Dynafit TLT 8 Carbonio Boot ReviewJanuary 13, 2020
- Incredibly lightweight
- Impressive cuff rotation
- Easy to put on and off
- Easy to remove and insert liners
- Liner is very thin and soft, not much support
- High volume boot so custom boot fitting needed
- Low cuff means less support and performance
- Forefoot buckle hard to open with gloves on
A one quiver AT boot that can do it all is a mythical thing, it must be light yet stiff and climb as well as it skis (in all terrains). While the Dynafit TLT8 Carbonio Boot was all about speed and low weight, it can’t lay claim to the moniker of a one quiver boot. It walked up a mountain with ease but it came at the cost of power on the down and overall versatility. An alpine touring boot this light can’t excel at everything and trade-offs have to be made. With 60° of cuff rotation and weight of under five pounds, the walking was surely easy. Given its 120 flex rating the skiing was fun but when push comes to shove the minimal weight of the Dynafit TLT8 Carbonio Boot was noticeable. After all, it’s designed to go far and fast with the ability to climb with ease as the main objective.
Fit and comfort were the TLT8 Carbonio Boot’s struggle in my opinion and most of this was due to the thinness of the liner. While not the most effective place to save weight it is certainly still one of them and reducing the thickness of the liner saved weight but it came at a cost. Making the liner thinner than the shell can shrink in concert with it and this is serious weight savings. A thin and light liner, however, means less support and performance. The TLT8 Carbonio liners are not only thin but also provided little in the way of support in the heel or padding on the tongue. The lack of a clearly defined heel pocket made seating the foot and supporting it more of a challenge. Similarly, without any support or padding on the tongue, the shin took more abuse when digging deep into a turn when hitting a compression. After replacing the stock footbeds with my customs and installing a butterfly wraps around the exterior of the Achilles (along with 1/4 a roll fo duct tape) and heat molding, the TLT8 Carbonio’s began to take shape and provide the comfort I needed. While this likely added more than a few ounces in weight the resulting fit was much more to my liking.
The Dynafit TLT8 Carbonio Boot was designed primarily for speed and climbing efficiency and it achieves this primarily by being very light. At just 4.86lb for the size 27, the TLT8 Carbonio is easily 30% lighter than standard alpine touring boots. The majority of the weight savings comes from the Grilamid/Carbon construction and integration of just two micro-adjust ratchet buckles. The boots reduced outsole length, speed nose design and minimal liner also contribute to the weight savings. For the recreational backcountry skier this minimal weight is a blessing on the up track as it saves precious energy for the ski down and allows them to try their hand at skimo racing should they wish.
The Dynafit TLT8 Carbonio Boots get the majority of their performance from the carbon fiber cuff which significantly stiffens the boot and allows the cuff and lower shell to act as one thanks to the Ultra Lock 4.0 ski/walk mechanism. This all contributes to the boot’s 120 flex rating which is truly impressive for such a lightweight boot. A secure foothold is the responsibility of the two micro-adjust ratchet buckles and Ultra Lock strap which transfer energy from the skier’s foot to the boot and ultimately the ski. The minimal liner and lower than normal cuff height did sacrifice not only some comfort but also power and performance. While these measures help reduce overall weight, they ultimately limited the performance on the ski down.
What’s not to like about 60° of cuff rotation on a ski boot? This is precisely the amount of forward/backward flex of the LT8 Carbonio when in walk mode. With the human ankle only able to achieve approximately 70° users will be hard-pressed to know they have the TLT8 Carbonio Boots on their feet when skiing uphill. The flex was effortless and when the power strap was loosened. Any friction in the pivot was eliminated and the full 60° was easily achieved. When the user preferred to remain buckles up with only the walk/ski buckle disengaged the overall range of motion was restricted but still well within the acceptable range. The newly designed Ultra-Lock 4.0 is similar to previous versions, but this new version uses a larger lever for increased usability with gloves on. On the front of the boot, Dynafit’s Speed Nose removes the toe lug which allows them to move the inserts closer to the ball of your foot, which provided a more natural pivoting motion when walking.
Dynafit has a wide variety of alpine touring boots in their line up with some catering towards all-mountain skiing and others more towards skimo racing. Due to their impressive low weight, the TLT8 Carbonio Boots are more of a dedicated ski touring boot when the main objective is long days out of bounds and multi-day traverses—they can even handle skimo races as they are borderline race boots. While the lightweight, high-flex characteristics of the TLT8 Carbonio made them ideal for what they’re designed to do, it didn’t leave much opportunity for hard-charging all-mountain skiing. If the less than ample liner was beefed up it could provide the support and foothold to provide the performance that that type of skiing requires.
Brad Steele is the co-creator of BackcountrySkiingCanada.com, a one-stop-shop for skiers and riders seeking timely, on-the-money information. BackcountrySkiingCanada.com is where you’ll find route descriptions, product reviews, guides, videos, comps and other like minded people who are as amped on ski touring as you are.