UPDATE: The Easton Mako II Skate is now shipping. Click here to get yourself a pair.
Easton Mako II Skates
Let’s not kid around here; Over the past 5-10 years Easton has had issues getting a skate on the market that has generated vast interest or wide adoption. They have their devoted users for sure, but even Easton would have admitted in 2012 that their market share and quality for hockey skates was lacking.
Many of the hockey gear nerds out there were well aware of Easton’s acquisition of the MLX skate technology a few years back, but most of those people stuck their arm straight out and took a prove-it approach to Easton – easy to do with so many other good skates on the market.
Then Easton unleashed the Mako skate.
The Mako was Easton’s first skate to utilize the newly-acquired MLX technology, focused mainly on natural movement. As a result, Easton took a major jump forward with the Mako skate in both quality and comfort.
I have been wearing the original Mako skate for roughly a year now and I am not blowing smoke when I say that they are the most comfortable skate I’ve worn – and I came from a 2010 Bauer X:60. Although I am not going to go into too much detail about it in this post, Kyle and I compared notes on the first Easton Mako in a previous article.
Now, scheduled for release on June 20, Easton is preparing to launch the Mako II skate.
A New Look For the Mako II Skate
The first thing you’ll notice about the Easton Mako II skate is the more conservative look. Where the original Mako provided an, um, adventurous look, the Mako II has dialed it down a bit by replacing the bright orange highlights with a more chic and subtle grey. My guess is that Easton heard a lot of what I heard; people saying things like “What the hell are those?” and “Why orange?” Based on the people we have asked to this point, it seems like the general consensus is that the new, subtler color scheme is an improvement.
As for me, I care far more about comfort and feel than I do about the look. I won’t mind the new grey, but what did Easton change in the actual skate to improve it? Quite a few things.
Mako II Performance Enhancements
First, the Easton Mako II skate has a thicker, softer tongue. Many skate manufacturers are now moving to these enhanced, pro-style tongues and Easton has done the same with the Mako II. They didn’t necessarily do this because everyone else is, though. The Mako line is a skate made for maximum flexing and accommodating the natural movement of your foot, so the tongue needs to be able to handle such movement. Mission accomplished, as far as I am concerned.
Easton also upgraded the interior of the Mako II skate by adding Ortholite footbeds. We’ve seen upgraded footbeds from all the major vendors lately, so this isn’t a surprise. The footbeds are now triple density, which will provide some additional support and comfort. When I tried on the Mako II, I didn’t really notice a difference between these footbeds and the ones in my original Mako skates, but both do their job of providing good support and keeping my feet feeling pretty connected to the ice.
Additional Mako II Upgrades
Some other upgrades in the Mako II are additional protection to the high ankle padding, increased bootform durability (remains to be seen if that holds true, but we’ll keep you informed) and most importantly, a reinforced upper assembly. We did see a few pair of the original Mako’s come back in with assembly issues, so hopefully Easton has addressed those. Speaking from experience, I play twice a week all year ‘round and I have not had a single issue with this, but we did see it slightly more than usual.
To help keep natural movement unrestricted, Easton returns the active Extendor guard, which feels like the most flexible tendon guard out there. It’s removable and replaceable with a couple turns of a screw, but after a year+ in mine, they are still pristine and certainly not worn down or in any need of repair or replacement. Also making its return are the CXN holder and ES4 stainless steel.
All told, the most noticeable difference with the Mako line is the forward pitch. If you’ve been in Bauer, Reebok or CCM skates for a long time, you’re going to notice right away that a) it’s the most comfortable skate you’ve ever worn and b) it feels like your toes are nearly touching the ice. This is not a gimmick. Easton’s aggressive blade pitch gets you over the front of the skate to create more force onto the ice. This remains unchanged from the original Mako, but it’s worth mentioning because in terms of feel, it’s the biggest adjustment you’ll have to make if this is your first Mako skate.
A word to the wise: if you go into a store and try these on out-of-the-box (unheated), it may feel a little strange. DO NOT FRET! It is only after you get them heated up and fitted properly that you will truly experience the unreal comfort of this skate. I highly recommend them and given the increase of NHL players using this skate, you have as good an indication as any that Easton has a winner here with the Mako II skate. Finally.