Atomic Backland Boot — Wow, Finally Some New TOURING Gear

Post by blogger | January 21, 2015      

The cry rings out over the ski industry. Freeride baby, it’s where the money is!

Enough! I say…

Quite refreshing to visit our Austrian friends at and check out an in-the-flesh pair of the new Backland Carbon SKI TOURING boot. Essentially, Atomic took the best from their competitors, added some spice, and look what happened.

We think this shoe is super nice, though we’ll of course need to do some major testing before we give it the total nod. Meanwhile, here are some photos. Oh, the size 25.5 at the Bergsteigen office weighs 1058 grams per boot, 984 without the removable tongue. Last is officially a “98 mm” but we think they look a bit wider than that. Word from Bergsteigen is they could be a bit warmer and easier fitting in the forefoot area than some of the other low volume touring boots on the market.

The color is right, the weight is right, the last looks a bit wider in the forefoot, the removable tongue got some frowns; are there not enough boot tongues scattered about the Alps already?

Atomic Backland Carbon ski touring boot without removable tongue. The color is right, the weight is right, the last looks a bit wider in the forefoot, the removable tongue got some frowns; are there not enough boot tongues scattered about the Alps already? Interesting to consider that Salomon and Atomic are essentially the same company and the boots are made in the same factory by the same people. Expect to see this boot with a Salomon logo?

Lean lock is the kind we like. External. Simple. Works. Period.

Lean lock is the kind we like. External. Simple. Works. Period.

Another view of lean lock.  We suspect that forward cuff lean can be easily modified.

Another view of lean lock. We suspect that forward cuff lean can be easily modified. Note the Backland’s carbon backbone.

Check out what appear to be user removable serviceable cuff pivots!

Check out what appear to be user removable serviceable cuff pivots!

Yeah, they went for the removable tongue concept. Difference is that under the tongue you'll just find a fabric layer. Not sure if they'll ski at all well without the tongue but you never know till you try.

Yeah, they went for the removable tongue concept. Difference is that under the tongue you’ll just find a fabric layer. Not sure if they’ll ski at all well without the tongue but you never know till you try.

Tongue removed.  Note the fabric cover for the front opening.

Tongue removed. Note the fabric cover for the front opening.

Liner, reinforced tongue, optional lacing, thermoform.  Shows this is still a somewhat low volume boot.

Liner, reinforced tongue, optional lacing, thermoform. Shows this is still a somewhat low volume boot.

Another view, with tongue installed, just to make sure you get the full impression.

Another view, just to make sure.

In about a week I’m headed to the Atomic factory near Vienna for an up close meeting of the minds. I’m not sure what they have planned since the boots are made in Italy, but I’m sure I can find something interesting to blog about. Visiting ski factories is always fun.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


108 Responses to “Atomic Backland Boot — Wow, Finally Some New TOURING Gear”

  1. Greg Miller January 21st, 2015 3:40 pm

    Any word on a cost? Because those look quite nice, and I’m getting kind of tired of my cosmos with their delicate and loose lean-lock.

  2. tyler January 21st, 2015 4:49 pm

    The atomic and salomon boots look just beautiful here at OR. I’d like to get them on my feet. Maybe later this week.

    We’ve been joking on the site about the free ride category, but the new Salmon boots with 2 buckles and 1500 grams used to be the lightest 4 bucklers out there oriented towards the up (think zzero style). Now, salomon comes out with a lighter, more cuff pivot, and stiffer boot. I’m not so sure we should be so quick to toss it into the free ride category that I associate with “all about the down”.

    Of course, I’ve never been on the boot, but it feels nice in the hand.

  3. Michael January 21st, 2015 5:16 pm

    Dynafit certified fittings or Atomic’s own fittings? More and more, I’m finding this to be important. Just seems like too many prior issues with home brewed fittings from various companies.

  4. Pablo January 21st, 2015 5:31 pm

    Backland boots will be sold little cheaper than the equivalent TLT6. It will be some pre-production units on sale very soon, at least here in Spain.

  5. Billy Balz January 21st, 2015 6:30 pm

    Any thoughts on this versus the TLT6P?

  6. Billy Balz January 21st, 2015 6:35 pm

    My TLT6P liner is getting packed out pretty good after less than 75K of vert… Also liner getting shredded badly at the yellow piping strip on upper boot/shin area…can’t use liner pull straps any more without destroying the whole thing. Leukotape central!

  7. swissiphic January 21st, 2015 6:37 pm

    removable tongues? non starter.

  8. George January 21st, 2015 7:19 pm

    Rocker sole, low weight and simplicity are attractive. Do you think the rocker sole will be noticeable?

  9. jordan January 21st, 2015 8:16 pm

    I have a hard time thinking of skiing a boot like this or any other removal tongue boot without the tongues outside of the mellowest hippy pow around. Just…not…as…fun…

  10. Michael Finger January 21st, 2015 8:45 pm

    I played around with these at the OR show today, they look pretty nice. The rep was saying the shells should be ‘Memory Fit’ compatible, which could help with the fitting process. Atomic also has a slightly heavier version coming out that looked pretty nice too.

  11. JCoates January 21st, 2015 8:55 pm

    I saw another model of atomic boots recently (heavier but still a touring boot) that had a cutout of the hard plastic over the bunionette (5th metatarsophalangeal joint) and then was replaced with a soft rubber. This seemed like a pretty good idea–at least in concept–as it didn’t seem to lower the integrity of the shell, cut down on weight, and possibly keep some of us with wide feet and bunions from having to punch out the boots. Lou, I didn’t have time to try on a pair, would be interested to hear what you think when you see a pair…good idea or a gimmick that only worked in theory. Thanks!!!

  12. chris January 21st, 2015 10:10 pm

    Skied a proto of these boots a couple weeks back. Walking was super smooth, huge range of motion, and the ability to buckle the cuff for lateral support in walk mode was a big plus. Flex was stiff, felt like a 110-120’ish. Skied some icy hardpacked crust and the carbon cuff was laterally solid. Removable tongue was finicky for sure, but hopefully it gets refined for production? They are super light, and the ability to MemoryFit/Custom Shell (Salomon?) the shell would be amazing for fine tuning the fit. I don’t think the tech fittings were Dynafit, so fingers crossed they are up to spec for production. Popped out a couple times on the skintrack when sidehilling up icy hardpacked sections. I currently ski the TLT6, and with a few refinements I’ll likely trade in for these when they’re available.

  13. Lou Dawson 2 January 21st, 2015 10:50 pm

    Billy and all, it’s stating the obvious the Backland is a direct competitor to the TLT 6 as well as other touring boots on the lightweight low-volume end of the scale. I’d consider some sort of side-by-side comparo once I’ve skied them for a while. For now, the biggest difference in my opinion is the lean-lock mechanism and the lack of Dynafit certified Quick Step fittings. Oh, and the darker somewhat neutral color scheme is greatly appreciated. Big news to me is instead of a company doing yet another freeride! boot Atomic decided to dive into the pure ski touring market, which is very small compared to alpine, but nonetheless a place to sell stuff and the category many if not most readers shop.

  14. Jack January 21st, 2015 11:12 pm

    Glad you approve of the boot color. Lou. Thanks for the weight – is size 25 th weight standard? Would appreciate objective data in your next report – maybe we’ll see it after your trip to the Atomic facility near Vienna.

    Pow to the people, right on!

  15. Lou Dawson 2 January 21st, 2015 11:25 pm

    Hi Jack, standard ski boot sample size in the industry is 27, these are downsize for a tester, nice that Atomic can make various sample sizes, perhaps an advantage they have due to the size of their operation. I’ll gather more objective data when I visit them. For now, I should also say that while this boot looks really nice, it’s not exactly innovative. More of a well done me-too, which is fine as it helps shoppers with choices, but it is what it is. Lou

  16. jordan January 22nd, 2015 12:03 am

    What do you say Lou? Bout time for a Powder TR form the land of tight pants and smaller packs?

  17. Lou Dawson 2 January 22nd, 2015 12:34 am

    Have been out. Busy with some personal .issues. An essay would perhaps be in order, had an interestng and good tour just a few days ago in Tirol. Not much snow but enough.

  18. Wookie January 22nd, 2015 1:48 am

    This is more like it! A TLT6 with a wider toebox! Yea!

    Stupid removable tongue…..grrr. This is a concept that needs to die. At least for me….I’ve only got so many pockets and tracking all of me bits and bobs is taking up too much RAM – ya know? I mean: even my WALLET is on a chain!

  19. Pablo January 22nd, 2015 2:14 am

    For me the most innovative feature on Backlands boot is the addition of Memory fit Tecnology.
    It allows you to custom fit the sell the same way and at the same time you thermo mold your liners.
    For me this is a huge improvement in AT market. Is something like fischer’s vacuum, but way easier.

    An easily customizable Shell in a lightweight touring boot ala TLT6 style…that rocks!

  20. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2015 2:33 am

    Pablo and others, being able to form the shell of course means you only can get it WIDER at some spots but not narrower (what I would need, even with the TLT5 which is known as allready very narrow)?

    And concerning removable tongues: I guess I am one of the few who really likes that concept.. Without tongue noticable better on the up or when walking / climbing without skis, with added tongue much better on the down.

    And if I carry a pack and stop at the top anyway for maybe putting on a puffy, removing the skins and so on I dont see no problem in adding the tongues. I am still faster closing my TLT5 even if I have to add the tongues than my ZZERo, cause the first has only 2 buckles, the latter 4.

  21. George January 22nd, 2015 2:51 am

    Am I the only one worried that the lower buckle might come undone while bootpacking like it was the case on the early TLT5s? Other than that, boot looks really nice – also don’t see the problem with removable tongues: without is much nicer on the up and adding them makes this kind of boot ski WAY better on wide skis (got Vulcan tongues on my TLT5Ps).

  22. Pablo January 22nd, 2015 5:33 am

    Erik Erikson,
    That’s why Backland is 98mm wide and not 102mm as other touring boots.

  23. Lou Dawson 2 January 22nd, 2015 5:43 am

    Have any of you guys actually used Atomic Memory Fit on a boot shell? I don’t understand how you can heat the plastic shoe up to the point where it’ll mold, and not have it distort as much as it molds to your foot. Seems like hype. I’m sure it’s easy to punch out, but Grilamid is that way anyway… thoughts from the WildSnowers?

  24. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2015 5:49 am

    Lou, maybe its something like the Fisher Vacuum Fit? But wotjout the compression pad?
    Don´t know if/how THAT works, but Fisher is producing Touring shoes now too, arent they?

  25. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2015 5:51 am

    … of course I meant WITHOUT the compression pad. Shouldn´t be typing in a totally NOT my mother tongue language while actually beeing at work… 😉

  26. Lou Dawson 2 January 22nd, 2015 6:05 am

    Erik, I have a pair of Fischer Transalp touring boots with Vacuum Fit. Problem is my boot fitting shop has none of the necessary tools for either of these technologies so I have to do the fitting at a shop. (I did play around with the Fischer tech several years ago during Masterfit boot fitting certification, so I’m not unfamiliar with it.) I can see how it might work to some extent, but I’m skeptical as to how much better this is for semi-normal feet than simply spot punching a few places. It’s seems pretty elaborate and prone to distorting the shell. BTW, the Atomic molding temp is 117°C, 242.6°F, that’s hot for heating up the whole boot!

  27. Powbanger January 22nd, 2015 7:27 am

    Memory fit is the same plastic as Salomon’s custom shell. Atomic builds the lasts tighter knowing the user will take advantage of the technology. Some shops do the process some people don’t need to as their feets fit the shell. As long as you don’t over flex the shell as it is cooling you won’t distort the shell. It’s a different process than Fischer, as most people need to cook the Fischer shells before they use them.

  28. Peter January 22nd, 2015 7:33 am

    Lou, lightweight touring boots like this still seem to be very similar in features and style to SkiMo race boots. Sort of how lightweight touring skis were just a few years ago.
    Today we have a big distinction between SkiMo race skis and Backcountry Touring skis for non-mutants: long lengths, PHAT, rocker, advanced sidecut profiles, reinforced binding zones, damped, etc…..but still super lightweight.

    I hope we start to see a similar trend in boots. I want the lightweight , but many of the design extremes put into race boots are of no interest to backcountry skiers who aren’t timing their transitions and want a more ‘normal’ flex. Sticking an extra tongue in there seems like a kludge of a race boot to me, not a feature for a backcountry boot.

    Do you see a coming branch in the boot market that will look at backcountry touring boots as distinctly different from a SkiMo style boot (or Freeride), like we have in skis? There seem to be very few to me that aren’t wanna-be freeride boots (Spectre) or wanna-be race boots (F1Evo). Maybe I’m looking at it wrong?

  29. Pablo January 22nd, 2015 8:16 am

    Peter, Stick in or not a tonge allows you to have the “best” of the two worlds.
    You can ascent as similar as you were on skimo racing boots and have good performance at the down. It’s not a kludge of, It’s just enlarge the range of performance of a boot.

    Lou I have used an alpine boot with Memory fit, Atomic Hawkx 2.0 100.
    The process to heat the Shell is made in the same oven as used to liners, so it’s pretty easy. Just we aware to not over flex the boot to prevent deformation and it just adapts to your last.

    You have to heat shells before, without liners, then put (cold) liners and foot in to mold the Shell as it gets cold. Then put off the liners, heat them , put in the cold customized Shell, and mold your liner as usual.

    Mold shell to adjust to your last, and then mold liners to adjust to your foot details.

    Easy and works nice. It’s not the final solution to evey foot problema but Works for most people.

  30. Harry January 22nd, 2015 8:40 am

    I have used the Memory Fit for a few years now, it was an unadvertised feature of the Redster race boots when they came out in 13/14. I think the spec with the molding process is 1.5mm of change for a spot, so 3mm total in available forefoot, 1.5mm higher instep, ect. In practice if the boot feels OK but has some tight spots the molding will fix it. If it feels awful out of the box, molding won’t fix it.

    Squaring out the toe box, hitting the ankle pocket well, accommodating insteps, and making room for mid food fat pads is a cinch.

    The cuff hardware has the ability migrate during molding for cuff alignment, same as vacuum fit, so you have to be aware of your stance during the process and be on a hard level surface for good results. I rarely have to fiddle with a cuff eccentric when done.

    It is more involved and takes more equipment, and more practice than molding a liner, so I don’t know how it will go for home users. If you don’t “flash cool” it, it will rebound. Heated boot bags, about 140f, have no negative effect on the duration of the molding when it was done properly. It will probably go fine most of the time, or no lasting change if undercooked. Overcooked goes bad in a hurry, and it doesn’t have to be overtemp or overtime by much. Once its gone its gone.

    I have tried it with this backland boot yet, so who knows.

    I am currently skiing the F1 evo as my lightweight touring boot. I love the fit and love the range of motion, I hate the tronic system and don’t care for the flex when skiing hard, so I am exciting about this boot. I can’t make any of the carbon cuff dynafits fit me.

  31. Harry January 22nd, 2015 8:42 am

    Correction, the Redster was released in 12/13.

  32. See January 22nd, 2015 9:09 am

    My experience with thermoplastic carbon bike shoes and race skates is that the human foot alone isn’t really solid enough for plug forming unless the shoe is pretty close to fitting already. Ski boots are, of course, a different animal, but I’m skeptical. Still probably requires a skilled fitter.

  33. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2015 9:20 am

    The memory fit really sounds good toe me as long as it works as described by you guys. Always thought manufacterers should build boots in at least two width (starting at the shell),as they do for example in running shoes. But I can see that this is economically probably not possible for a company
    This memory fit could have the same advantages as building two different- width shells. Starting narrow for the skinny feet people who leave the shell as it is, the normal to wide feet persons just heat it up and get a fit.
    Especially here in Austria/Salzburg it is very hard to find a good bootfitter so a standardized prozess like the heating thing that can be done by every shop who has the equippment would´nt be bad…

  34. powbanger January 22nd, 2015 10:45 am

    The custom fit and memory fit has been great technology for both the brands which use it, but……whenever you heat plastic you change the molecular structure of it which in most cases reduces the rebound and energy of the boot.

  35. Joe Risi January 22nd, 2015 11:18 am

    Word from Atomic: Are 100% different on all levels, one in Austria, one in France, designed and engineered completely separate from each other.

  36. Toby January 22nd, 2015 11:43 am

    collaboration with Crispi?
    Palau liners ?
    Lower buckle not well positioned for mountaineering IMO
    Nice to have more boots in this new weight range of 1000-1500g.

  37. Harry January 22nd, 2015 1:31 pm

    In their alpine line they currently offer it in 3 different lasts, the good god thats narrow 94mm race fit, meant to be ground and molded, 98mm club race/narrow all mountain, and the 100mm Hawx. Its important to start out with the right stuff. That being said people who have never been comfortable in a 98mm boot can be comfy in a memory fit 98. Also, regular punch techniques can still be used for large bunions or naviculars. I don’t get to see the new atomic line in full until next week, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it proliferate. My understanding is that the raw materials are not more expensive. It is currently offered in boots down to the $299 price point MAP for alpine.

  38. Chris January 22nd, 2015 1:48 pm

    Heard a story that a tester took it out in the backcountry, hit a 25 feet drop at high speed and the boot replied really good! Finally a boot that you can shred with no fear and that will support you. Atomic went big on this boot and other companies will have some catching up to do. Can’t wait to get a pair!

  39. jbo January 22nd, 2015 2:59 pm

    – They are using Dynafit fittings, just not QuickSteps, which may be exclusively licensed to SCARPA.
    – The liner and shell can be cooked together, unlike existing memory fits. Claim of a whole cm of extra width possible in some cases.

    Subjectively they ski and tour very differently with and without the tongue. Look for a jacket with tongue pockets (tic).

  40. Greg Louie January 22nd, 2015 8:39 pm

    I have a couple days on the Backland Carbon, and am impressed. Slightly lighter than my TLT6P, slightly softer than the TLT6P with black tongue in, possibly better range of motion (but very close).

    The Atomic people say the inserts are NOT from Dynafit – though they seem fine for retention and actually step in easier than my boots with Dynafit fittings.

    Potentially the biggest news for many users is the fact that the boot fills the same niche as the TLT6 but has more volume throughout and a higher instep. I was able to drop a shell size (normally 27.5 in TLT5/6/Mercury but comfortable in a 26.5 in the Backland Carbon. FWIW the 26.5 BSL is 288mm, potentially a problem for those who do size down in terms of binding adjustment.

    The Memory Fit process works great for general shaping modification – the entire boot (liner included) goes in the oven for 15 minutes (much longer than a standard Memory Fit shell, which normally has the liner removed). The toebox was wide enough for my 103mm feet after cooling, and the medial midfoot area was perfect (all my Dynafit boots are punched there. Smaller shell conflicts will still need to be punched manually (I punched for bunions and medial malleolus) but the Grilamid shell punches at about 230 F. and stays there, much like the Dynafit shells.

  41. Greg Louie January 22nd, 2015 8:51 pm

    @Jack: The sample size is either 26.5 or 27.5, depending on manufacturer. My 26.5 Backland Carbon weighs 1122 g. including the tongue and an extra shim that came under the OEM insole, and the 27.5 weighed 1166 g.

  42. See January 22nd, 2015 9:04 pm

    Any explanation how baking the whole boot won’t warp it and impair binding function (as Lou mentioned earlier)?

  43. See January 22nd, 2015 9:10 pm

    Actually, Lou just said “distort.” The “impair(ed) binding function” part is extrapolation by me.

  44. Greg Louie January 22nd, 2015 9:22 pm

    See, I didn’t ask – simply put the hot boots on, stood in the snow for a while, and went skiing. They seem to be intact.

  45. See January 22nd, 2015 9:28 pm

    Did you punch before or after Memory Fit process?

  46. Greg Louie January 22nd, 2015 9:33 pm

    After, you’ll lose the small punches if you Memory Fit them afterward.

  47. See January 22nd, 2015 9:47 pm

    How did the shell fit seem out of the box?

  48. Greg Louie January 22nd, 2015 10:05 pm

    For me, much more pleasant than the TLT6 in the next size up . . . but you’ll want to try it on for yourself.

  49. See January 22nd, 2015 10:13 pm

    Thanks, much obliged. I’ll check them out.

  50. Bob Perlmutter January 22nd, 2015 11:45 pm

    Hi JCoates, the soft area on the side of some models of current Atomic boots, including the Waymaker touring boot series, is called Live Fit. No heating involved. Just buckle up and go skiing and the soft area will move as needed by virtue of the width of your foot applying pressure against that area. It’s simple, it works and eliminates the need to punch one of the most common areas of complaints in ski boots.

  51. JCoates January 23rd, 2015 9:39 pm

    Thanks Bob. Have you skied a pair yet? Was there a noticeable difference? I’m interested to see how they age too, as if the rubber got hard and cracked you’d have a pretty wet, miserable foot. Take care.

  52. Bob Perlmutter January 24th, 2015 8:00 am

    Hi JCoates, yes I have skied the Waymaker Tour 110. An unremarkable boot that offered no innovation except Live Fit.

  53. Greg Louie January 24th, 2015 9:24 am

    @Greg Miller: Projected MSRP for the boot pictured is $750.

  54. jbo January 27th, 2015 10:12 am

    Greg – I followed up with the rep who told me the fittings were Dynafits. Indeed, they aren’t made by Dynafit, there was a terminology confusion. In any case, I have a test boot for skiing & release testing on the way.

  55. Codey January 27th, 2015 6:27 pm

    I just read a press release that lists the boot companies with ‘Dynafit certified inserts’ for 2015-16 season:


    As mentioned in an above post, only Scarpa and Dynafit boots feature the Quick Step In type.

  56. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2015 10:48 pm

    Thanks Codey, I’ll see where I could clarify that. I head the exclusive with Scarpa only lasts one more year. The Quick-Step inserts are slightly easier to use, but not a big deal. They have the downside of taking up sole material. Lou

  57. Skyler Holman January 30th, 2015 1:34 pm

    Looks like it’d be worth a demo. I’ve always said a climbing company can make some good lightweight touring gear, but once them downhill ski companies start stirring the pot in that category then they’d mean trouble for our fellow climbing companies. I love downhill performance, and it doesn’t have to be compromised in our day and age and the downhill companies know how to make a downhill boot…its easier to add some touring capabilities than it is to know how to add downhill performance in my opinion.

  58. David February 4th, 2015 9:49 am

    I think i’ve used tongues in my tlt5 all of once in the 4 years I’ve owned them and there’s many other lightweights who do likewise.
    So I’m pretty interested to know whether the backland is also viable to ski without them?
    Looks like a very similar system where the upper cuff wraps around and therefore can leverage the rigidity of the carbon spine and upper cuff – unknown is how the fabric on top will work without tongue though.

  59. Lindahl February 17th, 2015 1:06 am

    I’ll be heat molding my pre-production pair tomorrow. Any tips?

    I took them out for a tour over the weekend. Had to turn away from our line (sketchy windslab), but still got to monkey down in the trees in everything from nasty deathcrust to powder and bounced off a few small pillows. Really impressed by the boot. It definitely tours and skis better than a TLT5P. Much better power transfer and more precise feeling. I’ve only owned the TLT5P, not the 6P, but I’d wager it skis better than the TLT6P also – it flexes stiffer in the shop. It doesn’t appear to be anymore progressive, still pretty harsh, but it feels stiffer, and the lower shell doesn’t deform anywhere near as much – appears to be thicker plastic. The shop guys got to ski the Atomic in firm conditions and unanimously think it skis better than the 6P.

    With the tongue out, it’s way too soft for me to ski, but I felt the same about the TLT5P, as well. I like my boots on the stiffer side.

    Really impressed. Nice work Atomic! I hear the production pairs will have thicker liner tongues and likely higher rear cuff (and maybe tongue?). Both would be improvements. I might look into modifying a taller alpine boot tongue to fit.

    I took the Pro Tour liner out of my Cochises, and I think that would be a better choice over the stock liner for this boot. It still tours and walks just as well, but it skis much better – taller, thicker and more supportive. Weight is less than 10g difference. I’ll probably replace my Cochise Pro Tour line next season and use the old one in the Atomic. I’ll use the stock liner this season.

  60. Tyler February 17th, 2015 7:01 am

    I really wanted to like the boot, but when I tried it on it felt short on my leg – too short. Your comment on added height is interesting and would help my perception anyhow.

  61. Lindahl February 18th, 2015 4:12 pm

    Hey Tyler,

    After playing around with the boots quite a bit, I believe that you could get the feel you are going for by using the Pro Tour liner. Like I mentioned before, by using this liner, there’s no weight gain. There’s a very slight difference in resistance when walking and skinning, but it’s still light years better than anything else in the higher weight category, still comparable to the TLT6. It still feels like a sneaker. When skiing, not only is it stiffer and more progressive, the Pro Tour liner is also MUCH taller, and will likely give you the support you desire.

    In stock form, I agree, it feels a little short, but when switching to the Pro Tour liner, there was a very obvious and tangible improvement. Make sure you put the powerstrap across the upper portion of the liner (it will be tilted a little), and not across the plastic tongue, or low on the liner.

  62. Lou Dawson 2 February 18th, 2015 5:30 pm

    Great minds think alike. I just did a liner swap into my Backland test boots and tested the swap for the first time today, to add a bit more height but mostly because my feet were swimming in the boots. Night and day.

    Not a big deal, our constant refrain here at WildSnow is that liner swaps can be the solution to many problems.

    Before we get carried away here, let me check, I think they’re offering two different liners with these boots. I’d also suggest _not_ heat molding the shells unless you want more volume overall. The shell should be very easy to spot punch.


  63. Lindahl February 25th, 2015 5:22 pm

    I finally got my pair molded and skied my first real run on the boot. Very pleased. I don’t really feel like re-writing everything I wrote over at TGR, so here’s the link:

  64. Greg Louie February 25th, 2015 8:37 pm

    Lou, there is a taller liner with stiffer tongue and more padding in the ankle and heel in the works for the Backland Carbon – it’s still in the testing phase.

  65. Lou Dawson 2 February 26th, 2015 7:00 am

    Thanks Greg, here is the story from Atomic, they’ll have three liners available for the Backland boots including one for low volume feet like mine. They’re not messing around with this, that’s for sure. The timing is interesting, while we get a lot of chatter about freeride boots, they quietly release what could be one of the best touring boots out there.

    “…Thicker tongue with more padding/support plus a beefier ankle area. We are also working on a second option, a “low volume” liner that is even snugger for anyone who has super skinny feet. So, in total we plan to have 3 liners: Platinum Light (which is in the orange boot for uber light weight touring guys), Platinum (which you have, which will get beefier) and a Platinum Low Volume (which is currently being developed for the women’s version as well as aftermarket sales)”

  66. Bish February 26th, 2015 8:06 pm

    Hi, I’m relatively new to the AT thing, I love it and I’m a convert! I’m looking around to maybe replace my Atomic Waymaker Tour 110 boots. They are my first AT boots and after 2 seasons in Japan / 7 weeks of day touring / side country and resort skiing in them, there a number of things I would like to improve on. With my wider forefoot and skinny ankles, the Atomic boots have worked best for me over the years, tried the Cochise’s and they were too narrow, so this new model is interesting. The Waymaker’s two fundamental design flaws IMO are:

    1. a really poor range of forward movement in walk mode (the only way I can get any real movement is to fully unclip the two top buckles + power strap, which isn’t ideal in tricky terrain as I loose control without my ankles supported)

    2. flex – there isn’t really any! Well there’s a little initially and then you immediately hit a brick wall. Note the poor walking ability of the boot seems to be compounded by this lack of progressive flex

    They have been good for the down (although the lack of progressive flex isn’t ideal), having no trouble driving my Voille V8’s on hard pack at fast speeds or dancing through the trees in waist deep pow.

    So I guess I’m wondering if the Backland’s might be a possible replacement for me, correcting the Waymaker’s deficiencies, gaining a weight advantage, while still allowing me to drive hard on my (115mm) wide skis? I’ve never used a boot with removable tongues, so this is an unknown for me. I guess I’d have no problem with tongues in good conditions, but I’m a little concerned about having to fiddle with them in bottomless Japan pow conditions, I can see this being a real hassle possibly. Love to hear all your thoughts, it seems like an amazing wealth of experience here?

  67. Thom Mackris April 29th, 2015 11:20 am

    Hi all,

    Harry’s comment (January 22nd, 2015 8:40 am) along with the photos lead this finicky user to infer that there’s an eccentric cuff pivot to permit adjust the cuff alignment after the molding process. Am I correct about the pivot?

    “The cuff hardware has the ability
    migrate during molding for cuff
    alignment, same as vacuum fit,
    so you have to be aware of your
    stance during the process and
    be on a hard level surface for
    good results. I rarely have to
    fiddle with a cuff eccentric
    when done.”

    … Thom

  68. Spencer May 30th, 2015 3:01 pm

    Hey Pablo – will be in Spain in a couple weeks and am wondering if you could give me any tips for where to look for pre-production units for sale? Or other sites or shops to look for ski mountaineering boots?

    I live in Chile so ski season is starting imminently and not a lot of selection down here. Had a pair of F1 Evo’s that were recalled. Can’t afford to wait for the fall!

  69. Eric Rentschler October 12th, 2015 4:55 pm

    I just picked up a pair of these and haven’t molded them yet. One very key feature for me is the moldable outer shells. I’ve got VERY flat feat with protruding ankle bones forcing me to do serious shell work myself (beyond what any bootfitter I’ve met will do for me). I’m talking more than a half inch punch-out at my inner ankle bone. This is a huge deal for me and I’m REALLY looking forward to getting out of that business with these boots. But I heard some comments on this thread to the effect that it might not be realistic to get massive deformation like I need (Harry, Lou). That concerns me. I told the Atomic rep my situation and he insisted that I will be happy with these. The claim from the Atomic rep was that it was all about the properties of their new, proprietary plastic. I’m also wondering how much I should over-pad my ankle bone areas when I mold them in order to account for spring-back. It would be fantastic to get feedback from anyone on all of this. I’m assuming that enough time has gone by that there’s more data out there from consumers. I did see a May 9, 2015 update from Lindahl on that sounded very encouraging. But I’m assuming that his feet are not as weird as mine, given that he was actually able to ski in them before molding. Also, not sure why Solomon didn’t use the MemoryFit technology plastic in their MTN Lab boot…

  70. Lou Dawson 2 October 12th, 2015 5:11 pm

    Hi Eric, over-pad your needful area when molding, but you can spot mold later as well. Should be pretty easy. Don’t expect a truly anatomical shell mold, you are correct that the MemoryFit is more along those lines. Lou

  71. Curtis Cunningham October 25th, 2015 10:45 am

    I have two competing gear shops each trying to sell me two different boots for touring this year. The much-afore-mentioned Backland and the La Sportiva Spectre. Has anyone done head to head comparisons of these two?

    I’m specifically interested in the following points of comparison:
    – 2 buckle (atomic) v 4 buckle la sportiva
    – weight
    – liner wash/breath -ability (I sweat A LOT)

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  72. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2015 11:53 am

    All liners can be washed with warm water, in a bucket or deep sink. Use a small amount of antibacterial soap, the dreaded triclosan ingredient works great, just don’t ingest. Spectre vs Backland is not apples to apples, it’s not even apples to oranges, it’s not even apples to mangos. Please provide more details on why the shops have such different recommends, assuming both carry both boots?

    As for breathability, it’s a nice concept and the companies are getting closer, but remember that the liner is stuck inside an unbreathable plastic shell so the effect5 is limited. With the Backland breathing liner, I did feel more comfort but my feet still sweated. Lou

  73. Curtis Cunningham October 25th, 2015 1:52 pm

    The La Sportiva is sold in a smaller, more boutique-like shop that focuses more squarely on the backcountry crowd, whereas the Backland is sold in a larger independant store that caters to the needs of a wider selection of outdoor enthusiasts.

    My own background (if it helps), is that I’ve only gotten back into downhill skiing in the past 3 years. 2012/13 season was spent just enjoying being able to ski regularly again. 2013/14 I had my first taste of touring, maybe going 7 or 8 times. Then last season, I enjoyed touring so much that I lost track of how many times I went out (and up!). It was enough for me to know that this 2015/16 season, I really want to immerse myself in the backcountry. As a result, I’m getting lighter skis made for me and am looking to get lighter tech bindings and lighter boots as well. I’ve skied on Atomic Tracker frame bindings and have enjoyed my time, but know I want to get lighter in all aspects of my kit.

  74. Greg Louie October 25th, 2015 3:03 pm

    On my scale: La Sportiva Spectre 27.5 = 1445 grams, Atomic Backland Carbon 27.5 = 1166 grams. I’d say a more appropriate comparison would be the Backland Carbon and the new Dynafit TLT6P CL.

  75. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2015 3:21 pm

    100% AGREE

  76. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2015 3:23 pm

    Curtis, I’d say make the plunge into ultra lightweight, get the two-buckle boot and see how it goes. Hundreds of thousands of other ski touring folks agree. But be ready to adjust your style-technique a bit. Lou

  77. XXX_er October 25th, 2015 3:49 pm

    Curtis, IME starting with the spoiler system on the Dynafit boots a few years ago the number of buckles a boot has is not indicative of how stiff that boot will be

    keep in mind the Backlund & TLT are in the class of AT boots that fit tech bindings ONLY so they will not fit in your frame binding

    there is a good compro out there between Backlund & Salomon Mtn lab

    remember … the fit is everything

  78. Hardy October 28th, 2015 8:31 am

    I have 100 days on the Spectre boots. Cuff pivots got extremely sloppy right away and with the canting set up, I am not sure I can use the B & D pivot upgrade. I would certainly look at the Backland just from the pivot standpoint. Also as someone pointed out, they are in a different weight class.

  79. tyler October 28th, 2015 10:42 am

    Lots of folks ask what boots they should buy and my first answer is always: the ones with shells that fit your feet the best. If boots end up hurting your feet after hours of skinning then it doesn’t matter how light they are. Fit is also critical for performance. I suppose some feet are semi-universal, but that is not the case for many of us.

    Fit is the most important factor in the purchase decision.

    My thoughts anyhow.

  80. Eric Rentschler November 6th, 2015 4:22 pm

    Some followup comments about liners for the Backland Carbon. I’m still going through getting these boots ready to ski, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.
    The stock liners ARE very thin as others have pointed out. I had issues with the liner seem where the tongue is sewn to the rest of the liner, causing a hotspot at the edge of the shell.
    Started experimenting with different Intuition liners. The Pro Tour is way to thick for me. The medium volume Dreamliner was recommended, but that was still too thick. I moved to the low volume Dreamliner and that appears to be good.
    Learned from Intuition that they are a month (or more?) away from coming out with a new liner that they believe will be perfect for boots like the Backland Carbon. I’ll just go with the LV Dreamliners as I can’t wait but thought that might help others.

  81. Lou Dawson 2 November 6th, 2015 7:14 pm

    Eric, good info about Intuition. The eternal battle here is that the boot manufacturers have to make boot that feels ok in the store BEFORE any fitting. It’s a very lame situation and really just the fault of the industry as a whole, tradition and culture, but does keep aftermarket in business because the compromised liners in many cases need to be tossed in the trash and the thicker-better liner swapped in. It always elicits an internal chuckle when I’m at media visits and events and the chatter commences about how great a given liner is. Yeah, for what, 3 out of 10 people? 5 out of 10? 8 out of 10? Pick a number. Lou

  82. Eric Rentschler November 19th, 2015 11:04 pm

    Here’s another update that might help others.

    The overall story is that I’ve been able to get these boots to fit great even with my weird feet. I’ve gone through 5 iterations of tweaks followed by skiing them each time.

    The current Intuition ProTour and Dreamliner liners have a stiff upper cuff around the rear upper. This added thickness causes several unwanted issues in this type of shell.
    -It changes the geometry of the skier’s lower extremity, such that they effectively get more forward lean than the stock liners.
    -It reduces the front-to-rear mobility in hike mode, reducing the skier’s stride.
    The upper shell structural properties *may* be changed a bit since it cannot close as far. The circumference of the upper when buckled around the strap is about an inch more when going from the stock liners to the Dreamliners. The

    The new Intuition liner that I referred to (that’s not out yet) does NOT have this thick upper cuff. Rather, it comes with the ability to Velcro more paneling where needed. My contact at Intuition (who’s an expert boot fitter himself) has been advocating for this type of liner just for this type of boot. I’m guessing that this new liner will really appeal to touring types who like to fiddle.

    But without time to wait for the new liner, my contact advised me on taking off the upper panel layer. That can be done by cutting the seems and using a heat gun to soften the glue. It ends up looking ugly but it works. And you can do this and still retain the integrity of the rear pull handle on the liner.

    Note that the forward lean on these boots has two settings by flipping the plate on the inside of the boot that the two allen screws on the release in the rear thread into. They ship in the more upright setting.

    One other comment. It would be cool if there were a super stiff tongue in order to extend the downhill performance even more. There’s a softer tongue available separately. But with the ability to already remove the tongue completely, you’ve already got a wide performance range covered.

  83. Eric Rentschler November 19th, 2015 11:16 pm

    I’m still trying to decide if I want even less forward lean even after having done everything I’ve done here.

    Lou’s review states “We suspect that forward cuff lean can be easily modified”. I’m thinking the same thing and was staring at the boots thinking of how I might do that, if needed.

    One idea is to have an aluminum plate to shift where the screws on holding the latch are relative to the threads on the plate on the inside. In addition to the plate, this would introduce extra screws. In order to get enough offset between the screws (hopefully without forcing too large of a change) you could flip the inside plate to the other position.

    Other options would be around modifying the lever arm or just making a custom lever arm with an infinite adjustment.

    It would be fantastic if anyone had any specific ideas to share on this. Pictures would be even better!

  84. Eric Rentschler November 19th, 2015 11:36 pm

    I wanted to respond to this:

    “The eternal battle here is that the boot manufacturers have to make boot that feels ok in the store BEFORE any fitting. It’s a very lame situation and really just the fault of the industry as a whole, tradition and culture…”

    Here’s a solution that seems workable to me: The manufacturer supplies “fitting” liners that are shipped to the shops pre-baked to an average foot; one per size or half size. The customer tries on the shell they’re interested in with the appropriate “fitting liner”. Voila, now they’ve eliminated the counterproductive motive to make bad trade-offs on liner design and undermine fit.

    The cost would be that dealers would need a bunch of liners sitting around for this.

    Alternatively, a motivated dealer that is looking to best serve their customers could rock the foundations of tradition and just do this on their own. They could bake liners as-needed, each time they didn’t already have an appropriate one ready in that size. Then anyone with that size foot after that could use that baked liner in the store. They could be smart about using liners in different boot shells, such that they would not need a “fitting liner” for every size of every model boot. It would take a little judgement to do this. For a shop that does a reasonable volume of boot sales, even if they start over on “fitting liners” once per season, this cost would be negligible compared to the level of customer satisfaction.

    Ultimately, if successful, this type of scheme could make the manufacturers comfortable with shipping their boots with appropriate liners.

    I’m sure it’s easier said than done, but it seems like “the tail wagging the dog” the way it is now.


  85. Mark Worley November 20th, 2015 7:30 am

    I appreciate your perspective. Selling boots is tough because too many people can’t assent to the proposition that boots that fit properly feel SIGNIFICANTLY different (snugger, not as comfortable) from street shoe fit. The fitting liners solution might work, but it breaks down immediately: high cost for retailer, inability to truly stock enough fitting liners for almost infinitely variable customers’ feet.

  86. Eric Rentschler November 20th, 2015 9:34 am

    I’m just agreeing with Lou’s statement about “…a very lame situation and really just the fault of the industry as a whole…”. And I’m just brainstorming possible improvements.

    Another alternative might be to simply sell shells without liners. Admittedly this doesn’t address the exact same problem we started on here.

    But why should customers be forced to pay for liners that they simply discard?

    In my case, for boots other than Scarpas that come with good Intuition liners, I have always had to acquire my own liners anyway. That’s a waste of money and resources.

    Bottom line: We see an opportunities for the industry to improve here and the question is how….

  87. Lou Dawson 2 November 20th, 2015 9:42 am

    Eric, I suggested a while ago that shops sell boot shells and liners under different SKUs. You could hear the wailing and moaning all the way from Canada to Tierra Del Fuego. But you never know. As ski shops feel ever more pressure to offer service in order to compete with internet, “modularizing” the boot sales system could be an option, I still believe.

  88. swissiphic November 20th, 2015 10:20 am

    I’ve got problem feet that have complexities that haven’t been solved by any liner/shell modifications to complete satisfaction…at best it’s always a compromise of comfort (i.e. not excruciating pain) over performance. In my layman’s mind’s eye, the optimum liner would incorporate discrete inflatable air or gas chambers to more effectively provide support in crucial areas. Liner foam packs out and changes shape over the course of the day, temperature and long term wear…i can imagine a properly engineered discrete air or gas chamber liner would be more effective at re establishing original shape/fit in the long term and would provide infinite in field tweakability as the ski touring day with a heavy pack packs out the liner in different areas depending on type of terrain and mix of uphill/downhill skiing pressures and torque. I would envision discrete chambers in ankle/heel area to lock down the foot in that location, fold of ankle/instep and potentially a lateral chamber on outside of foot to help secure the skinny euro foot folks in a wider lasted boot….just a few thoughts.

  89. E. M. November 26th, 2015 12:44 pm

    Hi, Does anyone know where you can buy separate soft tongues for the Backland Carbon? I’ve asked a few places but no luck so far. Thanks

  90. Arnie November 27th, 2015 3:51 pm

    Hi Lou
    I think the market is already “modularised” just by the consumer! While we’re “happy” to shell out for two sets of liners to get boots to fit, at our own risk(financial) there is no impetus for change. Nearly every boot review will have …great boots..when I swapped my intuitions in….
    Personally it’s Palau ultralights but they no longer do them in 5mm!

  91. Lou Dawson 2 November 27th, 2015 4:30 pm

    One of the most amusing things about gear reviews and press events is the endless drivel regarding the liners, when they’re so often hacked on, customized and often end up in the dumpster… it’s made me laugh for years.

  92. jasper December 6th, 2015 12:24 am

    What happened to the Fischer transalp? The backland seems to be in a similar category. I must say I love my first generation maestralle, but they are worn thin. I’m looking to save on the superfluous material, such as four buckles, but love the smooth Scarpa flex. Will the Austrian boots compare? why isn’t Scarpa offering something in this class?

  93. Ben W December 6th, 2015 8:03 am

    Scarpa has the F1 Evo which was recalled because of the walk mode problem. They have addressed the problem AND they’re offering a manual walk mode version… in Europe. No idea why it’s not being offered here.

  94. RDE December 6th, 2015 8:53 am

    Hi Eric & Swissiphic,

    There is an alternative to Intuitions and stock liners that may be what you are looking for. I have a pair of ZipFits that have over 200 days in three different shells and perform as new. Unlike Intuitions that can be re-baked at most twice or stock liners that pack out rapidly, they can be re-heat fitted any number of times at home simply by heating the shells up to 200 f in boiling water, inserting the liners and buckling them up.

    I’m from the Tetons, so warmth is certainly an issue. They are not as warm as the thickest Intuitions, but about equivalent to the thinner intuitions you are considering.

    And of course the damn things are half as expensive as a new pair of boots—-.

  95. jasper December 6th, 2015 4:47 pm

    I had a pair of last years F1 evos. I never climbed so fast! However I didn’t like the flex. They were so rigid compared to the maestralle. How would the backland flex be described?

  96. Henrik January 25th, 2016 11:18 am

    Any more info on this new Intuition Liner?

  97. Drew in BC January 31st, 2016 10:45 pm

    I have 20+ days in the Backlands, and I’ve been loving them, but unfortunately today whilst walking back down a logging road the screws loosened and then fell out of 2 separate buckles on both boots within the space of about 20 minutes! I have the buckles but only managed to catch one screw.

    a) Has anybody else had this problem? I’ve been noticing the small screws that hold the buckles on have been loosening over the past few weeks and have been tightening them with an allen key before every tour.

    b) Is this a design fault?! Or do I have a defective pair. It would seem that the screws should have some kind of ‘lock tight’ if Atomic are not going to rivet them to the boot. I have not put these boots though any undue use that any average ski tour would demand.

    c) What’s my best option now – source another screw and just try to fix them myself? This seems like a serious warranty issue if they’re going to keep falling to pieces.

    It’s a shame if they have durability problems, because like I said, they’re great boots…

    Any advice much appreciated!

  98. Curtis Cunningham February 1st, 2016 8:31 am

    Drew – I had the same issue with a buckle and screw that fell out. I went to my gear shop and got a new one put in and now carry a little baggie with replacement screws and an Allen key to tighten them.

  99. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 9:01 am

    Common problem with threaded fasteners on ski boots. It seems the Italian boot manufacturing industry is 100% based on rivets, with thousands of people and tons of machinery devoted to riveting boots together, been going on for half a century or more. Changing that is a challenge. SCARPA tried and had near zero success. We applaud Atomic trying… but without people assembling with correct thread locker and torque the problems will not end. Repair kit essential. Lou

  100. XXX_er February 1st, 2016 10:14 am

    The earliest threaded Maestrale hardware would fall off the boot so the next year they used rivets, I never actualy lost any parts but the threaded fasteners on my Garmont endorphins loosened off multiple times

    I guess there is a lot of vibration down there on the feet, I check the my fasteners on my boots & skis often

    The solvent carrier in Loctite has been known to affect plastic ( it ate some G3 tele binding heel thro,s!) but I assume it doesn’t affect boot plastic?

    one could also use teflon plumbing tape on threads ?

  101. Lou Dawson 2 February 1st, 2016 10:22 am

    XX, the problem is that the smaller the fastener, the less surface area for thread lock, to the point where you pretty much have to epoxy the fastener threads. Unfortunate, as I’m a huge advocate of reversible fasteners on all boot parts. As a boot worker/fitter I had to spend $300 on a rivet press, and it still doesn’t fit every rivet. Difficult situation. Lou

  102. XXX_er February 1st, 2016 10:30 am

    yeah since one really does not want those fasteners coming off probably 24 hr epoxy on the threads is the ticket, a little heat will break the bond if one really needs to take off boot hardware

  103. swissiphic February 1st, 2016 3:30 pm

    Hey Al, thanks for the reminder of the o.g. maestrale fastener loosening issue. I’m back in the boots after an unsuccessful trial run of some solly mtn labs..don’t fit, can’t get ’em to fit. Re epoxing the maestrale screws as we speak… Dusted ’em off and took them skiing today for the first time in four years…been skiing the dynafit mercs which are completely unusable/trashed now and was pleasantly surprised at the performance of the mangos…nice smooth progressive flex. stiff enough for breakable crust and mank skied today on skinny skis. Tomorrow will be the true test…can they drive my 128mm waisted k2 Darksides?

  104. Alex February 25th, 2016 8:15 am

    I just got a pair of the carbon backlands and did the whole molding process. I’ve got a high instep, wide last, and an all around block of a foot. I’ve had to put in tons of work on any previous boots, and none of the lighter models (though I did bully some TLT’s into working for a while, at the cost of frequently cold feet) were even close. For me, the process was exactly what I needed to address all those problems in one quick session. One problem I did notice was that the boot opened above the instep a good amount, and now doesn’t quite match the curve of the tongue insert. Anybody hit the tongues with a heat gun to open them up a little?

  105. Jim March 1st, 2016 2:24 am

    Do you think I can widen the toe area 10mm or 1 cm? I have the Toe Jam boot widener and a heat gun and infrared thermometer. Or in the shop can they stretch it out 1 cm?

  106. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2016 5:45 am

    Jim, I think that’s possible, but during a big stretch like that I’d put the boot in some sort of fixture to keep the sole from getting warped, and be sure not to heat too large an area.They’re not going to stretch a centimeter doing the normal process of using the oven, in my opinion. That’s due to your foot not being rigid enough to push out the plastic, even with a bunch of shimming and padding. Lou

  107. Lou Dawson 2 March 1st, 2016 5:48 am

    Alex, sure, you can fool around with molding the tongues. Since they’re detached, if you mess one up totally, replace with another. Lou

  108. Kate Brown December 9th, 2016 10:06 am

    Is there any real difference between the 2015 boot (purple) and the new 2016 white one, aside from colour? Not sure I want to pay an extra 200 sfr for white

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