If we had to use one word to describe the sleek new Atomic Hawx boot this year it would be Svelte. This super lightweight, low profile, low volume ski boot is extremely svelte and would be a great choice for a more svelte rider. This is why we award the Hawx Ultra 110 our Top Pick Award for best lightweight, high-performance boot. For some of our harder charging women who are used to a beefy nine-pound boot, the Hawx feel like we're going to break them if we get too far forward, but we think they are a great choice for a woman who is an expert skier and is on the lighter side but still wants to drive expert skis and wants a boot with a stiff flex, but not as much heft. These boots feel light and nimble and our testers described them as "springy." They have a narrow, low profile fit and your heel feels locked into place. We think this is a great all-around boot, but better for a lighter rider.
New Version Released
Atomic replaced last year's Hawx Ultra 110 with the new Hawx Ultra 115 S. Check out the updates in detail below.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Hawx Ultra 115 S vs. the Hawx Ultra 110
Atomic's latest version of the Hawx Ultra is the Hawx Ultra 115 S. The S denotes that it uses Power Shift for adjusting the forward lean of the boot. This new version also has updated buckles for ease of adjustment. At 115, it also has a stiffer flex than last years boot (110), which makes this model best suited to expert skiers. The colors and graphics have been updated, but the fit of the boot (aside from the flex) remains the same.
Following is a summary of the updates:
New Buckles — The buckles on this model are updated for easier handling.
Power Shift — The S in the title of the boot refers to the Power Shift mechanism, which allows the forward lean to be easily adjusted to 13°, 15° or 17°.
Stiffer Flex — The flex index on this boot is up 5 from last year's version, from 110 to 115, making for a slightly stiffer boot.
We haven't tested the latest model yet, so the rest of this review is in reference to the previous version we tested. However, we are linking to the Hawx Ultra 115 S above.
Hands-On Review of the Hawx Ultra 110
This sleek, low profile, low volume boot will spring you around the turns and float through the deepest powder. They will keep your heel locked into place with the shell's acute angle and will help you float through the air if you're into that sort of thing. The lightest boot in our review, the Hawx Ultra 110 would be a great choice for a smaller rider.
Comfort and Fit
The least comfortable boot in our review, Atomic has sliced and diced the shell and liners to cut weight. We noticed significant pressure points where it seems like the liners have intentionally be molded to hold your foot or ankle in place. Selectively placed wrinkles push against points on our shins and we were definitely ready to tear this pair off our feet at the end of the day because of it. The Hawx have a narrow, 98mm last that qualifies them as a "low volume" boot; the only other LV model we tested was the Lange RX 110 LV - Women's that are a much beefier boot with a cushier liner.
Women who have narrower feet will enjoy the fit of these boots much more and may experience fewer pressure points. The most comfortable models we tested were the Head Dream 100 Women's, which were cushy and extremely easy to get on and off. We had a very difficult time getting the Hawx Ultra 110 on after they had been left in a cold car for a few hours, partially because of the acute angle at the ankle.
We were immediately impressed with the way that the Hawx's shells have an acute, 90-degree angle at the ankle and really lock in your heel. We did not experience any heel lift with the Hawx and this inspired confidence and greater performance in this boot.
Downhill Ski Performance
For such a light boot, we were extremely pleased with how the Hawx Ultra's performed.
We think the performance has a lot to do with the weight and shape of the boots. As we mentioned above, the shell and liner shape really lock down your heel, which greatly improves general performance and confidence. These boots felt very nimble, springy and fun to ski — we imagine because they are easy to lift up since they are lighter than the next lightest boot, the Salomon XPro 100.
The Hawx have a claimed flex rating of 110. Our heavier expert level skiers did not think they felt that stiff, especially compared to our highest performing boot, the Tecnica Mach 1 - Women's. Because of the lightweight shell materials, we were afraid to really throw our weight forward in this boot and hesitated to push the flex on the steeps. With the pressure points on our shins and ankles, we could also feel the resistance from the buckles on the front of the boot, more so than an even progressive flex, and could tell when we were "bottoming out" the boot's flex. However, if you have a bit less weight to throw around, the Tecnica Mach 1 might be too much boot, in which case we would recommend taking this contender for a spin.
The shell features a "Power backbone" and lots of other customizable elements for your boot fitter. We also really like the look of these boots, including the unique looking textured power strap. These boots have a great rubber sole that provides confidence that you won't bail in the icy parking lot on your walk from your car — we experienced this a lot with the slippery Tecnica Mach 1!
Otherwise, the most notable feature is the weight of this boot at 6lbs, 8.9oz. The heaviest boot in this review is the Head Dream 100 weighing at 9lbs 6.4oz. That is a huge difference! The Hawx Ultra do not have a walk mode, but if you're thinking about doing some short side-country hikes, this could be a great choice.
Because of its thin shell materials, we suspect the Hawx is less durable than most of the other boots in this review. They are much less beefy than the Head Dreams - Women's or the Tecnica Mach 1, however, they are much lighter as well. They feel brittle when they get cold and we were afraid to really crank open the shell when trying to get them on. We have not experienced any durability issues with the Hawx.
This award winner is definitely more low volume than other models in this review and the liner feels as though it is thinner.
This brings us to the conclusion that they are not as warm as other boots in this review. Testers with average-to-wider forefeet experienced their feet going numb and cold because of lack of circulation. The warmer boots in this review were the Nordica Speed Machine 105 Women's and the Rossignol Alltrack Pro 110.
The Hawx Ultra 110 wins our Top Pick Award because we think this is a great choice for a skier who is on the lightweight side and whose feet are narrower. This svelte low profile boot is great for aggressive skiers who don't have as much weight to throw into the front of their boots and instead want a boot that is springy and maneuverable but will provide confidence in the steeps and crud.
Retailing for $600, we think this contender is a great value. If you don't need a boot that is quite so light but performs just as well, the Dalbello Kyra 95 ID is the Best Bang for the Buck at $500. The Tecnica Mach 1s are the second most expensive boot of the bunch, retailing for $720, but we also think they are well worth the price for a high performing boot.
Taking our Top Pick Award for the best lightweight, high-performance boot, the Atomic Hawx Ultra 110 does not disappoint. This boot fits like a glove and locks your heel into place, inspiring confidence in its rider. Ladies on the lighter side will love the nimble, springy ride it provides and will enjoy riding it all over the mountain. For women who like to throw their weight around and want a beefy stiff boot, we think the Hawx will not be your cup of tea. It is a low volume boot and we do not think it is the most comfortable or cushy boot out there. If light weight is your number one priority, we think this responsive, nimble, ninja of a boot is a great choice.
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