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2017-2018 Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120

Cy Whitling reviews the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 for Blister Gear Review.

Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120

2017-2018 Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120

Stated Flex Rating: 120

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

Size Tested: 26.5 / 302 mm Boot Sole Length

Stated Range of Motion: 54º

Stated Weight (26.5): 1470 g

Blister’s Measured Weight:

  • Shells & Boot Boards, no Liners: 1157 & 1161 g
  • Liners (no spoilers, no footbeds): 419 & 417 g
  • Total Weight per Boot: 1576 & 1578 g

Tech Inserts: Dynafit-Certified

Liner: Hand-Washable Memory Fit 3D Liner

Shell Material:

  • Cuff: PU
  • Shoe / Clog: Grilamid

Sole: Rockered, Rubber, non-replaceable Walk-to-Ride Sole

Binding Compatibility:

  • All pin-style / “tech” bindings (e.g., Dynafit, Marker Kingpin, etc.)
  • All WTR (Walk-to-Ride) bindings
  • Any binding that accepts an ISO 9523 sole (Salomon Warden; Marker Duke/Griffon ID, etc)

MSRP: $799

Days Tested: 3

Test Locations: Teton Pass, WY, Galena Peak, ID.

Intro

Atomic’s Hawx Ultra XTD line of boots has been in the making for a while.

For the 16/17 season, Atomic introduced the Hawx Ultra alpine ski boot, which updated their classic Hawx line with a much lighter construction. Jonathan Ellsworth reviewed those last year and was impressed.

For 17/18, Atomic is now taking the lightweight construction of the Hawx dedicated-inbounds boot and making a touring version. The XTD (“Extended”) edition of the Hawx Ultra lineup features a walk mode reminiscent of the very good mechanism found on the Atomic Backland LINK that controls 54° degrees of range of motion (ROM).

Jonathan Ellsworth has been skiing the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 (the 130-flex version of this boot) and is comparing it to boots like the Salomon MTN Lab. You can see his Flash Review here.

Meanwhile, I’ve been skiing the 120-flex version of the Hawx Ultra XTD through the end of my touring season, and have been comparing it to lighter, softer-flexing boots like the Salomon MTN Explore, La Sportiva Spectre 2.0, and  Roxa R3 130.

Fit

We’ve said this many times, but it still bears repeating: the best way to make sure any boot will work with your foot is to go in and try it on with a good boot fitter. That said, I can offer some general comments about the Hawx Ultra XTD 120 and Atomic’s Memory Fit process.

(For reference, here’s a bit about my feet: I have a high-volume foot. I have a high arch and instep, and generally require a sixth toe punch, and have bulgy ankles.)

Out of the box, the Hawx Ultra XTD 120 did not fit me very well, which wasn’t very surprising. My toes felt squished, and my instep was crushed a little.

But Atomic claims that the last of the Ultra XTD can expand up to 6 mm using their Memory Fit process, so I took the boots into the shop to get baked. The Memory Fit process is pretty quick and easy. Both the shells and liners get baked, and we added padding on my instep and around my toes to get extra room in those problem areas.

Cy Whitling reviews the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 for Blister Gear Review.

Cy Whitling in the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120, Galena Peak, ID.

After they were molded, the boots felt great — as in, this is the best fit I’ve ever had in a touring boot. The last expanded to accommodate my wide forefoot, and my heel and ankle felt locked in without being crunched.

I’m a huge fan of the Memory Fit process, and while Jonathan Ellsworth had a better out-of-the-box fit with his Ultra XTD 130 than I did, he is also impressed by how well the process works.

Buckles and Powerstrap

The Hawx Ultra XTD uses four light alpine-style buckles with a sliding keeper at the most open position to hold the buckles when walking. I found that they were easy to use, and haven’t had any durability issues so far.

It is worth noting that Atomic says you have to unbuckle the cuff of the boot to access the ROM. Most touring boots require this anyway, so I didn’t find this to be inconvenient at all. Those used to the Salomon MTN Lab and MTN Explore’s two buckles may find their transitions taking a little longer, but I found that, for my foot at least, the four buckles on the XTD really helped me dial in my fit to be snug but not uncomfortable.

The power strap is a generic velcro number, but it seems more robustly constructed than the MTN Explore’s, which fell apart very quickly.

Walk Mode

The walk mode on the Ultra XTD looks very similar to the one found on the Atomic Backland, and that’s a very good thing. It’s simple, reliable, easy to use with gloves on, and gives the user the option to choose from two forward lean options (15° and 17°) via a flip chip. So far neither Jonathan nor I have had any issues with the walk mode, and I don’t expect any. It’s simple and seems pretty bomb-, ice-, and fool-proof.

Liner (Including the Differences Between the Ultra XTD 120 and XTD 130)

Atomic decided to tweak the stock liner of the XTD 120 for production, so the boot I’ve been testing came with the XTD 130’s liner. That liner is very similar to the Intuition Pro Tour liner and is fully moldable, with a cutout in the heel for more forward flexibility.

For production, the Ultra XTD 120 will get a heavier, stiffer, more alpine-style liner with a plastic tongue and a traditional plastic wrap around the calf area. It will still have the touring cutout in the cuff, but the liner should ski better, and will make more sense for skiers that are spending a decent amount of their time in this boot skiing inbounds.

Point is, for those of you planning to use the Ultra XTD as both an inbounds and touring boot, there might be reason here to opt for the XTD 120 as opposed to the XTD 130. The XTD 130 is really positioned to be more of a very-light-weight-focused, dedicated-touring boot. So we’ll see (and you can now read below my update on the XTD 120’s new stock liner).

But for now, I’ll weigh in on how the lighter XTD 130 liner I have now walks and skis, which should be similar to how the boot would perform when used with an Intuition Pro Tour or a similar liner.

NEXT: Touring, Downhill Performance, Etc.

5 Comments

  1. bob mcbob June 13, 2017 Reply

    So when does this baby hit the shelves?

  2. Kei Mon June 30, 2017 Reply

    3rd option – buy 130 and use more alpine style liner on inbound days!

  3. John Devlin August 29, 2017 Reply

    I currently own the Hawx Ultra 130 alpine boot and love them! Do you think I could buy the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 and swap liners as your suggesting for the best of both worlds? Do you think that could work?

    • The short answer is Yes, John, it could definitely work.

      There’s no guarantee once you start switching liners and shells that the result will be perfect for *your* particular feet. But I know people who have done exactly what you are asking about, and they’ve gotten great results. So it is most definitely worth a try.

      If you go this route, please let us know how it goes!

  4. Christian September 18, 2017 Reply

    So glad to see reviews of both the 120 and 130 here! I’m a little more inclined to go with the 120 for the flex characteristics of the shell, and looks like the shell weights between the 120 and 130 are near-negligible.

    Sounds like the design is great and solid, but is there anything you see getting changed after the first production year?

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