The 2019 Salomon X Max 120 W returned to our boot test this year with its flex dial remaining spun to a legitimate 120-flex (which our taller, more aggressive testers again loved) and also maintains the lower shell's stiffer polyamide plastic construction for better transmission of energy from boot to ski. Testers unanimously said this boot skis like a mofo—but all said that a low volume foot is best suited for this true narrow class ripper.
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. 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 and 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 360 Custom Shell molding feature—the slightly too tight everywhere fit is it. The 10-minute (this is the traditional 360 Custom Shell here, not the new HD version) oven cook works wonders for slightly opening the fit throughout as well as honing the boot's stance angles specific to the skier.
“The well-gripped foot feeling is great and remains congruent around the foot, with the heel snug where you want but with some forefoot space for comfort. The tongue has an even, wrapped feel around the shin and when driving hard--makes for complete edge engagement as you transition to the inside. It's a pretty sharp looking boot too--impressive.” -- Sam Tischendorf
“Best dry fit for the narrow boots! 100-percent support around the foot is its best attribute. Tight in toe box and very tight in ankle--feels f'n great! Powered-up great through big turns.” -- Kori Coggin
“Sucks my heel back into the sweet spot and wraps my foot like a tight burrito—the most secure heel pocket I've skied this week. The fit is so narrow I felt I got excellent snow grip with just a slight edge angle. She's a wildcat--extremely responsive--pounces on the turn and doesn't let go. Felt locked and loaded. A true 120 flex--sleek and strong.” -- Megen Johnson
“Its initial fit would've been a perfect score of five if it didn't hurt my navicular so bad and make my toes fall asleep. Not for your average lady--needs a low volume foot, especially in the heel and ankle and maybe someone slightly masochistic.” -- Megen Johnson
“There may be too much tapering to the narrow heel for some weenies.” -- Sam Tischendorf