Every year at the Outdoor Retailer show Outside presents awards to a handful of products that we deem to be the most impressive and innovative. We take these awards seriously and myself and the other editors spend weeks testing the products in the mountains outside of our Santa Fe headquarters before heading to the show. One product that we didn't get to test in time is the Dynafit Hoji boot. But since testing the boot, I think it deserves an award. Here’s why.
The Hoji’s namesake is Dynafit athlete and Whistler-based skier Eric Hjorleifson who years ago designed the Vulcan, one of the hardest charging AT boots on the market. In fact, the first working prototype of the Hoji consisted of a Vulcan shell, covered in metal buckles and cables that Hjorleifson machined with the help of famed tech binding designer, Fritz Barthel.
Designed for aggressive skiers that also want to tour efficiently, the Hoji takes the Vulcan’s hard-charging genetics and adds a few brand new details.
At 1,450 grams, the Hoji is pretty light for a full-featured, aggressive AT boot. It features a 102mm wide last and 55 degrees of cuff rotation making it incredibly comfortable to skin uphill in. Even without a proper fitting, they were probably the most enjoyable pair of boots I've worn while drinking a beer post-ski.
The most impressive feature of the Hoji is the one buckle walk mode adjustment. In other ski boots, transitioning from walk mode to downhill mode usually requires flipping a lever in the back, then tightening the buckles and the power strap. With the Hoji, the buckles and straps are connected to the rear lever via a series of cables which means that with one action, and without even rolling up your ski pant, the entire boot will stiffen to downhill mode. Even better, two pins lock the lower shell with the cuff of the boot creating a phenomenally stiff, alpine style boot feel. All of this essentially shortens transition time from a few minutes to a few seconds. The convenience is amazing and after using the Hoji's, it's hard to go back to a traditional AT boot.
The Hoji is billed as a 120 flex boot but in my opinion, it feels even stiffer. I normally like a really stiff boot but the stiff flex combined with the mere 11 degrees of forward lean makes the Hoji tough to ski aggressively on hard snow. I've yet to use the boots in powder where I'm sure this will be less of a big deal (after all, these were designed to excel in deep snow, not on groomers), but if you tour mostly at a resort, these aren't the boots for you. That being said, they feel solid and can easily maintain control of wide, heavy skis. I look forward to testing them out in different conditions in the coming months.
The Hoji's will be on sale fall 2018 but Backcountry.com is currently selling a very limited size run.