Atomic Hawx 120 Review

The Atomic Hawx is a versatile, well-rounded ski boot that offers exceptional downhill performance both off-piste and at the resort.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, EVO
  • Best for: More experienced skiers who want to be fast and aggressive on the mountain.
  • Pros: This boot has superior downhill performance suited for most environments. Versatile. Progressive forward flex. The buckles work well, the fit is strong, and the ski/walk mode works exactly as advertised.
  • Cons: There’s a lot of friction in the range of motion, and the sole is pretty smooth. Heavy. Lacking a bit when it comes to comfort.
  • Alternatives: Lange RX 120, Dalbello Panterra 120 ID, Salomon S/Pro 100

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these boots by looking at their various features, analyzing their traits, and seeing how those affected the general performance across different winter environments.

Detailed Review

The Hawx 120 is a solid boot from a well-known and respected brand. It might not have the same touring abilities as more specific options, but its incredible downhill performance works exceptionally well both in and outside the resort. Overlap constructed boots might not be traditionally great at touring, but this model breaks the mold. While the weight isn’t great and there are some issues with the range of motion, it will give you long-lasting results.

Downhill Performance

The Hawx 120’s standout feature is undoubtedly its downhill performance. The pair is made for when you’re zipping through the snow, and that’s where they shine. The overlap design gives you much better results than a tongue constructed boot would. That’s mainly due to the progressive forward flex and excellent response. You get almost no initial resistance when using these.

The construction holds up in a way that enables you to control your skis exactly as you need. The flex works extremely well, and there’s ample lateral stiffness. If your skiing gets sloppy and you sit too far back in your skis, the boots will still ensure you maintain your control. That’s a nice bonus for those who like rough conditions.

Uphill Performance

When it comes to uphill performance, the Atomic Hawx 120 sits right in the middle ground of good and bad. Most of the time, downhill boots don’t work as well when touring. That’s not the case here. The 120’s do a good job of letting you move uphill thanks to the cuff articulation and solid ski/walk mode. If you like to move around on the slopes, the boots will let you do just that.

That being said, there are some drawbacks. First, you’re going to see quite a bit of friction in the range of motion. Not only that, but the boots are quite heavy. Though the extra weight gives you better performance and durability, it means you’re going to be lugging a lot more with you as you move through the backcountry. They probably aren’t the best option for those who fatigue easily, even if you decide to replace the liner to save some weight.

Comfort, Warmth, and Fit

The Hawx 120 has a nice fit. Though it could be better, it will snugly hold your foot without pinching or being too loose. That’s mainly due to the heat-molded shell that expands or shrinks to perfectly fit your shape. This technology is common among premium ski boots, but it’s always something I like to see. Not only is it easy to use, but it goes a long way towards making the shoe more comfortable.

The included lining is quite soft, if a little heavy. You could always replace it with something else that’s just as plush if you want to save weight, but that might hurt the overall comfort level. The boots, however, are pretty warm. There’s a good amount of material built into the liner, which creates a lot of insulation. These will ensure you stay toasty on both light and frigid ski days.

A Steady Ease of Use

The Hawx 120 comes with many different parts, which can make working it a bit tricky at first. However, once you become familiar with the boots, you should have no issue getting everything to sing. There are six clasps, and that can make transitioning more of an ordeal that some might like, but the external ski-walk mode lever is incredible. It’s easy to clear, fully spring-loaded, and works every time without a hitch. Overall, this is an easy boot to operate.

Price and Value

Simply put, the Hawx 120 is a good value shoe. It hits both levels for me, meaning it has a reasonable price point and a tough, long-lasting construction. You’re going to get a lot of use from the shoe regardless of how much you use it or how hard you ski. Even the extra parts, such as the buckles, are built to last. If you’re careful about spending money on ski items, you should have no worries here.

What I Like

I really enjoy the Hawx 120’s warmth. Many modern skiing boots will either give you tons of insulation that only works in freezing conditions or light insulation that doesn’t hold up when the temperature drops. These boots sit in the middle ground. You get a lot of extra material that offers ample insulation without ever being too hot or stuffy. That goldilocks zone is a great bonus and something that I appreciate.

The other stand out aspect that I really like is the usability. I never like having to spend a ton of time figuring out my ski gear or getting it to work properly. The Hawx 120 cuts down on those issues, even with the more convoluted parts like the multiple clasps. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly, and once you do, you’ll see how it all works together. The ski/walk lever is also excellent in every relevant category.

What I Dislike

My biggest issue with these boots is the extra weight. At more than seven pounds, they are simply heavy. That’s going to have some bonuses when going downhill, but it also means you’re going to have some issues with fatigue and usability when going up. You can get around that by replacing the liner, but I’m not a huge fan of needing to alter a clothing item in order to make it easier to use.

These boots could also be a bit more comfortable. The warmth is there, but they are on the narrow side. In addition, they don’t quite have the range of motion I would have liked to see. You’re definitely going to see some friction. I would also say that, while the parts of it are easy to use, the design is also a bit busy for my taste.

The Alternatives

There’s no doubt that the Hawx 120 succeeds at being a solid downhill boot. Even so, if you want something that’s similar but comes with different features, these are all worth a look:

  • Lange RX 120 – The RX 120 is a well-rounded boot that does a nice job of blending performance and comfort. Not only does it have a stylish design, but the strong buckles and power strap make it perfect for those who like to be aggressive while they ski. It’s definitely pricey, but that’s worth it if you want superior footwear.
  • Dalbello Panterra 120 ID – The 120 ID from Dalbello is a boot that gives you a little bit of everything. The forgiving upper flex absorbs impacts quite well, and the stiff lower portion creates top-of-the-line power transfer. They are also surprisingly warm and have a comfortable fit.
  • Salomon S/Pro 100 – More geared towards intermediate skiers than the other boots on this list, the S/Pro 100 is a comfortable, lightweight option with a heat moldable shell. The thin walls are great for those that care about speed or fatigue, and the flex is smooth. It’s not the warmest option, but the performance is there.

FAQ

Are these boots good for beginners?

With a 120 flex, these boots are much better suited for experienced intermediate or advanced skiers.

How much do these boots weigh?

The Hawx 120 comes in at seven pounds, five ounces.

Will these boots last a long time?

Yes. The pair is quite sturdy thanks to the true flex polyurethane shell and reinforced backbone built directly into the design.

Final Words

The Atomic Hawx 120 is a versatile ski boot that trades some extra weight for solid downhill performance. It may not be the best at going uphill, but it’s still serviceable thanks to features like the cuff articulation. It has a superior construction made to last a long time, good insulation, and a reasonable fit. If you need a well-rounded option, it’s likely not the best choice. If you need good results when going downhill, you’re going to be happy.

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