Much like the Dalbello Chakra AX's many layers of liner, shell, cuff and buckle overlaps, testers found many layers of elements and features to peel back, discover and unlock its all-mountain and hike-to capabilities. Also like getting the Chakra AX on the foot and buckled up, testers took their time in getting to know this boot and its ins and outs.
The medium width fit with a particularly comfortable yet snug hold on the heel and ankles was the first hit for testers, who liked the anatomical shape that suited the average foot, leg and calf quite well. They cited a bit of extra room over the top of the foot and through the instep, which they appreciated for skiers with a thick or bony fit issue there--in conjunction with the open throat cabrio lower this offered a potentially good solution for the blood flow and cold foot challenged, testers mentioned. Testers liked the tall and upright cuff, which helped balance out the slightly soft flex at 95, creating a good starting point for a centered stance and a little extra room for a thicker calf. They also liked the cushioned liner feel against the foot and leg, citing that it was one of the most comfortable fits of the category.
Testers found no surprises during on-snow descent tests--they loved the smooth entry into turns and stable control the Chakra provided through each arc, regardless of speed or snow surface. They commented that balance and power were more than adequate for the category but gave the boot higher quickness scores for its lightweight package and accurate guidance of the ski in tight spots and tighter radius turns.
The test team wasn't blown away by the touring range of motion or ease of use of the walk mode switch but neither did they have any real problems with it. The Chakra struck our testers as a more area-based adventurer that would handle short forays off the beaten path before returning for another chair ride to send a ripper to the bottom. They liked that the cuff was a lighter weight material, but they liked more that the lower shell was traditional, stable polyurethane. They liked the addition of GripWalk soles to this year's version of the AX and they said the simple 40mm Velcro power strap worked just fine.
“Fit is spot on and hugs the foot everywhere--really nice heel and leg hold. Really nice flex delivery into every turn and provides a quick response whenever needed. Liner is very comfortable, seems very warm, always a lot going on with a Dalbello three piece shell, but it's great once you're in. ” -- Emily Poore
“Really nice feeling through the whole boot. Nice snug ankle keeping my foot in place with a nice amount of room in the forefoot. Roomy instep and a snug heel pocket. Feels really nice. ” -- Kori Coggin
“This boot still works so well for those that have a high instep and a more square shaped heel counter. The liners have a bot more shaping and anatomical contouring. So easy to get on the foot, almost criminal!” -- Sam Tischendorf
“Tall. Cushy. Extremely comfortable. Loved cruising in this.” -- Liz Elling
“Upright cuff made it a little challenging to get forward--a rear spoiler would help (or a bigger calf!).” -- Liz Elling
“Challenging to get hike mode activated and then locked back in. Grrrr. And when in hike mode, more of a convenience feature/for Apres than for anything too functional for hiking. Alpine boot mass, would definitely call it alpine rather than hike and ride. Fills the criteria for alpine better! ” -- Sam Tischendorf
“Dalbello cabrio boot buckles are always a pain. ” -- Emily Poore