Dynafit TLT 7 Performance Review. After skiing on the Dynafit TLT 7 Performance for two seasons, 136 days, I’m ready to review it. If you’ve read any of my other Boot Hell reviews, you know I don’t have an easy-to-fit foot.
A little history first. My first AT boot was the Dynafit Tourlite All Terrain. I loved the boot and it fit my foot quite well. But after about 300 days, they were worn out. I tried the Scarpa Spirit 3. We did not get along. Then the Garmont Mega Ride. Great boot and fit my foot after a big bulging punch in the 6th toe area on each boot.
A few years later, my friend Tom showed up in the Tetons for Christmas with the new Dynafit TLT 5 boot. I was impressed with the light weight. Within a week, I bought the TLT 5 Performance. I think it cost $1,000. I didn’t care. The weight was simply amazing.
OK, light weight isn’t everything. But the TLT 5 had a lot more than light weight going for it. First, it had a flexible toe box and a shortened toe block. Second, it had a removable tongue. With the tongue out, the boot walked more like a hiking boot than a ski boot. Third, it had 60 degrees cuff rotation. With the tongue out, the flex toe box, shortened toe block, and 60 degrees cuff rotation, this boot was the best backcountry boot.
If you’re a backcountry skier, you spend 95% of your time hiking in your ski boots. It makes sense to use ski boots that are easy to hike in. When the TLT came to market, I had never walked in a boot that had so much ankle flex. After a season in these boots, I realized that for skiing powder with 2-5 mile approaches, this was the best boot I’d ever owned.
For the downhill, I’d slip in the removable tongue, and they skied like a much bigger, heavier boot. Certainly more than enough support for light Teton Powder.
The TLT 5 was a perfect, light, backcountry boot and I’d still be skiing in them…except they crushed my feet. I have 6th toe bunions and these boots killed in that area. Unfortunately, because of the flexible toe box, the TLT 5 couldn’t be punched where I needed it punched.
I was crushed, literally and figuratively. I had found the perfect backcountry boot for the kind of skiing I do. But I had to sell them. They hurt my feet too much.
The next season, I tried the TLT 6, but it was still too narrow for my foot. Plus, I was worried that if I punched the boot out to fit and it didn’t work, it would be hard to sell the $1,000 boot.
Instead, I bought the Dynafit Mercury. It’s a bit wider and I had hoped it would walk as well as the TLT 5, but it didn’t. There was not as much ankle flex. And were they stiff. I never used the tongue in that boot, even when skiing at Targhee.
Finally, the TLT 7 came out and it was rumored to be a few millimeters wider. I tried them on and they did feel wider, so I bought a pair. And now I have 136 days on them. I had them punched in the 6th toe area. But for the most part, the boot is pretty comfortable on long days with long hikes.
What I like About This Boot:
- It’s very light. Match it with a light ski and you get an extra lap at the end of the day. I use the TLT 7 28.5 with a Dynafit Denali 176 and it weighs 6.1 lbs for boot and ski.
- The boot is easy for me to get on and off.
- It does not have a removable tongue, but walks just as well as the TLT 5.
- Dynafit removed the toe ledge completely and moved the hinge point back a few millimeters. The change makes it much easier to walk in these boots.
- The buckle system is the best I’ve seen; one two-part buckle at the top of the cuff handles both the lower closure and cuff. I hate fiddling with buckles. I have cold hands and always wear big mittens. I can easily work these buckles without removing my mittens. With the TLT 7, I buckle the lower closure when I put the boots on and buckle the top closure when I go down. The top buckle closes and locks the cuff in one movement. That’s it. I never have to adjust tension; the same setting works every day once you figure out what that is. And bonus feature: I can easily drive a 5 speed Honda Accord in these boots. Since it’s only 20 minutes to most trailheads, I put on my ski boots before I leave home and take them off when I get back.
- The power strap is easy to operate with mittens: you pull the strap to tighten it and pull the strap buckle loop to loosen it.
- The downhill performance is great. These boots are very stiff for such a light boot and plenty stiff to ski steep powder or chowder. I’ve also skied them at the resort for a day or two. If you do a lot of resort days, this is not your boot. But if I’m on a ski trip and bring only one pair of boots and skis, they work fine. I’m not a hard charging skier jumping off cliffs or bashing moguls. Also, I’m 6 feet tall and weigh about 160 lbs. And I’m on Medicare. You get the idea.
What I Don’t Like About This Boot
- The liners on the TLT 7 Performance are thin (that’s one of the reasons they are so light). As a result, they are not very warm. If it’s colder than 15 degrees, I wear toe warmers stuck on the top of each foot, just above the toes. The toe warmers keep my feet warm all day.
- Also, because the liners are thin, they are a little uncomfortable on my shins when skiing down on hard pack snow. I don’t notice it in powder. Tightening the power strap helps relieve the shin discomfort.
- The power straps loosen as you put a lot of pressure on them. For example, if you hit a big dip or bump, the force of that loosens the strap. Seems like a bug to me.
I highly recommend this boot for backcountry skiing. As with anything very light, you pay a price in dollars and comfort. If you prefer a little more comfort, the TLT 7 Expedition is almost the exact same boot except not quite as stiff. It also has a thicker liner, so it will be warmer and probably more comfortable. A thick liner gives you more room to adjust for foot shape and bunions. The reason I did get the Expedition is I didn’t think I’d have enough room in the forefoot area.