First, the numbers: in mondo 28 the shells weigh 37 ounces (each, w/o footbed or powerstrap), the liners 6.7 ounces. Not too bad when you consider my size 46 BCX11 pleather three pin boots are 44 ounces each.

I use size 45 Sportiva trail runners, for a generous fit in the toes, and the 28 Siderals give me a perfect two finger shell fit.

Tension of the lower buckle can be adjusted by seating the wires in different grooves across the instep. Carpet testing indicates that this works.

As is the trend these days, the lean lock and upper buckle are integrated. Open the buckle and hook retracts. Close the buckle, and the hook lowers into the slot and grabs hold. There is a bit of wiggle when the cuff is locked.

The range of cuff motion in walk mode is stunning, forward flex is almost as free as the TLT 5, rear flex is free-er.

Three options for forward lean, with easily swappable plates. I’ll try the most upright setting first.

Beefy soles.

The Palau liners have a funky but effective lace; pull to tighten and stick the velcro tab to close. Without molding they’re a bit big for my low volume feet. The oven and insoles should take care of that. The plain black foam around the ankle and achilles is more flexible stuff, though not as flexible as the neoprene used in the TLT5 liner.

As is appropriate with something as important as footwear and as expensive as AT boots, I spent a lot of time thinking about this one. After last winter I was convinced that plastic boots were not appropriate, or least very sub-optimal, for use with three pins. At the same time, the performance and warmth of plastic and foam is undeniable. So the number one priority for this winter was to try Dynafit, not just as a tool for backcountry alpine skiing but as a tool for rugged nordic touring. Straight away my search was limited to the lightest of AT boots. I was sorely tempted by the lightest, non-carbon rando boots (Dynafit PDG, Scarpa Alien), which would have been 8-10 oz a boot lighter, and probably walked a bit better. In the end cost and fit had me doubting both. I tried on the TLT5s, and found them to fit very well except for serious pinching along the sides of my midfeet. I thought the PDGs might do the same. Scarpa, rumor has it, still has that horrid bump on the instep of their ski boots which never suited me. Used F1s were eliminated for the same reason, and their lack of step-in cramponability. When an opportunity to get a great deal on the Siderals came up, I trusted in history (20 years of wearing Sportiva climbing shoes, almost a decade in their trail shoes) and ordered. The beefier boots would probably ski a bit better for casual powder-hunting and the full shell would keep snow out without futzing. Carpet testing this evening suggests that the hypothetical foot around which Sportiva lasts their stuff continues to match my foot very well. I’m excited.

Watch the pingbacks and comments for updates once I get them on snow.