The Scarpa Freedom and the Dynafit Mercury are the two powerhouses when it comes to AT boots. Both make the elusive backcountry become an attainable haven for those desiring well-earned first tracks and big adventures. However, there are a few key differences that create advantages and disadvantages depending on the users’ specific purposes.
1. Profile- The first key difference lies in the sheer mass of the boots. Simply put, the Scarpa is bulkier. Don’t let this dissuade you though; the thicker materials create a superior descent giving a more classic Alpine boot feel and flex. On the other hand, the Dynafit is much slimmer, creating a boot that is going to tour and articulate in a superior manner.
2. Shell Type- The Dynafit is a 3-piece shell and the Scarpa is a 2-piece shell. Relationally, the Dynafit attains 60 degrees of cuff articulation while the Scarpa attains 27 degrees. Again, depending on the desired use of the boot, one will be superior to the other. Are you going on long tours and overnighters and racking up miles upon miles? If so, the Dynafit is going to find a nice spot in your quiver. If your style is going on shorter tours and morning hikes, and the descent is more important, then the Scarpa is most likely a better option.
3. Hiking- The time inevitably comes when the snow thins and you have to hoof-it. In varying terrain (i.e. rocks, grasses, bushes, varying slopes) both the sole type and profile of the boot come into play. The Scarpa comes equipped with a VIbram brand sole, while the Dynafit is equipped with an equally as solid proprietary rubber sole. However, no need to be blindly brand-loyal to Vibram as the smaller, neater profile of the Dynafit creates a superior option if you know that billy-goating is going to be a larger part of your trek.
4. The Fit- Both Boots are heat-moldable; therefore, the “out-of-the-box” fit is not going to be as crucial as a non heat-moldable option. There are still some differences in shell fit, however. At first fit, the Scarpa is a bit higher over the instep with a little wider heel. The Dynafit is certainly going to be snugger in the heel, but is still happy to accommodate a D width. When it comes down to it, head over to your local boot fitter and let them size you up and allow them to work their heat molding magic. Both boots are happy to accommodate a varying width of foot with the right tweaking.
A fair conclusion would be to say that the backcountry skier who is seriously racking up the touring miles and distance tours are on the forefront of the journey, then the Dynafit is going to create a happier leg in the end. However, if quicker morning tours for some up and down laps are the goal, then the Scarpa is going to give you the extra beef you need to shred those downhill lines.