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Dahu Alpine Boots Are Comfy, but Can They Really Ski?

These things have a history. But with a recent acquisition and redesign, we decided to give them a fair shake.

Dahu Écorce 01X(Photo/Will Brendza)
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The walk from Beaver Creek’s Arrowhead parking lot to the chairlift isn’t far, but it always feels further when you’re wearing ski boots. Today, though, it had felt as easy, comfortable, and unburdened as ever because I wasn’t really wearing ski boots. I was wearing Dahu luxury ski liners on my feet and carrying the Dahu boot shells in one hand.

Beside me, master boot fitter and brand manager for Progression Brands, Dano Bruno, explained how this was his normal routine. He pointed to a couple of chairs at the base, and we sat.

“So cross your leg like this,” Dano demonstrated, putting his right ankle on his left knee. “Then you just get the toe of the liner into the boot tub of the shell, and it slides forward.”

He showed me. Indeed, the shell of the boot slipped snugly over the liner. Suddenly we were both wearing ski boots.

The Dahu system is very different from any other ski boot I’ve ever worn. It’s unique, for sure. But, as convenient and comfortable as the removable, wearable liner system and three-piece Cabrio boot shell was, it also has a stigma among serious skiers. Could the Dahu Écorce 01X actually perform?

In short: I tested the Dahu Mens Écorce 01X boot ($989) and came away impressed by the technology and design. It can handle more aggressive skiing than I thought it would, thanks to an extremely progressive yet firm flex pattern. It felt responsive enough to handle most in-bounds resort terrain. And, of course, its removable liner and three-piece Cabrio design are pretty rad. Not everyone will like these boots. I had my own reservations after riding them for a day. But there are a lot of people out there who will fall head over heels in love with them.

Dahu Écorce 01X


  • Shell EMS Grilamid FV L20A HL + TR90 LXS
  • Tongue EMS Grilamid FV L20A HL + Carbon Fiber (M135)
  • Buckles X2 aluminum 6082
  • Power Beam Aluminum 6082
  • Liner outer material Premium Italian Nubuck leather from San Marco tannery, polyamide microfiber, heavy-duty ripstop canvas & WP membrane
  • Liner insulation Primaloft
  • Footbed Molded EVA/PU
  • Liner midsole Expanded PU
  • Liner outsole Trilock design, natural vulcanized rubber
  • Feature RECCO avalanche search system


  • Removable liner doubles as a winter boot
  • Very comfortable
  • Very warm
  • Performs well on most in-bounds terrain
  • Comes in 120/135 stiffnesses for men, and 90/110 for women


  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for high-intensity, very aggressive skiing

Dahu Écorce 01X Review

The Dahu Story

Dahu was founded in Switzerland in 2008. But the brand was acquired by Progression Brands in 2020. At the time, Dano said the design of the boot wasn’t quite perfect. The original concept had promise, but it needed some serious refining.

So Dano joined Dahu’s senior R&D and production manager, Antoine Massey, to help dial Dahu in. They wanted to create a boot that every skier — from visiting beginners to weekend warriors and even ski instructors and patrollers — would be eager to use.

“We keep amping it and amping it, but we still want to have that high-end luxury-looking ski boot,” Dano said.

He and Antoine toiled over the boot, getting creative, drawing upon their combined decades of experience in the ski boot world. They’d test the design, go back to the drawing board, modify, tweak, redesign, and then test again. The boot that they’ve ended up with is one Dano thinks should be disruptive in the industry, not just because it’s a unique luxury product — but because, he says, it performs as well as many alpine ski boots.

The Boot: Dahu Écorce 01X

Dahu Écorce 01X boot and liner separated on table
(Photo/Will Brendza)


As we were adjusting our power straps at the base of Arrowhead, a woman walked up and started firing off questions at Dano: Are those boots painful to wear like my regular ski boots? How warm are they? Do they make them in women’s? Where can I buy them?

They’re very comfortable, Dano told her; they’re warmer than typical ski boots; yes, they make them in women’s; you can buy them online or at Gorsuch in Beaver Creek Village.

“That happens all the time,” Dano told me casually after she walked off.

I believed him. These boots are curious enough to pique anyone’s passing interest for a number of reasons. First of all, the boot is lasted on a liner that doubles as regular winter footwear. You don’t see that every day.

Dahu Écorce 01X liner worn outside
(Photo/Will Brendza)

Dahu made the liner with premium Italian Nubuck leather from the San Marco tannery, polyamide microfiber, heavy-duty ripstop canvas, and a waterproof membrane. PrimaLoft insulation keeps the wearer’s foot warm. And it even has a RECCO avalanche search system built into it.

The boot liner’s tread matches grooves in the bottom of the shell, so it not only slides exactly into position but locks in place once there. And cat’s tongue (a material similar to alpine touring skins) wraps around the whole heel and Achilles area. That allows the boot to slide in easily but creates friction preventing it from easily sliding out.

Dahu Écorce 01X liner front view on table
(Photo/Will Brendza)

The liners are all stretch moldable EVA foam so that they can be custom fit to your foot. And, in fact, having your boots custom fit is part of the Dahu experience. When you purchase them, you either do a short phone or email interview with Dano to make sure Dahu is sending you exactly the right size. Then you visit a retailer to get them molded. It’s part of the reason Dahu was awarded a silver in America’s Best Boot Fitters “Best Of” category.

Dahu also gives new customers a tutorial on how to use the techy footwear. Because, as Dano said, you wouldn’t walk onto a car lot and buy a brand new BMW or Tesla without talking with someone. You need to understand how to operate it if you want to enjoy using it.

Dahu Écorce 01X liner in open shell
(Photo/Will Brendza)


The three-piece Cabrio shells are made with Grilamid plastic, and the tongue has carbon fiber in it. That gives the boot a lot of rebound, according to Dano.

“When you flex our tongue, the energy coming out of it is really, really crazy,” he said.

He explained that with many two-piece boots, the power comes from the flex pattern and a skier’s ability to put pressure on the front of the shin. Saddle cuts (V-shaped cuts that sit above the hinge of a two-piece boot) designate the starting and stopping point of flexion, putting limits on a skier’s ability to press into the apex of a turn.

On a three-piece boot like Dahu’s Écorce 01X, however, there is no stopping point.

“It’s a very, very progressive flex pattern,” Dano said. “So once you start to put pressure against the tongue, as much range of motion as you have in your foot, which we call plantar dorsiflexion, is how much you’ll get out of the boot.”

Dahu Écorce 01X shell close-up of front and top
(Poto/Will Brendza)

The shell is also accented with some cool-looking cutouts that reveal the liner beneath. Dano said those aren’t just aesthetic; they actually serve a functional purpose.

“One of the critical cutouts that we did was on the lateral side of the foot. This is a big problem area for a lot of people in ski boots: the cuboid bone, which is at the start of the fifth metatarsal. So we got rid of that area,” he said. “Then we cut out on the medial side where the medial arch is, where the navicular is. We just relieved that area so that your foot can relax naturally.”

Because Grilamid is such a strong polymer, Dano says that by strategically placing these cutouts, they were able to reduce the weight of the boot without compromising its structure.

Dahu Écorce 01X being worn on skis side view
(Photo/Will Brendza)

The Test

It was a cold, clear afternoon, and there was no fresh snow when we finally got on the slopes. But what was there was soft.

The first thing I noticed as we pushed off the lift and started sliding was how upright I felt in the Dahu Écorce 01X. Instead of standing with my legs bent and my weight forward over the front of the ski, I felt like I was standing tall, directly over center-ski.

And I kind of was. With 14 degrees of forward lean, this is a fairly upright boot (my daily driver, Salomon Shift Pros boots, have just 12.5 degrees). That took some getting used to. If I boosted off a jib or kicker, I’d come down on the other side flat. Dahu does offer a forward lean kit, though, which can add an extra 2 degrees.

But when I got into the front of the boot and started carving, pushing the tongue, I could feel the flex pattern Dano had prepped me on. With my normal two-piece Salomon Shift Pro boots, as I enter the apex of a turn, I can feel the point where my saddle cuts stop. That’s usually the signal to start rising and transitioning laterally into the next turn.

Not so on the Dahu. Because they have no limit on forward flexion, I could press the tongue forward as far as my ankle and Achilles tendon would let me. That really allowed me to ramp up the velocity of my carved turns. But if I got too carried away, the boot would snap me back out of the turn with a lot of power, almost to the point of tossing me.

Dahu Écorce 01X worn close-up of front of shell
(Photo/Will Brendza)

On the groomers, the Dahu Écorce 01X really excelled. It’s not a racing boot, but it felt right at home on the corduroy. The limitless forward flexion allowed me to explore carved turns in a way I don’t normally.

In the bumps and trees, I was less comfortable on the Dahu. Because I was so upright, I felt like I was riding the backseat as I tried to charge moguls. I’m sure that with some getting used to it, I would have been able to navigate that terrain a little more comfortably. But it was something I noticed pretty immediately, being new to the equipment.

The boots were also very comfortable. There were no pinch spots or squeeze points.

Dano and I ripped about five runs (mostly blues and greens). Then we returned to the base of Arrowhead, popped off the shells the same way we’d put them on, and walked comfortably back to the lot in our Dahu liners. We could have worn them to a brewery or après party easily.

Dahu Écorce 01X shell and liner on ski in snow
(Photo/Will Brendza)

The Last Word: Dahu Écorce 01X

Dahu is doing something with ski boots that no one else is currently trying. Its boot is generally more comfortable than typical ski boots and is wearable in two ways. Other companies have tried to design a similar boot in the past. But the problem has always been the same: The performance is sacrificed for comfort and gimmick, which was exactly what Dano and Antoine wanted to avoid.

“We’re a ski boot company,” Dano said. “It makes no sense to me to introduce a new ski boot to the marketplace that doesn’t ski well.”

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Dano and the folks at Dahu have high hopes for Dahu’s boots. Dano knows the downhill alpine ski racing community won’t be adopting them wholesale any time soon. But he sees it as something that should appeal to ski patrollers, on-mountain operators, ski instructors, and anyone who spends a lot of time in their boots, whether on skis or just walking around.

Maybe he’s right. Personally, I see this boot as more of a luxury piece of gear — like a sports car instead of a pickup truck or a jeep. It performed better than I expected on most of the terrain I skied with Dano. But I’m not going to take it onto steep, thickly treed double-blacks or into the side country. At least, they wouldn’t be my first choice for that terrain. For that, I’d feel more comfortable in a Technica Mach 1 or Dalbello Panterra.

There are a lot of people out there, though, who will love what Dahu is bringing to the table — like the lady who stopped us at the bottom of Arrowhead. People who want to be comfortable while they ski and like having the option of wearing their liners right from the base and into the village for some shopping or fine dining. Or for ski instructors, who spend all day on their feet, wearing boots, and who want to grab a beer afterward with coworkers before they hit the locker rooms.

These boots are a luxury ski item and come at a luxury price point: The Dahu Écorce 01X retails for $989, which might be one of the biggest strikes against it. It performs on par with other alpine boots of comparable stiffness and weight. So, you could pay less for a boot that performs similarly on the slopes.

But then, you wouldn’t be able to slip out of the shells and walk off into the sunset at the end of the day.

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