Easton Mako Hockey Skate Review

So a couple of us in the office have been wearing the Easton Mako skates for a while now. Jeff for about 3 weeks and myself for couple months.As with many people considering new skates, it took me some time to even convince Jeff to test the Mako’s out, but once they are ready for the ice, they have a way of making their own case.

Being how different a skate they are in style, design and performance it came up as the subject of an email chain and we ended up discussing our multiple first impressions of the skate. the impression we got upon first being shown the skate, first trying it on, after baking the skate and finally when stepping out on to the ice.

Easton Mako Skates: Out of the Box Impressions

EASTON MAKO HOCKEY SKATE

JC: When I first saw them my gut reaction was “what? Are they serious? This is going to come in other colors, right?”

KS: Yeah, when I first saw them, they were really out there. They were just so different looking from anything in production. Not just style-wise, but the shape and cut of the boot. It was clearly something different. I wasn’t a huge fan of the look, as far as the orange flashes and the silver heel, but they definitely stand out, which isn’t a bad thing.

JC: Then after I looked them over in detail, I really had no idea what motivations were behind the whole removable tendon guard and the elevated height on the backend of the holder. It was just visibly…very different and when you get something that is so much different than what you’re used to, I think its just instinctual to have the adverse reaction I did. Remember how different the iPhone was when it was first introduced?

KS: Are you comparing the Mako Skates to the IPhone?

JC: Hah. No. It won’t be that revolutionary! But in terms of how different it was. Kind of a shock to the system.

KS: I know. You can tell when someone on the ice is wearing them! My dislike of their orange, coupled with extreme boredom one night, actually led me to take it upon myself to do a little color redesign on my pair, as pictured here…

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Easton Velocity Series Stick Preview

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

Its that time of year again! Stick release time! It really should be a national holiday. On August 23rd Easton is releasing the new Velocity series of sticks. In a major break from industry conformity, this line will have two flagship sticks, the V9 and V9E. The V9 will feature a traditional square taper on the shaft, while the V9E will continue the Stealth lineage with an elliptical taper, hence the “E” in the name.

Easton V9 Stick BladeA lot of innovative thinking went into this stick line, like with many of Easton’s newest products. Easton sat down and examined the mechanics of effective shooting styles. After looking at some of the best shooters to ever play, they designed a stick built to shoot as effectively as possible.

When they released the Mako II, Easton introduced the idea of Dual Lie blades, originally featuring it on the E28 curve. They have expanded that technology to the E3 and E36 patterns as well. It is designed to in effect create two blades with distinct purposes. The heel of the blade sits flat when the stick is away from the body to catch and make passes, as well as handling the puck. The toe is flat against the ice when the stick is pulled close in a shooting motion.

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Easton Hockey: Invention vs. Improvement Part 2

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

After learning about and using the Mako skates during our demo day, our attention turned to the Mako II stick and more specifically, the idea behind the E28 curve. Easton brought on former NHLer and Olympian Scott Bjugstad and he looked at the way the top shooters were shooting and then he designed a stick for them where the energy loads in the shaft AND in the blade. It is designed for you to shoot off of the two, contrary to what many of us were taught coming up through the hockey ranks. The E28 is designed with a dual lie, one lie from the heel to the midpoint, creating an area to touch the ice when catching passes and handling the puck. The second lie goes out from the midpoint to the toe, with this area designed to be flat on the ice during shots.

Shooting off of the toe has two major benefits. The first is power based off of the puck position. Think of a diving board – the closer to the end you hit to jump, the higher it sends you flying. Shooting a puck works in a similar vein. The second benefit is control. The less the puck moves on the blade as you shoot, the more accurate it is, the more powerful it is and the puck is more likely going to do what you intend and expect it to. Shooting by rolling the puck from your heel is giving away control as you shoot, as well as being a much slower release.

Another great benefit of this curve and stick is that is helps young players learn to shoot. How? The first time any little player has someone on their team able to lift the puck up, they want to do it too, no matter what. This leads to them picking up bad habits just so they can lift the puck, even if it means they are flipping it not actually shooting. With this E28 pattern, if a young player tries that, what will happen is that the puck is pretty much going nowhere, forcing them to shoot the correct way and it improves their shot in general.

A lot of worry with this technique is this: will a blade hold up with this kind of stress on it? Easton designed the stick with this shooting style in mind. Instead of continuing to design the blade from the heel out, they built it from the toe back in. This keeps the toe and the blade in general from softening and it increases the sticks consistency over its life. Time will tell on that part.

Overall, Easton hockey is doing some incredibly innovative stuff, I highly recommend getting out and seeing both the Mako Skates and the Mako II Stick and see for yourself.


Easton Hockey: Invention vs. Improvement Part 1

By Kyle Stevenson

Easton’s new mantra? Invention vs. Improvement. It’s that simple. On March 21, we were lucky enough to get to talk to some of Easton Hockey’s top designers, learn about their new product and then demo it out on the ice. Easton sees a hockey equipment industry that is continually taking the best selling skate or stick and saying, “what can we do to improve it or put our spin on it?” Bucking this trend, the people at Easton went back to the drawing board and built products from the ground up. Invent, don’t just improve.

This strategy is staggeringly simple, but in a way brilliant. They brought in two guys, Dave Cruikshank and Scott Bjugstad, who really know their stuff. Cruickshank is a four-time Olympic speed skater and NHL skating coach. Bjugstad is an eight-year NHL veteran (1984-1992) who played on the 1984 US Olypic hockey team and then with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota North Stars. Easton brought them on board and let them do their thing. Good move.

While most of the industry tried to continue building stiffer and stiffer skates, Cruikshank considered the mechanics of skating and built a skate around that. The goal: build a boot to do what a player needs it to do, as opposed to building a boot and trying to make it do what the company thinks it should. If you look at a particular skate model and see it tending to breakdown a certain way, or in particular spots, it shows that players are trying to naturally do something in it that the skate can’t do. Cruickshank and the design team took the three major aspects of skating – Downforce, Push Direction and Tempo. Then he built a skate around them.

The Mako Skate is designed for more feedback on the ice and better control of your skates. The CNT (Connect) Holder and runner are named for their purpose -  to connect you to the ice. At first blush, even skating on them for a short period, it is clear they do just that. My first question was this – did they widen the steel? The runner itself felt so much more stable than Easton’s previous holder, the RBII. I was assured they hadn’t and it was simply the design that helped to give a hockey player that much more stable feeling.

I’m not going to go into much depth for review – check back soon for that – as I was only on them for a quick skate, but I was amazed at how quick you could get from one edge to the other. The other thing that caught me was how low you can get on these skates when turning. You truly need to get your mind over it and keep pushing it, because you won’t believe it until it happens. You just have to trust the edges and go for it.  I kept trying to turn harder and lower, thinking I was going to slide out, but the skates kept holding up. Its honestly something you don’t believe until you try it.

Easton Mako Skates are available now right here at Pure Hockey. Check back soon for Part II, where we will go through the technology and invention of the Mako 2 stick. In the meantime, here’s a video we did with Neil Wensley, Easton’s Product Manager for skates, that explores the skates a little more detail. Easton is really onto something here.