Atomic has a lengthy pedigree and success at all levels of skiing. They have been at the forefront of many of the technological innovations we’ve seen since Rohrmoser took over Koflach and ESS bindings some years ago.
They were first to push the amount of abduction in their ski boot with the “Offset Shell”.
They acquired ESS bindings because it was discovered that if the ski were allowed to flex without the inhibitions of traditional binding mounting platforms they were faster.
They were the first to make boot shells that let the sole flex just a little. This complemented what Atomic was doing with skis and bindings.
Their success at the very highest levels of the sport is unparalleled (pun intended).
Nothing has changed.
With the Redster they have brought forth a more sophisticated and refined model of what started out as the Beta Race.
The evolution of the design is not as much on display as it is on the Hawx-another eminently successful ski boot in the Atomic quiver-but what the Redster does on snow exhibits the effectiveness of Atomics’ design philosophy.
The Redster has a broad yet well defined range of motion-in the 130 it has been narrowed somewhat from the initial incarnation-one instance where the 130 flex might well have been something less-which makes the boot more precise.
The carbon in the shell around the heel pocket does a couple of things for the boot; it enhances lateral stiffness and finishes turns off sharply.
In keeping with the Atomic philosophy there is a unique feature to the Redster 130: the zeppa has 3 interchangeable inserts that fit into a cradle at the bottom of the shell. These are of different densities of material; one pretty soft, one medium and one really firm. They affect the sole flexing; the softer one allowing the sole to bend a bit more than the stiffer ones will. Along with the zeppa inserts the shell has grooves underfoot to let the sole bend. This system works and it is worth trying each of the zeppa inserts.
The Redster has a very narrow heel pocket and, like most boots of this caliber, the mid-foot is close and plumb. The 98mm forefoot is not overly voluminous, the instep is fairly low and the toe box has adequate wiggle room and is well shaped, no side-to-side toe pinch. The Redster is low-to-medium volume…the Pro series is 98mm, the WC models are 95mm. We’ll have the 98’s.
The Redster skis really well. The 130, as with any boot at this level, has a good deal of precision built in and requires an attentive skier.
The different zeppas have a distinct effect on the feel of the boot as well as how they interact with the skis. The soft zeppa attenuates a lot of high frequency vibrations- the firmest provides more feedback and all three have a decided effect on what’s happening underfoot. The soft zeppa has a nice round, silky feel through the turn-less abrupt at the start and finish. Initiation and completion is more progressive.
The firmer zeppa is quicker to the ski and loads the tail in a manner more like what most of us are used to. Which one to use is up to the skier-it’s worth trying all three to see which suits you the best.
The range of motion at the ankles is more restricted than the previous years’ but it is still broad and fluid yet predictable.
We’ll have the Redster Pro in a 130, 110 and 90 flex.
The Hawx has carved out a sizable niche in both men’s and women’s 100mm boots. They have a good balance of fit and function.
Atomic goes about the sole flexion on the Hawx a different way than they do with the Redster; the sole has the flex grooves molded into the sloes of the shell between the toe and heel lugs but instead of the zeppa having different inserts, the Hawx incorporates gill-like slots on both sides of the shell that allow the shell to bend at the forefoot.
The Hawx is fairly high volume; the forefoot and toe box are quite roomy and instep height can accommodate a fairly burly foot. The shaft or cuff of the men’s Hawx is relatively high up the lower leg…neither here nor there, just a consideration. Medial mid-foot and heel remain plumb and intimate and stance is pretty neutral.
The Hawx was originally designed to have a stiff ankle flex because of the way the soles flex-the theory being it is easier to control a shorter lever (the foot) than a longer one (the leg and everything above it).
There is good power in the Hawx without being overbearing-one can relax some without being penalized. Both the Hawx 120 and Hawx 100 seem to be fairly close on the flex ratings as do the Ladies Hawx 90 and Hawx 80.
On snow the Hawx is smooth and crisp, ankle flex is progressive and predictable. Underfoot feel is sharp-essentially the feet are on the bottom of the boot augmenting snow-feel.
Edge-to-edge is quick enough when needed and all of the Hawx boots hold well on medium to long radius turns.
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