Hawx Ultra 130 Has Nothing But Radness
I need my boots to switch into walk mode in a no fall zone as much as I need an orange clown for American president. More features mean more things to go wrong. Atomic’s Hawx line cuts out everything you don’t need to create a light weight high performance all mountain shell.
The Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 has turned heads in ski mag gear reviews, mainly for its incredibly light weight. I like having a light boot, but it is very far down the list of importance. The most important elements for me are fit and performance. Though I ski tour on the regular, I ski race boots because their stiffness can’t be beat and their harder plastics are simpler to grind and punch for a good fit. But race boots are heavy and make your skis hard to turn at low speeds like in a couloir or tight trees.
I stepped into a pair of Hawx Ultra 130s this month and, with a few adjustments, was able to make my medium width foot fit well. The Ultra is the narrow fit. There’s also the regular Hawx for medium fit and Hawx Magna for a wide one. The 130 flex is stiff, but not as restricting as a 130 race flex. It did have a nice progression, without dead spots where your flex suddenly comes to a stop. Touring boots and other lightweight boots will often put pressure on the instep of your foot or distort the lower shell if you lean into them too hard. Though I tried, I wasn’t able to compromise the boots lower when skiing hard.
I don’t like having a walk mode on my boots because it decreases the amount of drive you can get out of a boot and always seems to flip into walk mode when I don’t want it to. What I do like is a forward lean adjustment. The Hawx has three different forward lean positions, which is a savior for those who don’t like the trend of freeride boots being positioned more upright. There’s replaceable rubberized toe and heel pieces which are great if you’re climbing over rocks in Cham or sledding into your ski zones.
Because the boot skis well and maintains its shape when charging, the weight now interests me. The ability to make a charging boot lightweight comes thanks to Atomic’s touring boot technology. When they started their touring boot line, they stripped back their alpine boots to make them as light as possible. Through this experience, they learned what was absolutely needed and what wasn’t. The Hawx only keeps the necessary.
If you’re looking for a lightweight boot with a walk mode and tech inserts, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for one that has only what you need for charging hard and nothing else, these might be the shells for you.