Individual Review Atomic Hawx Ultra boots

mike_m

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Finally found some Hawx Ultra boots at a reasonable cost (they've been sold out on Proform for weeks) and had them fitted by Jeff Bergeron in Breck. These boots are a new design this season and have had excellent reviews (many available online). As I'm 160 lbs., I went with the 110 flex (100, 120 and 130 flexes and women's 90 also available) and I'm glad I did. It seems perfect for me. Unlike most Atomic boots, the Hawx Ultra starts with a relatively narrow 98mm forefoot. The shell is heat moldable and can be expanded. The ankle/heel pockets are very snug and the boot locks the foot in well, The cuff fits narrow- to medium-width calves well. The liner is also heat moldable and is the first stock liner I have not tossed out immediately in favor of a custom-fitted foam liner. It shapes around the foot and leg very well and the comfort/density/firmness seem spot on.

These boots have a number of unique features. First off, they are remarkably light (I'd estimate about 20% less weight than any other boot I've ever owned). This is due to a conscious effort to eliminate material in areas that are not critical to performance, and the shell material not being plastic. It is, rather, a type of nylon (!) called Grilamid. The forward lean of the cuff is adjustable to 13, 15, or 17 degrees and cuff alignment can be adjusted side to side. Replaceable heel and toe grip pads can be replaced with canted ones from .5 to 3 degrees (I shimmed mine 1 degree on the outside edge).

Coming out of a Salomon XMax 120, I noticed an immediate difference in performance. The Salomons have an excellent, heat-moldable fit, but lack the immediate energy transmission of the Atomics. Despite being light and nimble, these boots are a different level of performance. Think "Tip!" and it's, like, "Right now!"

Skied them the past two days in a wind chill of minus 15 (wearing a Boot Glove) and they were at least as warm as my Salomons, i.e., OK for all day on the hill. Some reviewers have found them less warm. Not my experience.

Jeff and I did a few modifications to the shell. I use a Booster Strap and like it wrapped directly over the tongue of the boot, so we trimmed off the top inch and a half of shell material of the front overlap that would prevent this direct connection. We also trimmed the shell material at the back of the boot at the top because the liner cuff is higher than most boots and I didn't like the feeling of pressure of the top of the cuff pushing against my calf. A taller skier might not mind this.

In summary, I love this boot. I've skied it five days now all over the mountain and taught several classes it it. So far, no downsides whatsoever and I love the way it skis. Highly recommended.
 

Philpug

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These boots have a number of unique features. First off, they are remarkably light (I'd estimate about 20% less weight than any other boot I've ever owned). This is due to a conscious effort to eliminate material in areas that are not critical to performance, and the shell material not being plastic. It is, rather, a type of nylon (!) called Grilamid. The forward lean of the cuff is adjustable to 13, 15, or 17 degrees and cuff alignment can be adjusted side to side. Replaceable heel and toe grip pads can be replaced with canted ones from .5 to 3 degrees (I shimmed mine 1 degree on the outside edge).
Another unique feature is that these run 5mm shorter in the shell than most other boots, the 25 shell is 290mm, the 26 is 300mm and so on. Yes the soles can be canted but you are limited to Atomic's proprietary shims. The fit of these is very good and Atomic is onto the the right track with these, the light weight really enhances the on snow feel.
 

KingGrump

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Mamie had a pair Hawx Ultra 110 heat molded in December. She loves how light they are.
Skiing wise, her edges are much stronger and cleaner than when she was in her Tecnica.
 

Tricia

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Thanks for the insights Mike.
I tried the Ultra on last winter at Amer's headquarters and was really impressed with the fit. In the past I struggled with the Atomic recreational boots, but I think this Ultra is a winner.
 

Tom K.

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Sounds like a great boot.

As @mike_m noted, others have mentioned them being on the cold side, so it would be interesting to hear from other users.
 

NESkier_26

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Skied for the first time on my new Hawx Ultra 130s on Sunday with temps in the mid-teens in Maine. No work done on the boots yet, and no heat molding -- fit was good in the shop and we wanted to see how the boot performed on the mountain before considering modifications. Initial impression -- I like the boot a lot. Far better control and response than my seven year old Hawx 120s, and the lighter boots are definitely quicker moving edge to edge. They also kept me over my skis better, improving my ability to pressure the tips of the skis.

Per the comment above, I thought the boots were plenty warm -- I had no problem with warmth without Boot Gloves (I break them out when temps dip to single digits), and they seemed about as warm as my old boots.

I had a bit of an issue with some afternoon pain on the inside of my ankle bone, but that should be an easy fix. And I need to continue to break in the boots/get used to the snug fit -- they generally got more comfortable as the day went on. Lastly, I want to try softening the flex to 120 when I go back out just to see the difference -- these are definitely stiffer than the old 120s, and I want to see what I prefer (and in what conditions). I'm 5'10" and just over 170 pounds, and I could definitely flex the boots at speed.

I'll provide an update when I'm back on the slopes in a few weeks.
 

fff01

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O.k. I will try them too this winter. Was thinking about new ski boots. I found also this ranking with Atomic Hawks Ultra ranked pretty high. I am really curious how it goes. Then I will write more about it.
 

SallyCat

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I have the Ultra 100s and they are amazing. I only wish I'd opted for 120s because I find I could use more stiffness. (The 100s also don't have the forward-lean and flex adjustability of the others). I have narrow feet and did not heat mold them at all; the fit was fine as-is, and I didm't want to lose any of the snugness. I measure 27.5 on the brannock, but went with 26.5 in these, which works perfectly with my ZipFit liners without any modification.

I've had my eyes open for some 120s on sale from last year, but these boots do not seem to depreciate, which speaks well of their r popularity anyway.
 

chopchop

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Skied for the first time on my new Hawx Ultra 130s on Sunday...
Hi,

I know this is an ancient post. I am wondering if you stayed with these boots over the past few seasons and still like them. Am considering jumping in on a 2018 model.

Thanks.
 
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mike_m

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I'm the OP. Have now skied/taught on them for almost three years. Finally wearing out. Just ordered a new pair and a spare pair for when the new ones wear out in a few years. For my foot (and everyone's is different), they are the best boots on the market. Light, responsive, good liners, totally heat moldable to an exact fit. Never a moment of buyers remorse. If they fit your anatomy, highly recommendred.

Best!
Mike
 

chopchop

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I'm the OP. Have now skied/taught on them for almost three years. Finally wearing out. Just ordered a new pair and a spare pair for when the new ones wear out in a few years. For my foot (and everyone's is different), they are the best boots on the market. Light, responsive, good liners, totally heat moldable to an exact fit. Never a moment of buyers remorse. If they fit your anatomy, highly recommendred.

Best!
Mike
Thanks much, Mike!

I'm interested that you chose the 110s. Trying to uncover what technique Atomic uses to reduce the flex compared to the 120. Based on your glowing review I'm guessing it's not the plastic used (my fear) but things like the 40mm strap vs 50mm on the 120s. Or maybe it came with only one peg in the spine instead of two? Any insights on any of that?

Funny - like you were, I'm now ready to decommission my X Max 130s and this boot seems like a nice step up.

Thanks again.

-john
 

KingGrump

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Trying to uncover what technique Atomic uses to reduce the flex compared to the 120.
The quickest and cheapest way for Atomic would be to changed the flex number printed on the boot? :huh:
Flex number aren't universal and/or accurate between manufacturer. It even fluctuate between models for a single manufacturer.
The flex number printed on the boots are only guide lines. Very loose guide lines.

If the shells is the same, usually the boot with the higher flex number comes with a better liner.

Don't agonize over the number of bolts on the rear spine of the boot. The hardware kit that comes with the boot usually have a second set in it.
 
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mike_m

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There are two bolts on the back of the boots, but the top one in a "dummy" with no Allen wrench hole, so I'm guessing the flex becomes 110 instead of 120 in that manner.

Chopchop: Interesting that you are moving from the Saloman XMax. I did the same. The Atomic is a much superior boot in my experience. By the way, I replaced the stock strap with a Booster strap. Highly recommended.

Best!
Mike
 

chopchop

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There are two bolts on the back of the boots, but the top one in a "dummy" with no Allen wrench hole, so I'm guessing the flex becomes 110 instead of 120 in that manner.
Best!
Mike
@mike_m That's exactly the detail I needed :) Thank you!
 

applecart

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What does the Booster Strap do that would make it better than the stock strap? I'm asking because I have the same boots.
 
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mike_m

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Booster Straps are elastic straps that stretch, allowing you to cinch them snugly for an increase in performance. Your stock power strap does not have infinite adjustability and can't lock you in like a Booster Strap. They are very effective in eliminating any space between the top of the boot and your leg, both front and back, increasing the connection. This snug connection also helps prevent shin bang. For maximum effectiveness, they should be cinched up directly over the boot tongue, not over the outside of the hard plastic in the front of the boot cuff. I usually trim down the top half inch of plastic in the front of my boot at the top to facilitate this.

Best!
Mike
 

Vinnie

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I skied the 19/20 Hawx Ultra 115 S W this year. They are a very... very lively boot. On groomers and uncut snow they really let me drive the ski in a way I’ve never been able to do before. Really brought my skis to life. On the other hand in variable conditions, for me lively translated into feeling every inconsistency in the snow and getting bucked around ... a lot. Really had to stay on top of them. I ended going back to my old K2 Spyne’s which are way more damp. I’d say the difference between a sports car and SUV suspension. Just my two cents/
 

NESkier_26

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Hi,

I know this is an ancient post. I am wondering if you stayed with these boots over the past few seasons and still like them. Am considering jumping in on a 2018 model.

Thanks.
Hi Chopchop. Yes, I'm still in these boots and continue to be very impressed by them. I echo Mike M's comments, although I expect to get a few more years out of mine.
 

chopchop

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@NESkier_26 Thanks for the response.

Did you find you prefer to ski them at 130 or 120 and how this changed per conditions?
 

applecart

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Booster Straps are elastic straps that stretch, allowing you to cinch them snugly for an increase in performance. Your stock power strap does not have infinite adjustability and can't lock you in like a Booster Strap. They are very effective in eliminating any space between the top of the boot and your leg, both front and back, increasing the connection. This snug connection also helps prevent shin bang. For maximum effectiveness, they should be cinched up directly over the boot tongue, not over the outside of the hard plastic in the front of the boot cuff. I usually trim down the top half inch of plastic in the front of my boot at the top to facilitate this.

Best!
Mike
Thanks! I'll look for some of those next season.
 
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