I’m amazed and delighted by this shoe. Firstly, I’m here to tell you that we have in the TLT-7 much more than a model iteration. This is easily one of the most innovative boots to drop in the last few seasons. It’s like a Tesla coming after a Prius. From the one-motion mode change that actually might be best-ever, to the chop toe, to the through bolted heel fitting, super.
But more, let me brag. This boot incorporates a goodly number of TLT boot hacks and innovations we’ve made here in the WildSnow mod shop over the past decade. Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thanks Dynafit! Let me count the ways, with linkage to some of our mod posts.
1. Through bolted heel fitting.
2. Relocated instep cable pressure. (we relocated the lower buckles on all my former TLT boots.)
3. Hinged tongue (I added a small hinge from the hardware store to my first pair of TLT-5).
4. Possibly less wear-prone cuff pivot rivets (designed with Bill Bollinger).
5. Wider forefoot box (we’ve been punching out TLT boots for years).
6. Optional power strap (in retail box but not attached.) We almost always removed.
7. Lower buckle that doesn’t catch or open during snow or rock climbing.
8. Total elimination of vestigial buckles at the toe of boot (old news, but belongs on the list since we got a lot of grief for ripping the lower buckles off 4-buckle boots.)
9. Grinding duckbill toe off boot to the greatest extent possible. (We couldn’t produce a “Shark Nose,” but we tried.)
10. Modification of Ultralock plate to change forward lean.
11. Elimination of metatarsal flex in the first generation TLT (us and blog contributors).
Okay, I got to brag. Moving along…
First, let us put one question to bed. Is the TLT-7 last wider than the TLT-? Definite answer is yes, comparing my TLT6 with punched out metatarsal, the outside width of the 7 is still 3 mm wider. According to Skialper Magazine, which actually measures the last width of a 27.5, the TLT6 has a 99.5 mm internal width, while the 7 measured at 100 mm. That doesn’t sound like much (and makes me wonder if Skialper might have changed their measurement methods), but every bit can make a difference to sensitive feet. More, in real life terms they reshaped the TLT last significantly, especially in the toe area and over the forefoot. Comparative testing of this is easy, you just shell fit each boot on a stocking foot. The 7 clearly feels overall more roomy. In my opinion it’ll be easier to fit and warmer, while not being so commodious as to bum out those of you who like narrow lasted boots.
(Podiatry teaches us that the foot is actually something like a “sack of bones” and squishes around to use additional shoe volume that’s not always in the exact spot you would assume. In other words, while the specific last width might not be all that much wider in the 7, the overall increased volume can make it feel significantly more commodious. Adding to that, the 7 has less layering of plastic getting in the way of shell width “punching” modifications, as well as still using easily heat adjusted Grilamid plastic.)
Ankle width of the 7 is slightly wider as well. I compared using my interior dimension caliper, which doesn’t give me exact millimeters but does yield good visual evaluation. Measured outside with my external caliper, the 7 is about 3 mm wider than the 6. (Remember outside boot measurements are dependent on thickness of shell plastic, so they’re only a rough guide.)
Weights are interesting. My 27.5 TLT-6-P (shell only) with power strap and without add-on tongue comes in at 958 grams, while TLT-7-P shell comes in at 882 with power strap (it has a permanently attached tongue). That’s a significant difference in mass that’s even greater when you add the “real” tongue to the TLT-6-P. Takeaway here is Dynafit clearly made a boot model upgrade that doesn’t suffer dreaded “weight creep” that sometimes happens in lightweight ski touring gear.
Big deal with weight here is ourselves and others in the industry have informally created a “category” of “real” ski touring boots. Big criteria is weight around one kilo per boot. TLT-7 is right in there. Our sample 27.5 without power strap but otherwise fully configured come in at 1,018 grams per boot.
Note we tend to do boot weight comparisons without liner installed, as many skiers add multiple liner customizations or simply swap out the liner for something they like better. Be that as it may, rest assured that the 7 liner is about as minimalist as you can get (164 grams with stock footbed). Its weight is not an issue.
The hidden cable operated closure system needs exposition. It looks more complex than it is. Upper cuff buckle is actually two levers. One (black) is attached to the cuff closure cable loop and can be operated independently, the other (greenish anodized aluminum) is attached to a cable routed down to the instep closure over the tongue. When you first don the boot to begin a tour, you buckle with the black buckle which puts you in downhill mode. Adjust all your tensions so they feel good for down-skiing, then simply flip the upper black buckle out, which opens and releases the cuff for touring.
Ideally, throughout the day, simply flip the black buckle to go from downhill to uphill mode and back. Long term testing needs to occur, but for now I’m truly impressed by this system. The upper buckle(s) is much more low-profile than the TLT 5 and 6, and also entirely opens your boot with one motion (more on that below).
Other thoughts: Yes esteemed WildSnow readers, you can’t use “toe bail” style crampon on the 7 without an adapter. On the other hand, perhaps this will encourage crampon makers to build spikes that utilize tech fittings for attachment, such as the Techcrampon 250, (Which is said to work fine so long as you order the current version.) Another concern with TLT-7 is the liner being rather short at the rear shell spoiler. This could be uncomfortable for folks with certain lower leg and calf shapes and require an aftermarket liner or boot fitter mods. In terms of weight, just as with skis a big marketing target for ski touring boots is ONE KILO! Obviously, the 7 reaches that target in fine style. Thumbs up.
Metrics and specs:
Official weight, industry standard sample size 27, 1,010 grams.
Weight of our 27.5 testers, no power strap, 1,018 grams.
Women’s model? This boot is unisex, as most if not all ski touring boots actually are — other than color stereotypes.
Plastic type is Grilamid, so ease of heat punching will continue.
(22.5) (23 – 23.5) (24 – 24.5) (25 – 25.5) (26 – 26.5) (27 – 27.5) (28- 28.5) (29 – 29.5) (30 – 30.5)
As always when it comes to ski touring boots, we recommend several boot shopping options. If you know what you’re doing, etail can work. Backcountry.com has ’em. Otherwise, seek out a local shop. Our website financial supporter who loaned us our evaluation boots Cripple Creek Backcountry is a good example, to find a “real” shop near you see our Best Ski Shops post.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.