Atomic has again redefined the norm with the Redster. The Redster is essentially the 98mm CS last but red and grey/carbon instead of the white lower/red upper we’re used to seeing.
The Redster has some interesting and unique features. The use of carbon is the most notable feature. It is used at the rear of both the lower shell and the spine of cuff. In keeping with current requirements of skiing, this increases lateral power while allowing a predictable, progressive and fluid range of ankle flex.
Inside the boot is where the innovations lie. The Zeppa is cradled in one of three removable interior Flex Frames. The three are quite different in flex…from very firm to an amazingly soft one. They can be changed by way of a simple plastic keeper at the heel and each has a marked difference in the how the boot interacts with the skis.
The rigid Flex Frame provides a more traditional feel underfoot; the skis performance and feel are basically what I’d expect in any other boot with minor differences because the sole of the boot, even with the rigid cradle, still flex a little creating a subtle change in feel.
Starting with the rigid Flex Frame gives a good sense of how the boot flexes at the ankle without the additional factor of sole flex thrown in. The Redster is as precise as any boot of this caliber. The carbon lends lots of power to any lateral move whilst the ankle range is fairly open and progressive. At a 130 flex the boot at first felt soft but has good predictability. It’s when the boot is tipped up that it really shines; the lateral stiffness is terrific, you can rail turns.
The medium Flex Frame is an instant change…it’s hard to describe…there is satiny quality, the skis feel “rounder”, what abruptness there may be at the turn release is smoothed out.
When the soft cradle is installed the feel becomes really silky. The skis feel rounder and softer but the feel belies the efficacy of what’s happening underfoot.
In keeping with Atomics philosophy of allowing the boots soles to flex and in complement to the interior accoutrements there are flex grooves molded between the toe and heel lugs of the shell.
The Redster 130 has a sinuous feel on snow; the fore/aft ROM at the ankles is more relaxed than the CS series yet very predictable.
For those who’ve been in the Atomic B 120…it is no more. A sad day…one of the first wide shells that fit from mid-foot through heel and a flex commensurate to the body type that one would expect to see in it.
The Hawx has experienced unmitigated success since its introduction. In keeping with Atomics design philosophy; the Hawx is constructed to allow forefoot flex. This is accomplished two ways; the sole has flex grooves molded under the forefoot of the shell going side to side and on both the medial and lateral aspects of the shells-again at the forefoot-there are gill-like slots that further encourage flex.
The soles flexing does not make the Hawx similar in any way to a telemark boot…and the skier does not really feel the boot sole flexing underfoot.
The reasons for this idea are; a boot that has a controlled amount of flex underfoot does allow the skis to maintain contact with the snow thus better control and more predictability and it is easier to control the shorter lever of the feet than to control the longer lever of the body…fairly logical. This is not necessarily a major selling point but on snow the Hawx has unique character and feel.
The Hawx 120 and Hawx 100 are the same boot but for flex, the higher the number the stiffer the flex. The 100mm forefoot is generous and married to an intimate mid-foot and well-defined heel. The toe box has plenty wiggle room-the internal volume is in the medium/high range making it a go-to for lots of feet. The Hawx 90W is the same shell but with the normal adjustments for women; lower rear spoiler and lasted liner (means; a bit more padding around the rear foot).
The Hawx has a unique feel on snow due to the flex of the soles underfoot and also the proximity of the feet to the bottom of the boot-there is a thin plastic zeppa resting quite literally on the bottom of the boot. This promotes sole flex and also a crystal clear feel for what’s happening underfoot.
The Hawx has precision due to pedigree-more than enough to satisfy strong, technical skiers, the balance is tilted toward performance but is not domineering or punitive.
Stance is not too ramped or forward-the lean is at 16 degrees. The skier can stand in a good structural weight-bearing attitude. The Hawx has dual cuff alignment-canting-and there is no forward flex adjustment and forward lean adjustment is by way of your basic spoiler wedge.
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