Atomic – Hawx Ultra XTD 130
Hang on a minute, a sub 1500g boot with a walk mode wins our freeride award?! Yes ‘ when it skis as well as the new Hawx Ultra XTD anyway. We’re big fans of the current trend for versatility – who’s got time for a quiver of boots to cover touring, freeride and piste? ‘ and here Atomic have married the touring tech from their tried and true Backland boots with the legendary downhill performance from the Hawx series to create one seriously capable all-rounder. Let’s start with the walk mode. Any true freeride boot needs a walk mode these days to access those lines out of reach from the lifts, and the Ultra XTD’s 54’ range of frictionless motion certainly helps the eternal hunt for powder. Dynafit-certified tech inserts mean you can use pin bindings for longer missions without worrying about pre-releases, while the special rubber ‘Walk-to-Ride’ sole fits into many alpine bindings when you only want to go downhill. Downhill performance was always the key priority for Atomic here though, and the sturdy Grilamid shell delivers plenty: they have a true 130 but deep and progressive flex to absorb impacts when landing drops or raging through bumps, heaps of lateral stiffness and a nice snappy rebound. The 98mm width last and mouldable Memory Fit 3D liner really cradle the foot, transmitting any movement instantaneously to the ski for precise edging whether jump turning down an icy couloir or ripping GS arcs down a powder-filled bowl.