The 2018 Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 pretty well blew doors off the backcountry category competition and both fit as well and skied as well, as most of the other boots in the test, regardless of category—according to our very unimpressed testers. Uh, that last part was a joke.
Tight, evenly tight. Sorta like: Bond, James Bond. That's how this boot fits—like a tailored dinner jacket with a suppressed Walther PPK in the inside chest pocket. Sophisticated but badass—Spartan and connected to the shell, yet well-shaped and ergonomic, the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 hit the fit-bullseye for testers right between minimalist and humanist. This little, narrow featherweight actually fits like a real boot. This, of course, according to our very unimpressed test team.
We like Grilamid. Here you'll find it in both the lower shell and upper cuff. It's heat-stretchable like polyurethane, and when it's done right it skis pretty damn similar—meaning, strong and stable, predictable. Sometimes it can be twitchy, but here we'll just call it quick. A resiliant, energetic flex feel (testers said). A snappy return to center in between turns (testers said). It was strong and undeterred through a variety of mank and mung (testers said). This boot skied almost as well as the pinned cuff Hawx Ultra 130, and we think toured as well as the Atomic Backland. Maybe the core, on-area, off-area guy really doesn't need two boots. Wow, what a concept.
It's got rockered, lugged soles and is tech-compatible, like the rest of the group. It forgoes lateral cuff adjustments for the sake of solid, touring pivot points, which sometimes is an alignment demerit, but the Memory Fit oven-cook customization feature can help the knock-kneed and bowlegged while addressing general fit improvements—win, win!
“A touring boot that provides State of the Art All-Mountain performance.” -- Bob Gleason
“Felt agile and edging was good compared to other Backcountry boots—and everything fit great!” -- Andrew Orlich
“Great stance—flex and balance is like an alpine boot. Most powerful of the category.” -- Bob Kuehn
“The fit is tight and good—flex was consistent and didn't lock-up.” -- Steve Remer
“Skied great! Better than expected—solid and quick.” -- Dallas Goldsmith
“A little tough to get into.” -- Bob Kuehn