Atomic New Hawx and Ultimate Touring Boots 2016-2017

Post by blogger | January 28, 2017      
Atomic Backland Ultimate

Atomic Backland Ultimate is targeted to the European ultra-lightweight market. Impressive.

A little WildSnow weekend action for you faithful out there. Atomic made a big splash with their new ski touring offerings these past few seasons. Especially the Backland boot. Which is probably the easiest ski boot in existence for fitting to problem feet. And pretty good in general. This year they’re jumping on the “freeride touring” bandwagon, along with updates on the binding and a new touring boot.

Hawx 130 flex overlap freeride touring boot.

Hawx 130 flex overlap freeride touring boot. Said to come in at around 1400-1500 grams with scads of cuff mobility. This could be a winner.

Overview of what’s coming for 2016-2017:
– 2 brand new boot options (Backland Ultimate touring and Hawx freeride touring), and updates to existing models
– 1 brand new ski option, and updates to existing models (we’re waiting for solid info)
– New updates to the pin binding (the brake, as covered elsewhere here including our mods)

While I tend to think the best news is always in the lighter weight touring department, I’ll admit that Atomic appears to be onto something in Freeride Touring, with a new touring (tech binding compatible) version of their Hawx boot. This will be the Hawx Ultra XTD and a number of other related models (pronounce as “extended”): 130-120-100 flex options, 1420g / 26.5, 54° of cuff range of motion, Memory Fit, external lean lock machinery and more.

Atomic claims this offering will “tour better than any other 4-buckle or 1.5kg-ish option out there.” That might be a bit of hype, but this is indeed looking good. It’s like they reached that ultimate pinnacle of design perfection in adding cuff mobility and external lean lock to an already terrific overlap cuff alpine boot, only it’s quite light. (We’re still of the opinion that most backcountry skiers will be entirely happy with a 1 kilo boot of the dedicated ski touring persuasion, but then, we respect you hard chargers out there.)

The complete Hawx freeride touring line. Atomic is clearly going for world domination.

The complete Hawx freeride touring line. Atomic is clearly going for world domination.

The new lightweight offering from Atomic is Backland Ultimate (see PR photo above). I’m told that with the success of the Backland, it became obvious that the European market demands ultra lightweight versions of touring boots for travel with emphasis on speed, as well as resort uphilling. Atomic calls this category “Endurance Touring.” The Ultimate is said to use the Backland mold, only with a new liner, waterproofing to compensate for lack of tongue, lean-lock that’s a one-motion latching system and a few other goodies. The boot is said to come in at 750 grams for size 26.5 and is indeed made from the Memory Fit plastic we love to heat mold. I’m also told that Atomic will attempt to lower the stratospheric prices these types of boots tend to command, that’ll be appreciated most certainly.

Atomic PR, edited for brevity:
Hawx has always been an all-mountain boot. But the line between all-mountain skiing and freeride touring is constantly blurring. So Atomic has created a new boot that works perfectly for both – Hawx Ultra XTD. It combines the legendary feel, skiing power and all-mountain capability of Hawx with the epic natural movement of Backland.


14 Responses to “Atomic New Hawx and Ultimate Touring Boots 2016-2017”

  1. MIke January 28th, 2017 1:04 pm

    Hey Lou, just curious as to how this exact page popped up on tgr a few days ago. saw it over there, came here and it wasn’t up. just thought i’d let ya know. also what is the new light weight touring boot all about. seems like you’d be all over that one!(grin)

  2. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2017 1:12 pm

    Update: Oh, wait, I went over there and looked and saw that Lee had posted a few catalog pages, and that the forum thread includes an image I published here. Not sure why Lee sourced the image from us, probably in a hurry to go skiing, free advertising for WildSnow (smile). Correction: The WildSnow image was probably posted up by someone adding to the thread.

    There was indeed a glitch as I published it too early, a while back, and had to take it down for a while. So some links got out there and Lee someone must have taken the image from one of those.

    More coming on the real ski touring options… I’ll probably visit Atomic when I’m in Austria and get the take from the source.


  3. Jeremy C January 28th, 2017 1:19 pm

    I use what could be considered the predecessor to these, the Atomic Waymaker Tour FR. The Skywalk rubber soles show significant wear after about 90 days use, but at least the are replaceable. I see that Atomic have now moved the tech fittings to the main body, rather than the replaceable soles. Any idea if the soles are stillreplaceable on the Hawx XTD?

  4. Lee Lau January 28th, 2017 5:15 pm


    Just to be clear and so there’s no misunderstanding the information I posted (picture and slides) were from Atomic directly.

    In no way, shape or form did I source the image from Wildsnow. That would be disrespectful and I respect Wildsnows’ guidelines.

    I am however going skiing.


  5. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2017 5:27 pm

    Hi Lee, no worries, I took a quick glance at that thread and saw one of the catalog shots we’d stamped with the WildSnow text logo, thought you’d grabbed that because it’s of course not copyrighted by us, though yeah, after we resized and cropped it as a derivative work we’d prefer it remained unique to us. It must have been another person who grabbed it and posted it up. Wouldn’t be the first time. In any case, I’m glad the operative word for you was skiing, not posting (smile). I’ll edit the above comment. Lou

  6. Harry January 29th, 2017 5:38 am

    I am super excited to try this boot next week.

    I am very happy with my sub 1kg boots for my touring, but what I haven’t wanted to put up with for the last 8 years is a fixed cuff while resort skiing. Race nights excepted, I have had a parade of boots from Titan, old cochise, Freedom SL, Maestrale RS and new Cochise trying to find a balance between boot power and convenience.

    The best combination so far has been Maestrale RS with Kingpin, as I feel the detachable bootsole flex of the Freedom is greater than the additional lateral stiffness of that boot, so in a pin binding the Maestrale is equal for ski, greater for walk..

    The real one beef boot quiver problem that needs to be solved is getting a walkable performance fit. With all of those boots I still either have to size up from my regular alpine or try and stretch the toe box within a mm of its life.

    The rear scaffo of a walkable overlap boot provides a great deal of its power and feel, the higher it is cut the better the ski feel, and the more it levers your foot forward into the toe box while walking. That is a bigger limit on articulation than the cuff/lean lock design in many boots, the Lupo comes to mind as a glaring example.

    I would love to see some inovation on the toe box side, something like the tlt 7 expanded toebox, but with din lug intact, or a version of the one year and done shark nose Lange tried 10 years back.

    Someday we will have a resort touring boot with a toe that resembles a platypus bill.

  7. GeorgeT January 29th, 2017 8:33 am

    Atomic Hawx may be what I am looking for if they fit narrow/low volume feet. Please get some fit beta on your trip to Austria.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 January 29th, 2017 8:42 am

    George and all, I added info on their new version of the Backland boot, they’re calling it Backland Ultimate. It’s for the ultra lightweight customer — huge category in Europe.

    As for the fit of these boots, it’s always hard to say how they’ll really do since “last width” is only part of the equation.

    My plan is to visit Atomic HQ in Austria and hang out for a day with the boot technicians, do some fitting, and see what’s really what.

    The Hawx looks super nice, but it’s amazing how many boots there are in that category from everyone from Lange to Tecnica. I’ve lost count. Really, with all the choices nearly anyone should be able to find an excellent shell fit in one brand or another.


  9. Eric Stei January 30th, 2017 8:24 am

    Ultimate looks like everyone else’s boot (TLT5, etc.). Do most people really want the top-buckle linked to the ski/walk lever? I sure don’t. And why the buckle on the side, instead of the top? No one is really innovating this year (the TLT7 notwithstanding). That’s good, because it makes my decision to get the Scarpa F1 much easier. I have a few gripes about it but the design is dialed.

    Not incidentally, I’d love to see a review of the Movement boots, which don’t get to the US market much — but Skimo has ’em.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 January 30th, 2017 8:31 am

    I’d agree, the side buckle is disappointing and yes I’m neutral on the “one motion” closure, though when it works it’s nice. Probably the coolest things: Backland last for those of you with wider feet, and the easily molded shell plastic. Light enough for competition, or just setting up an ultra-light rig for fun personal bests. Lou

  11. Apingaut January 30th, 2017 7:12 pm

    I totally agree with the one motion buckle concern. Looking at the picture it appears you could easily make it manual of you want. Keep It Simple….

  12. Chris dahl-Bredine February 4th, 2017 4:25 pm

    Hi Lou,
    Thanks for all the hard work testing and reviewing these products! Do
    We know when the new Hawx xtd boots will be available?

  13. Michael February 8th, 2017 12:21 pm

    Anyone know if these new Atomic boots (as well as the updated Backland) will have Dynafit certified tech fittings?

  14. Lou Dawson 2 February 13th, 2017 1:12 pm

    Hi Michael, I put in a question to Dynafit about the certified inserts, and got a list of all the boot brands that use them. Here you go. Both Atomic and Salomon are on the list.

    · Scarpa
    · Arcteryx
    · Fischer
    · Salomon
    · Crispi
    · Roxa
    · Scott
    · Tecnica
    · Lange
    · Nordica
    · Movement
    · Hagan
    · Atomic

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  Your Comments

  • Lou Dawson 2: More from Matt at Atomic: "The Nm rating of 130 is actually just a coinc...
  • Jack: Lou, re: foot/leg Find someone who repairs/rebuilds prosthetics, or find...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Thanks Tom, I have fun learning about the tech stuff but definitely don't h...
  • Tom Gos: Lou, with regard to your torque math you are correct about the 50cm lever a...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Concern is that air convection within the cells will make the jacket work p...
  • Carl: I have found how the boot is buckled has a huge flex impact as well. Boots...
  • Carl: looks like a great thing to have in the pack. Site looks like it works, di...
  • Jack: hmmm. I wonder how hard it would be to instrument the boot liner to measu...
  • Omekim: Ummm.... The machine looks to be at room temperature. They should probably ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Tom, it would be easy to do something crude using a torque wrench on an art...
  • Lou Dawson 2: From what I know, unlikely all the boot flex ratings in the industry are an...
  • Tom Gos: Lou, I seem to remember that back in the '80s Ski Magazine (the American on...
  • Bill H: Maybe SkiAlper can rent some time on the machine for next year's issue :)...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Greg, I did have a graphic at one time but I don't recall it having reso...
  • Greg: I remember there being an image of the D scale at some point – with resort ...
  • Hans D.: Great advice. I hadn't thought about the "quickstep" notch, but now that y...
  • Dean Gagnon: Hello, Does anyone know where to get spare hinges for the tounge of the ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Billy Goat, IMHO the Amer (Salomon) binding is not a done deal, it will be ...
  • Rod Georgiu: Good idea...
  • zak: Any idea on if/when Scarpa will update the F1 to include the tech from the ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: I'll say it. Many Dynafit ski models are built to be lightweight and not pa...
  • Tomas: Destruction topsheet - only 2 days during normal telemark skiing. I'm wait...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Glad you liked the photos, was a fun day with you guys. Main thing, just gi...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Agree, someone needs to forget about TUV and all that sort of thing and jus...
  • szaraz levente: I do not need a TUV certificate brake, I only hate the wire wich connect me...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hans, the best thing to do is put your boot-binding combo on a release test...
  • Hans D.: Regarding touring boots with swappable soles for alpine use: I have Lupo TI...
  • Dave Johnson: My mind is blown at the binding technology going on today. Imagine, in '76 ...
  • Bar Barrique: Jason; If you choose to replace the liners, I would advise speaking to the ...
  • BillyGoat: Convertible alpine bindings will defiantly have a market (aside from the fi...

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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