It’s unlikely that Atomic management foresaw just how much it’s boot brand would come to depend on a modest line of recreational boots it launched eleven years ago. Called Hawx, its unique feature was vent-like creases on both sides of the forefoot, perceived as a fit benefit but actually designed to improve energy transmission to the sole. The original Hawx came in only a single, 100mm last in a limited number of flexes for men and women. Atomic chose the aggressive commercial tactic of underpricing the Hawx line relative to market leaders; the Hawx 80, for example, retailed at $299, an irresistible cost/value relationship.

Once it had a toehold in the market, Atomic began to pile on the improvements. It enhanced the Hawx liners, changed the shell structure, added a narrow and a wide last and made the shells (and liners) heat-moldable just as this feature was gaining wide market acceptance. Of all the smart moves Atomic made to evolve Hawx into a brand unto itself, the wisest was to not just make narrower and wider Hawx originals (now called Prime), but to make the wide Magna a truly exceptional wide boot, with the widest aperture in a conventional shell, and likewise create a narrow boot, Ultra, that feels as close-fitting as a compression sock.

While we wouldn’t recommend it as a commercial strategy, a shop could limit its boot inventory to a full complement of Hawx. As long as its bootfitters took full advantage of all the fit and performance features found across the line, very few customers would leave its care unhappy or unshod.

The ubiquitous boot adjective of 2019 is “lightweight,” a trend Atomic spearheaded when it introduced Hawx Ultra two years ago. (Note to bootfitters: the upper cuff on the Ultra 130 S isn’t Grilamid anymore, but stretchable PU.) For 2019, Hawx Prime gets the Ultra-slimming treatment, with a new shell that wraps closer to the skier. The medium last is accurate out of the box, but is readily personalized as need be. Stance modifications for cuff cant and forward lean remain stock Hawx features.

The rest of Atomic’s 2019 in-resort line is comprised of the race-bred Redster Club Sport series, serious shoes for serious skiers that fit like a cast, and their antipode, Live Fit, the cavernous (102mm), two-buckle boot with elastic panels in the forefoot to accommodate recreational skiers with wickedly wide feet.