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  1. #1
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    TLT6 performance vs. La Sportiva Spectre comparison

    Hi, purchased one of each, in exactly the same size (28.0 Mondo). Dane has done an article (http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013...t6-and-la.html) with his usual attention to detail but he fit in two different shell sizes. Here is a direct comparison of weights. Weights (as shown in pics) was done on a food scale. I tared it about 8 times first to make sure it returned to zero correctly after each boot. the TLT6 and Spectre are both brand new out of box, have all extraneous footbeds removed, do not have tags on them, and the TLT6 has the green (soft) tongue inserted (which makes it approximately equal in forward flex to the Spectre). Basically, I made damn sure this was apples to apples.

    Dynafit TLT 6 Performance (carbon cuff), CR (custom-ready liner)
    BSL 307 mm
    Claimed single boot weight at 27.5: 1210 grams
    Actual weight of single boot at 28.0: 1280 grams (2lbs, 13oz)
    Price paid March 2014: $800


    La Sportiva Spectre
    BSL 314 mm
    Claimed single boot weight at 27.5: 1445 grams
    Actual weight of single boot at 28.0: 1420 grams (3lbs, 2 oz)
    Price paid March 2014: $474


    And for grins, my old Black diamon Quadrant, first version (2011?). No footbed, and a bit less plastic than it started with due to some Steve Romeo modding: http://www.tetonat.com/2011/12/14/ma...mond-quadrant/
    BSL 320 mm
    Claimed single boot weight at 27.0 (2014 model): 1715 grams
    Actual single boot weight at 28.0: 1800 grams (3lbs, 15.5 oz)
    Price paid 2011: $500ish



    Now some comparisons.
    Fit: Dane at ColdThistle and Lou Dawson at Wildsnow are both right, the Spectre has a weirdly low instep that is the result of a too-narrow opening at the lower shell. Like both of them, I will have to get this punched/ground if I keep this as, like Lou, I have a high and sensitive arch. Since it worked for him though I have hope though. Everywhere else the Spectre is bigger in volume than that TLT6. That's a bit of a detriment in my heel because I also have duck feet and the TLT6 hold it better (this is all pre-molding carpet test). The heel on the Spectre is nowhere near as loose as, say, a Scarpa boot however. They both pinch my ankle bones a bit, but not enough to worry about until after thermomolding.

    Flex: Lee Lau has been keeping up to date a list of forward flex ratings here: https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...model-*updated
    I would say the green (soft) tongue makes the TLT6 comparable to the Spectre. The black (hard tongue) makes it way stiffer. The Spectre is clearly more progressive, as noted elsewhere, which I found alarming at first because I'm so used to AT shin bang now! But it will be GREAT for landing drops in the BC, allowing your ankle to flex more as intended and thus reducing shock and unbalance that can travel upwards the body through restricted landing mechanics. Both boots have INCREDIBLE lateral stiffness, even just on the carpet.

    Fiddle Factor: The spectres are way more fiddly to put on, the TLT6 is way more fiddly once put on. Pick your poison.

    Weight, etc: First off, I'd note that Dane's implied message is correct, while other manufacturers are at best accurate with and at worst exaggerate weight claims, La Sportiva is sandbagging. The real weight difference (5 oz per boot) is noticeable on the foot, but the numbers bear out that just moving away from 4lb boots is the bigger improvement. As for where the difference comes from, the TLT6 clearly looks smaller on the foot. Part of the weight difference is the volume, part is a small difference in cuff height, part is probably due to pure carbon cuff vs. carbon/grilamid hybrid cuff, and I think a significant protion of it is due to the (poor, IMO) decision of La Sportiva to include passport binding-compatible heel/toes on the Spectre. This adds beefy plastic, and BSL to those areas. This also decreases climbing ramp angle at a given riser setting. But the kicker is that these tabs also makes the stride a little less natural. La Sportiva added essentially the max possible rocker to the ball of the foot (compared to the TLT6) to compensate for this but it's better to just not have it and have a "shoe that fits". This is apparent when the TLT6 walks around on hard surfaces just a bit better in spit of less severe rocker. Also, it just feels like the more nimble boot.

    Cost: HAHA yeah, I'll probably keep the Spectres. Sayeth Wu-Tang Financial: C.R.E.A.M.
    Last edited by Jonn-E; 03-20-2014 at 02:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    TLT6 performance vs. La Sportiva Spectre comparison

    Awesome summary! Thanks man. Running all over the internet collecting numbers gave me the same weight delta, about 140g. I can probably fit in a smaller Specter though, due to the heel width and thicker(?) plastic allowing it to be punched more.

    How would you characterize the walk mode differences? (with no tongue in the TLT6) At least a third of the time I'm in this sort of boot, I'm not skinning and often am hiking dirt, rock or ice.

  3. #3
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    I tried walking on hard surfaces more and up and down stairs to simulate the hard surfaces of summer more than carpet would. The TLT6 held the lower foot tighter with it's snug-er heel pocket, but was a flared out mess on top. The Spectre doesn't hold the heel as tight but even with the top bukles undone it holds the leg a bit more. The crazy thing with this boot is you can have the top buckles and power strap cranked and still get most of the articulation, something that is impossible with the TLT series. If i was climbing ice or scrambling, I think this would be really nice.

    The difference I mentioned with the toe lip primarily appears to affect toe lift, and will also increase ankle leverage somewhat while climbing grades. Beyond that, there is a certain je ne sais quoi to the TLT6 walkability. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is hair splitting: both are hilariously better at walking than 95% of boots out there, including my Quadrants (which are advertised at 40 degrees and which I've modified for better walking). I'd hazard that the hair splitting only really matters when you're trying a "teton-style" approach (aka leaving your shoes at the car in the summer and walking several miles to snow).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonn-E View Post
    The TLT6 held the lower foot tighter with it's snug-er heel pocket, but was a flared out mess on top.
    Flared-out mess = user error. I'll give you a break because you're a TLT5/6 noob. If the flared outness bothers you, stick it in your pant cuffs* or snug up the power strap. Also, try putting the laces in the liner. *IME, TLT5/6 hike/climb/scramble best in full tour mode with relatively snug pant cuffs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonn-E View Post
    something that is impossible with the TLT series.
    If I understand what you're trying to say, no, it's quite possible to get fore-aft ankle support with a TLT5/6 without locking in ski mode. If you want to hike/climb/scramble in the equivalent of high top boots -- I cannot imagine why anyone would want to do that cuz TLT5/6s hike and scramble far better than any other AT boot in full tour mode -- it's very easy to snug the TLT5/6 cuff without locking it out by blocking the lean-lock peg with a pant cuff or a loop of 4mm perlon. See above re snugging up the cuff with the power strap and lacing up the liner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonn-E View Post
    If i was climbing ice or scrambling, I think this would be really nice.
    Here's where you've really lost me. I've scrambled a bunch in TLT5s (now replaced with TLT6) and they are the vastly superior AT scrambling boots because they hike and scramble like an ankle-high lightweight mountaineering boot. Indeed, IMO TLT5/6 is the only AT boot that really works for French cramponing technique. I personally would never want an AT boot in hike/scramble/cramponing mode to function as the equivalent of a high top hiking boot, which is what you seem to like about the Spectre, and that's fine if that's your personal preference, but don't assign fault to the TLT5/6 on that basis.
    Last edited by Big Steve; 03-20-2014 at 04:25 PM.

  5. #5
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    Yup I've hiked in both TLT5 and Spectre. TLT5 was superior. Am assuming TLT5 and TLT6 are similar

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Yup I've hiked in both TLT5 and Spectre. TLT5 was superior. Am assuming TLT5 and TLT6 are similar
    By a lot? As in not really the same league? Or pretty close, but still noticably better?

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    Big Steve,
    Yes I am teh noobs. This was just me walking around the house for a couple hours with one on each foot. Great way to compare, bad way to experience. I felt like when I snugged the powerstrap it restricted motion, but perhaps I had the tongue in that time. Interestingly, the Spectre's flex-zone tongue means you can be fully, completely locked in and still get a huge range of motion when in walk mode. I can imagine some advantages to this. Because of the top buckle being the lock on the TLT, that is why I said what I did. Good to know there are some workarounds.

    As for French technique, I have a hard time seeing how that would work with the TLT (or the Spectre), as boot is so laterally stiff. IME, French Technique involves a fair amount of sideways ankle rotation. But again, I have no experience here. In the pictured Quadrants I use either pied en canard or North American. I'll do uphill sidestepping like ze french but my boots are vertical, so it's not French, which, frankly, my ankles kinda hate even in summer boots so I tend to avoid. Anyways, if the technique you are talking about is dependent on forward articulation, the Spectre has essentially the same as the TLT6. It's pretty unreal for a boot w/ a tongue.

    As I mentioned earlier, the TLT6 is still the more nimble boot and the one I would pick for climbing/walking. The biomechanics are just more natural. I think this is born out in LeeLau's comment on his experience. It's a killer boot.

    Leelau and Lindahl,
    Dane mentioned that the lack of forefoot articulation hurts the TLT6 walkability compared to the TLT5. No personal idea, just passing on what I read.

    Finally, I put this together this morning when I was still undecided and thus could be pretty damn objective and scrutinizing. However, I have now selected to keep the Spectre (due to cost mostly), so my objectivity may slip from here on out. Just full disclosure. As I type, the Spectres are getting that shitty instep hammered out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    By a lot? As in not really the same league? Or pretty close, but still noticably better?
    I thought quite a bit

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonn-E View Post
    Dane mentioned that the lack of forefoot articulation hurts the TLT6 walkability compared to the TLT5.
    TLT5 is more walkable for me, but it's very much a matter of personal physiology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonn-E View Post
    As for French technique, I have a hard time seeing how that would work with the TLT (or the Spectre), as boot is so laterally stiff. IME, French Technique involves a fair amount of sideways ankle rotation.
    TLT5/6 in walk ("flared out mess" in your words) mode has a good bit of lateral ROM, but, yeah, I was thinking duckwalking down ice and "mild French" not those classic pics of Yvon, et. al. doing stuff that would break my ankles.

  10. #10
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    ankle pocket difference between the two?

    instep is low, I got that much. how about side-to-side at the ankle and achilles?

  11. #11
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    John E
    Thanks for the comparison. After debating these two boots for the past month I ordered the Spectres. About 30 minutes before seeing your post. I am also coming out of Quadrants.

    Price did have a lot to do with it but I also feel like the taller, 4 buckle design will drive a 124mm wide ski better.

    Steve, et all - proceed to tell me the TLT6 drives wide skis just fine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sar13 View Post
    Steve, et all - proceed to tell me the TLT6 drives wide skis just fine.
    Yup, they do, especially with the black tongue. Laterally very stiff.

  13. #13
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    Creaky,
    Ankle was tight on both of them. Currently I am getting a mild punch at the ankle bone of the Spectre, maybe not necessary but after heat molding I still felt decent pressure there and I want comfort for long days in the boots. I don't know how wide my ankle is compared to others, but I imagine due to my tall arch/instep my nobs are higher, which places me in cuff territory. The Spectre cuff is a grilamid/carbon fiber stew, whereas TLT6 is pure, blinging carbon on the back, some form of plastic on the front. I was actually worried my ankle bones being too high into the carbon cuff of the TLT6, which I would assume is unpunchable (anyone know?). The TLT6 was just narrow in general behind the toebox, with the most notable difference being the heel (which I liked for lockdown) but also through the ankle and rear instep area.

    Whew, that's a lotta fit dissection.

    I honestly think the next major boot innovation will be (literally) breaking out of the mold and into 3D printing of individualized shells mapped from a scan of a person's foot. The construction, weight, and fit benefits are too huge to ignore.

  14. #14
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    Oh and 4 buckles is meaningless these days, IMHO. Cuff height does matter though, and materials matter A LOT.

    Sorry I misunderstood you early Big Steve. I agree duckwalk requires a lot of linear ankle flex. In case anyone's wondering what Steve and I are talking about with the sideways ankle flex in french, here's a classic pic of Yvon in his day doing his thing:


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    TLT6 performance vs. La Sportiva Spectre comparison

    Yeah, all 3 boots can drive wide skis - thats all about laterall stiffness, which all of them are fine in.

    Its driving stiff skis, fore aft balance, and driving through tricky snow where these boots suffer - fore/aft stiffness. Weight matters here too, as does cuff height, which the Spectre has a one-up on the others.

    What I find interesting is that the stiffness in the tongue on my TLT5Ps may not be the main the problem. It seems like its actually the deformation of the lower, when flexed heavily. This deformation means the tongue can pivot forward easier, without the tongue ever flexing. Gets better in cold weather, but still that lower plastic is a bit thin and flexible when driving hard.

    I'd be curious to see how the boot would flex with various stripes of thicker plastic in key areas like the Alien(?). Kind of like how I-beams work, I guess.

    All boots have some lower deformation, but for the TLT5P (and likely 6P), this deformation seems to be, imo, one of the weakest links in its flex. Lesser factors that affect its skiability are the lower cuff, lack of micro adjust buckles and lack of progressiveness (which perhaps is somewhat related to a tongue that doesn't flex easily, paired with a deforming lower).

    I'm sure the liner plays a role as well, but the facts are, my foot barely fits in a heavily punched/stretched TLT5P, as it is. A thicker/stiffer liner, like a Pro Tour, isn't going to happen. Thats almost 100g extra anyway.
    Last edited by Lindahl; 03-21-2014 at 02:33 PM.

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    Nice summation Jonn-e. I don't agree with everything said so far in the thread so I'll add my 2 cents.

    No question the TLT5 in any version walks better than the TLT6. IMO TLT5 is not in the same ball game as Spectre and TLT6 as a ski boot. For me I find the TLT6 to be way less fiddle factor than the Spectre in any use, walking, climbing or skiing.

    But for the price difference I could fiddle around a lot.

    Spectre is a really nice boot but it does take some patience IMO. I have none.
    Still not comfortable with a Spectre, TLT6P green tongue comparison while skiing.

    I really like how the TLT6 skis. But I have found myself a dyed in the wool TLT guy because it fits ME better with less work. I use a green tongue and generally but not always no power strap up to 138mm under foot.

    I still think for me the TLT6P is a better ski boot than my Lange XT 120. I am in 27 shell for that one and still think the 29 TLT6 w/power strap and green tongue is a better ski boot for my needs. Again way less fiddle factor. I'll try a 28 TLT6 full time next year. I suspect as a pure ski boot it will be even better compared to the Lange. I skied enough with the "big boys" this winter to be confident in that statement.

    All that said I am skiing in a 29 TLT6 shell, PS, and a Spectre 28 liner and my old Kork footbeds.

    Weights? You really have to decide how you will ski the boot to make a comparison.

    I have a ONE, Spectre, Lange 120, TLT6 and PDG here right now. How you set them up, tongues, Power strap or not and the insoles you use can make a big difference for weight and performance. I can get my ONE lighter than my TLT6 and my Spectre there as well and be perfectly happy skiing them on any width ski.

    But I can strip my TLT6 down to very close to the PDG and enjoy that combo just as easily depending on the ski.

    Best buy? Spectre

    Best "over all mtn boot" boot if you can stomach the buy in? TLT6 P.

    The days of not being able to walk in total comfort or climb hard technical ground easily in my "serious" ski boots is long gone. The boots will just keep getting better. Now about that stiff tongue for a Spectre?? I want one. Colin how easy is that one to accomplish at a factory level?
    Last edited by Dane1; 03-21-2014 at 01:52 PM.

  17. #17
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    When you say the Spectre has a higher fiddle factor, how so? Do you mean just the buckles?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    When you say the Spectre has a higher fiddle factor, how so? Do you mean just the buckles?
    Alot of people comment on the buckles, but after spending the majority of the season on mine, I mess with them way less then any other boot I own. The only time I change them now is after long tours, I may micro adjust them slightly (the only time I did this was on a 50km tour, over three days). But other then that, I've got them micro adjusted to where I want, and they just snap in. Easy! On that same 50km tour, and too many transitions to count, with two of us on Spectre's and the remainder on variations of the TLT's, it was pretty obvious that the fiddle factor is significantly higher on the TLT's.

    One huge and unexpected bonus on the Spectre's was while skiing down, there were several flat benches that most everyone wallowed their way through, but on the Spectre's it was a quick unlock with the switch and then we were almost able to keep up with the guys on Tele gear on the deep powder filled flat sections.

    I personally dont like how the TLT6 has to be opened up to get the same range of movement as the Spectre. Skinning on Wide skis, is way easier with the solid cuff of the Spectre. The only time I could see benefit in having the upper so loose on the TLT is summer time for ventilation, or if you actually need ankle articulation. Two things I dont need.

    I've even driven in my Spectre's, to my local after work tour.... something I couldnt do in either my tele boots, or a TLT.

    Currently my only two complaints on the Spectre's is forward stiffness, and the low instep height. Instep was taken care of with a heat gun and a metal coffee cup. As for the forward stiffness, I'm skiing Renegade's and GPO's with them, and it is working, even in a few days of heavy Whistler pow/mank. But I would still prefer something stiffer... I really wish La Sportiva would come out with a replacement tongue.

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    I was typing as the previous answer was posted...just got to read it. So good view from each side of the equation I think. Some of Dot's comments I totally agree with some not so much having used both boots on and off all season. TLT's fiddle factor is definded by how YOU set the boot up. Drop the tongue and power strap it is a very simple boot to use. But then a Spectre will ski better. Spectre is a very nice "buy and fly" boot. TLT is certainly an acquired taste.

    I'll try to answer from my point of view.

    I put my 6's on and buckle them. Generally tighten up one latch on the lower buckle, pull the power strap tighter may be, after a run or two and don't change them all day if just skiing (no booting or skinning). I can even drive my manual trans home in them @ the end of the day no big deal. Never had a boot i could do anything close to that in and actually ski hard in them without thinking.

    Spectre? I buckle up and ski a run or two. Retighten the buckles at least the upper two for sure and likely the power strap and the instep buckel as well. Ski a couple more runs and rebuckle again, and may be again, until I think the boot "feels" stiff enough for forward flex. By now they are pretty tight, verging on uncomfortable. But they do ski well. By the end of the ski day (and likely prior to the end of the day) I want them off my feet.

    Same insoles and same factory Spectre liner in both boots. Liner is molded to the Spectre btw not the TLT.

    Anything I want to do in a ski boot and some things (ice/mixed climbing, driving, booting) I would prefer not to (driving or hanging out apre ski) I can do in a TLT6 with some comfort.

    Spectre? Much closer to a regular ski boot in many ways for comfort...and I'm always dickin with buckles. Love the buckle design though. Not design but boot fit I ma messing with. A "on and off the lift" kind of thing more indicative of a "race boot" fit where you have to unbuckle to get the circulation back.

    I spend a good bit of time getting my boot fit right. Obviously I have done that to good effect in the TLTs. I have yet to do that in the Spectre. Not that I haven't tried.....just not hard enough I guess. But I think the entire 4 buckle thing...Lange/Rossi included is a dead animal for me. I just don't need/use what ever edge in performance I use to think a 4 buckle boot lends.

    One place there is no fiddle factor on the Spectre, that I really like, but doesn't allow me to use adroitly is the walk mode. Althought the lever could be easier to use. Boot with the buckles loose and in walk mode is a dream. Buckle up to ski hard in it and I have to unbuckle to get a comfortable walk mode. Counter intuitive IMO. It aint skimo race boot technology for sure :-)

    TLT? Much as I hate flipping the top buckle open on a TLT as it is then in the way and a pia on pants you can walk or climb in them with ease no question. Flip the latch back and I am back in full ski mode if I am not using the power strap.

    Boots are closer fiddle wise if you use the power strap, may more if you had the tongue and power strap. But you have easy options either way on the TLT.

    The more I ski in lwt boots, the more convinced I am that 4 buckle, or 4b plug boots and the resulting fiddle factor is dead technology.

    Every one i know skiing a plug boot with a race boot fit buckles and un buckles (fiddle factor) by mid day or earlier on every lift ride. I want a boot that I NEVER have to do that nonsense again but has the performance of that kind of fit, just 10x the comfort.
    Last edited by Dane1; 03-21-2014 at 03:43 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    the stiffness in the tongue on my TLT5Ps may not be the main the problem. It seems like its actually the deformation of the lower. . . .
    * * *
    . . .and likely 6P. . .
    Actually, TLT6 lower is far less prone to deform cuz there's no Actiflex, shell is monocoque, unlike TLT5. Indeed the more solid lower is the biggest 6 vs. 5 difference that makes the 6 ski better, and also makes it hike/scramble/climb not as well as the 5 -- I'd bet Dane would agree.

    And, yeah, 4 buckles vs. 2 buckles is a meaningless distinction when comparing other boots to TLT5/6.

    I'm not getting the TLT5/6 fiddle bellyaching thing. One move tour>ski>tour transition. Other boots require flipping the lever and releasing buckles, at least 2 moves, often three. (this assumes no power strap, which is the way to ski TLT5/6 if you're in a hurry.)

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    I need to learn to write like Steve...same basic info/ideas. Way less words.

    .

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    TLT6 performance vs. La Sportiva Spectre comparison

    I can't really ski the TLTs without tongue and power strap, at least not how I want to ski. Do that and the fiddle factor goes way up, so I can see why you no-strap, no-tongue guys don't get it.

    As for actiflex and deformation, I get what you're saying, but I'm seeing the lower plastic flex like bellows, not necessarily the actiflex. So its definitely both. Curious to flex the TLT6 now.

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    Less speculation...more skiing.

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    I'm with you Dane.

    Big Steve, just curious about the origin of your comment that the spectre is more likely to deform?

    I've skied the original TLT5 for one season, probably 50 days of skiing/hiking and currently ski the spectre, have about 20-30 days of ski touring.

    A lot of what has been said is true regarding volume, weight, etc. I understand how people can bitch about both buckle systems. Really though, after using both both (and the vulcan) extensively, both are easy to get used to and use. It is really a personal preference.

    Walk mode: The spectre is the best boot i've used that isn't a tlt5. The tlt5 is probably a bit more ROM subjectively and has less friction, if that makes more sense. Though, how much of that really meaningful is up to debate.

    Skiing: I think both boots ski really well for what they are. As someone who only ski tours I've never found them to be lacking. The difference of course is the lack progressive flex (tlt5) vs a progressive flex (spectre); once again, a personal preference. People always ask how big of a ski can you drive with this boot. I had several days on 193 EHP with the tlt5 in spring type snow. I have over a dozen days on my 186 kusulas withe the spectre. So take that for whatever its worth.

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    I do not doubt that the Spectre tours well and skis fine. If it fit me I'd probably like it based on the descriptions in this thread and other sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevino View Post
    Big Steve, just curious about the origin of your comment that the spectre is more likely to deform?
    Did I say that? I was comparing TLT5 vs. TLT6. I've never skied the Spectre.

    Lindahl, I seldom install tongues in the field. If I'm skiing with tongues in, I tour with tongues in, and almost all of my mid-winter touring is with tongues in. (Exception for low angle fishscale mid-winter routes, always sans tongues.) If the route involves lots of scrambling or hiking (usually spring/summer), I'll ski with the tongues removed, so most of my late spring/summer tours are sans tongues. There are exceptions when I might do a long approach sans tongues and descend with tongues (e.g., stratovolcanoes or Vesper/skiing down from Headlee Pass), but on those routes we almost always take an extended break at the top, ample time to install the tongues while we're eating lunch. (Note: TLT6 lower buckle makes tongue swapping easier than TLT5).

    TLT5/6 w/Booster strap flex is plenty progressive for me. Maybe that's cuz I weigh 250 lbs.

    These discussions underscore the relevance of skiing style to lightweight AT boot selection. TLT5, TLT6 and (it appears) Spectre have oodles of lateral stiffness. I really don't notice any difference skiing my Maestrale RS vs. TLT6M with black tongues (Booster straps on both). Those are rated 105 and 90* on Lee's thread, so it must be about lateral stiffness for me. RS is warmer and has more ballast, of course. FTR, I ski the TLT6 with the uberlight/very thin CL liner, definitely a performance fit, with Booster Strap.

    *TLT6M is not assigned a flex number on Lee's thread, so 90 is an extrapolation.
    Last edited by Big Steve; 04-24-2014 at 03:40 PM.

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