Boot: 2020-2021 Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech
Test Duration: ~35 days
Test Locations: Crested Butte & Mt. Sneffels, Colorado
Stated Flex: 130
Available Sizes: 22–32.5
Stated Last (size 26.5): 100 mm (heat moldable)
Stated Range of Motion: 54°
Stated Forward Lean: 15° stock (can be adjusted to 13° and 17°)
Size Tested: 26.5
Stated Boot Sole Length: 305 mm
Blister’s Measured Weight (size 26.5):
- Shells, no Liners: 1242 & 1249 g
- Liners, no Footbeds: 408 & 410 g
- Shells + Liners = 1650 & 1659 g
Buckles: 4 micro-adjustable 6000-series aluminum
Powerstrap: 50 mm cam-style
- Cuff: Grilamid
- Shoe / Clog: Grilamid
Tech Fittings: yes
Binding Compatibility: GripWalk-compatible bindings; tech / pin bindings
Reviewer: 5’8″, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70.3 kg
Skis / Bindings Used:
- Majesty Superwolf + Majesty / ATK R12
- Folsom Cash 106 Carbon + Dynafit Radical 2.0 FT
- J Skis Slacker + Marker Kingpin
- Movement Alp Tracks 106 + Marker Kingpin
- Majesty Vanguard + Fritschi Tecton
- Volkl Revolt 104 + Marker Griffon
- J Skis Hotshot + Marker Griffon
- Faction Agent 3.0 + Marker Kingpin
- Sego Condor 108 + Armada Shift 13
- Black Crows Justis + Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 AT
- Volkl Blaze 106 + Marker Duke PT 16
- K2 Reckoner 102 + Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 AT
A few months ago we talked with Atomic’s product manager of ski boots, Matt Manser, about a ton of things, including the new Atomic Hawx Prime XTD boots. You should definitely check out that conversation and our other conversations with Matt Manser for some really detailed info on ski boots, but here we’re taking a closer look at the new Hawx Prime XTD 130.
We’ve been really impressed by Atomic’s Hawx Ultra XTD boots’ blend of uphill and downhill performance, with those boots receiving our “Best Of” award each year since they were first released back in the 17/18 season. But all of those boots had a fairly low-volume, 98mm-wide last, and even with Atomic’s excellent Memory Fit heat molding process, that left people with wider feet looking to higher-volume boots.
The 100mm-lasted Hawx Prime XTD series addresses that, offering the exact fit of Atomic’s Hawx Prime alpine boots in a lighter, touring-oriented package. As someone who cannot cram their feet into the Hawx Ultra XTD without some serious pain, I was extremely excited by this announcement. So let’s first dive into the Hawx Prime XTD 130 and how its design stacks up to the competition, and then below I’ll go into my on-snow impressions after using the boot as my primary touring boot this past spring and summer.
2020-2021 Atomic Hawx Prime XTD Lineup
Atomic will be making 9 boots within the Hawx Prime XTD line. The versions with “Tech” in their name will come with GripWalk soles and have toe and heel fittings for use with tech / pin bindings, while the other boots will also come with GripWalk soles but do not have tech fittings.
It’s also worth noting that Atomic is offering their “men’s” Hawx Prime XTD boots in a really wide range of sizes, from 22.5 to 32.5, which we know will be appreciated by the many people on the upper and lower end of the size spectrum. The 20/21 men’s Hawx Ultra XTD boots will also be offered in sizes ranging from 22.5 to 29.5. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Hawx Prime XTD line:
Men’s (size 22.5–32.5)
- Hawx Prime XTD 130 Tech (Grilamid Shell; Grilamid Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 120 Tech (True Flex PU Shell; PU Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 120 (PU Shell; PU Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 110 (PU Shell; PU Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 100 (PU Shell; PU Cuff)
Women’s (size 22.5–27.5)
- Hawx Prime XTD 115 W Tech (Grilamid Shell; PU Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 105 W (PU Shell; PU Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 95 W Tech (PU Shell; PU Cuff)
- Hawx Prime XTD 95 W (PU Shell; PU Cuff)
As Matt Manser noted on our GEAR:30 podcast, Atomic reinforced the shell of the Hawx Prime XTD vs. the Hawx Ultra XTD boots to account for the higher-volume shape of the Prime boots. Matt said this was mostly done around the pivot point and most of the lower shell to avoid deformation while flexing the boot. To get an idea of this, he said to think of two PVC pipes that have equal wall thickness but are different in terms of diameter. The wider-diameter PVC pipe would be easier to bend / deform vs. the narrower-diameter pipe, and this idea is why Atomic used a slightly thicker shell material in the higher-volume Prime XTD boots.
As a result of this, the Hawx Prime XTD boots are coming in a bit heavier than the Hawx Ultra XTD boots (we have each in a size 26.5 and there’s a ~100-gram difference per boot). The Hawx Prime XTD 130 is still a pretty light boot, with our pair of a size 26.5 coming in around 1655 grams per boot. That’s heavier than boots like the Scarpa Maestrale RS & XT, Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, and Fischer Ranger Free 130, but not as heavy as some of the “50/50” boots like the Nordica Strider 130, Lange XT3 130, Tecnica Cochise 130, Full Tilt Ascendant, and Dalbello Lupo Pro HD.
For reference, below are a number of our measured weights for some other notable boots (keep in mind the size differences). Our measured weights show the size of boot, then the weight of each boot + the weight of each liner, then the total weight for shells + liners, listed in grams:
Scarpa Maestrale RS (24.5 / 25.0): 1053 & 1057 + 244 & 245 = 1297 & 1302 g
Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro (26.5): 1099 & 1100 + 210 & 211 = 1309 & 1311 g
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, 19/20 (26.5): 1130 & 1132 + 276 & 282 = 1406 & 1414
Salomon MTN Explore (26.5): 1126 & 1135 + 281 & 281 = 1407 & 1416 g
Scarpa Maestrale XT (26.5 / 27.0): 1258 & 1258 + 247 & 252 = 1505 & 1510 g
Head Kore 1 (26.5): 1132 & 1136 + 392 & 393 = 1524 & 1527 g
Salomon S/Lab MTN (26.5): 1257 & 1246 + 288 & 303 = 1545 & 1549 g
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, 20/21 (26.5): 1147 & 1150 + 403 & 404 = 1550 & 1554
Fischer Ranger Free 130 (26.5): 1204 & 1204 + 348 & 351 = 1552 & 1555 g
Roxa R3 130 T.I. (27.5): 1319 & 1320 + 263 & 263 = 1582 & 1583 g
Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 (26.5): 1242 & 1249 + 408 & 410 = 1650 & 1659 g
Salomon QST Pro TR 130 (26.5): 1389 & 1391 + 273 & 274 = 1662 & 1665 g
K2 Mindbender 130 (26.5): 1428 & 1427 + 346 & 348 = 1774 & 1775 g
Lange XT3 130 LV (26.5): 1407 & 1410 + 368 & 368 = 1775 & 1778 g
Nordica Strider Pro 130 DYN (27.5): 1445 & 1440 + 363 & 373 = 1808 & 1813
Lange XT Free 130 LV (27.5): 1472 & 1473 + 376 & 376 = 1848 & 1849 g
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD w/o Tongues (26.5): 1589 & 1596 + 266 & 267 = 1855 & 1863 g
Full Tilt Ascendant (27.5): 1613 & 1615 & + 308 & 311 = 1921 & 1926 g
Tecnica Cochise 130 DYN (25.5): 1493 & 1496 + 440 & 441 = 1933 & 1937 g
Dalbello Lupo Pro HD w/ Tongues (26.5): 1747 & 1754 + 266 & 267 = 2013 & 2021 g
The Hawx Prime XTD 130 uses Grilamid in both the shell and cuff. As noted above, the other men’s Hawx Prime XTD boots use Polyurethane in the shell and cuff. All of the Hawx Prime XTD boots are fully heat moldable (both shell & liner).
Matt Manser spent a lot of time discussing Atomic’s new 20/21 “Mimic” liners on our GEAR:30 podcast and I highly recommend listening to him because he does a way better job of explaining the technology. Here, I’ll try to briefly summarize.
The Hawx Prime XTD 130 has Atomic’s new “Mimic Platinum with Flex Zone” liner. The women’s Hawx Prime XTD 115 W also gets the women’s version of the Mimic Platinum liner, while the rest of the Hawx Prime XTD boots do not feature the new Mimic liners.
Basically, the Mimic liners are designed to give you the good out-of-the-box fit of a regular, 3D-shaped stock liner but with added customization options usually only found in aftermarket foam liners like Intuition or foam-injected liners. The Mimic material is used in the ankle, heel, and tongue areas and, unlike most heat-moldable foams, the Mimic material can be re-heated, re-molded, and will re-harden many times without deteriorating or packing out. Matt says that people should be able to re-mold the Mimic liners around 4-6 times before the non-Mimic materials in the liner begin to pack out or deteriorate.
Mimic technology aside, the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s liner is very beefy compared to the much more minimal liners in boots like the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro and 19/20 Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, and a bit more substantial overall vs. the Intuition liners in the Scarpa Maestrale RS & Maestrale XT.
The liner in the Hawx Prime XTD 130 is nearly identical to the new Mimic liners in the Atomic Hawx Prime 130 and Hawx Ultra 130, but the XTD version features a small “flex zone” near the Achilles for less friction while skinning / walking.
The Hawx Prime XTD boots use the same “Free / Lock” walk mechanism as the Hawx Ultra XTD boots, which we’ve come to affectionately call the “prison shank” walk mechanism since the big, aluminum lever looks like it could do some serious damage in a pinch.
Apart from the silly nickname, we’ve become big fans of this walk mechanism since it’s proven very easy to use, we haven’t had any issues with it accidentally releasing into walk mode, it is not super prone to icing, it feels solid in ski mode, and its external placement makes it easy to service in the event of anything breaking.
Same as the Hawx Ultra XTD boots, the Hawx Prime XTD boots offer a reported 54° of range of motion when in walk mode, which is pretty large for this class of touring boots, but neither exceptionally large nor exceptionally small.
Adjustable Forward Lean
One update for the “Free / Lock 4.0” vs. the previous versions of the walk mechanism is the ability to adjust the forward lean without needing to purchase any “flip chips” from a dealer.
The 20/21 Hawx Prime XTD and Hawx Ultra XTD boots come standard with the 15° forward lean setting, but by loosening the Allen bolt and sliding the walk mechanism up or down, you can change that forward lean to 13° or 17°.
The Hawx Prime XTD boots use buckles that are basically identical to those on the 19/20 and 20/21 Hawx Ultra XTD boots. They’re all micro-adjustable and the two upper buckles have sliders on them that let the buckles open much wider than traditional buckles. As a result, you can leave the upper latches on the ladders but leave the buckles fully loosened and still get plenty of range of motion, which can make for quicker transitions and fewer buckles flapping around while you’re walking. I love this feature on the Hawx Ultra XTD boots, so I’m glad to see it on the Primes.
The Hawx Prime XTD 130 features a 50mm-wide power strap with a cam-style closure. The power strap itself is quite thin but it still does a good job of distributing pressure across the upper shell and liner. While the Hawx Prime XTD 130 gets a cam-style strap, the rest of the Hawx Prime XTD boots feature velcro power straps.
All of Atomic’s Hawx Prime XTD and Hawx Ultra XTD boots feature GripWalk soles. This means they’ll work in a wider range of bindings than boots with full-rubber touring soles like the Tecnica Zero G and Scarpa Maestrale, but it comes at the cost of some grip and overall performance while scrambling on rocks and other firm surfaces.
First and foremost — please go to a bootfitter to see what boot will work best for you. Fit is the most important thing with ski boots, and is where you’ll want to start. With that said, here’s how the Hawx Prime XTD 130 fits my feet.
For reference, I have pretty average-volume feet, but I have large lateral splats which mean my midfoot widens when I am standing / skiing, and I often get pain on the outside of my forefoot and midfoot when running, skiing, skinning, etc. I have a low instep and an average to low arch. My feet tend to work best with boots that offer ample room in the midfoot and have lower insteps (e.g., the Salomon QST Pro 130 and Nordica Strider 120). Since my toes taper significantly (i.e., my pinkie toe is much shorter than my big toe), I’ve never needed a 6th toe punch in any boots.
Overall, I got a very good fit out of the box with the Hawx Prime XTD 130. My ankle felt secure, I didn’t feel lots of pressure on my midfoot, and I didn’t feel like I had way too much room over my low instep. I.e., the Hawx Prime XTD 130 seemed to work well and didn’t instantly create the usual fit issues I get with most boots.
Since this fit felt good right away, I haven’t yet heat molded the Hawx Prime XTD 130, but I will be at some point since there are some areas that could fit better. Specifically, I am still getting a bit of pain in my midfoot while skiing in the boot for more than about one hour, and I’ve also initially got some blisters on the outside of my pinky toe and the inside of my heel while skinning in the boot. But given that I usually have way worse pain in most other boots, I’m very optimistic about how the Hawx Prime XTD will work for my feet after I’m able to heat-mold it (COVID-19 happened to shut down all the local bootfitters when I got the boots, and most have since switched to their summer operations).
Compared to the Hawx Ultra XTD 130, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 feels notably roomier in the toe box, midfoot and instep. I can barely use the Hawx Ultra XTD without extreme pain in my midfoot and toes, and the Hawx Prime XTD is much more accommodating to my feet in those areas.
Compared to the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 feels a bit more spacious around my midfoot (less noticeable than with the Ultra XTD), but actually a bit more secure around the ankle pocket. We’ve put a lot of days in the Zero G so this may just be its liner packing out, but I have less heel lift / ankle movement while touring in the Hawx Prime XTD 130.
Compared to the Salomon S/Pro 130 (and the new Shift 130 boot, which shares the same last), the Hawx Prime XTD feels a bit higher-volume in the ankle and instep and roomier in the midfoot.
Overall, the fit of the Hawx Prime XTD doesn’t feel super far off from the Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, though the Lupo has more room over the instep and its ankle pocket feels a bit roomier as well. The midfoot area on these two boots feels similar to me; skiing them for a few hours leaves me with some pain in that area but it doesn’t feel drastically different between the two.
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Atomic Hawx Prime XTD boots bring everything many people love about their Hawx Ultra XTD boots and offer it to people with higher-volume feet. The Hawx Prime XTD 130 is not the lightest boot in this class, but it’s far from the heaviest and I’m very much looking forward to touring in it for as long as I can this season. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review of the Hawx Prime XTD 130 for our initial on-snow thoughts, then stay tuned for our full review.
Right around when the world was turned upside-down by COVID-19, I started using the new-for-2021 Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130. As I noted in the First Look above, I was very excited by the prospect of getting the performance of the excellent Hawx Ultra XTD 130, but with a fit that … actually fit my feet.
Since then, I was able to spend a lot of time in the new Hawx Prime XTD 130. I skied it for a few days in the resort when that was an option, and then used it as my primary touring boot for the rest of the spring and summer. This included everything from mellow pow laps, to some booter sessions, to some very long and very Type-2-fun days trying to ski down some far-away lines. And then, since I never really want to let go of ski season, I’ve also taken the boots on my sufferfest summer-ski missions. Between all of those different outings, I used it to ski everything from very lightweight, skinnier skis to fat pow skis to metal-laden alpine skis.
After all that, I’ve come away very impressed by the Hawx Prime XTD 130, and I think that it’s a boot that could work for a lot of people. So let’s dive in:
Uphill Performance — Skinning
With a stated 54° range of motion that feels pretty accurate on the skin track, and a fairly low weight of ~1655 g per boot for a size 26.5, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 works quite well when heading uphill. It’s not best in class in terms of range of motion or weight, but it’s notably better on the uphill when compared to boots in the “50/50” category like the Nordica Strider, Tecnica Cochise, etc.
For ~95% of the touring I’ve done in it so far, the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s range of motion and general skinning characteristics have been totally adequate for me.
The only times where I would’ve preferred a lighter boot with more range of motion were super long days that involved a lot of flat skin tracks, since, on flat skin tracks where I’m prone to taking longer strides, I could feel the top of my ankle / bottom of my shin touching the shell of the Hawx Prime XTD 130 at the very end of my stride. I never noticed this on skin tracks that were even slightly steep, so it wasn’t a big issue for me, but there are a couple of other boots in this class (i.e., ~130 flex, 1300-1700 g) that do walk a bit better than the Hawx Prime XTD 130. The Tecnica Zero G is the one that first comes to mind in that regard.
As for the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s weight, I can’t say I noticed it much at all — though I also don’t spend much time in the much lighter, <1300-g touring boots like the Dynafit TLT series, Salomon X-Alp, etc. The Hawx Prime XTD 130 does feel notably heavier than those boots, but as someone who’s spent most of his time touring in boots similar to the Hawx Prime XTD 130, its weight was never really an issue.
The only problem I had with the Hawx Prime XTD 130 on the skin track was some blistering during my first several days in the boot. This went away over time, but I was getting just enough movement around my outer toes and my heel to create some blisters in those areas. Of course, utilizing the boot’s heat-moldable shell and liner would likely fix this, I just haven’t been able to because of the pandemic closing all of the bootfitters around me.
Uphill Performance — Scrambling / Walking
As I’ve noted in previous reviews, I don’t love trying to scramble up or down rocks while wearing ski boots with Grip Walk soles. The hard-plastic portion of Grip Walk soles at the forefoot and under the heel create distinctly low-friction zones — which is what makes them work in the Grip Walk boot / binding interface, but it’s also what makes them less ideal for technical scrambling vs. boots with full-rubber soles.
My position on this mostly stems from one very puckering, steep downclimb I had to do in Grip Walk boots that has apparently scarred me for life, and that was definitely an extreme example that wouldn’t have been easy in most ski boots. And for anything short of hard 4th-class scrambling, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 has been fine.
But if you end up doing a lot of more technical scrambling / climbing in your ski boots, this is something to keep in mind, and something I’d say about any boot without a full-rubber outsole.
Crampons / Couloir Climbing
I’ve only used the Hawx Prime XTD 130 with a pair of now-discontinued (and quite heavy) Petzl Dartwin crampons, but nothing about the boot’s sole shape or toe / heel welts make me think you’d have any crampon-compatibility issues with it.
My crampons stayed secure, and while they’re stupidly heavy for most ski mountaineering, I was glad to have them when I accidentally found myself hacking my way up full-on waterfall ice on one of the lines I “skied” in the Hawx Prime XTD 130.
Just as with technical scrambling, if you purposefully climb a lot of vertical ice (not just firm or soft snow) in your ski boots, you’d probably want to check out some of the lighter, shorter-soled boots like the Salomon X-Alp, Arc’teryx Procline, Dynafit TLT series, etc. I find that those shorter soles make for a slightly more precise, sensitive, and secure feeling while ascending ice with crampons. But for any sort of boot packing up snow and crampon-ing up a bit of ice, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 has been fine for me.
Transitions have been super straightforward in the Hawx Prime XTD 130. There’s no tongue to take out / put in, I’ve never had any issues with its walk mechanism failing to lock / unlock, and its buckles make the process just a few seconds quicker than some other boots.
As I mentioned above, the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s upper buckles have built-in sliders that let the buckles extend quite far when they’re open. This means that I can leave them latched to the buckle “ladders” while skinning / walking, without restricting the boots range of motion much at all. As a result, I don’t have fully open buckles clacking around while walking, and when it’s time to head downhill, all I have to do is move them to a tighter position and close them.
Same as every other boot I’ve used with a similar-style walk mechanism, the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s walk mechanism has been flawless so far. It’s stayed locked when I wanted it to, it’s stayed unlocked when I wanted it to, and I’ve had zero issues with icing. And if I ever happen to have it ice up in the future, I’m sure it’ll be easy to clear with a few quick whacks of a ski pole (based on my experience with previous boots with similar walk mechanisms).
Downhill Performance — Flex Pattern
Long story short: the Hawx Prime XTD 130 skis very, very well for how well it walks.
In terms of the maximum stiffness you get out of the boot when fully flexed, I’d say it’s quite similar to a 130-flex alpine boot, though a bit softer at the very end of the flex vs. a legit, 130-flex alpine boot. On the other end, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 also feels a bit softer off the top / at the beginning of the flex than legit 130-flex alpine boots.
But these are pretty subtle differences in my experience, and I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Hawx Prime XTD 130 should have a “120” at the end of its (long) name. More importantly, for me, is the fact that the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s flex pattern is predictable and progressive. It’s easy to initiate / get into the flex, and then it smoothly gets stiffer the deeper / harder I flex the boot.
Especially in unpredictable backcountry conditions and terrain, this sort of predictable flex can be really helpful. E.g., when I’m going in and out of the sun or switching between aspects, and consequently switching between snow densities / surface structures, I don’t want a boot that feels impossible to flex off the top or one that supports me at first but that then promptly, randomly gives out and lets me blow through the flex. The progressive flex of the Hawx Prime XTD 130 lets me feel in control, even when I’m not pushing into it very hard, but it also hasn’t left me suddenly wishing for a stiffer flex when I’m really laying into it.
Now, it’s worth noting that I’m not a big guy at 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70.3 kg and I’ve been pretty content skiing 120-flex and softer “130-flex” alpine boots in the resort. So if you’re a larger individual and / or tend to prefer very stiff boots, you may still want to look at the stiffest options in this category (e.g., Dynafit Hoji Free and Scarpa Maestrale XT). But if you’ve never found yourself thinking “this 130-flex boot is way too soft,” I doubt you’ll have any major complaints about the flex pattern of the Hawx Prime XTD 130.
In terms of lateral support, I have no complaints with the Hawx Prime XTD 130, but I also rarely find myself noticing a lack of lateral support with most ski boots I try. However, I will say that the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s rearward support is quite good, something I will notice, particularly when trying to load up the tails of my skis or, more frequently, when trying to pull myself out of the backseat.
The last thing to note regarding the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s flex pattern is its “rebound” or “energy.” Personally, I find most Grilamid-shell boots like the Hawx Prime XTD 130 feel more energetic / springy / lively compared to most PU-shell boots. To me, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 feels like it snaps back / rebounds more quickly once I lay off it, compared to heavier, PU-shell boots. I don’t really see this as an upside or a downside, just something I have to get used to for a few turns when I’m switching between heavy alpine boots and lighter boots like the Hawx Prime XTD 130.
Downhill Performance — Mimic Liner
I didn’t mention the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s new “Mimic” liner in the Uphill Performance section because I just haven’t really thought about it on the ascent. But on the descent, I definitely notice it, and I definitely like it.
Compared to most boots in this class — especially those that are notably lighter than the Hawx Prime XTD 130 — the new XTD 130’s Mimic liner is a big part of why it is, in fact, heavier. For example, the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro’s liner is almost half the weight of the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s liner — and it feels like it on the descent.
Compared to most lighter liners, the Hawx Prime XTD 130’s Mimic liner feels like it does a significantly better job of absorbing and muting out all sorts of impacts and vibrations you experience while skiing, particularly on firmer, rougher snow conditions. In this way, it feels much more similar to most liners in alpine boots, whereas a lightweight liner like that in the Zero G Tour Pro feels substantially thinner, less substantial, and just less “plush” when trying to ski fast in crappy snow.
Does that make the Hawx Prime XTD 130 feel exactly like a much heavier, riveted-cuff alpine boot? No. The Hawx Prime XTD 130 still doesn’t do quite as good of a job of damping harsh snow conditions vs. most 1800+ g, PU-shell alpine boots I’ve used. But the Hawx Prime XTD 130 does feel notably better in this regard than most of the lighter options in this class.
The other upside of Atomic’s new Mimic liners is that they can be repeatedly heat-molded to really dial in the fit. Unfortunately, as I noted above, I haven’t yet been able to test this due to all the ski shops needing to close amid the pandemic. But I will definitely be getting these boots molded as soon as I can.
Who’s It For?
From my perspective, I see a few different categories of skiers getting along well with the Hawx Prime XTD 130.
First, if you liked the sound of the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 but it was too low-volume for your feet, go try on the Hawx Prime XTD 130. Or, if your feet fit really well in the regular Hawx Prime 130 and you want something you can use for touring, that’s the Hawx Prime XTD 130.
Aside from those already familiar with the Atomic Hawx series, I think the Hawx Prime XTD 130 would make a great do-everything touring boot for those who walk up hills with their skis for the purpose of skiing fairly aggressively on the way down.
If you do a ton of really long days or just prioritize the up a bit more than the down, I’d look to the numerous lighter, higher-range-of-motion boots on the market. There are a few boots that are similarly stiff but walk better than the Hawx Prime XTD 130, and it definitely does not match the hiking-boot-like ascending capabilities of the <1300-g boots. But if you want a touring boot that walks quite well, has a nice, progressive flex pattern, and that feels more comfortable or “plush” in rough snow than most lighter options, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 warrants strong consideration. Personally, I’d be content to use the Hawx Prime XTD 130 for literally all of my human-powered skiing.
While I think the Hawx Prime XTD 130 makes the most sense as a dedicated touring boot, I think it’ll also work well for people who want a boot that they’ll use for touring and some lift-accessed skiing. Everyone’s priorities differ, but for me, I see this as a roughly “70/30” boot, where 70% of the time you’ll be using it for human-powered ski touring and 30% of the time you’ll be using it in the resort. I think the more substantial liner of the Hawx Prime XTD 130 (and 20/21 Hawx Ultra XTD 130) make it a bit more appealing for aggressive inbounds laps than the lighter competition, though if you spend most of your time skiing inbounds, I’d still recommend the slightly heavier “50/50” or “crossover” boots like the Nordica Strider, Tecnica Cochise, Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, etc.
And just in case we haven’t banged this drum enough, all of the above recommendations are made with the assumption that the Hawx Prime XTD 130 actually fits your feet.
Backcountry skiers are pretty spoiled today, when you look at what the gear options were just a few years ago. There are now very lightweight skis that are not terrifying to ski; there are now touring bindings that truly match the performance of alpine bindings; and there are now touring boots that come very close to skiing downhill like dedicated alpine boots.
The Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130 is a great example of how far ski-touring boots have come. It offers enough range of motion and comes in at a low enough weight for most days on the skin track, while offering a strong, yet progressive flex pattern on the descent. On top of that, its shell and liner are both customizable in terms of fit, and its new liner makes it stand out from the slightly lighter competition when it comes to dulling the harsh impacts of skiing fast on rough snow.
All in all, the Hawx Prime XTD 130 is an impressive touring boot, and if you’ve found yourself struggling to fit into the numerous, lower-volume, 130-flex AT boots in this category, I’d highly recommend going to your local bootfitter and seeing if the Hawx Prime XTD 130 fits your feet.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our 130-flex Touring Boot Deep Dive where we compare several 130-flex alpine touring boots, including the Atomic Hawx Prime XTD 130, Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130, Dalbello Lupo Pro HD, Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro, Dynafit Hoji Free, Scarpa Maestrale XT, Lange XT3 130, Lange XT Free 130, K2 Mindbender 130, Fischer Ranger Free 130, & Dalbello Lupo Factory.