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Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Review

Very heavy touring boots or slightly lightened resort boots; use these for primarily mechanized access skiing, with occasional human-powered forays
Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $800 List | $799.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Progressive flex, durable, familiar and reliable buckles, customizable fit
Cons:  Heavy, limited range of ankle motion and high friction within that range.
Manufacturer:   Atomic
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 9, 2020
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Uphill Performance - 20% 2
  • Weight - 20% 3
  • Downhill performance - 35% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 10% 8
  • Warmth - 10% 7
  • Ease of Use - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Relative to typical touring boots, the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD is heavy, restrictive in touring mode, and has excellent downhill and fit characteristics. Choose these for optimized downhill performance and understand that your uphill efficiency will suffer for it. The full moldable shell should sweeten the deal.

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Pros Progressive flex, durable, familiar and reliable buckles, customizable fitExcellent downhill performance, light weight, proven styleLight, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flexExcellent downhill performance, durable, warm, reliable, familiarStiff, comfy fit, Intuition liner
Cons Heavy, limited range of ankle motion and high friction within that rangeModerate insulation, hard to get in and out ofCold, finicky transitionsVery limited uphill and foot-travel performance, heavyHeavy, high friction cuff pivot
Bottom Line No matter how you categorize them, these boots ski well and goes up hill with some difficulty, as compared to other touring bootsFor only the most specialized of needs (super wide feet, high speed climbers, big-cliff-huckers) will it be overwhelmed; this is an excellent ski boot that quietly entered the market and crushes the competitionFor all-around skiing with a light and fast preference, this is a great choiceExcellent for short climbing sessions interspersed with largely mechanized access backcountry skiingFor “crossover” use, choose the right binding, bigger skis, and, if it fits, it can be used for both occasional short human powered runs and inbounds skiing
Rating Categories Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro Scarpa F1 LT Lange XT3 120 Scarpa Maestrale XT
Uphill Performance (20%)
2
6
8
1
3
Weight (20%)
3
5
9
2
4
Downhill Performance (35%)
9
8
5
10
8
Comfort And Fit (10%)
8
8
8
8
7
Warmth (10%)
7
6
5
9
9
Ease Of Use (5%)
7
7
5
7
6
Specs Atomic Hawx Prime... Tecnica Zero G... Scarpa F1 LT Lange XT3 120 Scarpa Maestrale XT
Weight size 26.5, pair 7 lbs 5 oz 6 lbs 0 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 7 lbs 11 oz 6 lbs 13 oz
Weight of one boot shell 1241 1119 809 1398 1237
Weight of one stock liner, no footbed 406 204 214 352 308
Weight of one complete boot, grams 1647 1323 1023 1750 1545
Range of Motion; degrees 58 55 72 34 55
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, DIN AT, Grip Walk Tech and DIN AT
Stated Flex Index 130 130 95 120 125
Stated Last width 100 mm 99mm 102mm 100mm 101mm
Alpine wrap or Tongue Wrap Wrap Tongue Wrap Tongue
Shell material Grilamid Grilamid Grilamid, Carbon Core Polyurethane Carbon 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.

Performance Comparison



The "frictionless pivot" of the Hawx prime is a bit hyperbolic. We...
The "frictionless pivot" of the Hawx prime is a bit hyperbolic. We found the cuff articulation to be less than we wanted for extended uphill travel.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Uphill Performance


A 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.

Weight


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.
One shell of the Hawx Prime weighs 1247 grams. The lightest boots on...
One shell of the Hawx Prime weighs 1247 grams. The lightest boots on the market weigh not much more than this for a complete pair. This is a heavy model of touring boot.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Downhill Performance


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. The Hawx has that, again, resort-like flex progression that lends control and sensitivity to your turn that lighter boots struggle to replicate.
The Hawx Prime is best used in high-energy downhill skiing...
The Hawx Prime is best used in high-energy downhill skiing. Preferably accessed by either very strong uphillers or mechanized means.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Comfort and Fit


We are masochistic. We test all boots, initially, "straight out of the box". This, we hope, "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.
The moldable shell is a genuine advantage and upgrade with the...
The moldable shell is a genuine advantage and upgrade with the Atomic Hawx Prime. Everyone will benefit from the customizable nature of it.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Warmth


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.

Value



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.

Conclusion


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.

Jediah Porter