Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Review
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Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130
|Price||$545.97 at Evo|
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|$635.93 at REI|
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|Pros||Progressive flex, durable, familiar and reliable buckles, customizable fit||Excellent downhill performance, lightweight, proven style||Light, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flex||Balanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fit||Well balanced performance, easy on and off|
|Cons||Heavy, limited range of ankle motion and high friction within that range||Moderate insulation, hard to get in and out of||Cold, finicky transitions||Ski/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versions||Neutral fit is both a pro and a con, flimsy liner|
|Bottom Line||Very heavy touring boots or slightly lightened resort boots; use these for primarily mechanized access skiing, with occasional human-powered forays||Whether a newcomer adjusting from the resort or a seasoned expert gunning for 100+ backcountry days a season, here is a top of the line shoe contender||Balanced, all-around ski touring boots that lean in the light-and-fast direction; these are optimized, probably, for what you like about the mountains||Proven ski boots with modern updates and an overall performance profile that is optimized for the majority of bc riders; if you have high volume feet, even better||A solid, well-balanced touring boot that emphasizes your downhill experience while still allowing most touring paces and giving freedom of motion for mild technical ascending|
|Rating Categories||Atomic Hawx Prime X...||Tecnica Zero G Tour...||Scarpa F1 LT||Scarpa Maestrale RS||La Sportiva Vega|
|Downhill Performance (35%)|
|Uphill Performance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (10%)|
|Ease of Use (5%)|
|Specs||Atomic Hawx Prime X...||Tecnica Zero G Tour...||Scarpa F1 LT||Scarpa Maestrale RS||La Sportiva Vega|
|Weight size 26.5, pair||7 lbs 5 oz||6 lbs 0 oz||4 lbs 7 oz||6 lbs 5 oz||6 lbs 8 oz|
|Weight of one boot shell||1241 g||1119 g||0809 g||1180 g||1220 g|
|Weight of one stock liner, no footbed||406 g||204 g||214 g||252 g||253 g|
|Weight of one complete boot, no insole||1647 g||1323 g||1023 g||1432 g||1473 g|
|Range of Motion; degrees||58||55||72||60||60|
|Binding Compatibility? Tech only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR||Tech, DIN AT, Grip Walk||Tech and DIN AT||Tech only||Tech and DIN AT||Tech and DIN AT|
|Stated Flex Index||130||130||95||125||115|
|Stated Last width||100 mm||99 mm||102 mm||101 mm||102.5mm|
|Alpine wrap or Tongue||Wrap||Wrap||Tongue||Tongue||Tongue|
|Shell material||Grilamid||Grilamid||Grilamid, Carbon Core||Carbon Grilamid||Grilamid|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Atomic Hawx 130 Prime XTD is an overlap resort boot slimmed down with a touring sole and lower friction walk mode. It is a purpose-built touring boot, but one on the heavier/sturdier end of the spectrum. This boot is one you choose for maximum downhill performance. Most will choose this, or a shoe like it, for mainly in-bounds use with occasional backcountry forays. Extended human-powered use will suffer in a shoe this confining and heavy.
A ski touring boot excels up hill when its cuff articulates freely and through enough range. For an overlap, downhill-optimized boot, the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD has impressive cuff range. We measured it to cover 58 degrees of maximum motion. This alone puts it in league with the best all-around touring boots.
Its drawback, though, is the friction within that range. First, there are about 10 degrees at either end of the range that are virtually unusable in terms of friction and resistance. Only with the liner removed and all the buckles opened up could we get the cuff to articulate to its max limit. Even in the middle, more "free" portion of the Atomic range, the friction and liner/shell binding is enough to feel stiff and confining. Other overlap touring boots have 45-60 degrees of range, all of which is freely usable. The Hawx Prime limits stride efficiency with friction.
We measured the Atomic Hawx 130 Prime XTD to weigh 1647g per boot. Of that, 1241g is the shell. An aftermarket liner could be significantly lighter (and tour more freely) than the stock 406g Atomic liner. The Atomic liner is reinforced with plastic stiffeners, burly sole material, and abrasion-resistant outer. You could nearly cut that weight in half with an aftermarket liner. We're focusing on the liner weight here because Atomic's Hawx liner is much heavier than other options. Compare "total" stock boot weight, and the Atomic is near the top of the list. Compare just shell weights, and the Hawx is more competitive with some other award winners.
This is why you choose this product. Here is a touring boot optimized for the downhill. Thick shell materials, that sturdy liner, four full buckles, a cam-locked power strap, and overlap construction combine to make a boot that could be confused for a resort product. It skis downhill as well as many intermediate resort boots. This is high praise for a touring product. The overall stiffness is way closer to its "130" flex claim than other touring boots claiming the same number (note that flex numbers are manufacturer-assigned; there is no standard way of assigning these numbers, nor is there third party verification. "130" flex boots cover a wide range of actual performance).
Further, the flex profile is smooth and "progressive". You want boots that flex forward with evenly increasing resistance. This is difficult to accomplish in lightweight touring boots; thick plastic and overlap construction are correlated with evenness of flex progression. Again, the Hawx has that resort-like flex progression that lends control and sensitivity to your turn that lighter boots struggle to replicate.
Comfort and Fit
We are masochistic. We test all boots, initially, "straight out of the box". We hope this "levels the playing field" and helps compare fit and comfort without the distraction of customization. We know, of course, that this isn't how you will likely use your ski shoes. Boot customization is key for most. We're often surprised, though, that we can use many boot models with no modification or customization. The Atomic Hawx Prime XTD was not such a boot.
The experience of our lead tester greatly improved when we had the boots molded to his feet. Note that we say "boots molded" and not "liners molded". The entire boot is heat moldable; shell and liner. This is becoming ever more common, and Atomic seems to be leading the charge. The liner, of course, has more range of molding customization, but the shell will adjust at least subtly for you. For us, the customized shell fit ironed out a few pressure points that would have required significant effort to address in a non-moldable shell.
Warmth is pretty simple. First, fit matters most. Downsize your boots, and your feet will be cold, all the time, every time. Give yourself room, and your feet will stay warmer. For equal, roomy fit, thicker shells make your feet warmer. Liner thickness matters too, but we have noticed a greater difference in shell thickness. Unfortunately, shell thickness is most closely correlated to shell weight. Warmer boots are heavier boots, all else equal. This is good news for the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD shoe. The robust construction of the Hawx kept us warmer than lighter, more efficient models.
Ease of Use
Overlap shells are harder to get in and out of than "tongue" style shells. The Hawx 130 is an overlap shell and is correspondingly more of a wrestling match than others. We like the "normal" buckles, cam-lock power strap, and fully external ski/walk lever. Boots with cables, mixed-form buckles, and internal ski/walk mechanisms are finicky. Atomic kept it simple and easy to use with their familiar and visible fixations.
The price of the Atomic Hawx is about average. For that average price, you get sturdy construction that will last a long time. We especially like the value prospects of the reinforced liner. If you can justify the weight of this liner, you can likely find a good fit and will reap much longer performance than with lighter liners. Flimsy liners in other boots can immediately have you incur hundreds of dollars of additional cost. Even if you use flimsy stock liners for a bit, you will replace them due to wear and tear (literally…) well before you will do the same with the liners of the Hawx.
Choose the Atomic Hawx 130 Prime XTD for sturdy downhill performance. This likely means a high percentage of in-bounds skiing. The "Grip-Walk" sole is compatible with a growing set of regular alpine bindings. Equip your resort skis with Grip Walk bindings, and you can use these boots for chair lift laps. Step into tech bindings for occasional, short, and strenuous trips into the backcountry. If you will skin many days a season, look elsewhere; the Hawx is heavy and restrictive in true human-powered settings.
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