If big mountain freerider Sean Pettit relies on the Dalbello Men's KR 2 - Lupo SP I.D. Ski Boot to get him down a pillow line, help him spin off a natural mountain feature, and slay a massive big mountain line, then you'd better believe these are some quality boots. The SP Pro model features a unique cross-over functionality for both traditional and freeskiing styles making it a big mountain charging boot that ventures out the resort's backcountry gates, bootpacks into the resort's extreme terrain, and sleds into the backcountry for a short tour. The Lupo features a Ski-Hike mechanism that easily unlocks to free the upper cuff from the lower shell to extend a long range of motion for hiking, climbing, or bootpacking, so you can comfortably venture wherever the powder calls.
Equipped with a 130 flex index, this stiff and powerful boot gives pros and die-hard skiers the tools to rip the mountain from top to bottom. The Lupo also uses an innovative Cabrio design architecture that combines a boot shell/boot cuff assembly with an external Kinetic Response shell tongue closure. This design provides rigid lateral support for dynamic power-to-ski energy transfer with a comfortable, smooth flex, superior shock absorption, and a convenient way to put on and take off the Lupo. Dalbello's Contour 4 shell fit technology features relief contours molded into the inside lower shell at the ankle, heel, 5th metatarsal, and navicular points to provide a close and accurate fit and minimize the need for shell modifications.
To provide a strong foothold and rearfoot stability when you charge big lines, the Lupo features Dynalink Rearfoot Retention that uses an independently functioning heel/instep closure assembly to effectively minimize foot sliding, heel lift, and boot shell distortion when you flex the boot. With today's modern rockered skis and lateral skiing technique you need a much more upright and neutral (flatter) stance, so Dalbello incorporated its Center Balanced Stance technology into the Lupo to center your body mass over the sweet spot of your skis for more power and control with less effort.
The renowned Intuition I.D. Thermo Max liner supplies a 100% custom fit designed to eliminate relative movement between the liner and shell for improved response, accurate and powerful energy transfer to the ski, and better control. The Max uses a no-tongue overlapping design that's able to hold your foot and leg in a stronger and more balanced stance position which is key when you find yourself slashing turns down steep, techy terrain. For a secure, comfortable boot closure, the Lupo has three F11 aluminum micro-adjustable buckles and a power strap. The Lupo also comes with Hi-Grip Rubber Clad walking soles that are interchangeable that supply solid stability and traction while you walk or climb over ice, rock, pavement, or snow.
I have a pair of KR1s that have seen better days, so I decided to upgrade to the KR2 Lupo. They just arrived, and my initial impression is that they're a huge improvement. The big things that I've noticed are:
* The out of the box fit is light years ahead of the old KR1 fit. My KR1's needed ankle punches and big toe grinds in both boots and a 5th toe punch on the right boot to get a good fit. The Lupos feel as good out of the box without the liner baked as the KR1s do after all of that work. Even better, the heel hold is worlds better thanks to the molded heel cup.
* I prefer the 4mm forward lean shim in my KR1s. I was worried about the lack of forward lean adjustability in the Lupo but, based on wearing them and a visual comparison, the forward lean is basically the same as the 4mm shim.
* There's a ton of adjustability in the buckles and they're better designed for using with a gloved hand.
* The walk mode switch is solid and the cuff rotation, while not as good as my touring boots, is more than good enough for getting around the resort and short tours.
* The replaceable rubber walking sole is a nice addition. I was worried that there could be a loss of responsiveness because of the rubber underfoot; however, what isn't mentioned in the descriptions are the hard plastic sections in the walking sole where the soles interface with the bindings. No worries about muddy transmission from the boot to the ski here.