Easton Mako Hockey Skate Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
One of the most anticipated hockey skate releases of this year is the Easton Mako skate. The Mako is built from the technology behind the MLX skate, which is now part of Easton through an acquisition. As those who’ve read this blog before know, I’m a big Easton fan and I wear Easton skates. After a couple years of doubt and trials, Easton has taken the extremely customized MLX skate and made it into a viable production model. Easton’s ‘Chief of Speed’ (don’t we all wish we could have a title like that?) Dave Cruikshank designed the MLX skate a few years back when he, as a skating coach, realized he didn’t have the ability to move in a natural, efficient way while wearing a typical hockey skate.


So Cruickshank set off to make the MLX skate, allowing for natural movement in an anatomically designed skate. This idea is the basis for the Mako skate design, giving a new sense of freedom with much less restriction than what you may find in other skates. Basically this is an attempt on Easton’s part to rethink hockey skates instead of continuing the pattern or slippery slope of all the manufacturers competing to just make the stiffest skate imaginable.


As far as features go, the Mako skate is loaded up. Some interesting new things really differentiate the Mako from its competition. The new tongue set-up is a nice, pro style felt tongue with a protective guard, but that’s not really the interesting part. Easton took the tongue and integrated its connection directly into the toe box. This gets rid of any overlap and negative space in the toe box. The tongue itself is also heat moldable, and forms a snugger, more customized fit.


Another great feature is the asymmetric design in the ankle, which allows the skate to fall in line with the direction you’re pushing. This generates power and stability through turns. The Mako makes high-speed cornering much easier, sharper and quicker. The skate also sits on the new CXN holder from Easton and the holder has a very aggressive pitch, working in tandem with the skate’s great range of motion to place you over the front of the skate, without being unbalanced. The pitch creates more downforce into the ice, leading to a more explosive stride and once again more powerful, quicker cornering. The CXN holder is super light and its steel comes stock with a 9 FT radius.


The very flexible Extendon guard promotes a huge range of motion, with very little restriction. The guard itself is actually replaceable with two simple screws. I personaly like this feature. From my time in shops, I saw a good amount of skates come in with a boot in fine shape, but a torn or broken tendon guard. I actually saw this mostly on newer skates with the really stiff guards. Tendon guards – like any other part of the skate – shouldn’t break on their own, but it’s always reassuring that if something happens to one, you don’t need to replace the entire skate. The only potential negative here is that there’s a small crease where the guard meets the rest of the boot (the attachment point) and if you skate barefoot, I see some potential for some abrasion there. But time will tell. It may or may not be an issue – we’ll report back when we test them out.


One of the other much talked about features of the Mako skate is the bake time. The skate is fully heat moldable. I heard someone describe it as the last step before going over to getting a custom skate. This is true. The skate is designed to be an extremely custom fit. It must be heat molded for an unheard of 16 minutes and then you’ll need to sit still in the boots until they are cool. So bring your iPad or a book when you go get these.

 

I think the Mako is really going to be a hit. It feels good right out of the box, and it really, truly feels like a slipper when it’s heated up. Easton has really done a great job with this skate and I highly recommend that you get out and try a pair on. They are well worth the attention they have been getting.


Bauer Vapor APX 2 Hockey Skate Preview

Bauer APX 2 Skate Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

For the spring of 2013, Bauer is releasing the next iteration of its Vapor skate line, the APX 2. It will continue to be Bauer’s “tapered fit” model, with a narrow V-fit in the heel, and a wider fit in the toe box. Other aspects of the skate carrying over from the original APX are the Hydra-Max 2 liner and the Form-Fit+ footbed.

Beyond the new design aesthetically, the boot is made of CURV Composite –the same material as TotalOne NXG skate- an upgrade from last years Alive composite upper, but will keep the X-Rib pattern, providing structural support and stability. This support maximizes acceleration and makes for quicker turns. Another addition is the pro-style 52 oz. felt tongue. a lot of guys were sitching out the stock FormFit 3 tonuge for something a little thicker on the APX, so this year Bauer took care of that for you.

The new injected stability lacing system is a one-piece construction that maximizes energy return. It also increases the stability, and consistency of performance for the life of the skate, preventing individual eyelets from having more pressure than others, and stopping them from breaking down faster. The system reduces the amount of energy lost, and gives a tighter wrap on the footmaking you quicker on the ice. Bauer has shifted to a more pro-style felt tongue. This increases comfort, while adding protection with the built in guard.

One of the most talked about changes is the switch from the LightSpeed 2 Holder, to the new LightSpeed Edge Holder. The feature on the Edge that most people already now about is the trigger system. This is a HUGE feature for players who often travel for tournaments, or go on road trips where you are away from your preferred sharpener, or a sharpener at all. The system allows you to switch steel in seconds, without taking the skate off. Aside from players travelling, it is also excellent feature for peace of mind. Keep a spare pair of steel in your bag, and if you break a runner, or lose an edge mid-game, you likely won’t even miss a shift swapping them out.

The other advantage to the LS Edge Holder is the additional height. Bauer added 3 MM of overall height, giving the skate a more aggressive attack angle. This also allows you to get lower, and turn harder without bottoming out to the plastic and spinning out. The APX 2 comes standard with Bauer’s LS Fusion runner, made of fused steel and aluminum, reducing the weight by 27% compared to other a standard steel runner.

The APX 2 are definitely a skate to keep an eye on, and absolutely one to make sure you try on! Check them out at Pure Hockey stores and PureHockey.com starting mid-April.


Reebok 20K Hockey Skate Review

Reebok 20k Skate Review Video

In the past few years, there are few companies who have made bigger improvements to a product line than Reebok has made to their hockey skates. Arguably inferior in skates for a while as recently as 5 years ago, Reebok has improved their skate line so dramatically and now has one of the lighter, most popular skates available with the 20K.

I have been skating in the 20K’s for a few weeks now and I must say that they out performed my expectations. They were much lighter on the ice than I had anticipated. I also was a big fan of the stiffness that the 20K provided – they had a lot of support on strides as well as on quick cuts. They were not quite as responsive as some of the other skates that have come out recently, in things like recoil on strides, but the support was definitely there. In that aspect, they are not the best skate on the market, but by no means will they put any player at a disadvantage.

The first time I used them, they definitely took some adjustments because the cut and fit are a bit different from what I am accustomed to. I had a bit of a squeeze in my forefoot, but one of the great features of Reebok skates is the lacelock, which allowed me to keep the lower section slightly looser, and tighten the upper section. It was a bit uncomfortable the first few skates (often normal with a new boot), not so much when on the ice, but in between shifts there was some soreness. Next came using the pump. The Pump eliminates the negative space in the heel and makes it so that my heel sits very snug and prevented heel lift or sliding. I think the customized fit of the pump is an underrated feature and really does prevent heel movement. Unlike most skate molding techniques, it doesn’t become less formed every time you put on or take off your skates.

The Pro-style felt tongue is comfortable, but not overly thick, and does a great job to prevent lace bite. The biggest issue I had was actually with the tendon guard. It scraped against my calf, through my sock and skate sock. I couldn’t quite figure out why, but it was just rubbing up the wrong way against the back of my leg as I skated.

Overall I was impressed with the 20K and liked them a lot more than I can honestly say I expected to. It performed well, it wasn’t a perfect fit for my particular foot, but I can definitely see its advantages and even with it not being a perfect fit, it was still a great skate. The Reebok 20K is available now online and at all Pure Hockey locations.


Hockey Skate Weigh-In

 

Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

So a couple of weeks back, we posted a list of some stick weights on high-end composite sticks and we got a really great response, so we are going to continue this over the next few weeks in some different product categories. Today we start with skates in the price range of $599.99 and up (other price ranges will follow).

NOTE: this is not necessarily a list of THE top lightest skates available; not every model is listed, but we feel this is a good representation of what is present on the market. Secondly, weight should not be your only criteria for purchasing a pair of skates! It is definitely a factor in a multi-step process of determining what is best for you. But it’s not the only thing you should be thinking about!

Weights were measured of a single skate, size 7.5D. So, what you see listed below is the skate model, the weight of a single skate in grams and then that weight doubled to represent the pair.

Model
1) Bauer TotalOne NXG                         —-680g   ——1360g   ———- $799.99
2) Bauer Vapor APX                                —-718g   ——1436g   ———- $799.99
3) Bauer Supreme One.9                      —-746g   ——1492g   ———- $599.99
4) Bauer Vapor X7.0                               —-805g   ——1610g   ———- $599.99
5) CCM U+ CL                                         —-830g   ——1660g   ———- $599.99
6) Reebok 20K                                        —-833g   ——1666g   ———- $799.99
7) Reebok 18K                                        —-834g   ——1668g   ———- $599.99
8) Easton RS                                           —-843g   ——1686g   ———- $599.99
9) Bauer Nexus 800                               —-890g   ——1780g   ———- $599.99
So there you have it! The Bauer TotalOne NXG’s  top the list and the Supreme and Vapor lines follow close behind. Bauer has the top 4 slots! Let us know what you think and what else you would like to see compared in the comments section below, on the our Facebook page and also at our Twitter page.