The all new 2018 Salomon X Max 120 W takes its former 110-self and bumps the flex dial up to a legitimate 120-flex (which our taller, more aggressive testers loved) and also rebuilds the lower shell using stiffer polyamide plastic for better transmission of energy from boot to ski. Testers unanimously said this boot skied like a mofo—but a few said it hurt like one, too.
The use of polyamide plastic has a side effect of slight shrinkage after injection molding, which makes the lower shell slightly tighter than the polyurethane boots built off the molds last year. To compensate for this the liner is made thinner, with less padding. This equaled some harsh foot to shell interaction for testers with bony prominences, i.e. hotspots, and a consensus that the toebox and forefoot was one of the tightest of the category. Our very slim-footed folks had no complaints—in fact, they loved how tight the fit was on all parts of the foot and lower leg. One other common complaint was that the tongue was firm, bordering on sharp, up against the shin. This is not a once-in-a-while soccer mom goes skiing kind of boot, testers caution, but a serious performance tool for low volume feet or discerning skiers who know the bootfitting game.
This is where the X Max 120 W excelled for our test team—every single tester praised how well this ski put a ski on edge and hammered it home. They liked the quickness of response to steering inputs. They liked how stable it remained through jumbled off-piste junk. They liked the precision that came from such a tight fit which easily unlocked tight and tricky situations on snow for them.
This is a stripped-down performer without too many gizmos, though testers appreciated the cam buckle powerstrap (not found on the 110-flex version), and if there was ever a reason to employ Salomon's Custom Shell molding feature—the slightly too tight everywhere fit is it. The 10-minute oven cook works wonders for slightly opening the fit throughout as well as honing the boot's stance angles specific to the skier.
“Badassness! Cat-like reflexes and kitty cat finesse.” -- Ashley Teren
“Awesome edge power—they will do what you want!” -- Melodie Buell
“Reactive, narrow fit equals good contact with the snow.” -- Kelsey Holmer
“Could be an excellent boot for the low volume foot and leg.” -- Patti Zuber
“Hey, a decent power strap on a women's boot!” -- Sam Tischendorf
“Seamless fit with a legit heel pocket—I put it to the test and it was playful and solid! ” -- Michael Kendrick Powderly
“Solid, race boot feel—rolls solid to the edge!” -- Danielle Goldsmith-Rahill