As a result of its unique buckle system, the TLT7 allows for the fastest and easiest transition of any of the boots that I’ve used in this category. I’m not a rando racer, and I’ve never had issues transitioning quickly with any of the boots in this category (or any other touring boot for that matter). But the TLT7 transitions in essentially a single-handed motion, since the single top buckle tightens or loosens the entire boot and engages the walk mode. It’s quicker to transition than the TLT5 or TLT6, since there is no tongue to swap out — all you have to do is flip open the Ultra-Lock 3.0 system.
Once you put them in walk mode, every boot in this category tours ridiculously well. (If you’ve used any of them, expect the rest of them to be quite similar.) For me and my style of skinning, the walk mode on all of these boots — including the TLT7 — provides more range of motion than I’ll ever need, even for long, flat approaches. So any small differences in measured ROM seem trivial to me. And all that is to say, then, that the TLT7 tours very, very well. In walk mode, it feels very similar to the TLT6 with the tongue removed.
The TLT7’s unique “speed nose” (which doesn’t feature any sort of welt) allows the boot sole length to be a few mm shorter than the TLT6’s. It also means that Dynafit was able to set back the tech fittings closer to the center of the boot, which technically make for a more efficient and natural stride. So I appreciate the setback position of the tech fittings, but I didn’t notice too much of a difference from other boots in this category that also have reasonably setback fittings.
The TLT7 also features Dynafit’s “Snowdynamic Concept,” which is a fancy way of saying that Dynafit made the boot sleeker to cut through fresh snow easier. I can’t honestly say that I noticed a difference, even when skinning in snow that was boot-top deep.
Stiffness and Downhill Performance
I’ll get into more detail in my Deep Dive Comparison article between all of the ultralight boots I’ve been in, but in terms of pure forward flex, the TLT7 is in the middle of the pack in terms of both stiffness and progressiveness. The Atomic Backland Carbon is a bit stiffer and less progressive than the TLT7, and the Salomon X-Alp is a touch softer. All of the boots in this category are capable of driving powder skis in soft snow at high speeds.
It must also be said that all of these boots (including the TLT7) require some compromises in skiing style for those who are used to stiff alpine boots, and this is amplified as snow conditions become more challenging. In perfect powder, these boots can be skied aggressively. But as the snow becomes firmer or crusty, all of the boots in this category require slowing down a little and adopting a more balanced stance. They also don’t provide as much of a margin for error as heavier, damper, more cushioned boots.
In terms of lateral stiffness, the TLT7 is quite good (as are all of the carbon-cuffed boots in this category that I’ve skied), and so long as the snow conditions are pretty forgiving, provides enough power transmission for any ski I’ve toured on, including some superfat powder skis.
On the descent, the Dynafit TLT7 is right in there, overall, with the boots in this category. The higher-volume heel and ankle, in addition to the floppy stock liner, take it down a notch for me, but your feet might find a better fit than mine, and liners and can replaced.
For a direct comparison to its predecessor (the TLT6 Performance), I would say that at indoor temps, the TLT7 flexes stiffer than the TLT6 with its stock tongue, but the high-volume fit and thin, low-cut, and floppy liner negate any small performance benefits that this innovative shell might provide. So for my feet, the TLT6 still skis better.
The Dynafit TLT7 Performance certainly employs some cool and effective innovations in its buckle-closure and walk-mode system over the mainstay TLT5 and TLT6 boots that it replaces. It also provides the highest-volume overall fit of any boot in this category. For those who need a high-volume touring boot and can tolerate the low-cuffed, floppy liner (or are willing to change it out), and the TLT7 Performance is an excellent choice.
Stay tuned for our Deep Dive Comparisons article, with uphill-performance and downhill-performance comparisons between the Dynafit TLT7, Atomic Backland Carbon, Scarpa F1, Arc’teryx Procline Carbon, Salomon S-Lab X-Alp, and the previous Dynafit TLT5 and TLT6 boots.