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Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 S - Women's Review

An all-around solid freeride boot with a thoughtful construction that scored well on the snow but didn’t wow us in any particular category
Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 S - Women's
Photo: Atomic
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Price:  $600 List | $599.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, snug, powerful, includes Adaptive Cuff System
Cons:  High cuff height, loosened up after testing
Manufacturer:   Atomic
By Liz Chamberlain ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2021
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 7
  • Performance - 35% 7
  • Comfort - 35% 6
  • Fit - 15% 7
  • Features & Customization - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The women's Atomic Hawx Ultra boot scored well across the board but unfortunately didn’t wow our testers in any particular category. The Mimic Platinum liner and Prolite shell were a dynamic duo that provided an ultra-lightweight, surprisingly warm design with a solid low volume fit that transferred to powerful downhill performance. Unfortunately, the cuff height paired with a "tight in the wrong places" fit limited the boot’s performance off-piste. Our testers felt the Atomic Hawx had an approachable race style fit but still had difficulty capturing its full potential. Women with a taller stature would be more satisfied with the construction of the Atomic Hawx.

The Hawx Ultra has had some slight color updates since we tested it (shown above), but the overall design and performance remain the same.
October 2021

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, snug, powerful, includes Adaptive Cuff SystemEnergetic, responsive, true to flex, cork liner, best out of box fitVery comfortable, integrated heating, adjustable flex, decent performanceComfortable, warm, responsive, adjustable forward leanLightweight, powerful, ultra-stiff
Cons High cuff height, loosened up after testingBulkier than others, slightly wider fit than competitionUnreliable Bluetooth heating, softest flex in categoryOverrated flex value, not sturdy enough for heavier skiersNarrow, too race-oriented, stiffness may be too harsh
Bottom Line An all-around solid freeride boot with a thoughtful construction that scored well on the snow but didn’t wow us in any particular categoryAn all-around snappy and responsive boot that delivers all-day, all-mountain downhill performance without compromising comfortThe softest-flexing boot in our lineup that suits a wide range of skier abilities while keeping your toes toasty warmA race-inspired design in a comfortable and easy to ski boot, this is the perfect all-rounder boot suited for a wide range of skill levelsA no-frills, high-performance boot with a sleek, lightweight construction made for hard-charging skiers, though likely too stiff for less-advanced skiers
Rating Categories Atomic Hawx Ultra 1... Nordica Promachine 115 Rossignol Pure Pro... Lange RX 110 LV - W... Salomon S/Max 120 -...
Performance (35%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort (35%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Fit (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Features & Customization (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Atomic Hawx Ultra 1... Nordica Promachine 115 Rossignol Pure Pro... Lange RX 110 LV - W... Salomon S/Max 120 -...
Available Widths Ultra (98mm)
Prime (100mm)
Magna (102mm)
Promachine (98mm)
Speedmachine (100mm)
Sportmachine (102mm)
Pure Elite (98mm)
Pure Pro (100mm)
Pure (102mm)
Pure Comfort (104mm)
RX LV (97mm)
RX (100mm)
S/Max (98mm)
S/Pro (100mm)
S/Pro HV (102mm)
Available Flexes 85, 95, 115 85, 95, 105, 115 70, 80, 90, 100, Adjustable 80, 90, 110 90, 100, 110, 120
What We Tested Hawx Ultra (97mm)
115 flex
Promachine (98mm)
115 flex
Pure Pro Heat (100mm)
Adjustable Flex
RX LV (97mm)
110 flex
S/Max (98mm)
120 flex
Number of Buckles 4 4 4 4 4
Buckles Microadjustable? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Walk Mode? No No No No No
Weight (Per Boot) 3 lbs 5 oz 4 lbs 1 oz 4 lbs 6 oz (size 24.5) 4 lbs 6 oz (size 24.5) 3 lbs 7 oz
Thermo-Moldable Liner? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Liner Material Mimic Platinum Liner 3D Custom Cork Liner Merino wool + Thermic System Thinsulate Dual 3D Pro Custom Shell HD Race Liner
Shell Technology Prolite Shell Tri Force Shell Polyurethane Dual Core Shell Polyurethane w/ Fibrglass Coreframe
Binding Compatibility Alpine, Gripwalk GripWalk + ISO 9523 Alpine, Gripwalk Alpine Gripwalk
Size Range 22.5-27.5 22-27.5 22 - 27.5 22 - 27.5 22 - 27.5

Our Analysis and Test Results

The minimalist Mimic liner in the Atomic Hawx Ultra provided an acceptable amount of comfort and warmth throughout the testing process but did not boast the best out-of-the-box fit. While it was perfectly snug around the foot profile, the narrow shaft created discomfort in the calf and shin. Some extra space under the arch and in the heel pocket began to create a roomy feeling by the end of the testing period. This led to over buckling to compensate for the fit issues, which limited our ability to flex our shin and knee over the high cuff. While the fit wasn't perfect, the boot felt strong and stiff amongst varying conditions on the mountain.

Performance Comparison


The Hawx was one of the most difficult boots to put on when cold, so...
The Hawx was one of the most difficult boots to put on when cold, so we made sure to keep them warm overnight.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Performance


The transfer of power and responsiveness of the Atomic Hawx Ultra felt consistent across various terrain and conditions. The boot moves with you and sends feedback. The Energy Backbone reinforcement provides extra strength in the spine and is aimed at improving lateral energy transmission. In practice, this means more stable and powerful edge-to-edge transfer. The prepositioned 15-degree forward lean and 4-degree ramp angle sets the skier up in a neutral athletic stance. The Atomic Hawx Ultra offered a lively and energetic feel, though there were discrepancies between the performance and the fit.

The Atomic Hawx was a good boot across the board, but the fit...
The Atomic Hawx was a good boot across the board, but the fit ultimately hindered comfort and performance. Nevertheless, we still crushed downhills with a smile on our face.
Photo: Scott Rokis

The fit issues became apparent in steeper terrain, choppy crud, and bumps, where an inability to maintain a bend over the high cuff forced us into the backseat. Dead space within the heel and ankle region (to be discussed in the Fit section below) caused unwelcomed movement within the boot, further hindering performance in mixed terrain that required a greater variation in movement. This may not be a problem for those with wider heels but was a problem for our testers.

The Atomic Hawx Ultra provided more torsional movement than the stiffer Salomon S/Max, to what felt like a more progressive flex pattern. For those looking for more, the Power Shift feature in the Hawx Ultra S line allows the forward lean to be adjusted to a more or less aggressive stance (13, 15, or 17 degrees).

Regarding the flex rating, the boot felt stiff, but if we did a blind flex test after a day of skiing, we would have guessed the flex was closer to 110. While the flex rating isn't exactly universal across the industry, other boots in the lineup with the same flex proved to be noticeably stiffer. The Energy Backbone, along with the reinforced PU support in key zones, does, however, keep this boot sturdy and rigid when it needs to be.

Buying Tip: if you see S in the product line description for the Atomic Hawx, the boot includes the Power Shift feature (example: Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 SW).

Comfort


We struggled with comfort thanks to pinch points from a tight, narrow liner and shell construction, though this faded the more days we skied in the boot. The Mimic platinum liner feels thick and protective despite its very minimal design. Lined with a layer of 3M Thinsulate, the boot scored reasonably well in the warmth department. The shell is made of thinner layers of polyamide and polyurethane to keep the product's weight down. While this boot was warm in California weather, the thin construction may limit the boot's ability to retain warmth in colder mountain temps. We loved the lightweight nature of this boot. It was one of the least bulky or obtrusive options in the lineup.

The Atomic Hawx took a bottom up approach to designing minimalist...
The Atomic Hawx took a bottom up approach to designing minimalist liners that provide maximum strength and support. They landed on a stiff, snug, race-inspired construction that love narrow feet.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

Despite the underwhelming fit, the Atomic Hawx Ultra provided good comfort both on and off-piste. While there was initial numbness and pressure before molding, there were little pain or pressure issues during the testing period. The stock alpine soles limit the walkability of the boot, but it didn't stand out as uncomfortable or difficult. The latest version comes equipped with Gripwalk soles, both of which are replaceable to accommodate a variety of binding norms. Bottom line, this provides an adequate amount of comfort for such a tapered, narrow shell and liner combination. Race-style boots of this caliber are often not as snug or cozy as the Atomic Hawx Ultra.

Fit


One of Atomic's main goals in liner development is to create the best out-of-the-box fit possible for the consumer. You will notice Atomic liners are slightly more tapered than Salomon liners, which explains why our first impression was that this boot felt like a slipper. We wanted to like this boot out in the field, but the fit hindered us from accessing the level of downhill performance we were looking for. But keep in mind - no foot is created equal, so visit your local boot fitter to cross-reference our comments based on your personal foot profile and its compatibility to a boot.

The Atomic mimic liners had a really snug fit but left a bit of room...
The Atomic mimic liners had a really snug fit but left a bit of room in the heel pocket and not enough room in the shin and calf region.
Photo: Liz Chamberlain

The toebox was appropriately shaped for a 97-millimeter last, giving us the perfect amount of support around the metatarsals. The V3 Tongue System and Adaptive Fit Cuff perfectly shape to the contours of the instep and ankle. The cuff, however, airs on the taller side, sitting high on the shin. It also is made for a thinner calf and shin profile. Those of us with larger calves felt pinching and loss of feeling in the shin throughout the day. While the fit was comfortable in some aspects, the cuff height was ultimately difficult to overcome.

The heel pocket appeared to be snug and pre-shaped to accommodate a narrow heel, but even after molding, we still experienced heel lift on our test days. The high cuff height exacerbated the heel lift issue by initiating the need to reach up and out over the cuff with the shin. Luckily, heel wedges exist that can set your shin higher above the cuff, though it will slightly increase the sole's ramp angle.

The two-piece construction of the Hawx Ultra was a bit difficult to...
The two-piece construction of the Hawx Ultra was a bit difficult to get into on cold days, but once on, looked nimble and sleek.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Most Atomic liners feature an asymmetric construction that is considered a more anatomic design than more linear, symmetrical boots. This means an asymmetric tongue, toe box, and collar shape that bends around the foot and lower leg's contours. This added points to the fit score for the Atomic Hawx Ultra.

Features & Customization


The construction of the Atomic Hawx Ultra was built to last, meaning more days in the boot before the pack-out phase begins. Atomic helped increase longevity by using a Dynashape foam in the liner and pre-shaping the heel and ankle zones to maintain a longer-lasting fit. The Atomic Hawx Ultra comes equipped with a fully customizable Prolite shell and Mimic platinum liner. This means the construction should be able to be altered through some variation of molding, punching, grinding, or canting.

The Hawx stood out in the performance department but failed us in...
The Hawx stood out in the performance department but failed us in comfort, though it is definitely worth a fitting for the narrow footed ladies out there.
Photo: Scott Rokis

We really liked the Adaptive Cuff System feature. The cuff is made with a removable spoiler in the upper spine to free up space for those with bulkier shins and calves. This is a constant issue for one of our testers, so she welcomed the Adaptive Cuff with open arms. For those with the "narrow feet, large calves" issue — keep your eye out for boots with a "tulip-shaped" cuff.

Like most boots these days, the forward lean can be adjusted to 13, 15, or 17 degrees depending on how aggressive a skier you are. The 13-degree angle is more relaxed, while the 17-degree angle is closer to a racer positioning. The Power Shift feature is NOT included in the entire Hawx line this year, so if you want this feature, find a boot that includes an "S" in the product line. For example, "Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 SW." The S stands for Power Shift, and the W stands for Women.

Value


This is one of the most lightweight women's alpine boots on the market. Atomic has gone through an incredibly thoughtful development process to blend the best elements of their alpine and touring boots. For this reason, the price point sits in the middle to high range of our lineup. Despite our fit issues, it is a high-performing boot suited for any female who loves to shred. And if you love to shred, you're probably willing to dish out the extra few bucks for an excellent boot.

The Atomic Hawx has one of the most snug fits in the lineup and has...
The Atomic Hawx has one of the most snug fits in the lineup and has a strong flex with a snappy rebound.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Conclusion


Atomic's bottom-up approach to constructing the Hawx Ultra line is both impressive and commendable. The brand managed to make a lightweight, comfortable, and powerful all-mountain boot for the many female rippers out there. We really wanted to like this boot, but it didn't quite live up to our comfort and fit expectations in a side-by-side comparison, nor did it excel in any one category. Granted, it provided more flexibility and less rigidity than the highest flex boot in the lineup while still enabling tremendous downhill power. For those willing to play with the fit a bit, the Atomic Hawx Ultra may deliver on all its promises.

Liz Chamberlain

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