Spoiler alert: The Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 XTD is not just a “Hawx Ultra 130 with a hike mode.” While Atomic’s new freeride touring boot does borrow traits like Memory Fit and a 98-millimeter last from its resort-bound brethren, at 1420 grams each, it’s the lightest boot in its category and offers more power than a lot of the competition.
The XTD’s Free/Lock 2.0 hike mechanism spans a relatively long distance between the boot’s upper cuff and lower shell, which is where the boot’s generous 54-degree range-of-motion comes from. I was immediately skeptical of the words “Frictionless Pivot” written on the boots, but the XTD’s ease of ankle flection on the skin track is as good as it gets, especially for a boot modeled after the four-buckle, overlap resort category.
Atomic’s incorporation of an Energy Backbone (stiffer plastic) and an interior spoiler in the Hawx Ultra 130 XTD’s construction creates a truly progressive rigidity that is seldom achieved in boots with touring capabilities. The one drawback is the liner. It’s machine washable, but it lacks structural integrity and is likely best replaced with an aftermarket option such as an Intuition. --Alex Buecking