La Petite Fille — Dynafit TLT Size 22 Frankenboot

Post by blogger | March 13, 2009      
Dynafit frankenboot size 22.

Dynafit frankenboot size 22.

(Editor’s note: Accomplished Aspen area skier Jesse Durrance filed this report with WildSnow HQ just a few days ago. As we regularly get folks (usually of the female persuasion) asking how small feet can find Dynafit compatible AT boots, we published ASAP both as a how-to but also perhaps a wake up for the industry to say “smaller feet need beef too.” Jesse’s boot buildup is an informative and amusing guest blog, but one burning question is left unanswered: If you’re the kind of guy who spends 25 hours building a pair of ski boots for your honey, what is life like at dinner time — and do you do the dishes after?)

Backcountry Skiing

Dynafit TLT 4 built to perform, size 22!

Guest blog by Jesse Durrance

My girlfriend Pilar has a size 4/5 foot, and after much searching and asking around about Dynafit compatible AT boots that small, I realized that the best option was to build a pair of boots myself. Pilar is is 5’2” and weighs all of 100 lbs.

Here is what I used and the steps it took to get to the finished product, perhaps somewhere someday someone will make a boot like this that’s ready for use out of the factory. For now:

Backcountry Skiing

The complete configuration. Aftermarket tongue swap drives the design.

1. Find a shell that works- Pilar wanted a Dynafit setup, so using a non-tech boot was out of the question. More, my first attempt at modifying a Tecnica jr. race boot failed in several ways (that is when I decided to stop asking for help and do it myself — if you want something done right, do it yourself, right? 🙂
– The shell that worked was a Dynafit women’s randonnee race boot (TLT 4) we found at a local store, shell size 22.
– This boot had a very simple ski/walk mechanism, meaning I didn’t have to install one!
– It also has Dynafit components and a rubber sole — key for walking on rocks and hard snow.

2. Strip the tongue and buckles off the TLT 4.

3. Take a Garmont tongue clip off an pair of old Endorphins and rivet it to the front of the TLT.

4. Use a Dalbello tongue from their stiff women’s boot (the equivalent to the Krypton) that was built for a size 24 boot. The extra size was key having a long enough foot part of the tongue to push her back into the heel pocket of the boot effectively. Additionally, the added height and width of the tongue on the lower leg adds a lot in leverage in downhill mode.

Backcountry Skiing

Spoiler system.

5. Grind Dalbello tongue to fit the Garmont tongue clip.

6. Grind the tongue down along the middle (at the ankle bend) in order to have it fit more cleanly into the ankle of the shell.

7. Grind the tongue down along the ridges above the toes so that the plastic sits more flatly above the front of the foot and gives a more complete closure when buckled down for skiing.
***Now it is time to start playing with buckles and the fit.

Backcountry Skiing

Another view of spoiler build.

8. We used an Intuition liner from a Dalbello womens boot, size 22. There was still a lot of volume for Pilar’s feet in the Dynafit shell, so using a thick and heat moldable liner helped to fill some of this space.

9. Use custom footbed that is a bit thicker and a foot board below the footbed to raise her into a smaller part of the boot — worked perfectly.

10. One buckle across the toe — this was taken from a Scarpa and basically follows that model in placement.

11. And this was the tough one…. I took the ankle cable and buckle off a Scarpa Laser and installed it onto her boot. This is the smallest ankle cable I could find to work. Raichle cables were too long and snowboard cables were not flexible enough to bend. This works super well and keeps her in the heel pocket beautifully!

Backcountry Skiing

Buckles, cable robbed from Laser covers the instep and another Laser buckle covers toe.

12. Now the next step was to undo the damage done in the dismantling of the old boot. I first installed a rubber covering over the toes to keep snow out of those areas. I then sealed the rest of the holes with silicone.

13. Pilar wanted a bit more forward lean in the ski mode, so we T-nutted a spoiler onto her old spoiler.

14. To create the high part of lower leg stability, I then used a booster strap that basically acts as a 4th buckle.

While this is not necessarily the easiest solution, Pilar’s built TLT4s now ski as well as her Tecnica comp boots, and they’re Dynafit compatible.

All told, the boot probably took me about 25 hours of work to complete. Worth it? Without question, as I absolutely love skiing with Pilar and she is enjoying things so much more with her new setup.

P.S. I have been changing my Endorphins and now Axons to ski much better with the use of Dalbello tongues from the Krypton Boot. It is an easy fix and the difference in ski performance is remarkable.


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20 Responses to “La Petite Fille — Dynafit TLT Size 22 Frankenboot”

  1. Njord March 13th, 2009 6:46 am

    I like the idea of using the Dalbello tongues to “fix” the Endorphin’s flex… great post!

  2. Jonathan Shefftz March 13th, 2009 6:55 am

    Impressive mods, but . . . on the inside of the lower shell, does it say 22, or 22/23? If the latter, then this boot is actually bigger than a 23 Zzero4.
    Alternatively, what’s the BSL imprinted on the outside?

  3. Lou March 13th, 2009 7:40 am

    I’ll see if Jesse can comment, but I’m pretty sure the smallest TLT shell is smaller than the smallest Zzero shell — but I’m not totally sure.

    Dynafit boot size chart here give some idea of what goes on:

    Perhaps I can rustle up someone from Dynafit to make a comment or give me some backstory.

  4. Randonnee March 13th, 2009 8:21 am

    T-P has Zzero3 or 4 womens in 22.5. I was looking around for my daughter.

  5. Jonathan Shefftz March 13th, 2009 9:02 am

    Ah, I didn’t realize that chart was so complete now – very impressive!

    So my hunch was correct: there is not separate TLT 22 shell. OTOH, the shared 22/23 shell is probably shorter than any other 23 shell – note the big step down for the 22/23 from the 24.

    Based on my experience in both a TLT and Zzero, the Zzero 23 will be longer than the TLT 22/23, but the Zzero 23 volume will probably be the same or lower than the TLT 22/23. (Just molded the liners for a friend’s Zzero4-Px 23 – she’s loving both the fit and performance of them.)

  6. Jesse Durrance March 13th, 2009 9:30 am


    The shell says 22, the sole length is about 263 (compared to a 260 tecnica boot). The fit size is 35.5/mondo 22/ US men 4. I am not familiar enough with other dynafit boots to tell you how it compares to other shell, but the model of this shell is the TLT 4 EVO. The shell fit of the boots was three fingers. Fortunately, the heel pocket fit was fairly tight and it was easy to raise her up into the smaller part of the boot with the foot bed and board below it. The key to making a shell fit that big fit was securing the heel, which was done with the middle buckle.

  7. Jonathan Shefftz March 13th, 2009 10:06 am

    Right, that matches up well with Lou’s chart. So it’s a shared 22/23 shell, although smaller than just a rebadged 23 shell. But given that the TLT tends to be fairly high volume, I suspect most small-footed skiers would be better off with a 23 shell in some other boot.

  8. Sky March 13th, 2009 10:30 am

    I always felt like the TLT4s really climbed/cramponed/scrambled well due to the lack of a downhill DIN-style toe. Nice work on the mods; hope that earned you some serious points.

  9. Jesse Durrance March 14th, 2009 12:22 pm


    Thanks for publishing this and sharing it with the wildsnow crowd. To answer your question about who does the dishes, etc…. its not so much the dishes as it is who carries lunch, ha. To be honest, this was one of the coolest challenges I have ever undertaken. Looking at skiing from the equipment functionality point of view is a completely different kind of challenge and made this project a lot of fun to work on. Again, thanks for sharing and hopefully others follow suit in their spare time in the off-season.


  10. John W March 15th, 2009 12:18 pm

    I noticed the Booster strap, I use them too. I think it’s a legitimate piece of bolt-on horsepower, especially after the original turns into a hairball. I have the 3 bungee version but am considering cutting the middle one out. It is important to anchor them somehow to avoid loss (Gorilla tape wrap between the ‘belt loops’ works for me).

  11. Scott March 17th, 2009 10:18 am

    Nice work! Do you happen to know how much they weigh?

  12. thelawgoddess March 17th, 2009 10:19 am

    Wow; nice work! And lucky girl!!! 😉

    Unfortunately nobody makes a true 22 shell for AT boots. I have asked just about everyone from retailers to manufacturers, here and in Europe. Anything labeled a 22 is actually a 23 with a shorter liner. Some 23 shells fit a little snugger than others, though! Sure would be nice if someone started making one for us smaller folks …

    Question: I have some race flex Raichle tongues for my AT boots, but this year I started getting some sort of shin-bang from the horizontal grooves in the tongues. Any suggestions for how to fix this? It was so bad I had to remove them to let the bruises heal …

    Also, do you have any photos of the footbeds and boards you used to firm up the inside? I was thinking some kind of flat board would actually help quite a bit, and I was wondering how thick of one you used and what it was made of?

  13. Jesse Durrance March 17th, 2009 4:23 pm


    Thank you! The boots weight about 3.5 lbs each (on a spring scale). They are A LOT lighter than Pilar’s regular downhill boots.

    and to thelawgoddess:
    again thanks and you are right about the shells. The intuiition liner we used was a size 22, so that helped some. The footboards are ones that you can get at most any bootfitting shop, and then you can cut them down to the size of your insoles and they just sit between your insole and the liner. They are pretty much just a hard cardboard material, i think coated with something to resist moisture. You could stack them i suppose, and just duct tape them together, so there is no slippage.

    As to your question about shin bang…. hmmm, a couple of ideas:
    1. you could try and pad around the horizontal ribs so that the tongue sits on your foreleg as one smooth and interrupted surface. Then you could pad it with a piece of foam from the hardware store.
    2. the other thing i could think of was maybe checking to see how well the boot is fitting. If you sit right in the heel pocket and your ankle flexes forward right on the boot (i.e. there is no dead space between your ankle or shin and the front of the boot). then you should always be in contact with the tongue and there would then be no impact. A way to accomplish this would probably be to:
    – insert the adhesive on your tongue so that it takes up that space.
    – use the footboards to raise you up into the smaller part of the boot, possibly bringing your ankle into contact with where the boot bends and leaving your shin to rest on the tongue.

    hopefully this helps… oh, and the footbed is a superfeet footbed… i think.
    good luck!

  14. stevenjo October 10th, 2011 11:58 am

    Jesse/Lou –
    Do either of you know if anyone has come out with a 22 shell since you posted this article?

    Like Pilar, my fiance is at about 22 and so far the smallest Scarpa Gea and BD Swift shells are about 3 fingers plus on her. I was told Dynafit’s 22.5 is a different shell size than the 23, but I’m skeptical at best that the person knew what they were talking about and haven’t been able to confirm either way.

    Appreciate any thoughts, suggestions,

  15. Jonathan Shefftz October 10th, 2011 6:35 pm

    Supposedly the TLT5 is available in a 22.5 – and given that the fit is pretty slim, with a relatively thin liner too, stuff an oversized 23.5 liner in there and seems like that would drop it down to more like a 21.5 (if the 22.5 shell really exists, as distinct from the 23.0/23.5 shell).
    Okay, now time to measure my toddler daughter’s feet to see how far away we are..

  16. Christian October 11th, 2011 2:21 am

    There really is a need for child dynafit’s! What I see now is parents carrying their kids alpine equipment up, and their cross country gear down….
    I still have a few years to build the perfect child dynafit setup…but I was wondering if anybody has tried to retrofit e.g. bd dynafit soles to an child alpine boot. (..and what is the smallest alpine boot available? )

  17. Lou October 11th, 2011 6:00 am

    Dynafiddle is too much for many kids — good way to turn them off to backcountry skiing and ski touring. Better solution is to simply shorten a Silvretta Pure of shorten a Silvretta 500, or use the Kidz Silvretta version. Back in my son’s day, we shortened a pair of Ramer bindings. That worked fine as well.

    The Pure isn’t made any more, but retailers probably have a few pair (click banner above for and they might be available on the used market in places such as Ebay.)

  18. Bill October 11th, 2011 6:12 am

    A note on dynafit sizing in the 22.5.
    Last year I bought my wife some 22.5 TLT5 ,s .
    Her previous boot was a Scarpa Magic 22.5 in which we had to get intuition liners and have her use thick socks to get a fit.In fact on one foot she used 2 socks.
    With the TLT5,s we ended up blowing the shell out in the toe area for both width and length.I was really supprised in the big difference in volume.
    Also, the boot fitter commented that boots tend to get out of wack proportionally on the ends of the sizing spectrums.

  19. stevenjo October 11th, 2011 10:59 am

    Thanks to all for the replies.
    Bill – thanks for the note about the TLT sizing. That based on Jesse comment make the TLT worth following up on.

  20. John Milne October 11th, 2011 11:37 am

    The TLT5 is the same shell for the 22.5-23.5. That said, Bill is correct in that boots can vary their proportions at the ends of the spectrum. The TLT5 is already a very slim “anatomical” fit and has the shortest sole on the market so it’s definitely worth looking into.

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