Pros: Well-designed and nicely constructed boot, excellent Sidas liner, interesting features
Cons: Expensive, others TBD
This is a preliminary review of a pair of recently purchased Atomic Waymaker 130 boots. Since it's only November and I'm in the East, I have not had a chance to ski these, so this is an initial impression only and there are no "Durability" or "Performance" details posted. The "four star" overall rating should be considered very preliminary - a more thorough review and revised rating will be posted after I've had a chance to ski the Waymakers, but I hope that this preliminary write-up can be of use. Finally, please also note that the "Value" detail graph is relative to the price paid, not the MSRP or MAP.
Product: Atomic Waymaker 130 boots
Shell: Carbon spine and carbon reinforced areas of the cuff and shell
Forward lean angle: 15°
Boot size: 26.5 (street shoe size - US 8-1/2)
Other product info from the Atomic website:
Asymmetric (ASY) Elite T3 liner with flex foam;
Heat moldable Dynashape foam;
One-component shell with Carbon Spine;
Three-buckle construction with Triad 7000 buckle;
50mm power strap;
Multi-Norm Chassis - DIN standard soles and that can be swapped out for tech insert-equipped ISO Touring sole pads that are available separately..
Comments: The Waymaker has a number of interesting features. One is an elongated, oval-shaped flexible area on the lateral (outside) of the front part of the boot that allows the toes to have some extra room if needed. Atomic calls this "Lateral live fit" and as I understand it, is a feature that the Waymaker shares with other Atomic boots. Another is the ability to switch the alpine soles for for touring soles - a feature that I probably will not use (but who knows, maybe I'll try some Nordic skiing now that I can). Finally the boot has what Atomic calls their "Free/Lock" system that allows the liner to flex 35° for walking or touring (the standard position locks the boot's carbon fibre spine in place.
Modifications: Very limited to this point. Added pronation wedges under the standard (Sidas) footbed and did some liner shaping at the tibia/talus junction area (the inside, or medial part of the ankle) for both left and right leg. Removed the plastic stiffener plates at the upper rear of the liner/shell area. I'm still working with my boot fitter to fix a couple of other minor fit issues.
Summary (inc. Strengths & Weaknesses): I am difficult to properly fit with ski boots - moderate pes planus, the superior aspect of cuboid and navicular area is pronounced, wider than average metatarsalia, relatively short overall foot length (26.5) and thick tibia/fibula with well-developed soleous & gastrocnemious musculature and to top it all off, a 3-5mm tophi at the medial junction of the right phalanges distales and mediae. Translation: Kind of flat, short, wide feet with a high instep, a severe case of man-cankles and a small bunion near the right big toe. At this point, I should mention that although I've skied for a more than 35 years, I've been on skis only sporadically for the past 8 years or so. When I wanted to ski, I rented, with not much success in getting a comfortable, good fitting boot. I was lucky enough to spend a week at Big Sky/Moonlight last season - and had some decent gear - and made the decision then and there to get out on the snow as much a possible for the foreseeable future. Since my equipment is decades old (those Hansen rear-entry boots in my basement are classics and really belong in a museum, or a landfill) the starting point was obviously boots, which is where I am now.
I tried on more boots than I care to mention before trying on the Waymaker. The fit at the lower foot was outstanding right out of the box and has continued to improve as I've worn the boot (inside the house only unfortunately). The heel hold is nice and snug while the construction of the boot is an excellent match to my slightly wide feet. The lateral live fit feature actually seems to work as advertised. Interestingly, my tophi is not an issue and it does not look like it will drive a shell modification. The only negative has been the upper boot, where the top of the shell was too tight, even with the bail opened fully and using the first catch. Removing the approx 2" x 3-1/2" plastic stiffener at the upper rear of the boot seems to have provided the necessary room though. I'll be working with the boot fitter at the shop I purchased the Waymakers from to shape a couple of small places in the liner but will leave any major surgery until after I've had a chance to actually ski the boots.
As should be obvious, my initial impression of the Waymaker is quite positive. That this boot is comfortable at this juncture is genuinely concerning: I've really never had a boot that fit as well as this one appears to, in the past. This is an expensive boot but seems very well made and probably worth the money (Full disclosure - I was fortunate enough to have gotten an unused pair of 2013's at about half of the MSRP and frankly would have continued my search had that not been the case). I'll update this review as soon as I've had couple of days on the snow.