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Atomic Hawx Prime 130S GW Review

These boots offer consistent and progressive flex for the advancing skier looking to step into a top-notch alpine boot at a fair price
Atomic Hawx Prime 130S GW
Photo: Atomic
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $700 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, consistent flex, Grip Walk outsoles, reasonable price
Cons:  Lower performing, not much for extra features
Manufacturer:   Atomic
By Ryan Baker ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 25, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 9
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Performance - 30% 7
  • Materials & Durability - 20% 8
  • Warmth - 10% 7
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

Atomic offers a wide range of flexes in three distinct Hawx models from low volume (the Ultra), medium volume (Prime), and high volume (Magna). Boasting a huge range of flexes as well, we tested the Prime 130 and our testers agreed this is a solid boot for the intermediate to advanced skier looking to increase their skills. Dependable in all conditions at moderate speeds, this boot is extremely comfortable right out of the box and earns honors as Best Buy for a step-up boot that hovers in a fair price range for those on a budget.

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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$749.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
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Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Comfortable, consistent flex, Grip Walk outsoles, reasonable priceEasy to customize, stiff consistent flex, quick-release cam power strap, very warmComfortable walk mode, stiff consistent flex, sturdy constructionComfortable, cork liner, Grip Walk outsolesComfortable, easy instep, variable last ideal for larger feet
Cons Lower performing, not much for extra featuresExpensive, requires a strong, aggressive skierSmall switch on locking mechanism, heavy, expensiveExpensive, velcro power strapSoft flex, low performance
Bottom Line These boots offer consistent and progressive flex for the advancing skier looking to step into a top-notch alpine boot at a fair priceWhen you want a boot that can drive any ski in any condition, look no furtherA comfortable medium-fit boot made from strong materials that can master the front and backcountry with smile-inducing controlOustanding comfort supplied by a cork and EVA foam liner in a high-performing polyurethane shell makes this one of the most comfortable boots we've testedThis comfortable boot is easy to get on and off with plenty of room and variability for most foot shapes
Rating Categories Atomic Hawx Prime 1... Tecnica Mach1 MV 130 Tecnica Cochise 130... Nordica Speedmachin... Dalbello Panterra 1...
Comfort (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Performance (30%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Materials & Durability (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Warmth (10%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Features (10%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Atomic Hawx Prime 1... Tecnica Mach1 MV 130 Tecnica Cochise 130... Nordica Speedmachin... Dalbello Panterra 1...
Available Widths Hawx Ultra (98mm)
Hawx Prime (100mm)
Hawx Magna (102mm)
LV (98mm)
MV (100mm)
HV (103mm)
99mm only Promachine (98mm)
Speedmachine (100mm)
Sportmachine (102mm)
100-102mm (variable)
Available Flexes 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 110, 120, 130 110, 120, 130 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 90, 100, 120, 130
What We Tested Hawx Prime (100mm)
130 Flex
MV (100mm)
130 Flex
99mm
130 Flex
Speedmachine (100 mm)
130 Flex
100-102mm (variable)
130 Flex
Walk Mode? No No Yes No Yes
Number of Buckles 4 4 4 4 4
Buckles Microadjustable? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weight (per boot, size 27.5) 4 lb 4 lb 3 oz 4 lb 2 oz 4 lb 2 oz 3 lb 12 oz
Boot Sole Length (size 27.5) 315 mm 315 mm 315 mm 315 mm 318 mm
Liner Thermo-Moldable? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Binding Compatibility Gripwalk/Alpine Gripwalk/Alpine DYN/Gripwalk Gripwalk/Alpine Gripwalk/Alpine
Shell Material PU PU PU/PP PU DB Hyperlite

Our Analysis and Test Results

Finding a top-notch ski boot doesn’t have to be a practice in torture. The Atomic Hawx Prime 130 is a true medium-fit boot that feels great out of the box. The flex is on the softer side compared to other boots in its class but is consistent and progressive at moderate speeds. The plush liner and soft flex make this a great choice for intermediate skiers looking for a boot that doesn’t break the bank with a flex that isn’t too stiff.

Performance Comparison


Fun and playful performance dominate in this boot with its moderate...
Fun and playful performance dominate in this boot with its moderate flex and inviting comfort.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Comfort


The Atomic Hawx Prime is the Buick of the ski boot world - dependable, comfortable, but not going to win any races on the slopes. Our medium-volume feet felt great in these right out of the box with no adjustment needed. The 100-millimeter last is true to size and the 315-millimeter boot sole on our 27.5 Mondo is normal for that size. The softer variable-density polyurethane holds your foot and calf snug while allowing for a bit of flexibility. The instep is soft and easy to step into as well. The Mimic customizable liner is on the softer end of the spectrum and allows for a little bit of movement and circulation within the boot.


We enjoyed the high cuff height and like many other brands, Atomic offers plastic shims to increase forward pressure. The Powershift adjustment on the spine allows for 13, 15, or 17 degrees of forward lean depending on your stance. Atomic offers high-performing boots in three last widths. We will break it down to simplify your shopping experience: the Hawx Ultra is the low volume at a 98-millimeter last, the Hawx Prime is the medium volume at a 100-millimeter last, and the Hawx Magna is the high volume offering at 102 millimeters. All styles are offered in a range of flexes from 130 down to as low as 70. The Prime, as we said, is a true medium fit that we didn’t require any boot fitting or modification.

The Hawx Prime excells at moderate speeds where it handles with the...
The Hawx Prime excells at moderate speeds where it handles with the most control. As you turn it up and go faster, the soft flex starts to get out of its ideal range.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Performance


The Hawx Prime is a moderately high-performing boot. It wasn’t the most stable boot we tested at high speeds and our heavier testers were able to push through the front of the boot considerably. The Energy Backbone reinforcement in the spine did create decent control from edge to edge at high speeds but this boot is better suited for intermediate to advanced skiers who want a less aggressive stance and more comfort.


If you are looking for higher performance you can size down to the narrower Hawx Ultra. A boot with a narrower volume generally increases precision and control. If you decide to size down, your feet might be screaming at you to be free in most brands, but the Prolite polyurethane material is noticeably softer than other shells we tested. This might make a tighter boot of this construction more tolerable for a longer period. Unfortunately, this soft material does tend to begin to feel more flexible than we prefer at high speeds in the bottom of the turn. This made the boot get behind and have trouble controlling heavier stiffer skis. Our testers noted more lateral flexion as we laid them over than we prefer. For softer skis or snow this boot performs wonderfully, in firmer harder conditions it starts to get out of its element.

This boot is a great choice for moderate skiing in bounds and offers...
This boot is a great choice for moderate skiing in bounds and offers a gateway for aspiring skiers who want to advance their skills to ride a high-level boot.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Materials & Durability


We touched on it in the last metric but the Hawx Prime is built from Atomic’s Prolite polyurethane (PU) for the shell and the Mimic heat-moldable liner. The dual-density PU is noticeably pleasant while cruising around and forms well to your lower leg without pinching when the buckles are cranked down.


We had no issues with any wear or durability while testing. The Grip Walk outsoles are replaceable and as with any boot sporting this feature, need to be replaced periodically to protect the heel and toe lugs from wear. These are easy to swap in and out with a Posi-drive screwdriver.

The Prime has a cam buckle to cinch the power strap but it has to be...
The Prime has a cam buckle to cinch the power strap but it has to be fed into the buckle every time and doesn't offer a quick release that we favored in other models.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Warmth


The soft mimic liner and comfortable 100-millimeter last make the Hawx Prime an adequately warm boot. We were comfortable on cold single-digit days. This boot scored fairly well in this category due to the ample space in the shell. If your foot fits the boot tighter as some testers noticed, the thinner shell material doesn’t hold warmth as well. Trapped air proves to be the best insulator in ski boots and the roomy toe box kept our circulation pumping and toes happy.


The Thinsulate material in the liner also did a good job of staying dry on hot days. As this boot was warmer for us we did notice a little discomfort on the hottest days of late spring in the afternoon. On these afternoons our feet felt a little cooped up and muggy.

These roomy boots stayed warm on most days as long as you aren't...
These roomy boots stayed warm on most days as long as you aren't maxing out the inside of the shell.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Features


The Hawx Prime is a no-frills alpine boot. There isn’t much by way of extra features included with this boot. Most of the modifications or special settings are for comfort like the cuff spine angle adjustment and lateral adjustment at the hinge.


This boot did not score very high in this metric but that doesn’t take away from other attributes that we liked about it as a solid alpine option for intermediate to advanced skiers. It does include grip walk soles which we absolutely love and prefer on all our alpine boots for the added traction while walking around the deck after a long day or for the icy walk to the car. We were disappointed that the power strap is only velcro as it doesn’t give the same control and connection to the boot as cam buckles.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Value


Most major brands price their top-of-the-line boots competitively and the Hawx Prime rings in at a lower price than other alpine boots in this category. It offers dependable performance for the intermediate to advanced skier who isn’t on a super rigid ski. It is a durable step-up boot but only offers Grip Walk and a few minor features outside a baseline boot. Our testers agreed that this was a fair boot for the price.

Conclusion


If you are an intermediate to advanced skier looking for a top-notch boot to take your skiing to next level but not ready for an ultra-stiff aggressive boot, consider the Atomic Hawx Prime. This boot garnered high scores in most categories with a great out the box fit and is offered in a huge range of flexes. For the dedicated resort boot, the Hawx Prime earns a Best Buy award as a step-up boot for those looking to advance their technique to the next level.

The advanced skier will appreciate the support and freedom of a...
The advanced skier will appreciate the support and freedom of a solid boot that has a softer playful attitude.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Ryan Baker

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