Easton RS Hockey Skate Review

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

Having fallen in love with my S-17 skates over the past few years, I get excited whenever Easton is releasing a new skate model. I got to demo the EQ50’s just prior to their release a couple seasons back and I was pretty let down. They were real bulky and not particularly comfortable. This doesn’t mean EQ50 skates are bad for you, they just didn’t work for me.  So when the RS hockey skates were coming out, I tried to keep my expectations in check a little bit. Having said that, I can tell you that after a couple of game in them, they are my next pair of skates. I knew it after wearing them for about an hour.

The RS skate impressed me right out of the box. It is a real sleek, sharp looking skate. They were really comfortable as soon as I put them on – and yes, I caught some crap for wearing them around the office the rest of the day, but hey, I was excited and they were that comfortable.

When I first laced them up for a game, I didn’t tie the top eyelet, mostly out of habit. I do this to allow myself some more forward flex, as I don’t like when a skate is so stiff that it restricts my stride going forward. Within minutes of hitting the ice, I could tell there was too much play in the ankle for this. The RS has a lower profile and once I tied it to the top, it was perfect – a great amount of forward flex, combined with excellent lateral stiffness and response. I love a stiff skate and the RS is stiff and responds great on strides.

I’ve been getting high ankle cuts on my last couple pairs of skates from abrasion on tight/hard turns, so Easton’s new comfort edge feature really interests me. I like the idea of that type of protection and it has been a great addition to skates like the TotalOne and TotalOne NXG, even though I haven’t truly been able to test how effective the feature is.

On the back end of the skate, Easton put in a new injected tendon guard that is very strong and helps your foot to recoil on strides. You can really feel the extra support. On the inside of the skate, Easton added extra foam padding inside the tendon guard for a little extra comfort. Although I am used to a much thicker felt tongue, the RS’s felt tongue is really comfortable and has no signs of lace bite. There is also a little extra padding in the front, in case you take a slapshot  off the laces.

New to the RS skate is Easton’s Giro SuperNatural Fit footbed system. This comes with three sizes of adjustable arch inserts. This is a good idea, but in practice is a little gimmicky, there doesn’t feel like there is a big difference between the smallest and largest inserts.

My main issue with the skates is the Razor Bladz elite runner. The holder itself is great, it is very stiff, responsive and extremely light. The Elite steel runner is the issue, it’s just too weak for me. I can feel it give and bow as I make tight turns or hard stops. Remember, though, issues with blades are very personal and subjective – the Elite runners may be just fine for you, this is really a personal thing with me.

Overall the RS skate really really impressed me – I really love it. Barring some ridiculous new unannounced skate being released, the RS will be my next skate.

Have a look and order yourself some right here.

…..and here’s my video review:


Bauer Nexus 1000 Hockey Stick Review

Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

So, a few weeks ago, a huge truckload of new Bauer Nexus 1000 sticks showed up at our warehouse. Needless to say, it was like christmas in June, because I knew one of them had my name on it to test out. Historically not being a huge Bauer sticks guy, I was a bit unsure of how the stick would perform, but still pumped to try it out. The Nexus did not disappoint.

I don’t know the exact weight of the Nexus relative to other sticks currently out, but as soon as I picked it up, the weight was one of the first things I noticed. The stick is really light. On top of being light, it is very well balanced – not shaft or blade heavy.

As I tested the stick out in warm-ups, I really loved the release. Bauer took their squared, double concave taper and combined it with a Tru-Mid kick flex profile to create a smooth natural release. The blade stays square through the shot, with minimal deflection or torsion, to keep shots accurate. I felt really able to lean on and flex the stick and let go for a a hard, quick release without much effort. The mid kick really gives you a natural, effortless feel on shots.

My only real issue with the Nexus is one more with Bauer sticks in general, I found the GRIPTAC grip coating to be way too sticky. It didn’t allow me to slide my bottom hand as freely as I would prefer. Besides that I really have no complaints.

The Nexus also pleasantly surprised me with the amount of feel the blade has on the puck. It gave a lot of feedback as to where the puck was on my blade. This is helped by Bauer’s Power Core 3 blade, designed to have a soft feel when stickhandling while remaing stiff and strong on shots. The textured finished to the blade also helped to create more feel on the puck

For someone who is not a big Bauer stick fan, the Nexus 1000 really surprised me. It is a great stick from Bauer and is available now at Purehockey.com and all Pure Hockey locations.


Bauer Vapor APX Hockey Glove Review

The APX glove is this years model in Bauer’s Vapor line. Bauer’s strategy in recent years has been to build 3 totally different glove fits. There is the 4-Roll, a more traditional, looser fit. Then the Supreme line, which is a full anatomically designed fit, made to tightly fit and closely mimic the shape of a players’ hand. In the middle of those two relatively extreme fits falls the Vapor line, a “Taper Fit” glove. This fit is looser than a supreme, but more snug than the 4-roll, allowing a tight fit with unmatched range of motion.

Having worn 4-Roll type traditional fitting gloves for as long as I can remember, it took me a little while to get used to the snugness of the APX. The great part was, I took the tags off of them and was able to jump on the ice in a game without any real issue. They are truly a game-ready glove right off the shelf.

The fit was a bit weird for me at first, tighter than anything I’ve used, but it is an extremely mobile glove. My biggest thing with a glove is wrist manuverability -I usually cut out the inner cuff as soon as I bring home a new pair of gloves- The APX is designed with Bauer’s Free Flex Cuff, to allow for maximum mobility. Even with the snug fit around my hand, I felt very able to move my wrists freely. Along with being angled to open up and align with a players’ natural hand position, the cuff is attached by a stretch mesh type material, preventing any restriction of movement.

Another aspect of the glove that I was a bit worried about was the palm. The APX features the second generation of Bauers TECHNI-FLEX palm, which to the naked eye, appears to have a lot going on. Being used to normal plain nash palmed gloves, the APX palm felt a little bit thick to me. I didn’t feel that it hurt the performance, I just didn’t love it. However, I will say that though I haven’t used the gloves long enough to truly test out the long-term durability, I think the reinforcementsat key locations on the palm will drastically improve the palms’ life in high-wear areas.

The APX glove is really light to wear as well. That was one of the things I liked the most about them. Being used to a bigger glove that are usually a bit heavier, they felt very light to me. Bauer made this possible through the use of AERO Foam, which reduced the overall weight by 20% without sacraficing impact protection.

Overall, even though it was a pretty new style of glove to me, I have enjoyed wearing the Bauer Vapor APX Glove, another solid product by Bauer Hockey. Available Here at Purehockey.com and all Pure hockey Locations.

Check out the video review here…


Bauer Re-Akt Hockey Helmet Review

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Having worn a Bauer 4500 for the better part of the past decade, I recently got to try out a few high end helmets that I likely would not have tried otherwise. I’ve had the opportunity to test out a couple top-of-the-line bike helmet style- foam helmets, the EPP foam Easton E700 and the slightly different Vertex Foam of the Bauer Re-Akt helmets. I have always valued comfort more than protection in all my equipment, helmets included, and because of this, I have usually leaned towards the softer, more comfortable dual-density VN foams like the 4500.

I have never found a higher end, EPP foam helmet that was very comfortable to wear. I always ended up with pressure points, or having my hair caught between the pieces of foam. The Re-Akt helmet doesn’t fit that mold. After getting to try out the Re-Akt I can tell you, this helmet has everything going for it.

Lets go one by one through the normal high end helmet complaints that the Re’Akt solves…

High end EPP foam helmets are uncomfortable…

-Bauer took This EPP hard foam helmet and made it extremely comfortable. The SUSPEND-TECH liner is protective, but it also adds a nice bit of soft padding. Memory foam pads in the temple contour to each individuals head shape for a snug but comfortable fit. I really felt it mold to my head as I wore it. This helmet is also very well ventilatedto keep your head cooler in game. I usually take my helmet off between shifts to cool down, and it wasn’t as needed with the Re-Akt.

More protective helmets are bulkier looking

- One of my biggest personal problems with top of the line helmets is there utter lack of style – Look good, Feel good, Play good – Bauer finally listened to players who desired a bucket with top-end protection, and good looks. Designed with the timeless look of the Bauer 4500 in mind, Bauer came up with a sleak, low profile, good looking helmet.

Protection isn’t as top notch as advertised

- There was a big push a few years back of companies claiming “Concussion-proof Helmets”. Well no such thing existed. Still doesn’t. There are two types of concussions, those caused by a direct blow or impact. which can be prevented by the correct impact absorbant helmet/material, and rotational concussions. Rotational concussions are essentially caused by a whiplash type motion, causing your brain to rattle in your head. Bauer worked hard to create something to fight this second type of concussion, introducing the free floating SUSPEND-TECH. this moves independently from the rest of the helmet, protecting the brain from excessive movement within your head. So on top of being comfortable, this is really one of, if not the most, technologically advanced, and safest helmets ever made. The third generation occipital lock does a great job of extending underneath the back of your head to really hold the helmet in place on impacts.

Some other benefits of the helmet that I really liked include the new sizing system. It is really simple to fit, even to adjust in game. It adjusts from one clip, in the back center of the helmet, no tools, just open it, put the helmet on, move it in until its snug and snap it back into place. I am not a huge fan of ear flaps, I take them off as soon as I get a new helmet home, I still did for this the Re-Akt, but when I had the helmet on when I first received it, they were not very noticeable in comparison to a lot of others.

 

I have really enjoyed the Bauer Re-Akt helmet. Feels good, looked really good on the ice, and is very protective. Although I didn’t skate into the boards to test it, having read about the technology, seen the tests that were run, I truly trust that if I needed that type of protection on the ice, I would be all set with the Bauer Re-Akt helmet.

The Bauer Re-Akt is available at all Pure Hockey locations, and here at Purehockey.com