2017-2018 Dynafit TLT7 Performance
Size Tested: 28.5 / 303 mm Boot Sole Length
Stated Range of Motion: 60º
Stated Weight (26.5): 1010 g
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Shells & Boot Boards, no Liners: 910 & 914 g
- Liners (with laces, no spoilers, no footbeds): 155 & 155 g
Total Weight per Boot: 1065 & 1069 g
Tech Inserts: Dynafit-Certified Master Step
- Cuff: Titanex Fiber
- Shoe / Clog: Grilamid plus Titanex
- Sole: Pomoca Climb rubber
Binding Compatibility: Pin-style “tech” bindings with a pin heel; Dynafit Beast 14 & 16
Days Tested: 5
Test Location: Chugach Backcountry, Alaska
I have been skiing regularly on lightweight touring boots like the Dynafit TLT5 and TLT6 since 2010, and have found them to be remarkably capable at both ascending and descending — I’ve skied many of the biggest lines of my life in the TLT 5 and TLT 6. So for many ski-touring situations, these are my boots of choice. And I’m obviously not alone in this, since the TLT5 and TLT6 have long been standards in this class of lightweight touring boots, and are still benchmarks in the category. (I’ve also spent a good bit of time in a number of similar boots in this ultralight touring category, including the Atomic Backland Carbon, Scarpa F1, Arc’teryx Procline, and Salomon X-Alp, and I’ll be talking more about some of these boots soon.)
This past season, Dynafit introduced the new Dynafit TLT7, which represents the most significant change in the model since the original TLT5. It features a completely new fit, eliminates the removable tongues that previous TLT boots had, and has a unique and clever-looking integrated buckle/walk mode.
I spent a handful of days this past spring and late winter touring in the TLT7 Performance in the Chugach, seeing how the TLT7 compares to its predecessors in the TLT line, as well as the ultralight touring boots from other brands. We’ll be publishing a Deep Dive Comparisons article with in-depth comparisons between all of those boots soon, but for now, here are my impressions of the new Dynafit TLT7
The TLT7 is available in three men’s versions:
- TLT7 Performance (stated weight = 1010 grams) – This is the model I tested, and it is built with Grilamid and a “Titanex” fiber reinforcement that is intended to make the boot stiffer than the this next model, the “Expedition.”
- TLT7 Expedition (stated weight = 1130 grams): The Expedition uses “Grilamid loaded with Carbon.”
- TLT 7 Carbonio (stated weight = 990 grams) is said by Dynafit to be the stiffest of the three boots, in addition to being the lightest and most expensive edition of the TLT7. It uses “Grilamid and Carbon Fiber.”
The Carbonio version is a limited edition product, and was not available for testing. I haven’t skied the TLT7 Expedition, but after briefly flexing it indoors, I was doubtful that it would be stiff enough to support my size and skiing style. So the TLT7 Performance became the obvious model for me to review.
Fit (with Comparisons to the TLT5 and TLT6)
As always, we strongly recommend getting your boots from a reputable boot fitter. That’s the best way to ensure that you end up in a boot that works for your foot.
That said, the sizing of this class of boots has been a significant issue for me since I first started wearing the Dynafit TLT5 Performance in 2010 as my primary touring boot. In almost all ski boots I wear a 27.5. Some boots require more boot work for me than others, but it’s uncommon for me to struggle with the decision on what size to go with — that is, until I started skiing the TLT series.
The first pair of TLT 5s I purchased were a size 27.5, and I briefly attempted to make them work before I tried on the size 28.5 and realized that it made way more sense for me to just bump up a size instead of trying to stretch the thin shell and liner to make the 27.5 tolerable. Even when bumping up to the 28.5, I still had excellent ankle hold and feel in the TLT5 and subsequently in the TLT6. The TLT 6 has a very similar heel and ankle pocket as the TLT5, but a slightly wider metatarsal area.
After bumping up a size, both the TLT5 and TLT6 fit my foot extremely well without any shell modifications. I did go with an Intuition Powerwrap Plug liner in both boots for most of my ski touring partly because of the increased stiffness that liner provides, and partly because the wrap liner provided a little more room for my high instep.
Given all of that, I was a bit surprised to find that the TLT7 Performance is the highest-volume boot I’ve used in this category from any brand.
Based on my experience with the TLT5 and TLT6, plus a recommendation from Dynafit that I stick with the same size I used in those boots, I went with the 28.5 in the TLT7. The TLT7’s heel pocket is still contoured, but it doesn’t afford me the same heel hold as the TLT5 and 6.
The toe box of the TLT7 is similarly higher volume. Of all the boots in this category, it has the highest instep volume (which is a nice treat for my particular feet).
Overall, I was okay with the fit, but the new boot did feel a bit more sloppy / roomy in a 28.5 than the TLT 5 and TLT 6. I did tried on (but didn’t ski) the 27.5 TLT7, and it felt short for me, but seemed like it could possibly work. If I get a chance to ski the 27.5 (which, again, is my typical size in most ski boots) I’ll update here.
Of all the the boots in this category that I’ve skied, the stock liner of the TLT7 Performance is the worst fitting and least impressive on the descent. But it is also the lightest (75-110 grams lighter per liner than any other liner I’ve tested). And like the liner of the Atomic Backland Carbon, it is also very low in height, barely clearing the top of the boot shell.
Basically, the TLT7 Performance liner is reminiscent of a thin, floppy foam sock, and provides very little in the way of foot retention, support, or comfort. Combined with the more voluminous fit of the TLT7, it could provide a more comfortable setup for those with very high-volume feet who don’t need or want a stiffer liner. But the stock liner of the TLT7 Performance did not work for me at all. I ended up going with an Intuition Power Wrap Plug liner in the TLT7 just like I’ve done with the TLT5 and 6, so the rest of my impressions in this review are with that Intuition liner.
Buckles, Walk Mode, and Power Strap
The various closure systems found on ultralight boots display a huge amount of innovation and creativity. The Dynafit TLT5 started this trend with it’s unique upper buckle that both engages the walk mode and closes the upper cuff with a single buckle/motion. Dynafit utilized variations of this design in the TLT6 and the Dynafit Vulcan and Mercury, and I’m generally a big fan, since it creates a simple, solid, and relatively-easy-to-repair ski / walk mode.
The new TLT7 takes this a step further with a very cool top buckle that not only engages the walk mode and the top buckle, but is connected to the lower buckle so that the whole boot essentially tightens and loosens with single motion. Dynafit is calling this “Ultra-Lock 3.0.”
And even better is that there is now an intermediate position on the upper buckle that tightens up the TLT7, but leaves the walk mode open. This provides the option to have a bit more security in walk mode as compared to the TLT5 and TLT6. (On the TLT5 and 6, the top buckle was either completely loose or completely locked down, with no middle ground.) So this is a clever new advancement on the TLT7, and it has worked well for me so far. It appears that it would be difficult to fix in the field if part of the system failed, but it would still be possible to get the upper cuff locked into ski mode even if the cable completely broke.
On both the TLT5 and TLT6, the lower buckle is positioned on the outside of the lower shell, which makes it quite vulnerable to damage and unintentional opening. The TLT7 improves on this significantly with a lower-profile cable attachment and no buckle on the lower shell (though that lower cable attachment is still somewhat vulnerable on the side of the boot).
The TLT7 also has a nicely designed metal buckle cam-style powerstrap, as opposed to the flimsy and ineffective velcro found on the TLT5 and TLT6.
The TLT7 will present a little bit of a challenge for those who often use crampons on their ski tours because it completely lacks the toe welt utilized by many “automatic” crampons. Dynafit does sell an adapter (for about $30) that can be used to modify most crampons.
NEXT: Transitions, Touring, Etc.