By Kevin Grove
A bit about me, I prefer a single boot quiver. This means I’m using one boot for all types of snow, and any ski under my foot. I occasionally ski at the area with my young daughters, but I’m 99% in the backcountry. I prefer skiing technical descents in the mountains, but any turn is usually a good turn, so I’m not that picky. I’ve owned Dynafit TLT boots exclusively for the past decade or more. Here are my notes comparing the TLT 5, TLT 8 Carbonio, and the new TLT X.
Sizes in each make:
TLT 8 Carbonio:27.5
TLT X:27.5 (Came stock with a 27 liner, I placed my own 27.5 liners in the X)
Basic features that I liked:
TLT 5:My go-to boot for the past decade. I really liked everything this boot had to offer from the comfort on the up to the performance on the down. I remember some discomfort in the first couple of weeks, and I was concerned they were going to be too narrow, but after a couple of weeks, they fit perfectly. I liked the removable tongue for a few reasons. During the first several years of use, my 5’s were stiff enough that I mostly skied without the tongue, which added to uphill comfort and simplified transitions. Over time, as my boots wore out and softened, I started skiing with the tongue to add extra stiffness and increase the lifespan.
TLT 8 Carbonio: The TLT 8 is similar in downhill performance to the TLT 5. I appreciated the simple switch from uphill to downhill, and the carbon cuff provided proper power transfer for the turns.
TLT X: I like the Twistfit. I had never used a BOA-type system before and was a little skeptical, but I liked the simplicity and the snug fig it provides. As with both prior models, I like the simplicity and functional.
Thoughts on what I did not like:
TLT 5: I had several parts wear out over time. The small buckle spring wore out and was protruding. I went to put my boot on my ski coming out of North Sister one time after hitting dirt and sunk the broken spring into my finger and had the entire boot stuck to my hand. My ski buddy happened to be a carpenter and calmly reversed the spring to get the boot off. Needless to say, I replaced the buckle soon after with a La Sportiva buckle. I also had wear on the carbon cuff and needed to eventually do the B&D UCP retrofit that many folks did with the TLT 5 boots. (This is an aftermarket replacement of the cuff pivot.) This fix decreased the play in the boot and gave them renewed life.
TLT 8 Carbonio:I missed the toe welt. The 8-series continued the speed nose toe. They require a different type of front attachment system than a normal automatic crampon. I have crampons that work, but I prefer to use crampons compatible with a tow welt. This boot is wider than the TLT 5 and the X and didn’t fit my foot as well. It also came with a very thin liner, and in my opinion, it was not high quality. I just replaced the liner with a stock liner that came with a pair of Dynafit TLT Speedfit Pro boots I recently acquired but haven’t used yet. This replacement has given my TLT 8’s some new life. The beefier liner also narrowed up the forefoot and created a better fitting boot overall.
TLT X: These boots were too soft for my liking. I am used to the carbon cuff on the TLT 5 carbon version I owned and the TLT 8 Carbonio that I am currently skiing. I think this boot with the carbon cuff, apparently coming out this fall, will be a solid boot that I am interested in trying out.
TLT 5:I have always loved touring in my 5’s. They feel like a slipper and go uphill like I’m wearing a running shoe.
TLT 8 Carbonio:The 8’s have a flex point that is slightly higher and more rigid than the 5’s giving me some boot bang in my shin this winter.
TLT X: These boots felt very comfortable on the up and fit my foot well from the beginning. They fit more closely to the 5 than the 8, with a narrow forefoot. The BOA makes for easy and fast tightness adjustments moving through the mountains throughout the day.
TLT 5:I have always loved skiing in my 5’s. The stiffness changed over the years, but the two upgrades I mentioned above both helped increase the lifespan and longevity. I have spent more than 10 years skiing these boots and can’t seem to get rid of them yet.
TLT 8 Carbonio:I like these boots but I am still trying to find the perfect replacement for my 5s that I absolutely loved. I would give the 8s a B+ overall and they are getting the job done, but I think something better exists out there. I do like skiing a lighter ski (Dynafit Manaslu forever and now the Dynastar M-Tour 99) and the smaller and lighter boot works well for me in all conditions.
TLT X: The X felt too soft and squishy for my type of skiing. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated the carbon cuff on the 5 and 8 until skiing the non-carbon X. This boot performed well in dry, light, powder but I got pushed around too much in denser, older snow.
Kevin is an Engineering Professor at Central Oregon Community College and has been an avid backcountry skier and climber for the past 25 years. He grew up in Montana, attended college at Montana State University in Bozeman, and now calls Bend, Oregon home. He is passionate about snow science and loves to share this passion with COCC students and with the Central Oregon outdoor community. Kevin is AAI Level 3 trained.
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