Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 Ski Boot – Reviewed

Post by blogger | March 31, 2017      
Might as well show that cuff articulation first.

Might as well show that cuff articulation first. After all, we are about skiing uphill. The cuff moves so far back it’ll actually pop up above the scaffo overlap at the front (you won’t do this in real life, but shows these things do indeed flex.) Catalog claims “54 degrees” of movement. In real life, Hawx Ultra 130 cuff articulation is limited by the liner and how you set the buckles. If you wanted to free things up a bit you could probably do a bit of judicious carving and cutting, but most skiers will not feel the need for that. (To answer inevitable questions about that thing holding the boot, it’s a fixture I use to hold boots for while doing fit modifications, and photos. It’s not an experimental binding.

Ok kids, this boot is an overlap that’s indeed svelte — but no 1-kilo wonder. It’s not a ski touring boot. It’s freeride ski touring boot. But at 1434 grams (size 27.5), with excellent cuff mobility, he does tour. Indeed, I’d call the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 a sort of “crossover.”

Enough wordplay. Firstly, I skied the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 via a couple of tours as well as cable laps. As you’ll see in the photos below, cuff articulation is excellent (though as with most overlap beef boots you’ll feel resistance from the liner as well as various parts of the shell.) In terms of downhill skiing flex, it’s as progressive as anything I’ve tried in an overlap, while quite stiff. Is it the legendary 130? Probably, but it’s not a 170 so those of you looking for plug boots perhaps need to visit the Atomic FIS shop and bribe one of the boot builders. More details in photo captions below.

Optional cuff spoiler comes in the box. You can increase forward lean with this, or add rearward support.

Optional cuff spoiler comes in the box. You can increase forward lean with this, or add rearward support.

Another view, note the external lean lock.

Another view, note the external lean lock. It’s a personal thing, but don’t like boots that appear to be molded out of something used on the Ghost Busters movie set. Nice, dark and neutral, that’s the visible part of the Hawx 130.

Liner is well made and gives you a hit of Ghost Busters vibe.

Liner is well made and gives you a hit of Ghost Busters vibe. Neoprene flex zone at the rear helps stiffer boots still feel nimble. Good to see that. The liner is said to be “light” and does weigh only 292 grams with OEM footbed. Overall, it appears to be a good compromise between providing a few stiffer regions but not loading up with a lot of mass to try and make the boot feel stiffer when tried in a ski shop.

Cuff is as high as any beef boot we've seen.

Cuff is as high as any beef boot we’ve seen. The few extra grams this requires results in the boot feeling significantly more powerful, in my opinion. Leverage and all that.

Inside at rear, the cuff pushes against V shaped notch in scaffo.

Inside at rear, the cuff pushes against V shaped notch in scaffo. The V notch closes as you leverage the cuff forward, thus responding to your input. This sort of active plastic is a common feature in beef boots that work well. Good to see here.

Front upper overlap. Classic.

Front upper overlap. Classic.

I found entry too difficult for my bad ankle.

I found entry too difficult for my bad ankle, and somewhat challenging on my good side as well. So I opened up the shell instep overlap just a bit, as well as cutting the elastic band that holds the liner closed over the instep. I still prefer a tongue type shell for ease of on-off, but I got these working. Ease of entry and exit is something I’d recommend should always be tested while a boot is still returnable, or on the carpet before purchase. You don’t want to be struggling in the trailhead parking lot, or worse, while crouched in a tent.

I couldn't figure out if this was a power strap or something used to lash pallets of rebar for crane lifting on a building project.

I couldn’t figure out if this was a power strap or something used to lash pallets of rebar for crane hosting on a building project. The first OSHA certified power strap, kudos Atomic!

I'm told the external lean lock took a lot of work to get right.

I’m told the external lean lock took a lot of work to get right. Respect. I’m so over internal lean locks that fail at the worst possible times. Cuff lean angle is user configurable by inverting the lean lock backer plate, which sets you at 15 or 17 degrees. A couple more degrees can be added by installing the supplied rear spoiler-shim (26 grams) behind your calf.

By the way, you get a nice lightweight footboard in the bargain.

By the way, you get a nice lightweight footboard in the bargain. Boot fitters like hacking on these to solve various problems.

Frictionless and user servicable cuff pivot, and the 'pre punched' navicular area delineated.

Frictionless and user serviceable cuff pivot, and the ‘pre punched’ navicular area delineated.

I like being able to remove the cuff.

I like the ability to remove cuff. Helps with fitting mods and gives peace of mind as you know if the pivots break or wear they can be easily replaced.

Dynafit certified gen-1 tech fittings.

Dynafit certified gen-1 tech fittings. We like the generation-1 toe fittings (they allow more room for sole thickness), but we’d prefer a rear fitting that was through bolted into the shell rather than using a screw. But if you keep your eye on this type of heel fitting (watch for it coming loose) it’s been shown to work ok. It’s actually held in by more than the screw, as it has two hidden prongs that also make a physical connection to the boot.

Last thing, WTR type sole should always be on this type of boot, in my opinion.

Last thing, WTR type sole should always be on this type of boot, in my opinion. In case you want to use it in a compatible alpine binding , a frame touring binding, or hybrid binding such as Kingpin or Tecton. This is not a removable “swap” sole system. We prefer that for most boots as it reduces cost, weight and complexity. That said, some of the newer swap sole configurations are quite clever so we’ll see how that all evolves.

Conclusion: Thumbs up for a good effort at making an overlap “beef” boot with reasonable mass and good cuff articulation. You can’t beat the Atomic Memory Fit system, and the serviceable cuff pivots are somewhat unique to the industry. A lot of boot.

Memory Fit details, impressive.

Memory Fit details, impressive.

Weight size 27.5 is 1434 grams (shell 1142 grams)
No cuff cant angle adjustment, instead adjust with padding or while fit molding.
Construction: Overlap shell with external lean lock.
Tech fittings: Dynafit certified, 1st generation type.
BSL 27.5, 312 mm (on the long side, fit my feet without a length punch).
Last width: Something like 100 mm, though remember that the Memory Fit system can make the boot significantly wider if needed. Atomic calls the fit “narrow,” I’d call it somewhere between narrow and medium.
Availability: Fall 2017.

Related Links:
Atomic Austria visit.

How Atomic flex tests their ski boots.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


42 Responses to “Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 Ski Boot – Reviewed”

  1. Dabe March 31st, 2017 10:39 am

    Thought that was a Tekton for a second in first photo…

  2. Rod Georgiu March 31st, 2017 11:42 am

    Is memory fit heat molding the shell?

    Also, skiing wise, how does it compare to the Lange free tour 130?

  3. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2017 11:50 am

    Rod, yeah, Memory Fit is a heat molding process of both shell and liner. See

    Bob reviewed the Lange 110 a while ago. We’ve not acquired both boots in the same size, but I can guess they’re pretty similar if the Lange 130 was the one compared. Carpet testing both boots side-by-side would be instructive.


  4. Alex March 31st, 2017 1:36 pm

    Wonderful article / review once again. I’m a ski-tech nerd and love to read your stuff.

  5. Michael March 31st, 2017 4:08 pm

    BSL for 27.5 shell?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2017 4:28 pm

    Shucks, that was in there and I guess I forgot to save the edit. Added to specs at end of post. Lou

  7. Chris B April 2nd, 2017 9:44 am

    I have been using the Scarpa Freedom SL for lift served skiing. Their power and progressive flex are really great. But they are darn heavy (2150 g, size 28.5) and the walk mode is not very good compared to my touring boots. These Atomics are over a pound per boot lighter and sound like they have much better cuff articulation. That would be nice for doing Highlands Bowl type boot hiking. They are both overlap boots. Will the Hawx 130 ski with same attributes as the Freedom SL? Are there any other overlap AT boots as light as the Hawx? Also, I have a tough situation for boot fitting. Huge bunions require lots of room in the forefoot area but my narrow heels and slender ankles/lower legs need a lower volume fit. It sounds like the Memory Fit system could work really well for me? Thanks for the beta Lou!

  8. Lee Lau April 4th, 2017 12:50 pm

    ChrisB. Not Lou but the Atomic Hawx is just as stiff, walks better and is as you noted lighter. The one thing it lacks is interchangeable soles and frankly I think the liner is not so good. But you can try the Scarpa liner (which is the awesome Intuition-made liner) in the Hawx

    Using Memoryfit I easily got 5mm of forefoot width expansion. A liner cook gave me another 5mm of space. So I got a good fit on the Atomic. I am pretty much a perfect Scarpa foot fwiw. The narrow heels and ankles may need some Bontex pads as the heelcup and ankle on the Atomic is more a middle of the road fit – perfect for me but perhaps a tad too much volume for me. But this is keyboard speculation on my part

  9. Lou Dawson 2 April 4th, 2017 1:02 pm

    Thanks Lee, indeed, overall Hawx thumbs up. Liner worked ok for me, but it’s always worth fooling around with liner options, which can sometimes really improve a boot. My biggest personal gripe with most liners is the foam is simply too thin for me to get a good mold, other than at my forefoot. But then… I stuffed some other liners in my Atomic Backlands and they’re too tight even after molding! Never ends (smile). Lou

  10. Scott April 4th, 2017 9:17 pm

    Thanks for the review, what is the last of this boot?

  11. Lou Dawson 2 April 5th, 2017 7:51 am

    Hi Scott, it’s 100 mm as far as I know. Atomic calls it “narrow” but I’d call it somewhere between narrow and medium. Thing is, the shell is so easy to modify it’s somewhat immaterial to state a last width. Though indeed, while it can be made wider it can’t easily be made narrower. Lou

  12. Lenka K. April 5th, 2017 2:13 pm

    So how does this boot compare to the Tecnica Zero G Pro? Is the Tecnica narrower? Is the cuff range of movement similiar or perhaps bigger on the Atomic?

  13. Lou Dawson 2 April 5th, 2017 3:26 pm

    Lenka, I don’t have both boots here, but can say that the cuff range, to the rear, is better with the Hawx. Not sure about widths. In concept they’re very similar. I’d say a pick by shell fit would be the way to decide, but also do a carpet test for feel of cuff articulation. They’re more similar than different. Neither are ski touring boots (smile). I’d prefer the full length grip sole of the Hawx, for climbing ladders and teetering on boulders, but that’s just me (smile).

    I’d imagine the weights in same size are too similar to quibble about.


  14. Chris April 6th, 2017 12:49 am

    So Lee, you’re suggesting Intuition liners are a good option? Hmm.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 April 6th, 2017 5:30 am

    Lee has done some good WildSnow coverage of Intuition in the past.

    He’s up around their area quite a bit, perhaps it’s time for him to take another look-see. I’ll ask.

    Thing is, liners are very personal, sometimes the stock liner can feel terrific and even fit without molding. Other times it can be a struggle that ends with swapping in another liner. That process can be valid. If you find a boot that has a good shell fit, skis the way you like and is in the weight class you like, it’s worth fooling around with liners for a lot of people.

    Also, do a site search for all our Intuition coverage.


  16. Daniel April 6th, 2017 10:55 am

    Intuitions can be very relevant for the latest breed of touring boots, as stock liners tend to be a little flimsy and thin for factory weight reasons. i.e. the zeroG liner. no1 option for most readers here will typically be a pro tour, but there are many options. also, scarpa sell the maestrale liner as a replacement, cheaper than intuition here in europe, and essentially a pro tour.

  17. Lee Lau April 6th, 2017 11:39 am


    Full disclosure is that I am in Intuition addict. Almost every boot liner gets binned and replaced by an Intuition. For me, the ProTour liner is usually lighter, warmer and tours better or just as well.

    Daniel – the Tecnica ZeroG and Salomon Mtn Lab were one of the few boots I tried where i didn’t bin the liners but actually used them. In both cases their weights were approx the same as the Intuition Protour.

    But like Lou says fit and fitting are very very different for each person.

  18. See April 7th, 2017 6:55 pm

    Hi Lou. Should memory fit boots be clamped in some sort of jig to keep the sole from warping during molding? Any clue about how they keep the sole from getting tweaked, if not? It seems like it would be a concern, given that the whole boot gets baked.

  19. Herb Jones October 18th, 2017 9:53 am

    A note on sizing. I have measured the inside length dimension s of a few boote and find that Alpine boots measure a full size larger than the AT boots I measured. Alpine style boots I measured were the Lange world cup 140 size 26.5, the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 26.5: AT boots were the Dynafit TLT5 and 6, and the LaSportiva Spitfire(black and yellow model), all size 27.5. All of these boots measured the SAME LENGTH inside -10 3/4 inches toe to rearmost heel at the point where the sole or boot board meets the vertical heel curve.
    I’m curious as to whether or not this is an industry standard difference between Alpine and AT boots?

  20. See October 21st, 2017 8:06 pm

    Many AT boots use thin liners. I’m not a fan of this trend, but I’ve got wide/ high volume feet.

  21. Lou Dawson 2 October 22nd, 2017 7:59 am

    Herb, no industry standard, without seeing your exact boots, it’s probably just as See alludes to. Touring boots tend to be lower volume with thinner liners. Saves weight, and shorter boots stride a little better. Some of this is just pure style as well, as ski touring shoppers like the look of trimmer boots.

    That said….

    Also, thinking on what you noticed, it’s common for boots in both alpine and ski touring to be “short lasted,” meaning a smaller size boot is created by using a shorter liner in a longer boot. Thus, the size printed on the boot’s retail box can sometimes be 1/2 to a full size shorter than the interior shell length measurement.

    In your case, the 26.5 boots could simply be short lasted in a 27.5 shell, since your interior measurement is 10.75 inches, which is essentially a 27.5 (275 mm) boot shell.

    In terms of technicality, if you’re measuring boot shells, be sure to clarify if the “size” number you use is that printed on the inside of the lower shell “scaffo” as that’s generally the true size of the shell. Conversely, specify if the size number you use is that printed on the retail box and perhaps on a sticker.

    Lastly, ski boot dimensions are best consistently stated in millimeters, as doing so makes things more obvious and easier to interpret.


  22. Herb Jones November 2nd, 2017 12:00 pm

    Lou, yes the sizes are in fact accurate as stated but, I did double check. Sorry, I just don’t have a metric tape measure yet, it’s on my shopping list.
    Looking back at my previous comment I noticed that I did not specify that all measurements were taken in bare shell/scaffo, w/o liners.
    So another question; can a liner really be “lasted” in a double boot(perhaps the incorrect term harkening back to leather double boots) or is the last really only the shape of the outer boot? After spending much of last season working on a pair of boots I realized that it would be much more sensible to look for a boot that more closely matches my morphology and start the fit customising from there. I found that cuff alignment rivets really don’t do much if the scaffo is tilted as well. Both the Dynafit TLT5/6 and Lasportiva Spitfire are tilted outward this way so that I stand on the inside edges of the boot with the outside edges off the floor. The Atomic Hawx Ultra is much more upright and may be a better place to start than trying to reshape the entire scaffo and cuff. Also, I checked the Atomic website and there is a cant rivet available for the Hawx Ultra (and other models as well).


  23. Mike Porter January 3rd, 2018 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the great review. I bought this boot and have had it molded and fits perfectly with one exception and that’s the instep. My fitter used pads on the instep which helped a bit, but the flex point in the lower shell still has some pressure on the top of my foot very close to the lower shell flex point. The flex point is actually a little lower on my foot than I’d like, so I’m considering two options and wanted to see if you would recommend one over the other:
    1. Do I have the foot board ground down from the bottom to make some room for my high instep and better align the flex point of the boot shell to my ankle?
    2. Do I open up the instep a bit as you did? I assume heated and cooled with your wood vice in place?
    Thanks for any advice you can give!

  24. Paul January 7th, 2018 7:33 am

    Those of you looking for boots, i’d put in a plug for the Atomic 120 XTD- I have had Scarpa Freedom SL since it came out. This boot is a step up across the board. Thought Freedom was a great boot for in/out bounds- but this is better. For the down- great progressive flex- no stiffening point as you turn. Well padded tongue, so don’t expect shin bang to be an issue. Like the Freedom (and as Lou mentioned in review) these are hard to get into- definitely need to spread the lower shell.
    As for the up, greater range of motion and lighter (again, not light like true touring boot, but life and skiing are full of trade offs). You do need to unbuckle upper buckles to get full ROM, and they have a kinda cool slide mechanism if you don’t like having the buckles unattached- the reason it’s only kinda cool is I don’t care.
    Importantly, the fit is much better- always had pressure spots on top of foot with Freedoms (despite a number of shop visits and modifications)- not the case with these. My boot fitter sung the praises of much flexibility the Atomic fitting system provides.
    I am skiing these with Volkl 90Eights and FD Tecton- unfortunately have not had a chance to ski deep blower pow given our winter so far, but they are very capable for short and long radius turns around Stramboat.
    You can see a detailed review on Blister- which goes in depth on various liner options and compares 120 to 130.
    OK, good luck, happy turns and have fun out there!

  25. Herb Jones April 4th, 2018 2:15 pm

    Lou, one question came up after looking at your scaffo stretch for ease of entry- is the scaffo harder to close up afterwards or does it close easier than it opens for entry pre-stretch? I had the same issue and returned the boots but, am now rethinking for new reasons.
    Thanks as always,

  26. Lou Dawson 2 April 4th, 2018 2:25 pm

    Hi Herb, it’s a fairly flexible area of the boot, no problem closing in my recollection, I usually also cut a small bit of plastic out of these areas, to make foot entry easier. The boots are being long-term tested by my son in Washington, so I don’t have them here to revisit. But I can say that these sorts of mods really are no big deal. Lou

  27. Lou Dawson 2 April 4th, 2018 2:28 pm

    By the way, this is where I should mention I’ve been taking on some boot fitting contracts, very select, and expensive, and your boots might appear in a blog post. If anyone is in the area I’m perhaps available. Masterfit certification and fully equipped shop. Lou

  28. Brian D. April 17th, 2018 11:30 pm

    Reading the posts here has been helpful. Thanks. Trying to get into a WTR or GripWalk boot for area skiing with option to get in some uphill and side-country laps. I’ve been having a hard time finding an overlap boot that is not difficult and painful getting in and out of. Most recently have tried Atomic Hawx XTD 120 and Lange Freetour 130. Can anyone offer up any more detail for mods/tricks to make the on and off less difficult.

  29. Frame April 18th, 2018 2:57 am

    Brian, try part way down the above post. Lisa recommends a boot horn, haven’t tried one, but am thinking about it!

  30. Lou Dawson 2 April 18th, 2018 7:16 am

    Brian, sometimes you can cut away some plastic from the lower shell overlap flaps, can make a big difference. Watch while you put the boot on and figure out where the boot binds on your foot the worst, cut to ease that pressure. Remove at most 1/16 inch at a time, and do this after you’ve heat molded a bit to open up, as shown above. Experiment with various ways of getting into the boot, for example put liner on foot then enter boot. Use a bit of foot powder in areas that seem to catch with friction. Watch for parts of the boot that are hooking or hanging while you enter. And use a boot horn. Lou

  31. Lars September 26th, 2018 7:45 am

    Hi Lou, just unboxed these. I cannot figure howcto mount the optional cuff spoilers that comes in the box.

    You state you can increase forward lean with this, or add rearward support. This meaning there are two mounting options? I am looking to add rearward support.



  32. Lou Dawson 2 September 26th, 2018 6:20 pm

    Hi Lars, sorry to confuse, a cuff spoiler would usually do both: add a bit of forward lean as well as possible added support higher on the leg. I don’t have the boots here so I can’t detail the attachment method. Most people don’t need the spoiler. Lou

  33. Max November 4th, 2018 5:32 am

    @Brian, in my experience by far the easiest way is to take the liners out of the shell, put on liners first, then slip into shell making sure to use thumbs to open up the shell as wide as possible while entering.

  34. Herb Jones January 4th, 2019 11:06 am

    Brian, Max,

    I find that the “V” cutout at the back of the scaffo is impedes foot entry almost as much as the overlap. The heel gets wedged into the cutout and binds. The “Boot Horn” is essential, in my opinion, to ease heel entry and it allows you to slip quickly past the spot where the instep binds as well and makes sliding the liner into the shell easier too, if that’s your style.

  35. Vasja January 21st, 2019 11:24 am


    can anyone directly compare HAWX ULTRA XTD vs Tecnica Zero G in the hight of instep? Measure in mm what the height difference is?

    I have high instep and unfortunately I can not find any opportunity to compare both.

    Also currently I’m using original “green” Zero G (2017-18, highly modified by a boot fitter) in 115 flex and I’m looking into something slightly less stiff and more progressive.

    High instep is most important for me.

    Thank you.


  36. Jeff February 2nd, 2019 3:53 am

    Vasja – Have you received an answer from anyone? I have the same instep question for those two boots, along with my third contender – the Head Kore 1.

  37. Vasja February 2nd, 2019 3:58 am

    Hi Jeff,
    no unfortunately no answer until now. I also did not manage to get opportunity to compare them myself. I did however try Dalbello in shop – did not seem to be any better.

    I’m still on my green Tecnica Zero-G. And will use any opportunity I get to tray and compare. Also I might go to Chamonix in spring to SOLE boot lab… they ahem good reputation.

    Will report here if I found out something interesting.


  38. Vasja February 2nd, 2019 4:02 am

    Kore 1 are too stiff for me at 130 flex… I’m looking for something in 100-110


  39. Lou Dawson 2 February 2nd, 2019 9:46 am

    Vasja, the only way to really tell if the boot is better for your foot is to try it on. After you select the best one, then it’s usually easy to modify the instep height to achieve final fit. One trick with instep, with “tongue” type shells, is to cut material away from the sides of the shell opening in the area where it presses down on your instep, then of course heat mold it so it’s higher. Another thing to remember is the Atomic boots with the easily molded shell can possibly be molded for a higher instep, by using plentiful padding on top of your foot when the molding is done. Lou

  40. Jeff February 2nd, 2019 10:13 am

    Thanks for your suggestions Lou. Good luck Vasja. I recall that the stores in Chamonix have the best selection I’ve seen anywhere. I’ll check out the SOLE lab next time. Thanks.

  41. Vasja February 2nd, 2019 10:27 am

    Lou thanks for suggestion. I’ll follow on that. I just need to find opportunity to compare them side by side.

  42. wade b February 26th, 2019 6:09 am

    I have been using the 120 version of this boot which IMO has a much better liner, which, although some might not like because it is heavier than the touring liner, is more area boot like and thus more comfortable and robust. I have always felt that even at the “low” setting (15 degrees) there is too much forward lean especially for touring. If anyone owns this boot and feels the same way, Atomic does make a rear base plate that allows for 13 degree forward lean (and when flipped 19 degrees if you’re into that kind of thing) , part # AZE00114116001. The only caveat here is that suggested retail for these two small plates and 4 screws is $50! Ouch.

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