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May 06 2013

First Look: Atomic’s Waymaker AT boots

 

Atomic’s Waymaker Tour 110
for 2013/14

One of the surprise gear revelations for next season was Atomic’s decision to double-down on backcountry boots. Atomic began their entry into the BC boot market with last year’s Tracker. It didn’t garner rave reviews but I did have the opportunity to put a pair on and walk around in them a bit. They fit well, had a decent walk mode, but were not particularly light. Nor were they very stiff. As an entry level BC boot they were worth considering if they fit you well, but they did not get rave reviews as a boot worthy of playing hard in-bounds. All in all, a good first attempt, but one that didn’t win any accolades.

In round two Atomic ups the ante by adding the Waymaker series to the Tracker. The Waymaker Tour keeps the customizable Intuition ® liner, stiffens the shell, and adds Tech inserts for true BC utility. There is also a Waymaker Carbon series that uses a classic alpine boot liner, carbon reinforcement in the shell, and DIN standard soles. They also expand the line from 3 Tracker models to 7 Waymaker models, from an ultra stiff, carbon reinforced Waymaker Carbon 130 to a moderate Waymaker Tour 90.

During the WWSRA demo days at Alpine Meadows in February 2013 I had the chance to take a run on the Waymaker 110. It was a single run that included a short hike from the parking lot to the lifts and back, so these are first impressions.

Got stiff if you want it. Carbon reinforced shell, 130 flex rating with an alpine liner. Ooofff!

Downhill Mode
The Waymaker Tour 110 uses a pebax shell with carbon fiber added to the cuff which definitely stiffens the boot up dramatically compared to the Tracker, or many other models for the pickin’. I had zero trouble holding an edge at high speeds in icy conditions. As an old leatherneck, who still prefers to curtsey when he turns, they felt too stiff. The pair I tried felt like a 130 flex boot, but were rated only 110. They reminded me a lot of Tecnica’s Cochise for how they hit a wall of stiffness, but if you weigh closer to 200 pounds you may find them more to your liking. A good portion of that stiffness comes from a solid, metal-on-metal connection with the mode switch.
 

 

The Waymakers only have three buckles, but the critical one over the instep and two on the cuff plus a Velcro’d power strap were plenty to hold my leg securely. About the only upgrade desired would be a buckled power strap for faster cuff release when walking.

Nice cuff ROM of at least 15° back

Tour Mode
In walk mode they are plenty flexible, allowing a decent enough range of motion to make walking a dry trail more bearable. By itself Atomic says the cuff can move 29° to the rear, 6° forward. That’s probably true, but those numbers represent the motion possible, not reality. With my foot in the boot, with the liner and the cuff unlocked in walk mode the cuff easily moves aft about 15°+. Certainly not as flexible as Dynafit’s TLT5, but better than a Cochise or K2′s Pinnacle. In skinning mode there is more than enough range of motion to travel relatively unrestrained.

The Tour series boots come standard with tech fittings on the soles,the Carbon series with DIN soles. If you insist you can swap out the soles for those that are DIN standard for use with plate style AT bindings or regular alpine bindings.

The Waymaker Tour series come with a tongued, proprietary Intuition® liner with a reinforced cuff.

Fit
As with any boot, function is only as good as the fit allows you to harness it. In my trial run I didn’t have the opportunity to tweak anything fitwise. Out of the box they fit me fine in the forefoot, but there was extra room above the in-step. Translation? Generally wide enough for most feet with a bit of heat molding to the liner, with a punch for those in the extra wide category. Incidentally, Atomic substitutes a PU patch along the distal side of the foot to make for easier punches, but keeps Pebax in the main body of the boot. Feet with medium to high insteps will delight in the fit, while low-volume feet will need some filler around the bend in the tongue. This is consistent with Atomic’s claim that the Waymaker Tour is built for a medium sized foot (101mm wide at mets, average+ instep height).

Atomic
Waymaker Tour Series

Model MSRP Weight/boot Size Range Sole
Waymaker Tour 110 $775 1719 g ⋄ 3.78 lbs. 25.5–29.5  Tech
Waymaker Tour 100 $675 1837 g ⋄ 4.04 lbs. 25.5–29.5   Tech
Waymaker Tour 90 $550 2087 g ⋄ 4.59 lbs. 25.5–29.5   Tech
Waymaker Tour 100 W $675 1700 g ⋄ 3.74 lbs. 22.5–27.5  Tech
Waymaker Carbon 130 $775 2142 g ⋄ 4.7 lbs. 24.5–29.5   DIN
Waymaker Carbon 110 $675 2131 g ⋄ 4.69 lbs. 25.5–29.5   DIN
Waymaker Carbon 100 W $550 1972 g ⋄ 4.3 lbs. 23.5–27.5   DIN

 

© 2013