Skimo Co

Atomic Backland Ultimate Boot - 2020/21


Atomic has taken a new approach to just about everything related to ski-touring: skis, skins, bindings and boots. The Backland Ultimate is no exception. It’s a skimo race boot that incorporates Memory Fit, a revolutionary molding-technology that has made Atomic famous among skiers with ugly feet. The entire boot, including the shell, can be thrown in an oven for a few minutes (do not attempt). Cold compression wraps cool the boot around the contours of your foot to create the ultimate fit profile. Memory Fit is a moldable shell design that is soft and pliable when hot, but stiff and responsive when cold. A washable sock-style liner is employed in the Backland Ultimate to provide simplicity and supple comfort throughout a day of touring or racing. A large single-throw lever dictates walk or ski mode in a simple and durable fashion. The carbon cuff and frictionless pivots allow the boot to walk like a running shoe. A grippy Skywalk rubber sole encourages booting up ridgelines. The Backland Ultimate is Atomic’s proud debut into the world of race-boots and it will quickly be a favorite for some.

  • 80° of articulation is well beyond the capabilities of the average human ankle.
  • Carbon Cuff adds stiffness and precision while a Grilamid shell durably handles walking duties.
  • Free/Lock 3.0 is one of the easiest and simplest boot closure designs out there.
  • Serviceable, frictionless pivots are rock solid for skiing precision and walking freedom.
  • Skywalk Rubber Sole summons Luke Skywalker-like traction and speed.

Update 2018/19: Atomic changed to a traditional tongue-liner instead of the previous sock-style liner, making it easier to put on and take off. They also gave the boots a new paint job and extended the built-in gaiter a bit higher on the shell to improve waterproofing. Weight went up about 60 grams (2.1 oz).

Update 2021/22: Atomic released a new version of the ultimate.

convert to ounces
805g [27/27.5]
740g [27/27.5 - 2017/18]
Weight (pair) 1610g [27/27.5]
1480g [27/27.5 - 2017/18]
Buckles   1
Boot Sole Length   248mm [23.5]
258mm [24.5]
268mm [25.5]
278mm [26.5]
288mm [27.5]
298mm [28.5]
308mm [29.5]
Binding Compatibility   Tech only
Cuff Rotation   80°
Forward Lean(s)   13°, 15°
Specs Verified Yes
Materials   Grilamid shell, Carbon cuff
Liner   Platinum Speed
Sole   Skywalk rubber
Skimo Co Says
Usage Racing, exploring
Notes Fully customizable shell and liner
Bottom Line Light race boot that can mold to your feet
Compare to other Race Boots

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$974.95 From $474.95

Questions & Reviews

Question from Emily
Is this boot model for more narrow and low-volume feet, as indicated in the description for this year’s (the updated) model?
Answer from Emmett I

Yes, this boot will fit narrower, low volume feet well! That said, it also has heat moldable shells, so it can be easily molded to fit wider feet.
Answer from Karl
My feet are narrow/low volume around the ankles and the instep and moderately wide around the toes. I had a quick and intense romance with the 2022/23 version of these boots before they developed some major issues (see my review there if interested). I had to put in thick insoles to reduce the volume of those boots in the vertical dimension (my instep is low to average height I would say). After grinding off some of the aftermarket insoles' material the toe box was still pleasantly roomy. The relative softness of the shell material and no BOA but rather a more traditional (and well placed) strap and buckle helps too I'd say.
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Question from Melody
I have some 2018 Backland Ultimates that came with the sock liner which is a pain so wanted to try these which seem to be what you recommend. My ultimates have the 268 sole length and I think are 25 or 25.5 (can’t find on boots). What size liners do you recommend?
Answer from Brett S
Hey Melody, it may be worth trying out either of the Palau race liners, which can be found here. Either 25.0 or 25.5 would work (the 25.5 would feel a little tighter than the 25.0 when put into the boot).
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Question from Young
I want use these as a split board boots.
If I use the initiation tour pro liner, should the size 26.5 HV fits in the 26.5 shell?
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Young,

The Atomic Backland Ultimate is a skimo race boot, which means it has a pretty low volume shell. The Intuition Pro Tour liners are very high volume, and generally a good pairing with a beefy freeride boot.

I would not recommend trying to squeeze an Intuition Pro Tour HV into a Backland Ultimate. You will likely not be able to get your foot in that boot, and there is no way that you will be able to close the cuff.

I would start with the Palau Tour Lite Pro if you are looking for something beefier than the stock liner.
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Jordan D (used product a few times)
I picked up a cheap pair of these and used for a month, skiing Salomon X Alp 78mm skis

Boy... you can do better than these. Really soft, not waterproof, low and small front cuff. My full plastic 800g Sportiva Racetron held the foot better on the up and were stiffer on the way down. The Atomics have sock liners that appear to be the same stiffness and durability as actual socks.

For only 100g more are the Alien RS, which must ski solidly three times as well
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Question from chris
Hi there, I'm a size 10 in US size, but I require a large toe box ( both feet have Morton's neromas). I'm interested in the Atomic Backland Carbons. Are they tight in the toe box? Should I go with a size 28? Thanks in advance for any advice you may have for me. Best, Chris
Answer from Brett S
Thanks for reaching out, Chris. If possible, please use our Online Bootfitter! We'll look forward to helping you out!
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Kristian Woyna (used product regularly)
Excellent, comfortable, and fun for fast light Spring tours covering longer distances. Paired with Atomic 78 ULs. And surprisingly good control on the down.
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Question from Jake
HAs anyone had any luck making these more waterproof? I don't always want to train in race pants.
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Jake,

The best option that comes to mind would be the Scarpa Alien Gaiter. However, there are a few drawbacks to this solution. The Alien Gaiter is made to accommodate a boot with a Boa, so you will not be able to adjust the instep buckle once the gaiter is on. Additionally, the Alien 1.0 has a much higher cuff height, so the gaiter will most likely be too tall. We do not currently carry Alien Gaiters, so if you are interested in this waterproofing option, either order through Scarpa directly, or reach out to us at
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Question from Jean
I have Dynafit Evo boots (289mm) and want to change with the Atomic Ultimate (288mm). Is 1mm a problem without refixing the bindings.
Thanks for your answer
Answer from Zak M
Hey Jean, yes a 1mm difference could dictate a remount of the bindings. It would really come down to what bindings you have and if there's any adjustment available.
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Question from Markus
Has the Backland Ultimate some Carbon in the bottom of the shoe like the scarpa alien 1.0 or only in the shaft ?
Answer from Zak M
Thanks for your question, Markus! The cuff has a carbon backbone while the rest of the boot is grilamid.
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Question from Tom
If I were a 26.5 in the backland carbon, should I go for a 26.5 in these as well or is it a good idea to size up due to the shorter BSL?

Or does the thinner liner make that unecessary?
Answer from Teddy Young
Hey Tom, the thinner liner means you should be able to go with the same mondo size, I'd say stick with the 26.5!
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Question from Tim
Hey I have the Atomic Hawk Ultra XTD 120 in 27/27.5. Wondering if I would be the same size in the Backland ultimate. I am also a 27.5/28 in the lasportiva syborg and Scarpa F1 if that helps. Thanks!
Answer from Zak M
Hey Tim, if you're a 27/27.5 in the Hawx Ultra XTD a 27/27.5 in the Backland Ultimate could be pretty close. If you wanted to email we could help you out a bit more in depth with some sizing.
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Question from Dasha
Hello! Just got a pair of new Backland Carbon Ultimate, and got a bit confused about not finding a sole liner and size adjuster in the box. Is it OK or Atomic forgot to put them in my box?

Also, couldn't decided which size I should have ordered because normally I wear 4.5 UK, but Backland's size chart I couldn't find it- just 4 and then straight to 5! So I ordered 24/24.5 but now I have some doubts bc it feels a little bit loose. Will double liners and thermo adjustment help me?
Answer from Julieana
Hey Dasha, because these boots are sized for a performance fit with a thinner liner they come without insoles. Based on your shoe size technically you should be in a 23.5. If you want to boot to fit as intended that's the size you would want to go with, however due to the thin liners and performance fit of the boot the shell is actually sized down a full size from other atomic boots so if you put a thicker liner and after-market footbed in them they could potentially fit you fine in that size.
Answer from Tjaard B
That is what I did for my daughter:
bought the Backland UL in a size larger (25.5) meaning the shell is the same size as the normal Backland in what was then her boot size (24.5). She skied them for 2 years with a very thick liner(narrow foot), and now this season she moved to a mid thickness liner. If her feet grow more, she can go to the stock liner, or since the old version we have was not such a nice liner, probably use the Palau Prolite Tour liners we got from a while ago.

To be clear, this is for normal touring, not racing.
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Question from patrick l
Wife is using a pair or mens 2019 Backland Ultimates. Looking to upgrade her liner to something warmer and more plush in the upper without sacrificing room in the toe box or the foot area in general. best suggestion? thanks!
Answer from Julieana
Hey Patrick, unfortunately liners that take up more space and have more padding in the cuff will take up more space throughout the boot. You may want to invest in some boot gloves to help with the warmth. If she needs a new liner the Palau Tour Lite Pro Liners should have a little extra padding in the cuff, but be aware they might take up a touch more room in the toebox at least to start. The other option would be the Palau Ultralight Race Liners.
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Brad H (downright abused product)
I love these boots! I have a pair of the 2018/19 model, and they are my everyday driver when it comes to touring, ski mountaineering, and SkiMo races! My friends HATE me for how light these boots are!

I bought these boots a year ago and they've been part of my primary touring and race setup since, I've put about 50 days on them. I've skied several volcanoes on them: Mt Hood, Mt Adams, Mt Saint Helens, Mt Bachelor. I've skied every possible kind of PNW snow imaginable in them from schmoo to chunder to ice to powder to hot pow to corn to corn chowder.

These boots are incredibly comfortable in walk mode. I could drive home in them they have so much mobility to them. The transition from walk to ski and back is effortless.

Now in ski mode, they are admittedly very soft. I don't mind this that much. I like to say I'm a pretty bad skier, so I don't notice the flex, all skiing is survival skiing with me. But the truth is I wouldn't trade the weight and flexibility in walk mode for more stiffness.

I've also used these boots on my "race setup". Truth is I'm not doing a bunch of racing, so I'm not sure these are really podium destined, but they are lighter than some of the boots my friends race in.

I do have a couple of small complaints:
- On the 2018/19 model, the liner is really light weight, and I pretty much destroyed it after a season of use. I've replaced them with the Palau Ultralight Race Liners and am really happy with that upgrade.
- With the stock liners, side hilling was often pretty uncomfortable because the hard plastic shell would dig into my ankle. I just got used to feeling the pain as a trade-off for the weight... but the Palau Ultralight Race Liners eliminated this problem.

I'm 5'4" 150lbs and I wear these boots to ski the Movement AlpTrack 94 169cm, with Black Diamond Helio 200 bindings. I also wear these boots to ski the Atomic Ultimate 65 WC 2016 163cm Skis with Dynafit PDG Autolock Bindings.
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Question from Robert P
Would these boots work as a hardboot for snowboarding? Any idea which bindings for hardbooting they would work with? Thanks
Answer from Jeff
Robert, Yes these will work well for snowboarding. The Ultimate is on the soft side for a ski boot, so is good if you prefer to not have a stiff boot. If you want a bit more, the Backland Carbon is popular with splitboarders. It will work with Phantom and Spark systems and most others for hardboots.
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Question from Joe
I’ve read a few reviews about the ultimate and wanted to know about the overall durability?

Cord durability? Can these be replaced with another better cord?
Answer from TSB
Hey Joe! The Ultimate boot has gotten good reviews for durability, and if you were concerned about the cord strength on the cuff mechanism, you could definitely replace it with a different cord, such as the legendary Amsteel Blue as an aftermarket product, or our stock Alien dyneema cord. As a usage anecdote, ubermensch Mark Smiley skied across the Alps in a pair of Backland Ultimates, which hopefully attests to their durability!
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Question from Jaime
In the old model (White) is it possible to modified the angle of the cuff??
Answer from Jeff
Jaime, it is the same as the current boot. Pull out the liner, unscrew the screws on upper part of ski/walk lever. The plate it screws into on the inside, flip it around..
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tyszec (used product regularly)
I have had those boots for 2 years. They are pretty light and act with quite good stiffness but there is a huge problem for me with the inner boot, which is thin as a sock (and it could even work), but it has stitches in the wrong place - and near plastic part by the lower buckle, because it may dramatically damage my foot. I wrote to Atomic about this already twice but got no answer (I also wanted to buy a new inner boot). I hope that it has been improved now (I see normal type of inner boot).
Reply from Brad H
You might want to check out the Palau Ultralight Race Liners, I got a pair of them to replace the stock liners, and I think they work really well.
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Question from Rikard Tvedby
Do you think its possible to pair this boot with a Zag Adret 88 ski (88mm underfoot, 980grams) and use it for
endurance touring?
Answer from TSB
Hey Rikard, thanks for reaching out! Without having more experience on the Zag ski, it's hard to say whether a true race boot such as the Backland Ultimate would work well as a pairing. The Atomic is reasonably stiff by the standards of skimo race boots, but skimo race boots as a category will generally feel a bit underpowered for skis that are more than 85mm under the waist. If you're looking for a boot that would pair with touring skis in the 85-95mm waist category, I'd check out the Atomic Backland Carbon.
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Question from Keith Kruelskie
Are these compatible with Atomic/Salomon shift bindings? Trying to figure out a lighter boot than the Salomon QST 120s I have currently, without switching bindings.
Answer from TSB
Hi Keith, this boot (and any other race boots on our website) are not going to be compatible with the Shift binding, or any other step-in style binding for that matter. Look for boots that have the compatibility noted as "Frame" under the Specs tab, e.g. the Atomic Hawx XTD 130, Tecnica Zero G, and Dynafit Hoji Free. These boots will also have the power needed to drive a bigger ski that you might choose to pair with the Shift.
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Model: Backland Ultimate MPN: AE5016820

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