The Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 S W GW remains one of our test team's favorites for its true narrow fit and no-compromises performance acumen. In a category where few narrow boots fit truly narrow, the women's Hawx Ultra bucks that trend and offers the low volume foot and leg the kind of firm grip that the 98mm last should. Testers love the closeness of the wrap through the bottom of the lower leg, around the ankle bones and behind the heel at the Achilles tendon. For as tight as it fits (tightest score in group for toebox and lateral column) testers were surprised by its lack of hot spots. Testers were particularly pleased with the fit over the bony top of the foot, where while snug, the boot maintains enough curvature and height to maintain good blood flow and comfortable closure and retention.
Testers love how well the Hawx Ultra 115 connects the body's movements to the skis' performance--the close fit is a large part of that, but testers cite a rapid transmission of energy through the boot and an exceptional amount of power generated by such a lightweight package. The all polyurethane construction aids in maintaining a stable and damp feel on hard snow and bumpy conditions, though the thin shell wall in non-critical areas shaves weight and lets the plastic wrap the foot's curves. The flex feel is energetic and rangy, but without complaints of being collapse prone or overly soft. Testers say the 115 flex marker is accurate on the Hawx Ultra.
The shin fit did bother a few testers who found a bit of bite low on the leg shaft--without the benefit of a liner mold it's tough to say how that would improve for those testers, but our bootfitters on the team have found that molding the Mimic liner makes substantial fit improvements and combining that with an oven cook for the Memory Fit shell often resolves minor shin and instep issues. The Hawx Ultra 115 remains one of those not-so-easy on and off models for our testers, partly due to the stiff, thin and somewhat sharp plastic overlaps but most would make a willing trade for the fit and performance that comes with that. The softer 95 flex would offer easier entry and exit for those skiers who must prioritize that element.
GripWalk soles come mounted on the 115 as well as the 95 flex Ultra and while the women's top shelf Ultra rolls with a 40mm Velcro power strap instead of the cam buckle style found on the men's 130, the women's team had no issue with how that closed up the fit at boot top. The Adaptive Fit System Cuff is a good feature for improving the calf fit for more muscular legs without having to go full-monty in the Memory Fit oven.
“Holy Sh**! This boot has some swagger! The cuff becomes one with the leg and has probably the best response and feel of any ski boot. ” -- Emily Poore
“Once you're in, you're locked and loaded. Feels light and zippy, ready to party. Sassy and fun--quick to the new edge, great reaction time. ” -- Megen Johnson
“Amazing instep fit--snug and comfortable. Good stance and super carvy.” -- Liz Elling
“Great narrow through the entirety of the boot. It has an amazing amount of power behind it and I love how it feels on edge. Super stable and transfers the energy to the ski great. ” -- Kori Coggin
“The shin is so sharp and aggressive right under the second buckle. Feels like there isn't a top buckle to the boot. It is so hard to get on and off! ” -- Kori Coggin
“I have to deduct points because the lower shin is just too bitey, it over powers everything else that's great--you get this one spot that will be bruised by run 3. ” -- Emily Poore