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
- Cuff: PU
- Shoe / Clog: Grilamid
Sole: Rockered, Rubber, non-replaceable Walk-to-Ride Sole
- 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)
Days Tested: 3
Test Locations: Teton Pass, WY, Galena Peak, ID.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.