The 2021/2022 Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 S W was tested in the women’s All-Mountain Traditional narrow category by the experts at America's Best Bootfitters, powered by Masterfit.
The new Hawx Ultra 115 S W had our lowest volume testers saying, woah this is snug! And they loved it for the high-security lockdown on the heel and ankle which enabled instantaneous control over the ski edge. Testers recommended that experts only (or those aspiring to ascend to those ranks) need apply for this all-mountain performer—the updated lower shell is stiffer, and testers said stronger on edge, while not changing the characteristic Hawx Ultra flex feel energy testers have come to love.
Tightest of the test group is what our women’s test team agreed on for a fit tension ranking. This was not a bad thing, as low volume feet and legs seem to find it increasingly difficult to find a proper fit in so-called narrow boots these days. The heel and ankle pockets were particularly tight, and the fit up through the instep and into the lower leg were not vice-like, but just shy of that level of grip, testers said. The fit opened-up slightly at the top of the cuff to accommodate a more muscular calf, and this year’s revisions to the Hawx Ultra 115 W cuff also offers the Adaptive Fit System adjustment that upon removal will reduce the cuff height by 6mm which opens the circumference of the calf fit. Some testers mentioned that the boot runs a little short in length fit and many testers commented that ease of entry and exit is somewhat challenged—an inconvenience most expert skiers will trade for this type of low volume fit and level of performance.
Lightning bolts attached to my feet!, one tester commented, and that summed up the general opinion on how quick this boot transmits messages to the ski. While top shelf agility and quickness scores have always been the Ultra’s wheelhouse, the newly revised lower shell brings a stronger, more stable skillset to its high performance all-mountain ripping regime. The thickened plastic rib structure on the rear sides of the shell and up into the heel counter area offer a stouter foundation without tacking on much additional weight, bringing a bit more torque and top-end to this former jitterbug—testers appreciated the newfound power and stability. The longish travel flex feel remains consistent with the Hawx Ultra’s fit heritage—testers like how the elastic and energized flexion loads energy to the ski yet manages to avoid feeling twitchy.
The Mimic liner feels great against the foot right out of the box but it’s highly moldable as well and should be the first course of action for minor fitting needs. The Memory Fit shell molding protocol remains a great way to make subtle increases of space where needed and does a great job of adapting the cuff shape for thick or well-muscled calves. The fore-aft adjusting PowerShift mechanism on the cuff is cool but rarely needed (note that it’s a lot easier to adjust as a two-person job, with the wearer levering forward or rearward to line up bolt holes). The GW in the name indicates that GripWalk soles come mounted on the boot. An aftermarket, foam-injected Professional Series liner is available for 300 bucks (or opt for the Professional Series Hawx Ultra 115 W with that liner included if you’re convinced that’s the way to go). There are also aftermarket V3 Tongue options in 3 different volumes for 30 bucks for customizing the shin and instep feel.