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2016-2017 Atomic Hawx Ultra 130

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Atomic Hawx Ultra for Blister Gear Review

Atomic Hawx Ultra 130

2016-2017 Atomic Hawx Ultra 130

Stated Flex Rating: 130

Stated Last Width: 98 mm – 104 mm (can expand at least 6 mm in the forefoot)

Size Tested: 26.5 / 300 mm Boot Sole Length

Stated Weight (size 26.5): 1680 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight:

  • Shells & Boot Boards, no Liners: 1270 & 1267 g
  • Stock Liners (with rear spoiler, no footbed): 425 & 426 g
  • Total Weight per Boot: 1695 & 1693 g

Shell Material – Cuff: Grilamid; Shoe / Clog: Polyurethane

MSRP: $699

Test Location: Mt Bachelor, OR; Ski Santa Fe & Taos, NM, Arapahoe Basin, CO

Days Tested: 40+

Intro

We wrote about the Hawx Ultra 130 in our 16/17 Winter Buyer’s Guide, but I’ve been hesitant to say more about it before I could render a fairly long-term evaluation. And to be very candid, that’s because the news that Atomic was making a very light, 4-buckle, riveted boot was not news that made my heart leap for joy. In all honesty, I didn’t want to like this boot, on principle.

I spend a good bit of time on Blister arguing that weight is actually a good thing — and especially when it comes to inbounds equipment, where we have the convenience of lazily riding chairlifts and don’t have to drag heavier equipment up the mountain under our own power. So the drive to create a lightweight alpine boot struck me as rather misguided, just as the drive to make inbounds skis lighter and lighter can lead to people having a less enjoyable time skiing everyday, inbounds conditions.

But with all that said, I now have to publicly admit that I’ve been quite impressed with the Hawx Ultra 130.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the J Skis Masterblaster for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Atomic Hawx Ultra 130, Mt Bachelor, Oregon.

Here’s what I wrote about the Hawx Ultra 130 in our Winter Buyer’s Guide:

“If you dislike the heavy feel of 4-buckle alpine boots, this 1694 g boot (size 26.5) might be your new favorite. We happen to like the solid feel and performance of heavy alpine boots, and yet, having put about 30 days in the Ultra 130 last season, the fact is that it skis well. Its liner, cuff, and shell are all heat-moldable, and the molding process yielded good fit results for us. If you spend a lot of time hiking and boot packing on your inbounds days, or if it feels jarring going from your super light touring boots to a heavy dedicated-alpine boot, you will want to check out the Hawx Ultra 130.”

And having no spent another ten days in the boot since I wrote that, I still stand by it. But to get a bit deeper…

Weight

This isn’t the only story with the Hawx Ultra 130, but it is certainly the primary one. A sub-1700 gram alpine boot in a size 26.5 is impressive. Or insane.

On Atomic’s website, Matt Manser, Atomic’s ski boots product manager, says that the Hawx Ultra 130 was inspired by Atomic Backland touring boot: ‘We learned a lot developing our lightweight Backland boot last year, including how to create a lighter shell that stays strong.’ He said. ‘We’ve now married this know-how with the best bits of Hawx and our racing expertise. It keeps your feet incredibly light and agile when you’re ripping down the mountain.’

That all sounds good. So long as my $700 alpine boot doesn’t go downhill like a lightweight touring boot…

We’ll talk more about the pros and cons of this low weight along the way. But I will say this — this past weekend, we hiked all day, bell-to-bell, almost every run, at about 11,000 ft. For two days straight. And no question, I was pretty psyched to be doing all of that boot packing in this lightweight boot.

Boot Sole Length (BSL)

[Note: if you really want to impress your boot fitter and / or ski nerd friends, memorize your BSL #. Like your social security number, this isn’t the sort of thing that you’ll use every day, but it will come in handy from time to time.]

In a size 26.5, most dedicated alpine boots (i.e., boots that do not have a walk mode) will have a BSL of 305-307 mm. The Hawx Ultra 130 has a shorter BSL — 300 mm / size 26.5 — which is in line with the BSL of a size 26.5 touring boot. A shorter BSL is nicer to walk in, and it needs to be made clear, a shorter BSL has nothing to do with the length or roominess of the toe box. In fact, this is one of the things that I like most about the Hawx Ultra 130 —  it is relatively long in the toe box.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 for Blister Review

Atomic Hawx Ultra 130

Sizing / My Feet

Length (Left & Right): 271 & 274 mm

Width (Left & Right): 100 & 99 mm

Instep Height (L & R): 79 mm & 75 mm. The Boot Doctor’s Charlie Bradley describes this as a “high arch / high instep” — on a scale of 1-10, he calls my arch / instep a 8 or 9.

Charlie also notes about my feet: Fairly stable, solid platform. A bit of pronation. A good amount of ankle range of motion (aka, “dorsiflexion”).

According to the charts, I ought to be in a size 27.5 boot, but I have always dropped down to at least a size 26.5 to get more of a “performance” fit rather than a “comfort” fit. I’ve always worn a size 26.5 in low-volume (“LV”), ~98mm-wide boots (e.g., Tecnica Mach 1 LV, Lange RX 130 LV, Nordica Patron Pro, Atomic Redster Pro, Fischer RC4 130  etc.), and so I went with the Hawx Ultra 130 in a 26.5. If I am reviewing a boot with a wider last (e.g., Salomon X-Pro or Atomic Hawx 2.0 120), I’ll drop down to a 25.5.

Fit: Shoe / Clog

I got a very good result with the heat molding of the boot and liner. I am accustomed to a very tight boot fit, and initially, I worried that I should have dropped down to a size 25.5 in the Hawx Ultra 130. But now with a bunch of days in the boot, I don’t think that I needed to; the boot fits well, it just isn’t as tight across the instep, toe box, or forefoot as a size 26.5 Fischer RC4 130 Vacuum, the Tecnica Mach 1 LV, or the Atomic Redster Pro. Instead, the Hawx Ultra 130 feels more in-line (volume-wise) with the Lange RX 130 LV.

But if the shoe / clog of the Hawx Ultra 130 feels nicely roomy, it should; that’s the benefit of a heat-moldable shell, right? The shell itself will expand out. And while the Hawx 2.0 I reviewed didn’t seem to mold all that well, the new Hawx Ultra does. And given that the new Hawx Ultra does mold well, I would advise that if you are on the fence about whether to go up or go down, I would err on the side of going down; that shell will expand to fit your foot. So if you go too big right off the bat, you risk developing slop and play, and lose most of the benefits of having a moldable shell.

I’m not saying that everyone should downsize in this boot; I’m just saying those who are caught between two sizes may be wise to drop down.

Fit: Cuff / Throat

I’m getting a fantastic, extremely snug fit from the cuff / throat of the Hawx Ultra 130. I hate feeling like my lower leg isn’t entirely wrapped and locked in in a ski boot, and I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a boot feel like I was getting such a secure, snug wrap. Your mileage may vary, but I have a hunch that the thin Grilamid cuff wraps and conforms around the lower leg and shin better than many of the other dedicated alpine boots I’ve reviewed. I love the lack of play I’m getting here. Snug and locked in.

So, How Does it Ski?

But if the cuff feels like it is made of a thinner, more malleable material (which allows for that snug wrap around the lower leg / shin) … does that have an effect on the stiffness and responsiveness of the boot? In short, Yes. And this, too, has its upsides and downsides…

Flex + Suspension + Comparisons to Other Boots

This is not an “ultra-stiff” boot; the Atomic Redster Pro I reviewed several seasons ago was much stiffer — and also much more jarring and less forgiving. If I were racing, I’d take the Redster Pro in a heartbeat. But for skiing in bumped-up, off-piste terrain, the Hawx Ultra 130 is a much more forgiving / less jarring ride, and I would opt for it every time.

So two things here: if the Redster Pro is a boot you love … you will have no interest in the Hawx Ultra 130. They represent two very different ends of the spectrum. The Hawx Ultra 130 is lighter, more forgiving, and easier (thanks to its effective heat-moldable shell) to achieve a pretty dialed-in fit. But the Hawx Ultra does not have the lateral stiffness and power of the Redster Pro.

So while you did see world-cup racers in the “WC” version of the Redster Pro, I don’t think we are going to see world-cup racers in the Hawx Ultra 130. (But raise your hand if you’re reading this and you aren’t currently a competitive ski racer….)

So if this is not a race boot, neither does it have the flex pattern of a lightweight touring boot. I’ll say more about this in the Comparisons further below.

Soft Snow / Deep Snow

In deep snow, the Hawx Ultra 130 have performed and felt fantastic. In such conditions, you’ve got a ton of suspension built into the snow, and I can’t notice any obvious difference between the Hawx Ultra 130 and some of my other favorite 130-rated boots.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Atomic Hawx Ultra for Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Atomic Hawx Ultra, Taos.

Groomers

The Hawx Ultra 130 feels just fine on groomers. But high-angle carving at speed is where I have my primary hesitations about this boot; it feels like I’m getting a bit more lateral flex in it than in my favorite alpine 130-flex LV boots that are made of a different plastic.

You may not care about this, and I’m willing to wager that a lot of skiers wouldn’t notice any difference. And furthermore, I believe most of the remaining skiers could adjust to this difference, as evidenced by the fact that many of us ski heavy alpine boots inbounds, then adjust to skiing in lightweight touring boots in the backcountry.

But this is the single biggest reason why I hope that all boot manufacturers don’t start a weight-loss race when it comes to high-performance, 130-rated, inbounds boots. On ice and very firm surfaces, the lightweight Hawx Ultra 130 doesn’t offer the same solid feel that you get from (some of the very best) heavier boots.

Roughed-Up, Off-Piste Terrain

On a related note, when skiing in roughed-up, somewhat bumped-up terrain at high speeds, the Hawx Ultra 130 isn’t quite as solid as some of the other boots mentioned here. Again, if you aren’t nuking down beat-up groomers or open bowls in variable conditions, the differences here will be less and less pronounced.

What complicates this issue is that, while some may feel like the Hawx Ultra 130 lacks some power in such terrain and conditions, others may very well love how forgiving the boot feels, and absorbing of rough terrain.

So this is yet another Know Thyself moment: if you aren’t skiing pretty flat out in such terrain and conditions, then I doubt you will notice a big difference, or maybe any difference.

NEXT: More Boot Comparisons, Durability, Who’s It For?, What’s Next…

36 Comments

  1. Joshua January 25, 2017 Reply

    In fact, the touring version might have already been seen, at Sugar Bowl.

  2. Blister Member
    Bruce January 27, 2017 Reply

    Jonathan,
    I have the Lange RX 130LV. Its 4 years old and time for a new boot. The Lange is fairly warm. How do you rate the warmth of the Atomic Hawx?
    Thanks,
    Bruce

    • Author
      Jonathan Ellsworth January 29, 2017 Reply

      First, Bruce – I wonder if you might only want / need a new liner? If the shell is in good shape, a Zipfit or Intuition could do wonders.

      Beyond that … I never feel like I’m a great judge of “warm” vs “cold” — I’ve worn a ton of boots, and rarely do I feel like a boot is clearly way better or worse in this regard.

      So with that pretty big caveat … I’d say the Hawx and RX LV are similar. I can easily ski either all day.

      • Blister Member
        Bruce January 30, 2017 Reply

        Thank you for the tip, I didn’t think of replacing the liner. I lost weight the past year I’m down to 150, gluten-free you know. So I am swimming in my four-year-old boots. I didn’t think of a new liner however I have a pair of poly/wool socks laying around they are pretty thick, now my boots are tight as a drum! Thanks you just saved me 600 bucks! Now I have to find a replacement for my 181 sickles. The 184 blister pros are just killing it! At a 5’8 150lbs they are freeking perfect…

  3. Blister Member
    Clive January 28, 2017 Reply

    Hi Jonathan
    Similar question to Bruce above…how warm is the Atomic Hawx. I have just returned from 3 weeks in Japan and I suffered from cold feet I am thinking of new boots for our next Southern Hemisphere winter and warmth will be a big factor. From your description of your feet mine are similar…high instep and arch, 270 ish in length, but I’m 100 across the forefoot. I skiied in my old 27.5 BD factors with Intuition Powerwraps in Japan because they fit so well…bought Scarpa Freedom SL last winter but I cannot get comfortable in them the forefoot shape is not right for me. I intend to try the new Cochise but I am concerned with the instep height and how warm are they? Lange XT a possible. I would prefer to buy tech compatible but this new Hawx sounds inviting for an inbounds only boot. Salomon XP Pro sounds good too. Any advice?
    Cheers Clive NZ

    • Author
      Jonathan Ellsworth January 29, 2017 Reply

      Hi, Clive – I really don’t feel comfortable making recommendations based on warmth; it’s just far too subjective, and there are so many variables here that it makes it very difficult allow for really accurate assessments. But a couple questions: Are you always, consistently wearing a thin sock? (I wear super thin socks – no padding – pretty much always, FWIW.)

      And seems like your quest might be to find a liner that works really well for you — the shells themselves are likely not the major factor here. Liners, yes. Overall fit, yes.

      Seems like it might be time for an article on this topic…

  4. Troy January 29, 2017 Reply

    Any problem with the boot leaking extensively? Just spent 2.5 hours in my brand new Atomic Ultra Hawx 120 on a sunny groomer day and both toe boxes were drenched. I’m not exaggerating one bit, drenched! Have pictures to prove how wet the liners were after I got home. Did you notice anything like this on the 130?

    • Author
      Jonathan Ellsworth January 29, 2017 Reply

      No problems whatsoever. And I’ve got a lot of days in the boot. I’d check in with the shop you bought them from.

    • Blister Member
      Brian February 5, 2017 Reply

      Troy, I’m in the same boat as you.My Hawx Ultra 120 leak like a sieve. I’m actually trying to get them warrantied.. guess its not a fluke.

      • Troy February 5, 2017 Reply

        Shop told me it’s because my foot is too wide for the boot and I’m not closing it enough. That’s a bunch of bull. Boot fits perfect after molding and skis great, not a fit problem it’s a design problem. They returned it immediately, I emailed Atomic a week and they haven’t responded…. I will try another pair from a store that is easily returnable if same problem occurrs. I’m not impressed.

        • Blister Member
          Brian February 5, 2017 Reply

          ya.. I’m dealing with EVO and its not been a good experience.. will never buy from them again.
          good luck. I’m about to call AMEX.

          • Troy February 5, 2017 Reply

            Keep us posted. I would love to hear from Atomic. Wonder if once you break them in more and they allow you to buckle down a little tighter the leaking will go away. Only boot I had leak before was a Lange RX 130 LV, but only the left after extensive boot work done. Poor design either way .

          • Troy February 9, 2017 Reply

            Brian,

            I’ve now skied a different Ultra Hawx 120 for two days now in fresh snow. One half day and one full. Minor leaking in comparison to any other ski boot I’ve owned. Nothing like the first pair from the other shop. Fluke? Tightening down the new one more? Not sure. Heat molded both boots other than this guy tightened down the two lower buckles more than the other shop. Maybe formed the plastic differently? Good skiing boot but thinking I should have gone 130 flex but waiting for more days on them.

            • Blister Member
              Brian February 9, 2017 Reply

              Troy, Atomic is taking them back. Good to hear you new pair is not as bad but I’m hesitant to get a replacement and have to groundhog day this experience.

              • Troy February 22, 2017 Reply

                I gave up on second pair of them after about five more days. Leak pretty bad still and I was cranking them down as they broke in so I know it’s not because I wasn’t forming a good seal. Socks noticably wet when they really shouldn’t be. Never had this problem with any other boot I’ve owned and even ones that have had extensive work done.

  5. Blister Member
    Clive January 30, 2017 Reply

    Hi Jonathan thanks for your reply. My query was largely because of the similarities of my feet to your description of your feet. In particular I have a high arch/instep which most skiboots crush this can lead to a loss of circulation and cold feet. I also have skinny lower legs…think Kiwi bird with skinny legs and wide toes…and your description of the snug fit of this boot around your lower leg resonates with me. In the bad old days I bought bigger boots to get enough width across my toes which then meant cranking buckles up to get enough hold down…who hasn’t been there? These days there are boots out there to suit short wide feet with high arch/instep and skinny legs..aren’t there? Your feet sound similar to mine…so I am very interested in what boots you feel really suit your feet. I love your reviews and I subscribe to your website….PS met your crew at Mt Olympus a few years back…I was at the wedding…cheers Clive

    • Blister Member
      Pat January 30, 2017 Reply
    • Author

      Hi, Clive! Apologies for the delay here. As for what boots fit my feet, I’m pretty lucky in that I am usually able to get along pretty well with a number of 96-98mm lasted boots. The 16/17 Fischer RC4 130 has been a go-to boot for me, but I am currently skiing again / circulating through the 16/17 Lange RX 130 LV, this Hawx Ultra reviewed here, and most recently, the HEAD Raptor 140 RS. All of these boots fit me quite well to very well, so I’m actually not sure how useful that is to you.

      As for warmth, apparently I’m fortunate on this front, too — cold feet are just not much of an issue for me.

      But it sound like the Hawx with the heat-moldable shell might work well for you. The Salomon X-Pro 120 or 130 might be a good option, too, given that they are also heat-moldable and have a wider, 100 mm last. (See my review of the X-Pro 120).

  6. Blister Member
    tjaard January 30, 2017 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I was just about to ask for a topic of the week on boot performance/function, now I read this and see you discuss a lot of that here.

    Still here goes:
    What does forward lean(fixed dorsiflexion) do? Aren’t we supposed to dorsiflex our ankles and stay forward on our skis? So is more better?
    What about boot stiffness?
    Lateral: you need enough to keep the ski up on edge, but too stiff means your knees have to absorb everything and do the work of releasing the edges.
    Forward flex/stiffness:
    Obviously you need some stiffness to pressure the tips of your skis, but isn’t a fair bit of forward flex a good thing, allowing the ankle to flex to absorb a bump, rather than pitching your body forward?

    It might be because I am an intermediate skier at best, started late in life and spent most of my youth on equipment where you have to actively flex ankles to keep balanced:
    Inline skates, mountain bikes, skate skis, SHOES, etc.
    But to me, very stiff ski boots or snowboard boots and bindings, always felt like they make balance harder, since they don’t allow you uncouple upper body movement from ski movement.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  7. Troy January 30, 2017 Reply

    Jonathan,

    “C” width for your foot means what in mm’s, if you know? I’m same length as you and high instep as well. Shop thinks the boot is too narrow for me and it’s leaking because I can’t close the two lower buckles enough. It does not feel too narrow for me at all. First boot I’ve ever skied that was this wet inside after a short ski day.

  8. Blister Member
    Clive January 30, 2017 Reply

    Hi Pat
    I read the boot fitting post in your message and I attempted the measurement without a Brannock device…it came out as 270 which is the same as the length of my foot. It is questionable whether I did it right without the heel cup to measure off. Two seasons ago I tried to ski in a Scarpa Maestrale (the white ones) they crushed my foot across the top of the arch. Last season I tried Scarpa freedom SL they feel reasonable over my arch but so much room over my forefoot I was clamping down to hold my foot steady and hurting the arch area once again. I packed above the forefoot with shaped high density foam but still not comfortable now the heel is bothering me…ready to give up on these boots too. I suspect the answer is in a shorter length but the right toe width (100+) and instep height…if possible with tech fittings please…The toe width thing should be sortable with boot stretching so the critical area is the instep height. When I had the Intuition wraparound liners fitted to my old BD Factors with my custom footbeds in I was bursting out the top of the boot…a bit like Troy in the comments above… I have come to think one factor is exactly where the instep buckle sits over my arch and the angle it pulls on….from the photos of the Salomon X Pro it looks like you can move the buckle sideways on the metal plate and thus tweak the pressure point a little….this feature might be of benefit to some people.
    Come May/June I will be visiting a bootfitter to try once again to get a comfortable performance boot on my tortured feet!

    • Blister Member
      Pat January 30, 2017 Reply

      Clive,

      Assuming your measurement is correct, you don’t have a crazy high instep but it certainly isn’t low.

      I am a 278mm in length, 270 in volume with 100 mm forefoot width, and only 215 mm circumference on the smallest part of my lower leg and 275 where my lower leg reaches the cuff of a ski boot.

      The scarpa maestrale is very low on the instep, when I tried on the regular and RS without a footbed i got quite a bit of pressure on the instep as well at a 27.5, so I can imagine you had too much instep pressure. The scarpa freedom is a higher volume boot in all dimensions, I’m not surprised they felt like that on you. For me in touring boots, the only boots that have worked for me are dynafit vulcan, TLT, and dalbello lupo TI . Without knowing exactly how skinny your ankle and lower leg is, it does look like your options are limited to dynafit vulcan (a bit low on instep but not as much as maestrale), Salomon MTN Lab/Explore, Dalbello Lupo Ti, Cochise and Lange xt freetour. Atomic is also coming out with a tech version of the Hawx Ultra next year, so your bootfitter would have those for you to try if you’re lucky.

      Also Jonathan has a point with the liner. Indeed some liners come with a lot of padding on the instep or underneath the foot, and that with custom footbeds can add to the pressure on the instep. If you were to go the intuition route if you still had the BD factors, getting a liner with a stroble bottom such as a Pro Wrap would relieve your pressure as you can remove the padding on the bottom and give yourself more room for your foot and footbed.

      Make sure you see a bootfitter(s) that have these boots so you can find the one that matches your foot the best! Good luck.

  9. Blister Member
    Clive February 1, 2017 Reply

    Many thanks Pat. All in all some good info on boots and feet has come thru in the posts on this thread. I will be wanting to try on the new Cochise and the Langes too but if they are not going to work then I will just have to go with whatever the boot fitters suggest.
    Cheers Clive

  10. David February 3, 2017 Reply

    Can you compare the Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 to the Lange XT 130 Freetour LV? What I’d really like to see is a shootout between the Lange XT 130 Freetour and the new Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 that was just announced at SIA!

    • Brent February 8, 2017 Reply

      I am interested in the same question. I have a very narrow foot and a low volume lower leg, high calf, and few boots can work for me other than the typical race boots. I’m 200lbs and currently in Salomon Ghost 130’s, that I generally like since i can put a WTR with tech soles on them but they still ski like the Max 130’s that share the same shell and have a 98 last. My big problem with them though is the upper cuff just has too much room for my skinny leg. I have some new Intuition power wraps coming to try to fill the voids, but the Hawk XTD 130’s look like they might work well. I have tried the Hawk Ultra’s in a shop and they seemed nice and snug. I’m thinking the Lange Freetour or the XTD are my main choices for next year. Love to hear some thoughts between the two. Thanks!

  11. Blister Member
    Steve H. February 23, 2017 Reply

    I’m curious how the shell fit-ability of boots like the Hawx or the Fischer Vacuum compare to the fit you get from a custom foam liner, especially for challenging feet.
    Here’s my situation. I have very wide and flat feet with low arches. My feet are basically pancake flippers. In addition I have pretty thick calves and small heel and ankle. Any boot i use needs stretching for width, but my ankles are always left with too much space. On a previous boot my bootfitter used shims to fill up the space. With my current boots (Lange rx 130) I went custom foam, which has produced much better results.

    So I’m wondering how this emerging class of shell-mold-able boots compares to custom foam, for difficult feet cases like mine?

    • Blister Member
      Steven April 3, 2017 Reply

      Nobody cares about custom foam ski boot liners anymore? :-(

  12. Pietro February 27, 2017 Reply

    Jonathan,

    can you compare the Hawx Ultra 130 to the Dalbello Lupo S.P. (or to the KR 2 PRO I.D.)?
    Now I’m skiing the Lupo S.P. with the stiffer tongue inbounds and the Salomon MTN LAB for touring.
    I’m looking for a pair of downhill boots to replace my Lupo S.P. for resort duty and I’m thinking of the Hawx Ultra 130.
    The lightness of the Hawx Ultra 130 is very nice but I don’t want to quit to the downhill performace of the Lupo S.P..

    Thank you very much and cheers from Italy.

    Pietro

  13. Ski2Fly March 7, 2017 Reply

    Lightweight is relative. My Full Tilt First Chairs (in 29.5 i think) are ~ 4.8 lbs/pair ~ according to my digital bathroom scale, so even if that is off a 1/10th of a lb, or 2/10’s or 3/10’s that is still super light. Weight does make a difference for inbounds skiing just like out of bounds / touring. I often switch from a 118 mm / 189 cm metal laminate ski to a 112/181-ish no metal ski at lunch and that saves 1lb/ski. That is a completely noticeable change (relief), though I do pay a bit of a penalty on ski stability when opening it up. My main point is definitely consider light weight alpine boots, over the course of a day it makes a difference and you will feel “lighter on your feet” , because you are.

  14. Blister Member
    Bob March 13, 2017 Reply

    Hi Jonathan
    i am skiing in the head raptor rs 120 and that is enough stiffness for me. is this a similar fitting boot? I noticed you are trying the 140 rs which I think is lower volume than the 120. The 120 is roomy for me. Should I consider the hawx ultra 130 or 120?

    • Author

      It’s a bit tough to say, Bob — given a proper heat molding of the shell, you ought to be able to get a great fit from the Hawx Ultra.

      But if I’m comparing my heat-molded 26.5 Hawx Ultras to the 26.5 Head Raptor 140 RS … then I’d say that yes, the fit is at least similar in terms of length, width, instep, cuff, and heel hold. I really like the fit of the Raptors, and the only thing is that the instep is tight / hurts on the medial cuneiform of each of my foot. As I’m getting more time in the Raptor liners, this is diminishing a bit each day, it seems.

      In the Hawx, the heat-moldable shell meant that things like prominent medial cuneiform bones are molded around immediately.

      As for whether you should consider the Ultra 130 or 120 … I think it’s a coin toss / pretty hard to say. Keep in mind that the Raptor “120” is actually a “110” out of the box, and only a 120 if you put in another rivet in the spine of the boot. (And accordingly, the Raptor “140” comes out of the box as a 130, but you can add 1 rivet to make it a “140,” or 2 rivets to bump it up to a purported “150”.)

      So if you are skiing your Raptor 120s out of the box / didn’t add a rivet, then I suspect the Hawx 120 may be the better way to go for right-off-the-bat flex similarity. But if you go 130, you can either remove one of the rivets from the back of the boot, or preferably, have a good boot fitter shave down a bit of the “clog” of the boot to soften up the flex.

      Hope that makes sense.

  15. Blister Member
    Bob March 17, 2017 Reply

    Jonathan, thanks for the follow up. Wow interesting about the raptor out of the box. I thought it was a 120 and if you took out the rivet then it would be a 110. Also, I think heat moulding may not benefit me as I need smaller volume not larger. I do not have any hot spots to address. I love the cuff on the boot like you. It is fairly tall and really wraps my leg. I have it buckled now as far as it will go as the tongue padding has compressed. May have to add a wrap on the liner to get more volume filled up.

    What do you think regarding the light weight of the Hawx Ultra being enough to drive wider skis i.e.: 115 plus width? i have noticed a difference since I switched from the Raptor. I also added a duke binding to the ski so it is not apples to apples. I have them on a Rossi super 7 and I am also speculating that the duke binding could affect the flexibility of the ski along with the added weight which is a totally different topic but relates as it may not be the boot but rather the binding.

  16. js April 28, 2017 Reply

    Jonathan – I tried these boots in a 120, with my odd sized feet (left fits a 28 really, right fits a 27 perfect, it’s 6-8mm shorter that the left). I read you will often size down and deal with toe punches and the like to fix length problems. The fitters I have been to seem reticent to do this but to me it seems like a good solution to my odd sized foot issue:
    if I fit a 28 then the left feels good – quite close fitting, but the right too comfy for out of the box (shell fit 25mm) , suspect it will move to bad fit after skiing
    If I fit a 27 the right feels great, but the left is pretty tight on length, right on the edge for me. Shell fit is 8-10mm.

    What’s your experience of getting some extra length punched, I probably only need 3-5mm to get the left ok on length = 2 great fits. How much length can you get with a toe punch, and are there any downsides of this approach?

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