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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.