Expert Review: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT Gw Ski Boots · 2022

This review is my honest opinion of the ski boots, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2021.

Top down view of the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT Gw Ski Boots.

All photos courtesy of Jacob Edwards

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the ski boots, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2021.

My take

The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT Gw Ski Boots are a great option for the expert skier who is looking for a narrow-fit boot and spends just as much time on the lifts as on the skin track.

A skier wading up a snowy pass with his skis on his back.

They wade up deep snow pretty well!

About the boots I own

  • Model: 2022 Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT GW
  • Size: 25.5

About me

  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 135 lbs
  • Street shoe size: 8.5
  • Experience: 22 years of skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: February 2021
  • Days tested: 25
  • Skis: Nordica Enforcer 104 Free/Atomic Backland 100
  • Bindings: Look Pivot 12 GW/Dynafit Radical ST
  • Terrain: Stowe, VT; Alta, UT; Palisades Tahoe, CA; Mt. Bachelor, OR

How they perform

Claimed Stiffness Accuracy
Heel Hold
Walk Mode

What I was looking for

When I found the Hawx Ultra XTD I was hunting for a true one-boot-quiver. I wanted a boot that would not only be sturdy and responsive for hard resort charging, but lightweight and comfortable during long backcountry tours as well. This was my first foray into the world of 50/50 boots.

The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT Gw Ski Boots

Why I chose this gear

The Hawx Ultra XTD checked all the boxes for what I was looking for; it’s lightweight, but with a four-buckle design is rated at a stiff 120 flex rating, has a high degree of ankle mobility in walk mode, and is compatible with both Gripwalk and tech-style bindings. While other boots such as the Tecnica Cochise 120 and Lange XT3 also fit the bill, I ultimately chose the Hawx because my narrow feet felt amazing in their 98mm last.

The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT Gw Ski Boots.

Some edge scratches visible but overall good shape after my first 10 or so days 

What I love about them

  • Accuracy of Claimed Fit: The fit of the Ultra XTD certainly feels true to the listed 98mm last. It narrows throughout and is especially low volume in the toe box. With that being said, some low volume boots create a hot spot along the top of my midfoot that I do not experience in these.
  • Comfort: Out of the box, these boots were very comfortable for me and the plush liners stay very nice and warm throughout the day.
  • Flex: This boot can feel a little harsh compared to a good-old heavy alpine boot; however, it has the most progressive flex of any 50/50 boot that I have tried, and I can really feel it stiffen up in its end range of flexion. I am very pleased with the boot’s lateral support, and I think they hold up well for hard resort charging.
  • Weight: While not as light as many dedicated touring boots, I barely notice the difference between the Hawx and my Scarpa F1s after a long tour.
  • Backcountry: These boots are incredibly capable in the backcountry. They’re light enough to save some energy and walk amazingly well, but stiff enough to trust on that steep, no-fall line.
  • Adjustability: The adjustable forward lean accommodates a wide range of needs and preferences. The Mimic liners are quite comfortable out of the box but I had mine customized with a heat mold that worked well. The Memory Fit shell is also highly customizable if a more specific fit is needed for hot spots or extra volume. Furthermore, the buckles have a wide range of adjustability and the twist micro adjusters are a nice touch.
  • Walk mode: This boot has an amazing walk mode for a four-buckle, “50/50” style boot. There is quite a large range of motion and a smooth action at the ankle that makes every step effortless. I’ve bootpacked up steep couloirs and even climbed alpine ice in them and have no complaints.
  • Grip: While it is not the Vibram sole of something like a Scarpa Maestrale, the rubber on the Hawx Ultra XTDs is quite grippy and trustworthy. It’s great on both the icy parking lot and sketchy rock scrambles.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Accuracy of Claimed Stiffness: The Hawx Ultra XTD 120 feels accurate to its given flex compared to other brands' 50/50 touring boots. However, most would find it to be a bit softer than a traditional downhill boot with a 120 flex. I am a smaller human and these boots hold up well for me; however, I think that a larger expert skier or someone who is used to skiing a really stiff boot would likely not want to use these as their only in-bounds boot.
  • Ease of use: Getting them on is easy as pie, especially if I flip the boot into walk mode. However, even after many days in the boot I still find it quite easy to pinch myself when removing my foot, which can hurt quite a bit.
  • Resort: While these boots have far exceeded my expectations for on-piste performance, they are still not truly a dedicated alpine boot. The Hawx Ultra XTD 120s have excellent power transfer that I can really feel while carving thanks to the Energy Backbone. In soft snow and good conditions, they have held up well for me. However, these boots can feel a bit squirrely when moving fast through frozen bumps and crud or really pushing it in bad conditions.
  • Durability: The durability of the outer shell is my biggest concern with this boot, as they sustained quite a bit of cosmetic damage after only a few days in them. While it doesn’t seem to affect the performance, the plastic is easily scratched by ski edges and tech binding toe pins.
  • Hot spots: Initially, I did have some medial ankle pain, especially towards the end of a long day of resort skiing. But a second heat mold of the liners to punch the ankle area a little extra did the trick.
A skier standing at the top of a snowy mountain.

Favorite moment with this gear

My most memorable day with the Hawx Ultra XTD 120 has to be getting epic powder runs at Stowe Mountain Resort in the morning then skiing over to an ice climb in Smuggler’s Notch and front-pointing my way up in the same dang boots.

Value for the money vs. other options

Atomic’s Hawx Ultra XTD 120 represents a fairly typical price point for a modern 50/50 boot. When compared to other front runners in the category of narrow-to-mid fit, 120-flex, 50/50 boots, the Hawx generally have much better uphill performance thanks to a greater range of motion and smoother pivot point than another category frontrunner, such as the more expensive Tecnica Cochise 120 DYN. Overall, I think the Hawx Ultra XTD 120 is a great value pick in the 50/50 category, especially if one is doing 50% or more touring.

Final verdict

The Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT GW unlocks a new level of versatility in a ski boot that excels in the resort and backcountry, especially for those expert skiers with narrow feet who do not need the absolute stiffest boot out there, but still ski hard in and out of bounds.

Selling Atomic on
Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 CT GW Ski Boots · 2022
$489.99 to $559.95
Up to 31% off
Meet the author
Ski Expert Jacob Edwards
Jacob Edwards
Ski Expert
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Written By
Jacob Edwards
Jacob Edwards
Ski Expert
A Salt Lake City transplant from Vermont. I was raised on skis and know what everything from east coast ice, to Utah blower, to Sierra cement skis like. I work as an outdoor guide based in Park City, Utah and have almost five years of outdoor retail and boot fitting experience. I would be stoked to...
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