A revamped Hawx 2.0 will show new graphics for the upcoming ski season and some new customization features, otherwise, except for some slight changes internally they are basically the same as last seasons.
Part of the cosmetic changes are the “shark gills” on both sides of the forefoot of the shell that, in conjunction with the soles, permitted the forefoot to flex slightly. In the past these were actual open slots molded into the hard shell plastic then filled with a softer, more elastic material.
The Hawx 2.0 has the contours of the “gills” but they are more an optical treatment and have no role in forefoot flexion-still a Hawx feature but now “solely” a function of the boots soles.
The original reason for making soles flex was that it was easier to control the shorter lever of the foot than it was to control the longer lever of the body atop the skis. Atomic puts this feature in all their boots. At the elite level letting the skis flex with little or no inhibitions kept them in contact with the snow and made them faster. Anyone who watches World Cup racing has seen the dominance of Atomic race products. Results count.
The rear-foot of the Hawx 2.0 has become a bit more intimate by incorporating a slightly modified Redster heel pocket/rear-foot into the shells.
From the heel and ankle joint forward the Hawx is fairly roomy-Atomic calls them “medium fit”. This is where the metric measurements are just a small part of the overall story. The forefoot width is given at 100mm (remember it’s in the 26.5 size…bigger sizes will be wider) but the whole of the internal dimensions can accommodate a pretty beefy foot.
Atomic has upheld good anatomical shapes in all their ski boots yet initially the Hawx is a touch narrow in the toe box. However…
The Hawx 2.0 shells are now fully customizable. Termed Memoryfit, the same heating/shaping/cooling method is used as with Salomon. “Memolink” is the proprietary name for the plastic used in the Atomic heat-molded shells. Moldable from the cuff to the toe box, the process can increase the forefoot width up to an additional 6mm and accommodate other bony prominences (navicular, ankles) up to 10mm.
The Thinsulate thermo-moldable liners are new also, complementing the customization of the shells. The liners, without heat molding, feel more evenly contoured than the prior models. Once everything has been through the molding process the Hawx 2.0 provides uniform support.
The ladies Hawx 2.0 features the same technology as the men’s boots with a lowered rear spoiler and supplemental rear-foot padding in the liners.
On snow the Hawx 2.0 is a highly capable boot in all snow conditions and all-mountain skiing. There is plenty of performance in its’ genealogy, enough to satisfy the expectations of demanding skiers. The Hawx 2.0 is one amongst the wide lasted ski boots that set the paradigm for what was once mutually exclusive; wide ski boot-high performance.
Hawx 2.0 response is lively and snow feel is crisp. Underfoot feel is accurate, the thin zeppa is right on the soles of the boots. The flex of the soles, though perhaps not a compelling sales element, has the net effect of making the feel very intuitive and adds a smooth silky feel to skiing.
The Hawx balances dexterity and power with confidence at any speed or turn radius.
Footloose carries the Hawx 2.0 120, the Hawx 2.0 100 and the women’s Hawx 2.0 90 W. The numbers after the model name signify flex; i.e. Hawx 2.0 100=100 flex, Hawx 2.0 90=90 flex.
The Redster Pro series are no longer the “red”-ily identifiable red they have been (the 95mm Redster World Cup series remains red). Despite color changes they are the same powerful, exacting ski shuh one should come to expect from Atomic.
Besides color changes there are minimal differences elsewhere-the main one being that the Redster Pro shells are now Memoryfit, which allows a certain amount of shell customization without “conventional” methods...that which we do in the boot shop. We still have the option of the usual fitting methods as needed-so’s you know.
The Redster Pro has arguably the narrowest heel cup of any ski boot. Coupled to the straight-up medial wall and compact mid-foot, the Redster Pro is a precision tool…tip ‘em and rip ‘em!
The instep is medium volume-a nebulous phrase simply meaning for a prominent instep there are better boots. The 97mm forefoot is cozy yet shaped at just the right spot for the 1st metatarsal and “6th toe”. The radius of the toe box is surprising-they can rest next to one another not crushed together though vertical wiggle room is limited.
The ankle flex of the Redster-at any of the flex options-seems softer than stated at first but the range of motion is well defined. The perceived lack of resistance between the rear and front spoilers imparts suppleness at the ankles helping absorb vibration and terrain variations without upsetting balance by pushing back too forcefully. Rest assured-the Redster rocks. The suppleness does not detract in any way from the performance of the boots.
As we’ve discussed a multitude of times, shaped skis do not need the forces we had to use to engage longer, straighter skis that had nowhere near the sidecut of contemporary skis. What is needed to effectively utilize the attributes of shaped skis is very stout lateral stiffness. In order to create the edge angles that these skis perform best at, ski boots have had to “step up”. This they have done.
The Redster Pro accomplishes this in a couple ways; first and foremost-and this applies to any ski boot-the last of the shell. We will reiterate…the medial wall of the boot from heel through the mid-foot needs to be plumb.
Secondarily the Redster uses carbon around the heel- visible also as an optic treatment-extending it up through the hinge bolts and the rear cuff. This provides the lateral stiffness for engaging the skis and holding an edge. The Redster is very efficient at both.
The boots still feature flexible soles incorporated into the shells but the interchangeable flex frame that holds the zeppa is available in the Pro 130 and then only in the firm and/or medium flex.
The Redster keeps you honest, as any boot of this ilk should. The ROM at the ankles instills a small sense of forgiveness but the Redster is laser guidance for the feet.
The liners are thin (not unique to Atomic, they all are in boots at this level) so the feel for what’s surrounding the feet is very concise.
The soles flex, like the Hawx, lends a silky, languid feel to the skis and takes nothing away from the efficiency of the boots…the torsional strength is terrific.
On edge the Redster is commanding. Tipping the skis up and holding an edge requires a light touch and the Redster is adept at moving from edge to edge…as long as the skier is!
We will carry the Redster Pro 120, Redster Pro 110 and the Redster Pro 90. All the Redster’s are 97mm.
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.
Dubbed the “Offset Shell”, Atomic was first to create ski boots featuring more abduction than the accepted norm at the time. Atomic was also one of the first to appreciate and analyze the interaction between skis, bindings and boots and how performance improves by creating systems so all the components complement one another.
Atomic started as a ski manufacturer ( A. Rohrmoser) but with the acquisition of Koflach ski boots and ESS bindings, was amongst the first to put together ski/boot/binding systems. The years since have proven their success at the highest levels of the sport.
The first Offset Shells evolved into the Beta Race and Beta Carve ski boots; they were well lasted with a very anatomic shape. Conceptually the Beta shells were the first to be manufactured to allow the boots sole to flex a little. This, in conjunction with the ESS bindings, effectively reduced the flat spot underfoot giving the skis a rounder flex, increasing ski to snow contact making them more predictable and faster.
ESS bindings, which started out as a skunk works project at Look, were designed with the very same philosophy; manufactured in such a way as to allow the ski to flex as designed without the inhibitions imposed by the flat spot underfoot.
With these components integrated the success of the system was immediately evident then and continues to this day.
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