Black Diamond Factor & Method Alpine Touring Ski Boots

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I was anxious to actually see the Black Diamond backcountry ski boots that I had heard so much about. Our own Kendall Card had spotted them in the area backcountry over the past year, but usually it was just in passing as BD product designer, Ben Walker would slip away just in time to avoid any photographs.

Now they are officially revealed to the public as the all-new Black Diamond backcountry ski boot lineup headlined by the top-of-the-line Black Diamond Factor boot. I had a chance to chat at length with one of the team leads on the new boot line and got the inside scoop on the R&D, sourcing and construction process.

2008 Black Diamond Factor Backcountry Ski Boots

These are the no-nonsense, burly backcountry boots you’ve always wanted. The crew at BD spent thousands of hours refining their boots and finally, the Factor will be released to the public Fall 2008. These boots are well thought out and now represent what are likely the most high-tech and burly backcountry boots on the market. Super-versatile, with Tech (Dyanfit) or standard ISO blocks, this boot could really be your only boot for inbounds and backcountry skiing.

Black Diamond Factor Freeride Backcountry Touring Ski Boots

Here are a few highlights

  • Alpine overlap construction
  • The included footbed is more than just a flat piece of foam, it’s anatomical and supportive (though unnecessary if you prefer orthotics)
  • The bootboard is completely flat–unlike other touring boots on the market–giving you even power transmission through the bottom of the boot
  • From the ball of your foot to the toes, there’s a slight “toespring” for a more natural fit and walking efficiency
  • Power Fit Liner with built-in Boa lacing system (cool application of this technology)
  • Medium volume fit
  • Aluminum buckles to shave weight
  • Comes with alpine blocks, but Dynafit toe and heel blocks are available for $39.95
  • 130 flex index
  • Weight (pair): 9 lbs. 2 oz.
  • MSRP: $729.99 ($39.95 extra for touring blocks) – In Stores Fall 2008

2008 Black Diamond Method Backcountry Ski Boots

The Black Diamond Method backcountry ski boots offer a slightly softer flex (110 flex index), lighter-weight plastics and a toned-down liner (no Boa lacing system). Overall, the Method looks to be a super-versatile backcountry boot with a lighter weight and slightly less stiff design, which might work better in soft snow–the reason we’re all backcountry skiers anyway.

2008 Black Diamond Method Backcountry Ski Boots

Here are a few highlights

  • Alpine overlap construction
  • Power Fit Light Liner with speed lace closure system (later changed to BOA lacing system)
  • Changeable Alpine ISO DIN or Dynafit/Touring toe and heel blocks
  • Weight (pair): 8 lbs. 12 oz.
  • MSRP: $669.99 – In Stores Fall 2008

More Info: Visit SkiBDBoots.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

13 Comments

  1. That’s correct… their site shows a the Method with the BOA, but the tech details show the speed lace system.

    However, a quick email to Black Diamond confirmed what you said. Both boots now use the BOA lacing system. Sweet!

  2. Tom

    They very well may have changed the Method for production. I know that they added the BOA to the Method, which wasn’t initially offered, so they may have changed the soles as well. Take a look at the Method above. Clearly it’s using the Dynafit blocks in that photo.

    If you look at the actual production model on BD’s Web site, you can see that it’s using the Dynafit blocks:

    http://www.bdel.com/gear/method.php

  3. Franco Ferrarini on

    I recently purchased a pair of BD Factor and tried them for a couple of days. I think they are really great boots but I found it cumbersome to exchange the blocks so is it really dangerous to use dynafit blocks with downhill bindings?

  4. Franco

    Congrats on your purchase and I’m glad you like them! I have yet to ride them, but am looking forward to it this season. As far as the Dynafit/DIN blocks go, it’s up to you to decide.

    DIN standards are pretty specific as far as size and shape of the boot sole so as to release with predictability. Only DIN standard blocks are to be used with alpine bindings. Mountaineering or Dynafit soles aren’t DIN approved. They may work, but you run the risk of improper releases which may cause personal injury. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide to accept that risk or not.

  5. Christian Trautmann on

    Probably the worst boot quality my friend and I ever tried. A friend and I bought 20 days ago this boots, the first pair that failed was my friend’s boots at the 4th day of use with a normal use. The ski/walk switch failed and one boot got stucked in walk mode, really nice to ski by that way.

    My pair failed the 2nd day of use, a buckle got broken, with a normal use…

    I sent an email to BD and they wrote me: “…Also we have new Ski/walk mechanisms that you should both install in your boots…”
    I asked in the store where I bought them, and they had no idea about this… Then I replied BD asking how to get the switch, and got no answer.

    And they also wrote me: “…This is the first year for these boots and things are inevitable going to come up…”
    Just because of this do I have to deal with defective boots?
    My friend and my whole backcountry vacations in the Chilean Andes where screwed up.

    I would really think about buying this boots.

    Christian Traumann

    Here you can download pictures of the broken buckle:
    http://www.paradacinco.com/aboutfactorskiboots.zip

  6. Christian… sorry to hear about your bad experience and poor customer service with these boots. Seems like they should pony up and fix them on-the-spot. With first-year products, you’re trying to win over your customers and create loyalty… profit doesn’t come in the first year and won’t ever come if you can’t provide quality service in the case of first-year bugs.

    Not anything I can do, but I feel your pain.

  7. Kevin Guettler on

    I have about 30 uses on my Factors, 8 of which are touring, and the buckle failed. I have seen two other cases of failed buckles. The shop (Northern Lights Trading Company in Bozeman)was charging me for a black replacement buckle and sent me down the road to a boot cobbler for the installation.I have not given BD a chance to reply but it does not look good.

  8. After having buckles and ski/walk switchs failures, Christian and I got finnaly brand new boots from BD in late season ’09. So warranty worked out at least, and as Jason says, buckle failure seems to be an earlier boot problem. But grotesque failures still occured with the new Factors: while side-country skiing, my right boot toe box litteraly exploded. (you can see pics from it in my website)
    In case you have these boots or if you are expecting to buy new or used Factors, please first take just a look at mines now. I’m still more awed that pissed, i’ve never seen a boot fail like this before, nor anyone that I ski with.

  9. After HALF A SEASON I found on my Factors:

    1. „Nibbles“ on the ISO DIN alpine sole on contacts with binding (front as well as rear),
    you can see a photo here
    http://www.freeskiing.cz/pokec.asp?ch_rel_id=1359&ch_rel_type=c

    The bottom of the sole is almost untouched, the damage is not from rocks as this season I did not walk too much.

    I had been using the same bindings (Marker Duke) on my Lange 130 and Garmont Adrenaline for many years. The Factors look like my Garmonts after 6 seasons of heavy usage. (and Lange are not even touched on the binding contact area.)

    2. Cracked footbeds, (definitelly not caused by pulling them out). The first cracks appeared on the footbed after first day, little spacers under heel got broken afer two days, the whole thing got broken after 5months.

    These boots are not skiable after a very short time, simple because the sole is not ISO DIN compliant anymore.

    BD local representative told me that I have been using them, that is why they are damaged. I did not get any warranty repair.

    Never buy them if you really do skiing!

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