2014-2015 Atomic Hawx 2.0 120

Adjustable Forward Lean

I’ve come to really like this feature of the Hawx 2.0 120. As I reported in my X Pro 120 review, more upright boots work well for me, and the Hawx 2.0 120 allows you to adjust that forward lean from ~15 degrees to either ~17 degrees or to a more upright ~13 degrees. It’s an easy adjustment, and if you have never experimented before with various forward lean angles, you should. At 13 degrees, the boots felt best to me personally, and I’ve felt very balanced and stable on a variety of skis, in a variety of terrain.

Flex Adjustment

Atomic also touts the ability to adjust the flex of this boot down to a “110” rating, or up to a “130” rating. But there is no novel way of doing this—just the regular tricks that you can perform on most boots: add a rivet to the back to stiffen the flex up (my Hawx only came with one rivet in the back, but there is a clearly designated spot to drill another rivet into the spine of the boot); remove a rivet—or preferably, cut the lower shell of the boot—to make the boot less stiff. So yes, you can definitely adjust the flex of the boot, but only in all the usual ways.

Firm, Bumped Up Terrain and Variable Conditions

As I’ve said, I’ve driven a very wide range of skis in these boots, from 192cm, 120mm-underfoot Atomic Bent Chetlers to 175cm, 75mm-underfoot Fischer Progressor 900s, and I have no complaints with how these boots have performed.

On groomers, I still really like the power and laterally stiffness of a solid, 130-flex boot like the Atomic Redster Pro or the Nordica Patron Pro. But I have not felt like the Hawx 2.0 120’s represent a significant drop off in on-piste power (the drop off in lateral stiffness is a little more apparent in the X Pro 120s, while I have found the Hawx 2.0 120’s to be more forgiving at speed in variable conditions and bumped-up terrain—especially in very cold temperatures.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Atomic Hawx 2.0 120 for Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth in the Hawx 2.0 120, Totemoff, Taos Ski Valley.

As with the X Pro 120, a good part of this has to do with the fact that the Hawx 2.0 120 is a more upright boot than either the Redster or Patron Pro. When we were down in New Zealand, Leith Kerr at Gnomes Alpine Sports in Darfield did a stance analysis for me, which revealed that I tend to weight the balls of my feet far more than my heels—by a distribution of about 80% to 20%.

Given this, a more upright boot tends to work well for me, while those who have a lot of range of motion in their ankle joints can better tolerate boots with more forward lean.

The flex of the Hawx 2.0 120 is easy to access initially—easier than the Patron Pro, and much easier than the Redster Pro—but I never feel that I’m blowing through the flex of the Hawx, even in very warm temperatures. I’d say that the X Pro 120’s seem to soften up a bit more in very warm temps.

Groomers

The Hawx 2.0 120s feel a touch more powerful and laterally stiff than the X Pro 120’s, so I’d choose the Hawx 2.0 on groomers for that reason—their more powerful, high-angle carving performance. But lighter skiers may find the boot to be a bit more than they want or need.

Hiking / Bootpacking

Not much to report. I wore these boots every day of our New Zealand trip, and hiked in them every day, too—up and over the knife ridges of the Canterbury Club Fields, on steep boot packs up to the backside of Temple Basin chutes, etc., and a number of days at Taos this season up Highline Ridge.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Atomic Hawx 2.0 120 for Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth, hiking in the Atomic Hawx 2.0 120, Broken River Ski Area, New Zealand.

And I still prefer to hike in a boot with a grippier, softer-plastic sole than a slicker, hard-plastic race sole.

With over 100 days in the X Pro 120s, those soles have held up pretty damn well.

The soles of the Hawx 2.0 120 might be wearing slightly quicker, but I’d be okay calling it a tie, and I believe I’d be able to get to at least 100 days in these before even thinking about swapping out the soles for new ones.

Bottom Line

The Atomic Hawx 2.0 120 is a medium-fit boot that is easy to recommend to those who have wider feet and who are looking for a boot with a solid “120” flex. And I have really appreciated the Hawx adjustable forward lean setting. It’s no gimmick, and if you have never experimented with different forward lean angles, this boot makes it easy to do so.

Those looking for a bit less stiffness and a bit less volume in the lower shell (especially in terms of instep height) should take a look at the Salomon X Pro 120, but I personally have been able to adjust both of these boots in ways that have allowed me to achieve a good blend of performance and comfort out of both.

 

4 comments on “2014-2015 Atomic Hawx 2.0 120”

  1. Blister folks…you rock!
    I don’t know how I’ve not come across your site before but I love the in-depth analysis you provide in all of the reviews I’ve read. Then again, I should have been sleeping three hours ago but the exceptional site you’ve created and the amazing information have now kept me up past 3AM and I need to work in the morning, so if my job suffers tomorrow I’m blaming you! I hope you’re cool with that? Regardless, I am now set on acquiring some Atomic 2.0 Hawk 120’s and some Vantage Theory’s to enjoy at Taos for the last month of the season and beyond.
    In addition, I’ve added New Zealand to my shredding bucket list! Wow, nice photography!
    Keep up the outstanding work.
    Terry

  2. Can You please tell me is it moldable toe box of the shell, can it be forward expand for 2 mm ?

    My foot measure is 279-280 mm. When I try size 28 I have cc.3 mm free space in the toe box of the liner and too much free space in upper shell ( top 2 buckles ).
    So size 28 is comfort and when I try size 27,5 I feel very snug and I like it, top 2 buckles of upper shell area is perfect, only problem is toe box. I am a afraid that I am missing 2-3 mm in the toe box of the shell.
    Btw, when I have try only liner my toe is touching front of toe box. ( barely , but touching )

    Can You please help me with advice what size is better for me for all day skiing off and powder ?

    Thank You a lot in advance !

    Best regards,
    Ivan

  3. Thanx Jonathan for the excellent review!

    I am by no means a skier on your level, but I have gotten to the point where I realise my need for tighter fitting boots. So a reasonably competent salesman in my town claims my feet (which like yours are rather low volume ones) require size 26.5 if not 26.0.

    On the other hand, I today got my hands on a pair of last years Hawx 2.0 120 for a good price of size 26.5… and now I find that according to your review I am probably missing out the best part, i.e. having a truly perfect fit by heat molding the boots. Wish I had read your review earlier…

    Would you have any advice to share? My choice is probably either to return the boots and aim for something else or then to keep them unable to achieve a truly perfect fit (but maybe it’s still worth it, I’m not sure).

    Thanks again and best regards,
    Marcus

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