Boot: 2023-2024 Tecnica Zero G Peak Carbon
Stated Flex: n/a
Available Sizes: mondo 23.5-30.5
Stated Last (size 26.5): 99 mm
Stated Range of Motion: 75°
Blister’s Measured Weight (size 27.5):
- Shells, no Liners (left & right): 844 & 854 g
- Liners, no Footbeds: 231 & 227 g
- Shells + Liners = 1075 & 1081 g
Reviewer: 6”, 200 lbs / 183 cm, 90.7 kg
Test Location: Chugach backcountry, AK
Test Duration: 30+ days
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 22/23 Zero G Peak Carbon, which returned unchanged for 23/24.]
Stated Forward Lean: 13° (+2° with spoiler)
Ramp Angle: 3°
Size Tested: 27.5
Stated Boot Sole Length (size 27.5): 298 mm
Buckles: 2 light aluminum, w/ cable wrapping construction and hiking-locked positions
Power Strap: 40 mm camming ‘“Power Lock” strap
- Cuff: carbon / Grilamid
- Lower Shell / Shoe: carbon / Grilamid
Liner: “Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.)” Light Liner
Soles: fixed Vibram rubber w/ carbon reinforcement
Binding Compatibility: full pin / tech bindings
Tech Fittings: Dynafit certified
[First Look written by Drew Kelly; Full Review written by Paul Forward.]
As we discussed when it was announced at the beginning of 2022, Tecnica finally made an entrance into the world of very lightweight touring boots, in the form of their Zero G Peak series.
~1000-gram boots that have at least some explicit focus on downhill performance certainly seem like a growing trend these days — companies like Atomic, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Dynafit, and Salomon now all have models that fit this fairly ambiguous genre. In the past, we’d subjectively say that this “lightweight touring” boot category included boots weighing around 1000 grams to about 1350 g (size 26.5). They were bookended by the even lighter true “skimo” category (often <900 g) and the heavier, stiffer, “freeride touring” category (typically 1300–1700 g). Recently, for a variety of reasons, it seems all those classifications’ distinctive traits have begun intermingling.
Many folks have been using boots in the “lightweight touring” class as their primary or only touring boot because those boots tend to be a whole lot nicer on the uphill than heavier alternatives with more restricted ranges of motion. And easier uphill travel is a huge plus if you like to put in big days, get as many laps as possible, or just generally want to take some strain off the ascent (which, realistically, makes up 75%+ of a backcountry “skiing” day). With advancements in lightweight boot tech, brands like Tecnica are claiming that boots like the Zero G Peak Carbon offer fewer downhill-performance compromises than previous boots in this class (and especially the even lighter skimo-specific category). There is still a significant uphill and downhill performance gap between the ~1000-g and ~1300+ g classes, but the compromises aren’t quite as dramatic as they used to be.
And with the rise of fitness-oriented touring, particularly in avalanche-controlled resort settings, this class of boots is similarly appealing, offering efficient uphill performance for those who want to get in some low-impact exercise, while often still being stiff enough to carve casual turns back down groomed slopes.
So, what actually makes a boot like the Zero G Peak Carbon suited to all those types of skiing? Foremost are its low weight and the large range of motion provided by its cuff (stated at 75°). Other uphill-oriented features include its very breathable and thin liner, a trimmed-down buckle system designed to be lightweight on the uphill and efficient during transitions, lightweight carbon reinforcements throughout the lower shell and cuff, minimal heel and toe lugs, and low cuff height. But Tecnica says that downhill performance was still a priority with this boot, and the Zero G Peak Carbon adds some features not often seen in boots this light, such as a partial-overlap lower shell, carbon plate embedded in the sole for added torsional rigidity, and supposedly more easily punchable and grindable shell and liner.
All of this adds up to a boot that’s very interesting on paper, and one that seems to make it even harder to neatly place various ski boots into homogenous categories. Reviewer Paul Forward spent a lot of time in the Zero G Peak Carbon to see where it slotted into the touring-boot market, including many days spent with it on one foot and another boot from this class on the other. Before we get to Paul’s thoughts, here’s some more info about this new line of boots, and the Zero G Peak Carbon in particular.
What Tecnica says about the Zero G Peak Carbon
“The Pinnacle. The cream of the crop. The Peak. Call it what you want, but rest assured Tecnica’s first sub-1000-gram touring boot lives up to its name. Born from our fit-and-performance-first ethos, the Zero G Peak Carbon is built to be extremely light and efficient on the uphill, yet maintain the power and downhill performance you’ve come to know and expect from a Tecnica boot.
Adapted from our experience in the alpine world, the Zero G Peak Carbon uses a semi-overlap shell design, allowing the boot to wrap the foot better which not only increases comfort but significantly improves downhill performance.
The Zero G Peak Carbon is a true light-touring boot built the Tecnica way – Fit to bag every peak on your checklist and out-ski your buddies on the way down.”
The Zero G Peak & Zero G Tour Series
The “Zero G” name has been in Tecnica’s lineup for a while now, historically being one of the most popular lineups of boots for backcountry skiers who place a high priority on downhill performance.
In contrast to the new Zero G Peak series, the longstanding Zero G Tour boots have been and continue to be midweight do-it-all touring boots that balance downhill ski performance and weight savings very impressively, but still with a clear bias toward downhill performance. They range from about 1300 g to 1500 g per boot for a size 26.5, with flex ratings ranging from 105 to 130. The Zero G Tour Pro has been a favorite of ours at Blister for several years in a row, primarily due to how it manages to combine a nice, pretty legit “130” flex pattern with a lower weight and better uphill experience than most similarly stiff boots.
The Zero G Peak boots, despite sharing a very similar name, are completely different — different shells, different liners, etc. The Zero G Peak series is much more uphill-oriented overall, with stated weights all around that 1000-g mark (size 26.5), and no stated flex ratings provided.
The Zero G Peak and Zero G Tour boots do share a stated last width of 99 mm and both series include “women-specific” and “men’s” models. Listed below are the stated weights, stated flex ratings (where applicable), and available sizes for the whole “Zero G” collection, ordered from softest to stiffest.
Women-specific (stated weights for 24.5):
- Zero G Peak W: n/a flex, 905 g (23.5–27.5)
- Zero G Tour W: 105 flex, 1380 g (22.5–27.5)
- Zero G Tour Scout W: 115-flex, 1275 g (22.5–27.5)
Men’s (stated weights for 26.5):
- Zero G Peak: n/a flex, 980 g (24.5–30.5)
- Zero G Peak Carbon: n/a flex, 995 g (23.5–30.5)
- Zero G Tour: 110-flex, 1505 g (24.5–30.5)
- Zero G Tour Scout: 120-flex 1370 g (24.5–30.5)
- Zero G Tour Pro: 130-flex, 1320 g (22.5–30.5)
It’s worth noting that the top-of-the-line Zero G Peak Carbon and Zero G Tour Pro are offered down to the same smallest size as their women-specific equivalents (23.5 & 22.5, respectively), despite being under the “men’s” category on Tecnica’s website. That’s noteworthy for those with smaller feet who are interested in the stiffer, higher-end options in either category.
Weight & Comparisons
The Zero G Peak Carbon sits comfortably on the lighter end of the touring-boot spectrum; in terms of boots that weigh drastically less, it’s pretty much just skimo-specific, race-oriented options. Relative to the midweight class of “freeride touring” boots with stated flex ratings of 120+ (i.e., the bottom half of the list below), the Zero G Peak Carbon is at least 200-300 grams lighter. One of the Zero G Peak Carbon’s main competitors, the Scarpa F1 LT, comes in at a strikingly similar weight, whereas the Salomon S/Lab MTN Summit is just a bit heavier.
Below is a list of our measured weights for some comparable boots, organized from lightest to heaviest. For our measured weights, we list the weights of each shell + the weights of each liner, then the total weight of the shells + liners.
Tecnica Zero G Peak Carbon (27.5): 844 & 854 + 231 & 227 = 1075 & 1081 g
Paul Forward (6”, 200 lbs / 183 cm, 90.7 kg): As always, the “Fit” sections of our ski boot reviews are mostly meant to provide a general idea of the shell fit from our perspective — they’ll never aim nor be able to replace the guidance of a bootfitter. PLEASE go to an experienced bootfitter to figure out which boots will work best for your feet (and if you aren’t sure which shops / bootfitters to visit, check out our Blister Recommended Shops).
With that said, below is how the Zero G Peak Carbon feels on my feet. For reference, I’ve had a few boot fitters comment on my foot shape and the general conclusion is that I have:
- A fairly low-volume ankle and heel
- A higher than average instep / arch
- Good ankle flexion
- Moderate width across metatarsal heads
My experience with the Zero G Peak Carbon is that it has a fairly low-volume heel and ankle, medium to high instep area, and a medium-width toe box. My primary problem area in most boots is my instep; it has been the barrier that’s kept me from enjoying many boots in the past. After a quick liner mold with some extra padding over my instep, I found the Zero G Peak Carbon to be quite comfortable. As with pretty much all boots, I leave the lower buckle open when climbing, but I can buckle it for the descent and keep it closed, even for long, flat skates back to the car when needed. The heel and ankle are pleasantly low volume and I’ve only had a little bit of heel movement. In the Zero G Tour Pro, my main other issue was in the fifth metatarsal and “sixth toe” area; in the Zero G Peak Carbon, I did not need to do any work there. For what it’s worth, I’ve had pretty good luck punching Grilamid boots like the Zero G Peak Carbon, but make sure whoever does it has experience with these thin, light shells.
As we’ll get into below, how a given boot fits your particular feet can play a huge role in how it will feel and perform. While that’s the case with any ski boot, I think it’s worth emphasizing for this class of 1000-1200-g touring boots, which I’ll cover more in the “Downhill Performance” section.
With that said, here’s how I’d describe the fit differences between several boots in this class, based on how they feel on my feet:
Salomon S/Lab MTN Summit: The MTN Summit feels a little shorter and has a little more instep pressure for me but, aside from that, it feels higher volume than the Zero G Peak Carbon everywhere else.
Scarpa F1 LT: I feel like the lower shell of the F1 LT is made for my foot — it requires nothing more than a quick liner mold to be perfectly comfortable. Relative to the Zero G Peak Carbon, the F1 LT feels a little tighter overall through the midfoot, but the forefoot and heel seem pretty similar to me.
Dynafit TLT8: This is a very different fit than the Zero G Peak Carbon and is higher volume throughout the entire boot.
Atomic Backland Carbon: I’m basing this on the 19/20–21/22 BOA version that I’ve used, but my understanding is that, aside from it being a buckle now instead of a BOA, the shell is essentially the same. Overall, the Backland shell feels higher volume throughout and a touch longer in the shell, compared to the Peak Carbon.
Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro: This boot is obviously in a completely different class. but since it’s Tecnica’s other touring boot, I’ll include it here. For my foot, the Peak Carbon feels more contoured to my foot shape, with a slightly closer fit through the heel and ankle and a touch more volume in the toe box. For my Zero G Tour Pro, I had to do 6th toe punches in both boots for long days of touring.
I’ve now been in these boots for the better part of a whole season, plus the late spring of 2022, and have already made some turns in them this year. Overall, the Zero G Peak Carbon continues to be one of the best boots I’ve ever used for long days of climbing and general travel in the backcountry. Its range of motion is more than adequate for any ski or binding setup that I’ve used.
I’ve been spending more and more time on “race style” bindings that have very low heel risers, and even with little help in that regard from the binding, I’ve had little trouble ascending steep skintracks using the Zero G Peak Carbon. Overall, if this boot fits your foot, I think it will perform on the ascent as well or better than any non-race-specific touring boot on the market; I don’t have experience in the race-specific boot category, but if we exclude that class, the Zero G Peak Carbon is one of the most impressive boots I’ve used in terms of skinning / walking.
I’ve done exactly one uphill / downhill race in my life and it was about 20 years ago — on telemark gear — so I’m definitely not someone who’s pulling out the stopwatch at every single transition. That said, I usually make a few laps when I’m out and I like a fairly quick and easy transition. All things considered, I’ve found the Zero G Peak Carbon to be one of the fastest and easiest boots I’ve used for transitions. Its buckles are easy to operate with gloves on, as are the power strap and walk-mechanism lever in the back. The Zero G Peak Carbon’s low-volume cuff is also pretty nice for pulling pant gaiters up and down as needed, with minimal drag / friction.
Of all the closure-mechanism combos out there, I think the Zero G Peak’s is my favorite. When wearing boots with BOA dials, I find myself loosening / tightening it at the top and bottom of every run; with boots with velcro strap / buckle combos, I’m always trying to get it in the right spot before closing the cam-buckle; and even with boots like Dynafit’s Hoji Lock models, where the closures are connected to the walk mechanism, I always end up undoing and redoing all the buckles anyway.
In the Zero G Peak Carbon, I flip two buckles, I only have to adjust the top one, and tightening / loosening the cam-style power strap is also quite easy. Kudos to Tecnica for their simple and solid closure mechanisms.
I’ll also mention here that the little secondary closure on the Peak Carbon’s walk mode (i.e., the little hook attached to the paracord) is much appreciated. On boots with more pared-down, simpler walk mechanism closures, such as the Atomic Backland or Scarpa F1 LT, I’ve intermittently had significant ice-up issues preventing the lever from fully engaging into ski mode.
When I wrote my initial Flash Review of the Zero G Peak Carbon, I had just skied a couple of runs with it on one foot and the Salomon S/Lab MTN Summit on the other. My impression after that experience was that the S/Lab MTN Summit offered a little bit more power for driving bigger skis in variable conditions. I maintained that impression throughout the remainder of that spring.
Then, last winter, I continued spending a significant portion of my touring days with the S/Lab MTN Summit or Scarpa F1 LT on one foot and the Zero G Peak Carbon on the other. I did this in all manner of snow conditions, and with skis ranging from 95 mm underfoot to over 125 mm underfoot. My primary takeaway is that the fit of the boots in this category matters much more than which model you choose. Throughout last season and the beginning of this winter, I haven’t been able to replicate the feeling that the S/Lab MTN Summit was a notably more powerful boot. The S/Lab MTN Summit may have slightly better damping characteristics and is maybe ~5% stiffer in terms of pure forward flex. But after many days spent with one of these boots on each foot and skiing all manner of snow conditions, I was not able to identify a dramatic difference.
For those who are not accustomed to this category of boot at all, I’ll try to provide some context, given the similarities between the models I’m discussing, and how different they are from most 1300+ gram “freetouring” boots. The Zero G Peak Carbon, S/Lab MTN Summit, and Scarpa F1 LT are all capable of skiing fairly fast on a large variety of skis. As a 200-pound guy who usually skis with 15-20 lb pack for ski touring, I can say that these boots have plenty of support for most of the skiing that I do. On big terrain (steeper, more open, higher speeds) and especially in more variable conditions, I can definitely find a speed limit with these boots; I feel less confident going very fast through runouts in them than heavier, more downhill-oriented alternatives.
Living in Alaska, I do have access to a lot of very consequential terrain; as a result, there are still days when I’ll opt for my stiffer, heavier, more confidence-inspiring Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro (or other similar boots). However, the goal for the vast majority of the ski touring that I do is spending a long day out skiing as much powder as I can in a wide variety of terrain. And for that type of skiing, I almost always opt for the Zero G Peak Carbon or something similar.
As I alluded to above, the times when these boots show the most vulnerability are in variable conditions. If the snow is refrozen, bumpy, or significantly choppy, I definitely have to pay more attention to remaining control and it’s easier to feel the need to slow down in boots like the Zero G Peak Carbon, relative to heavier alternatives. That said, for most of the time and for my preferences, the increase in comfort and the dramatic loss of weight on the ascent are well worth having to be a little bit more careful in certain situations on the descent. And in good conditions, I can ski almost as fast as I want in most terrain.
The shells of the Zero G Peak Carbon have held up well so far, with over 30 days of touring over the past three seasons. The Zero G Peak Carbon seems at least as durable as any other “lightweight” touring boot; still, they do have thin rubber soles and a minimalist construction, so rocky environments will take their toll, as with any boot in this weight class.
The only issue I had during my testing was that one of the Zero G Peak Carbon’s pre-production liners ripped internally while putting them on. Eventually, I received a pair of updated liners that apparently go out with the current version of the Zero G Peak Carbon and was able to finish my review. The new liners have stitching in different locations; I’ve had no issues so far with the new ones and don’t expect to, based on the design change.
Who’s lt For?
If the fit is right, the Zero G Peak Carbon offers the best performance-to-weight ratio of any boot in this class that I’ve used, making it a very compelling choice for those who want a light, efficient, and comfortable touring boot that can still ski pretty well (with my caveats, above, in mind).
That said, the marginal differences in performance between the Zero G Peak Carbon, Salomon S/Lab MTN Summit, and Scarpa F1 LT are small enough that fit should be the primary deciding factor. Weight and features should come second, and the differences in actual flex patterns should likely be the lowest priority since the top boots in this category have very similar flex patterns in the grand scheme of the boot market. In my opinion, these boots offer enough power for the vast majority of the touring conditions and skiing style that most people are doing, all while being very ergonomic and efficient on the ascent, and weighing notably less than the more downhill-oriented alternatives.
After spending many days over the course of many seasons in many pairs of different lightweight touring boots, the Tecnica Zero G Peak Carbon has gradually become my go-to boot for most of my ski touring.
I will continue to emphasize that how the Zero G Peak Carbon (or any of its competitors) fits your particular feet should be your main focus when deciding on a boot in this class. But that aside, it’s an extremely efficient and comfortable boot on the uphill while still offering a level of skiing performance that’s very rare in the ~1-kilogram class.