Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 Review

The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 is an awesome backcountry touring ski boot that has been turning the heads of new and seasoned skiers alike. It’s lightweight, but still delivers the flex, response, and performance of a true 130 flex ski boot. The shoe is on the expensive side, but if you want some of the best touring boots currently available, these are difficult to beat.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, Backcountry
  • Best for: Backcountry touring skiers who want the best of the best.
  • Pros: Lightweight, but with a stiff flex and top-notch performance. Great in the backcountry. Somewhat of a revolutionary creation in the touring game that has quickly become a favorite option for backcountry skiers.
  • Cons: Expensive. These are not a budget option at all.
  • Alternatives: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120, Tecnica Zero G Alpine Pro, Salmon Shift Pro 130

Why Trust Me

I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I thoroughly researched the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130. Below, you will find my detailed review.

Detailed Review

The Hawx Ultra XTD 130 is a backcountry skier’s dream. They feature the best of both worlds thanks to the lightweight design that allows for easy uphill movement and downhill performance. They also come with key design features like GripWalk soles and minimally built buckles that are essential for an effective backcountry boot. All of these performance and high-quality features will cost you, however, as they are quite expensive.

Comfort and Fit

These boots have a comfortable fit that focuses on performance, which means they are going to be (and should be) on the tighter side. With some backcountry touring boots, their lightweight nature and minimal construction will make them feel a bit loose and flexible. That’s not true at all with the Hawx Ultra XTD 130. They are still comfortable while being firm, supportive, and everything you want out of a boot focused on performance.

They provide the firm fit throughout the entirety of the boot. From your toes to upper ankles, you can expect a solid fit that will stay snug in a way that gives you serious performance and response when you need it most. For a lightweight backcountry boot, this level of tightness is somewhat rare. While and can be a little uncomfortable to break them in, I’d take performance over comfort any day.

While the boots provide a fairly tight fit, they are pretty dang comfortable all things considered. You can spend long ascents in them and not worry about your feet getting cramped or tired before you actually ski downhill. They are able to provide a nice middle ground of comfort and performance. Much of the fit is a result of heat-fitting technology that can produce a custom fit after you wear them for a while.

On the Up

The boots offer an effective touring ability that utilizes some unique design elements to assist you on the slopes. They come built with an easy-to-use walk mode that provides 54-degrees of motion as well as a few adjustable forward lean options so you can set them up exactly to your liking.

The Skywalk GripWalk soles give you additional traction if you’re hiking rather than skinning, and they add a bit of durability to the boots as well. The shoes will flex or pivot with ease, and won’t hold you back as you make your way up a skin track or trailblaze your own line. That’s furthered by the frictionless pivot system and the uphill flex is pretty dang impressive.

Going Down

While the world of ultra-lightweight touring boots is full of options that will help you get to the top of a mountain, many of them sacrifice aspects of their downhill performance while doing so. That’s not the case with the Hawx Ultra XTD 130, as they are some of the best performing touring boots for when you actually start to ski.

The 130 flex is key here because it gives you a performance fit and flex that translates directly into excellent power transmission from boot to binding to ski. The stiffness in the shell utilizes a Prolite material that keeps everything lightweight. The Energy Backbone built into the boots is awesome and runs down the spine of the boots to give you reinforced response, transfer, and control.

Once you lock the buckle down into ski mode, you’ll be ready for action straight away. The other buckles on the boots are minimally built, but they still do a great job of keeping everything locked down and secure. The power strap along the cuff adds another layer of security that helps to enhance downhill performance a bit as well.

Weight and Warmth

The Hawx Ultra XTD 130 is a lightweight touring boot. That’s one of the reasons it’s so popular and in high demand. A size 26 boot weighs in at 1580 grams and will gain weight as you go up in size. While it’s not the lightest boot in the world of touring, due to the expert level performance that it offers, a few extra grams will definitely pay off when you start to go downhill.

These boots are also fairly warm and the liner offers decent insulation against the elements. On really cold-weather days, you might experience a little chill, but that’s to be expected out of any boot. The shell material combines with the liner to offer plenty of warmth, but it’s also not too warm when you’re working your way uphill in a hurry. I would rate these boots as a medium-warm option.

Price and Value

If you’re looking for one of the best performance touring boots in the market that features a stiff flex and some unique design characteristics, these boots give you above-average value. They are quite expensive and not a good option for anyone on a budget. If you don’t go on serious backcountry excursions and don’t have extra money to blow, these might not be for you.

What I Like

There’s a whole lot to like about the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130. Their performance attributes are incredible. In fact, they feel like a high-end ski boot that’s built for the needs of expert skiers. The 130 flex is ideal for anyone who wants to ski to the best of their abilities or those who take to challenging terrain as often as they can. Some touring boots claim they can live up to this status and fail to deliver. The Hawx Ultra XTD 130 goes above and beyond.

The boots also have a pretty quick break-in period, which is another aspect I appreciate. After a few days of steady use, the Memory Fit 3D Platinum Light Liner molds around your foot to offer a lot of comfort without sacrificing anything in terms of performance. The liner foothold remains excellent after heavy use, which adds to the durability.

These also have some great design features that support backcountry touring. We’ve already mentioned the stiff flex, but the effective walk mode and Skywalk GripWalk soles also are fully focused on the needs of the touring skier.

What I Dislike

The main downside of these boots is their price tag. They are expensive. There’s no real way around that. If you’re on a budget, they’re going to be a hit to your wallet and bank account. However, I think it’s a justified price and in the ballpark of other boots with similar performance and function attributes.

Some skiers have also said that the power strap can become less effective after heavy use. I would assume that occurs on a case-by-case basis and it’s a pretty easy fix. Even so, that’s an important thing to note if you really like a solid wrap around your lower leg when you’re heading downhill.

The Alternatives

If you’re looking for another backcountry touring ski boot that offers similar performance and comfort attributes to the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, check out these other options.

  • Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 – This is the same boot in a 120 flex, which makes it a little more approachable for skiers who are just getting into backcountry skiing and don’t like the 130’s stiffness. You still get the amazing uphill performance and a lightweight design, but less flex means these will be a little more comfortable for the average skier.
  • Tecnica Zero G Alpine Pro – These are another highly recommended backcountry touring boot packed with design features that fully cater to that skiing style. They have a great walk mode with 55-degrees of motion and a 130 flex that will deliver high-end performance in any condition. They are also lightweight and make quick work of uphill ascents.
  • Salmon Shift Pro 130 – Another great touring boot with a stiff 130 flex is the Shift Pro. These boots are a little more versatile than the other options listed here, which means you can use them in the resort if you want to as well. The heat moldable shells give you a comfortable and customized fit, while the Surelock walk mode provides you with plenty of movement and flex to take to the backcountry.

FAQs

Can the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 be used as a resort boot?

Not really. They are far better suited for backcountry touring purposes. You could theoretically use them for a resort boot in a pinch, but I would recommend getting a different option if you only ski in the resort.

What is the Last of these boots?

The Hawx Ultra XTD 130 comes with a 98mm Last. That’s a little narrow, but also helps keep the boot’s volume and weight down.

Does the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD have a customizable liner?

Yes. These boots have a Memory Fit shell and liner that use a Memolink additive to allow you to create a customizable fit after wearing the boots for a few minutes.

Final Verdict

The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 is one of the best backcountry touring ski boots currently available. They are especially good for experienced backcountry skiers who want a lightweight option that doesn’t compromise on performance. The 130 flex is catered towards advanced-to-expert skiers and, unlike some other alternatives in the category, the flex is accurate and true.

The boots do come with a pretty significant price tag, but if that’s not much of an issue for you, they are extremely great as a result of their professional performance, comfort, and touring capabilities.

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