The Backland Carbon Boot from Atomic is a very serious boot, and it got a serious makeover for 2019/20 season. So serious, in fact, that we aren't gonna make any jokes for the rest of this product listing (well, maybe one at the end). All the updates are aimed at improving the Backland without adding any weight. Atomic incorporated a BOA closure system on the lower shell of the boot, ensuring that the fit feels even, snug, and sturdy. A 40mm cam power strap improves on the thinner power strap that older models featured, and the taller cuff means a more direct boot-to-ski feel on the way down. With carbon loaded polyamide making up the cuff and shell on this updated model, this boot can be altered (by a boot tech) to fit almost any foot. Atomic took a great boot and made it better in every way while still preserving the unique customizable fit that made older models so popular. The updated Atomic Backland Carbon boot is functional, reliable, and looks like boots RoboCop would wear-- perfect for serious skiers who do serious things in the backcountry.
The Frictionless Pivot provides an efficient and smooth stride, allowing for a natural walking motion that doesn't try to reinvent the wheel-- it is just walking, after all.
Updated shell and cuff material offers excellent lateral power transmission so you can consider using these boots on fatter skis.
BOA closure system wraps the foot evenly and snugly, you can ski down without slop then skin right back to the top in comfort.
Free/Lock 2.0 ski/walk mech is proven solid and still really simple to use while offering great support in ski mode.
Full rubber sole means confidence when walking on stuff that isn't snow, which does happen in the real world.
Fully moldable shell and liner means it can fit some big hooves.
This boot walks incredibly well but performs very poorly on the downhill for its weight class. The fit is rather high volume and the boa has no ability to put any pressure on my instep, even with heel shims and other modifications. You definitely need a very high instep to fit this. Beyond the fit, the boot is very floppy and has a lot of play, even in downhill mode. Compared to other boots in its weight class, it is very soft.
I have also had serious durability issues. Screws have fallen out in the field (apparently they don't put lock-tite on them in the factory) and the shell cracked after only about 15 days. Friends have had the same issue with screws. Overall, not impressed and going back to my tlt7s, which ski downhill much better, although they don't walk as well.
It only took 2+ years of trying on boots before I finally found the one. And these boots have not disappointed. Light enough to keep up with the best of them, stiff enough to let you shred on the down. The best part is how comfortable they are. I have fairly low volume feet, and while there is some wiggle room, my toes aren't complaining. The boa keeps things locked down just enough to prevent blisters and allow for excellent edge control. Cannot say enough good things about this boot!
I tried on a couple other pair of boots I had access to and even though I bought the backland carbons sight unseen, I find them super comfortable in comparison. I've gotten no hot spots, they're plenty warm, easy to adjust, great in walk mode and more than enough in ski mode for me. I used the included liner to bring the size down from 28.5 to 28 and that made it an even better fit for me.
All these positives said though, I've found that that the upper strap needs re-tightening occasionally and I sometimes wish I had purchased the backland ultimate boot instead given the weight savings there. My experience wearing different boots is minimal, but at 1200g I would not call these very light. This is certainly a boot I'd wear all day long though. Comfortable!
Comment on this review:
Will McKay (used product regularly)
I've put in a fair amount of days in these boots and am ultra psyched. Personally they fit my foot extremely well which is why I'm partial to them. I find they ski really well for their weight and are a pure joy on the uphill. The BOA was a little loose on my foot but after adding custom foot beds, that problem was eliminated. Time will tell for durability but if they're anything like the previous Backland Carbon, I have no doubt they'll hold up to a beating.
Comment on this review:
I’m curious why this boot doesn’t seem to get much love. The design is quite similar to the Scarpa F1 LT which people are drooling over. Does the Backland’s performance not live up to its potential? How does the downhill performance compare to the Alien RS/F1 LT?
Hey, Chris currently I have put in a number of days on the Alien RS and have also had the opportunity to ski the Backland Carbon so I will try and give a bit of insight. I think overall the Backland Carbon's offering is quite good and offers great uphill performance at a pretty low weight that compares favorably to the Alien RS and F1 LT. I do believe that the Backland Carbon falls a bit short in overall downhill performance and feels a bit softer in general potentially because of where the power strap buckle combination is located, as well as the overall cuff height of the boot. In the Aliens RS the flex is quite stiff and abrupt because of the Dyneema cord while the new F1 LT is very similar it has bit more progressiveness to it. The Backland Carbon felt like the cuff just flexed a bit lower down and just wasn't quite as supportive. Because flex ratings are so subjective I would say any of the options you mentioned above would be relatively comparable but the age old saying of " the best boot out there is the one that fits your foot" should be more of the deciding factor!
Thanks Zak, that's super helpful!
Answer this question:
How would you compare fit comparing to Scarpa F1? I have narrow chicken like feet, a mid-height in instep. I've tried Backlands - they're narrow but not that low volume as I thought they coulde be. What about F1's? Are they less volume?
Hey Mariusz, the Backland does have a squarer toe box than the Scarpa F1, so the F1 might feel a little more snug in the metatarsal area. Also with shell on the F1 the instep will be a little more snug, though it may not be a huge difference. Depending on the size of your foot you might actually want to check out the Scarpa F1 Women's Boot. That boot has a significantly snugger fit all around, especially in the instep area.
Has anyone tried replacing Backland's stock liners with Intuition liners? What model would suit best this shell? I'm thinking of something bit warmer and with more snug fit
I would suggest the Palau Tour Lite Pro Evo Liner over the Intuition liners for this boot. The Palau liner will definitely have more insulation than the stock liner and it will take up a fair bit of space, but it wont affect the walk mode as much as the Intuition liners. The Intuition liners are more ideal for beefier, higher flex, and higher volume boots.
Answer this question:
How would you characterize the last shape? Mid, Wide Narrow? Volume etc ? I currently ski the Dynafit ONEs from several years past and that is good once I get the area in the ball of the foot expanded a bit. Thank you
Thanks for your question, Bruce. Atomic characterizes this as a "narrow" lasted boot, however, it is definitely on the roomier end of "narrow." Also, this boot has a fully heat moldable shell to help dial in the fit (this process can help get an additional 6mm of space). The Dynafit "One" boots on paper are definitely quite a bit roomier than these, however, the saying goes "you never know until you try it on." Hope this helps!
Answer this question:
Are these compatible with auto crampons?
Hey Paul, the Backlands definitely are! Not all automatic crampon bails mate perfectly with all ski boot toes, but the lip on the front of the boot should work nicely with the automatic crampons that we stock.
Very good fit with Grivel Haute Route ski-matic and mediocre but servicable with CAMP aluminum
Answer this question:
Ok how about another ski performance comparison with Fischer Traverse Carbon?
Dr. Cawley, following your ignominious overtaking of the USS SkimoCo on the Flagstaff skinner last week, we refuse to give out any advice that may advance your skiing career. However, if someone in our good graces asked the same question, we would say that the Backland Carbon is in the same stiffness class as the Travers Carbon (now called the Travers CS), and a little less stiff both forward and laterally than the new Travers CC.
I truly appreciate your diplomatic patronage. Please know that while I may appear to be yet another imperious Wasatch mouth breather, on the inside I am deeply tormented--primarily by ski boot fit and performance issues.
Answer this question:
Care to compare these to Arcteryx Procline AR? Up/down performance?
Hey Chris! The word from Subcommandante JBo is that the Backland Carbon is "less supportive" than the Procline AR, which was a "sweet boot." But, he says, "it walks better."
I really want to hear more about this boot as soon as you guys have tried them. They received a very strange and not very believable review at Wildsnow.com. Things I'll be curious about are
1) How they ski vs. a TLT6. 2) How do they fit? I'd love it if they fit narrower than the F1.
I realize you guys probably haven't been on them yet. Just a heads up I expect to buy 'em from you if you convince me they are as good as they sound!
Hi Eric! We were able to ski the new Backlands and I also found that review strange. The stiffness of the new version is somewhere between a tongueless Backland and a tongued Backland since, hey, they removed the tongue. It's taller, more responsive, applies pressure more evenly, and walks great without having to remove anything, making it a nice boot for those who prefer simplicity versus the removable tongue system. Similar story as compared to the TLT6 as those were comparable boots.
The listed 98mm last is way off, felt wider and more voluminous than an F1.
lol. i agree with the above about the WildSnow review. i am curious though... i've been sking 17/18 women's backlands for a few years and i NEVER use the tongues. so it seems like this boot would be a rad upgrade; simplicity of tongueless but also stiffer/more responsive. i assume if the old backland fit my foot well, the same shell size in the carbon should fit the same? maybe that's a dumb question, but i have nowhere to try the boot on locally so just wanted to be sure!
Hey Emily, yes, same shell size should work well from the older Backland Carbon to the new Backland Carbon/Backland Pro. Fit is affected slightly by the change in liner and the new Boa system, but shouldn't switch things up radically.