damping / suspension.

If I knew I’d be spending more than ~50% of my time skiing a boot in the resort, I’d much prefer the more damped feel of the Lupo Pro HD over the harsher feel of the lighter boots out there.

The other thing to note is that the Lupo Pro HD feels like a pretty upright boot out of the box. Dalbello says its forward lean is 11°, and I found myself feeling a bit more upright than I’d like. So I stuck the included spoiler to the back of the liner and had zero qualms after that. With the spoiler, I’d say the Lupo Pro HD feels pretty similar to the Nordica Strider 120 in terms of forward lean.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

In terms of lateral support, I never had any complaints with the Lupo Pro HD. To be clear, I’m not someone who often finds myself noticing a lack of lateral support, but I can say the Lupo Pro HD didn’t feel any worse than any alpine or touring boot I’ve used.

Finally, regardless of the liner I used, the rearward support on this boot is phenomenal. That’s one of the things I love about most 3-piece boots — they tend to be very stiff in the rearward direction. While I’d grown accustomed to the below-average rearward support of the Strider 120, I immediately noticed and became a fan of how little the Lupo Pro HD flexed when I got backseat or wanted to do a Markus Eder / Dylan Siggers wheelie imitation.

Ok, now onto the different tongue and liner combinations I tried with this boot. If you primarily want to know how the Lupo Pro HD skis in its stock configuration, just focus on the next “Combo #1” section. But for those who are curious about how the Lupo Pro HD skis with some different liners & tongues, check out all five “Combo” sections. And if you get through it all, you’ll probably come to the same conclusion as I did at the end of this season: go to a bootfitter before buying boots so that you don’t have to spend an entire season messing with them.

Combo #1: Lupo Pro HD — Stock Setup (B Tongue + Stock Liner)

As we do with all the boots we test, I started out with the Lupo Pro HD in its stock configuration. Overall, I got along pretty well with the boot as such, but it wasn’t perfect for me.

First off, the liner in the Lupo Pro HD seemed to pack out fairly quickly. It wasn’t a drastic difference in terms of fit, and this likely won’t be an issue for those who tend to size down their boot shells or those with higher insteps / higher-volume ankles than me. But given that the Lupo Pro HD left a lot of room over my (low) instep and a bit of room around my ankle to begin with, I didn’t need the liner to get any roomier.

Fit notes aside, this boot feels very stiff with its stock B tongue and stock liner. It’s a legit “130-flex” that felt stiffer (especially at the beginning of the flex) than a few other “130-flex” boots I’ve used, including the Salomon S/Pro 130, K2 Recon 130, Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130, & Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD.

As I flexed the Lupo Pro HD and got deeper into its flex, the difference in stiffness between it and those other boots was a bit less noticeable / felt more similar. At first, the Lupo Pro HD’s flex pattern felt fairly progressive to me (i.e., I thought it felt stiffer the deeper I got into its flex), but as I spent more time A/B-ing it against 2-piece, overlap-style boots like the ones mentioned above, I noticed that the Lupo Pro HD felt a bit more consistent / linear in terms of its flex pattern. I.e., the stiffness / resistance didn’t seem to change drastically depending on how hard I was flexing the boot.

FWIW, we had reviewer Eric Freson (5’10”, 180 lbs) try the Lupo Pro HD in its stock configuration (it didn’t fit him well so he only skied it for a day). He spends most of his time skiing in 3-piece Full Tilt boots, and he said the Lupo Pro HD felt like it fell somewhere between Full Tilt’s “10” and “12” tongues in terms of overall stiffness, leaning closer to the 12 tongue than the 10.

It’s important to reiterate that I’m not a big guy at 5’8”, 155 lbs, and I’m no ex-racer who constantly complains about folding their boots in half. I’ve been happy using the Nordica Strider 120 as my inbounds boot, and it’s far from the stiffest boot on the market. After talking with Paul Forward (6’0”, 195 lbs) about his experience in the Dalbello Lupo Factory (which currently comes with Dalbello’s C tongue) and how much he noticed its linear flex pattern, I suspect that larger skiers will feel more similar to Paul when it comes to just how linear the flex of the Lupo Pro HD feels. And that’s why we’re sending the Lupo Pro HD’s B tongues up to Paul for him to try in the Lupo Factory next season.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

But as someone who is ok with skiing a good 120-flex boot, the Lupo Pro HD’s B tongue left me wanting a slightly softer flex off the top so I could more easily get into the flex of the boot at slower speeds and in mellower terrain. Because it felt quite stiff at the beginning of its flex pattern, I found myself not cranking down very hard on the Lupo Pro HD’s power strap and upper buckle. This, in turn, resulted in a looser cuff fit, some pretty terrible shin bang, and a serious decline in the number of hairs still protruding from the front of my shins (though, free leg shave, I guess?).

This was a small enough issue that I kept skiing the Lupo Pro HD as my everyday inbounds boot for many days, but when also considering the somewhat loose fit I had around the ankle and instep, I was eager to see if I could further dial in the fit and downhill performance for my preferences. And thus started my season-long journey (read: sufferfest) of trying to turn the Lupo Pro HD into my ideal inbounds boot.

Combo #2: Lupo Pro HD — B Tongue + Intuition Power Wrap

This was a very short test period. My main goal with the Power Wrap was to be able to get a tighter, more comfortable fit around my shins / calves and ankle. While the Power Wrap certainly took up all the volume I could ever want removed from the boot, it also made it even stiffer than with the stock liner (I didn’t need that) and absolutely crushed my toes to the point where I couldn’t ski this combo for more than an hour or so.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

While I think that heat-molding the Power Wrap could have addressed the fit issues, I knew I didn’t want to make the Lupo Pro HD even stiffer so I moved on to another liner. But for those who want a stiffer and / or higher-volume liner to put in the Lupo Pro HD, the Power Wrap is a solid choice and I’ll be able to say more about its fit after heat-molding it next year.

Combo #3: Lupo Pro HD — B Tongue + Intuition Tour Wrap

The Tour Wrap uses a softer and thinner foam than the Power Wrap, and it’s also a bit lower in terms of cuff height. As a result, it did not crush my toes like the Power Wrap and didn’t make the Lupo Pro HD feel much stiffer than with its stock liner. It did take up more volume in the ankle and cuff vs. the stock liner, so it did a pretty good job of addressing my fit issues. It also left my shins feeling slightly less abused as I could get a tighter, more consistently-pressured fit around my shins and calves.

But even with the Tour Wrap + B tongues, I still wanted a softer flex off the top, so that’s when I ordered the C tongues.

Combo #4: Lupo Pro HD — C Tongue + Intuition Tour Wrap

Success! This is the combo I’ve enjoyed the most so far.

Switching to the C tongue, the Lupo Pro HD was much easier to flex off the top and the overall flex pattern worked really well for me. With the C tongue + Tour Wrap combo, I’d say the Lupo Pro HD feels like a strong 120 / soft 130 in terms of overall stiffness, and the linear nature of its flex pattern was more noticeable to me than with the stiffer B tongue.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

I’m someone who skis with a forward stance in most scenarios, but I also rarely find myself “bottoming out” most 120- and 130-flex boots, so I didn’t have an issue with the linear flex of the Lupo Pro HD with the C tongue. Instead, I came to enjoy the predictable nature of its flex — no matter how hard I pushed into the boot, I knew exactly how much it’d push back.

That said, if you’re coming from overlap-style boots and have become accustomed to their progressive flex patterns, I doubt a linear flex will feel intuitive / predictable right away, and you might not ever come to love it (our reviewer Paul Forward is a good example of this). But for those who like linear-flexing boots, the Lupo Pro HD’s flex pattern should feel natural to you.

With the C tongue + Tour Wrap liner, the Lupo Pro HD feels a bit stiffer than the Nordica Strider 120, much stiffer than the Salomon QST Pro 130, and stiffer off the top but maybe a hair softer deep into the flex vs. the Salomon S/Pro 130, Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130, Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, & Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro.

Combo #5: Lupo Pro HD — C Tongue + Intuition Power Wrap

So far, I’ve only spent a bit of time skiing this combo since it’s still excruciating on my feet. I was planning on finally heat molding the Power Wrap liner this spring, but then all the ski shops and lifts closed down, so the long-term test will have to wait till next season. But during my two days skiing this combo, the Lupo Pro HD felt closer to an “average 130-flex” — albeit a fairly linear “130.” I won’t give the final word on this until I can heat mold the Power Wrap and put more days in this combo, but the main reason I’m curious is because I still had more room than I’d prefer around my ankle and instep with the Tour Wrap liner. If I can mold the Power Wrap and get it to work with my feet, I think this could become my favorite combo.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Crested Butte, Colorado.

I didn’t ski the Lupo Pro HD with the C tongue + stock liner since I already knew I wanted the more secure fit of the Tour Wrap, but given that the Tour Wrap & stock liner felt pretty similar in terms of overall stiffness when used with the B tongue, I think the same would be true with the C tongue.

Durability

One of Dablello’s big talking points with the Lupo Pro HD is that its PU shell is more durable than the lighter materials used in many touring boots. I’ve spent a lot of time skiing in the Lupo Pro HD and scrambling / walking on pavement and rocks, and it’s holding up well. The shell itself has plenty of scrapes on it, but nothing that’s coming close to affecting its performance. The walls of the Lupo Pro HD’s lower shell are pretty thick (especially compared to most lighter touring boots), so I expect it to hold up for a long time.

The only small issues I’ve had with the Lupo Pro HD are regarding its power strap and liner. As I noted above, the liner felt like it packed out fairly quickly. Again, it didn’t make a massive difference in terms of fit, but since the boot already felt borderline too roomy around my ankle and instep, it didn’t help for my feet.

The webbing strap part of the Lupo Pro HD’s power strap began fraying pretty quickly. This issue was quickly solved with a few passes of a lighter, but the strap material did fray more quickly than any of the other cam-style power straps that I’ve used.

As always, I’ll update this review if I notice any durability issues down the line.

Who’s It For?

Skiers who want a 130-flex boot that offers nice suspension / damping for very aggressive skiing in the resort, but that still gives them the option of comfortably walking uphill.

If you’re thinking about using the Lupo Pro HD for a lot of human-powered skiing, I’d encourage you to look to lighter options. The Lupo Pro HD’s range of motion is excellent when you take out the tongue, but there are a ton of very good, strong touring boots that are so much lighter and more efficient on the skin track, and the suspension of the Lupo Pro HD won’t be quite as important for many people in the backcountry. If you’re curious about lighter options, check out our Winter Buyer’s Guide & 130-Flex AT Boot Deep Dive comparisons.

Luke Koppa reviews the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado
Luke Koppa in the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD.

If the only walking you do in ski boots is from the car to the lifts, there are lots of good dedicated alpine boots that could work equally well or better than the Lupo Pro HD (Dalbello’s own Krypton & Panterra lines being sensible alternatives to the Lupo Pro HD in this scenario).

But for those people who want very alpine-boot-esque downhill performance in a boot with a walk mechanism (albeit with a more linear flex pattern), the Lupo Pro HD is a very appealing option. It stands out from the lighter touring boots on the market due to how much better it dampens / mutes out rough snow, which is why I’d personally much prefer it to any of those lighter boots for frequent inbounds use. And if your uphill travel tends to be short or you’re very fit and don’t care about weight, the Lupo Pro HD offers impressive range of motion once you take out the tongues.

Bottom Line

The Dalbello Lupo Pro HD is a boot that gives you the option to walk with excellent range of motion, but that skis very much like a good, 130-flex, 3-piece alpine boot. Unlike much of its lighter-weight competition, the Lupo Pro HD is much more similar to most alpine boots when it comes to dampening all the harsh vibrations / impacts you experience while skiing on rough snow. And unlike alpine boots, it lets you comfortably stride out once you remove the Lupo’s tongues.

The Lupo Pro HD’s weight makes it more burdensome on long skin tracks than many other touring boots, and if you often find yourself questioning whether you need a legit 130-flex boot, you’ll likely find the Lupo Pro HD too stiff with its stock B tongue. But for those who want a very stiff, more linear-flexing boot with a walk mechanism, the Lupo Pro HD offers a lot to like.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our 130-flex Touring Boot Deep Dive where we compare several 130-flex alpine touring boots, including the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130, Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, Dynafit Hoji Free, Scarpa Maestrale XT, Lange XT3 130, K2 Mindbender 130, Fischer Ranger Free 130, & Dalbello Lupo Factory.

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29 comments on “2020-2021 Dalbello Lupo Pro HD”

  1. Glad to see Dalbello directly addressing the complaints they’ve had with the previous Lupos. Their Grilamid shells are so soft you legitimately have to be careful not to bash in the toe or heel on a rock or even when engaging your bindings, and their first attempts at non-Intuition liners were…mixed at best. I bought a pair of 130Cs for this season, and while they ride and walk great I already have some serious dings in the toes and am going to have to try to warranty the liners.

  2. have Dalbello gone back to intuition liners?

    i had some ’18 Kryptons which i bot thinking they they had the same intuition made/ dalbello designed liners that they have been using – but it was some crummy copy of a powerwrap – a real POS – was never particularly comfortable or warm and the sole just about pealed off – lasted maybe 30 days

  3. Do the replaceable alpine soles have tech fittings in them? Also, will you guys be reviewing the ’19-20 Lupo 120 AX? Asking for a friend…

    • The tech fittings are actually installed into the shell of boot, so whether you have alpine or Grip Walk soles on it, you’ll be able to use tech bindings. And we don’t have the AX 120 right now but we’re working on getting in a pair.

  4. How would you compare the HD Pro to the 2018/19 AX 120? Specifically, Flex, forward lean and heal fit? I have the AX 120, love the boot for everything but at speeds seems a little unstable. Could be me….

    • In terms of the foam density, it feels pretty similar. But the Lupo Pro HD’s liner is a lot thinner than a Pro Wrap and feels less substantial overall (and then it’s also a tongue-style liner, not a wrap).

    • With my feet, a 26.5 is kind of both. I’ve never been able to wear a 25.5 in any boots for longer than a few minutes due to pain, and every 27.5 I’ve tried has felt way too sloppy and sometimes even more painful due to my foot moving around too much. So I worn a 26.5 in every boot I’ve liked.

  5. Wonder how others have experienced durability of Dalbello Lupo line? I have the AX120 from 17-18 season, and they are a train wreck. First the tech inserts on the heel came lose after just a few months touring in traditional tech, glue and bigger screws remedied that. Next the whole heelpiece came lose after some resort skiing on kingpins. Glue and bigger screws again. Last winter the wires on the ankle buckle gave up on both boots on two consecutive tours. Remedied that with some steel wire looped around the groove in the buckle latch. I’m fairly heavy dude but ski fairly conservatively. Expensive lesson to learn I need different boots for touring and resort.

  6. Will you be reviewing the Lupo Air 130 this year? Very interested as I’m considering those or the Zero G Pro Tour’s as a replacement for my Vulcans. Thanks!

  7. ahh geez, trying to ski in a powerwrap without molding, must have been awful. i weigh a bit more 175 lbs and switched to the C tongue and loved the way i was able to ski in it, the ‘b’ tongue is really stiff, dalbello’s imitation intuition liners suck

  8. As a devoted Krypton lover… I’d love to hear the comparison of the Kr2 to the Lupo line (ie what, if anything, you sacrifice on the downhill)

  9. I’ve found the dalbello tour liner is total garbage, just throw it away and put a power wrap in it. Also why bother with this boot if your going to use it at the resort, just get a Krypton, the power wrap it comes with is pretty decent

  10. Hey Luke,

    Could you flesh out the differences between the Lupos/Striders/new XT3s a little more? Feel like they all sit at the more inbounds end of this category, and understanding the tradeoffs here would be great!

    Thanks,
    Steven

    • I haven’t used the XT3 so I can’t say much about that boot (the LV just doesn’t work for my feet). But as for the Strider 120 (I haven’t used the 130), the Lupo offers much more forward range of motion when you take out the tongues, while the Strider offers much more range of motion if you leave in the Lupo’s tongues. The Lupo is much better in terms of rearward support, and far stiffer overall with the B tongue. With the C tongue, the Lupo is a bit stiffer overall, most notably at the beginning of the flex, while the Strider 120’s flex pattern feels a bit softer but more progressive. Overall, I’d say the two are similar in terms of suspension / damping (both quite good — good enough that I ski them in the resort all the time).

      One thing I love about the Strider 120 is its stock liner — it’s one of the best stock liners I’ve used and it lasted a good 100+ days before packing out to the point that it impacted performance. The liner in the Strider 120 also provides a much more secure fit around my ankles.

      I’d say the Lupo & Strider fall into the same category, with the deciding factors being fit and your preferences on linear vs. progressive flex patterns. Then there’s also the fact that the Strider is a bit lighter and it doesn’t require removing tongues for touring, while the Lupo offers more ROM when you ditch the tongues.

  11. I just bought a pair of these for touring volcanoes out here in the PNW, after reading this, I’m now hoping they’re not too heavy… I bought the Line Vision 108s in a 189 with the Dynafit Rotation 12 (I’m ~6’2″ and was around 200 lbs before I started losing muscle mass from being quarantined haha).. So, I’m hoping the lighter skis and binders make the difference? This is my first touring setup, so I suppose I was bound to flup up somewhere.. however, I got the boots used only once for $300 and got an extra power wrap liner thrown in for $50 which I plan to put in my strictly alpine boot… Seems like a steal.
    Guess I’ll have to wait to see how fast I can cruise up Mt. Adams…

    • Totally doable – most of my guy friends’ setups clock in at a similar weight and didn’t have any issues getting up Adams, and I’ve also seen a surprising number of frame bindings at the top. If you find yourself adding glacier gear or overnight gear to get on some of the other volcanoes or multiday traverses, a dedicated lightweight spring setup could be a nice addition to the quiver.

    • Yep, I agree with Analisa — I think the Lupo would be totally fine as your first touring boot, especially at that price and for how light the rest of that setup is. You can always look into going with something lighter down the line if you feel the need to do so, but the Lupo is a solid place to start and will likely feel more familiar / intuitive coming from heavier alpine boots.

      • Thanks Analisa & Luke… I’m pretty stoked on this setup and used your reviews to help me pick out the sticks. To Analisa’s point, as I get deeper into mountaineering I’m more than likely to expand my gear quiver… seems as if I always find a way to do that anyways – haha. Thanks for your reviews and giving me piece of mind here. Cheers.

  12. Nice review.

    I’ve been using Dalbellos alpine and freeride touring boots for a while now, coming to the brand after skiing Raichle Comp Flexons with #8 tounges from Full Tilt. I’ve owned the KR2, Lupo TI, Lupo Carbon, Lupo AX125 and the Lupo Air 130 with about 600ish days on all combined, skiing a mix of skihill, slack country (KHMR), Rogers Pass/Yoho/Kootenay/Banff Parks (car accessed), snowmobile accessed touring, hut based touring and 1 trip to Japan . I’m pretty surprised you moved down to the C flex tongue. I found the C flex way too soft, and have ridden all those boots with the B or the stock P in the 125 AX. I’m 5’9″ 140lbs, so smaller than the Blister reviewer, and could fold the C flex when skiing at speed with some aggression. Personal tastes in flex though, maybe I’m looking for more support than the Blister reviewer. ( B stiffest, P Hard, C Medium)

    For those looking for a review on the Lupo Air 130 there is a good discussion on TGR tech thread. I’ve used the Air 130 for 50 days this year (2 days skihill bashing, off skihill touring, sled access touring, 13 days of hut based ski touring) They are very stiff, high performance 3 piece boots. The flex is much more progressive than the other Lupo or Krypton boots, starting stiffer and ramping up faster. I really enjoy the flex pattern on the Air130, it has plenty of give/bounce, but it is different than the standard 3 piece models. The lightness of the Air shell is immediately noticeable vs. the 125AX and the full rubber vibram toe and heel pads are amazing. Lots of grip on rocks/sled runners, no signs of wear yet (which is amazing considering what snowmobiles do to ski boots) and no snow sticking to the rubber. I ended up replacing the Airs cable/snowboard ladder+ratchet actuated closure system to the more normal cable/ladder/buckle system found on the other Lupos. I did not like where pressure was located with the stock system and worried about snapping the plastic ladders in the field. I also wanted independent control of the lower and heel retention buckles. My biggest gripe with the Air is it has a smaller forward ROM than the other Lupos due to the stiffening block on the rear spine. The block engages the lower and locks out forward flex when walking, which isn’t a problem on the other Lupos. Its not a deal breaker for me, but might be for some. Nothing has broken yet on the Airs.

    TGR thread https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/325171-2020-Dalbello-Lupo-Air?highlight=lupo+air

  13. For me this is one of the best reviews ever: those different combo options are really interesting – good stuff Luke!
    Funny enough this past winter I tried some similar combinations (albeit with only amateur-turist expertise/experience) with Lupo 130C / Intuition Alpines / B, C and P tongues and gotta say I fully relate to your experience and findings… including the comment on the hair in front of the shins :) ha ha!

    Out of curiosity, what is your shell fit in these Lupos?

    Cheers!

    • Ha, glad I’m not the only one!

      And I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I wanna say the shell fit gap was somewhere around 1 or 1.5 fingers / 0.5–1 inch.

      • Hey, thanks Luke – much appreciated :)
        I also fall on the upper end of that range at around 22mm in a 26.5 shell.
        Personally I found the fit nice at the beginning, then they got unskiable once the liner compressed.
        The Intuition Alpine took up all the volume but I had somewhat mixed feelings about them – I have the doubt the shell is slightly too big.
        I have an older pair of (little used) Lupo TI in a size smaller (quite a tight fit) which was gonna try back in March, but never got round because of pandemic. Fingers crossed for next winter.

        Take care guys and stay safe!

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