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.


Reebok 20K Hockey Skate Preview

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

The new products are coming down the line fast and furious now, people! We’ve had our demos of the Reebok 20K skate here in the office for a while but now the curtain of confidentiality has been lifted by Reebok and we are allowed to talk about them and show them off. Here’s the details:

What’s new: Reebok went ahead and added what they call a “Dynamic Support System” – this provides for a more solid skate all-around and offers better flex in tandem with the reinforced composite quarter package. The claim is that this will maximize your energy transmission with every stride. Time will tell, of course. Sounds to me like we’re looking at a stiffer skate. When I tried them on, they certainly did feel a little more stuff than a new 11K, but who am I to say – most top-line skates feel pretty stuff on first wear. Given this is only a preview, we can’t say anything about actual performance until we’ve tried them on and used them a few times. Those write-ups will be coming in a couple of months.

So……the Pump. Right? Seems like the people who love the Pump skate really love the skate and are devoted users. If you’re one of them, you’re going to love the 20K even more. The personalized performance options and custom comfort this affords you is the most unique feature of these skates. The Quarter Package is Reebok’s Pro Armour IV, where they reinforce certain zones in the skate for better support and stability. Back is the dual-zone liner with their “tacky nash” and Clarino material which really does an excellent job keeping your feet dry and locked in.

The tongue offers a pro-felt and EPE foam hybrid. The foam core and molding also maximize comfort and minimize twist. The outsole boasts a lightweight, low-profile and vented outsole provides a very reactive feel.  I have to tell you, I don’t currently wear Reebok skates, but when I but these babies on my feet, I am reconsidering. As mentioned, they do feel more stiff than past Reebok skates I’ve tried but in the past when I tried on Reebok’s and walked around with them on my feet, my arches hurt before I even got on the ice. I haven’t gotten on the ice yet with these, but I can tell you that in walking around, any soreness in my arch has now disappeared in the 20K’s.

As far as heel support, these didn’t feel any different to me than past top-line Reebok’s. Remember, this is a top-of-the-line skate here, so heel support and interiors are already excellent – the 20K’s offer that same excellence and our on-ice testing will determine to what extent.

So that’s what we have for you right now. Here’s a nice big picture for you to spin around with your mouse and see all the angles, including up and down. Let us know if you have any questions.


Easton S17 Hockey Skate Review

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

S-17 Long Term Review

Models I use:-

1)  S-17 Black Custom, size 9.5, regular stiffness boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS2 then LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, Vibram Rubber Toe Cap

2)    S-17 Black Custom, size 9.25, extra stiff, double composite wrap boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, uncovered composite toe-cap

Related: Check Out The 2014 Easton Mako II Skate

I first got the opportunity to skate in the Easton S-17 Skates in June of 2009 during a demo skate put on by Easton. As you guys have probably caught on from reading these reviews, I’m a bit of an equipment nut and June 2009 was a pretty good month for me as I happened to be looking for new skates and I got to demo Bauer, Reebok/CCM and Easton within a few weeks of each other.

In that month I got to skate in the then-new Bauer Vapor X:60, CCM U+ Reloaded, and Easton S-17.  At the time I was playing in Bauer Vapor XXXX’s and was so pumped up to try out the X:60.  While the X:60 was comfortable and performed well, a couple  of weeks later I was blown away after skating in the S-17. Before skating in them, I would have never even considered buying a pair of Easton Skates, as they had a reputation for breaking down quickly and the few pairs I had had on my feet  (including a pair put on my opposite feet by a friend during a training session, that’s a story for another day though) didn’t feel very comfortable. The Easton rep at the time told me that improving the durability was a huge goal for them in designing the S-17, and after a few minutes on the ice, my mind was totally changed.

I immediately couldn’t believe how comfortable the skate was. I could feel the padding around my ankle a lot more than with the Vapor XXXX’s and my heel felt very locked in to the back of the skate. Out on the ice, I couldn’t believe the performance, the stiffness that I always look for in a skate and the great responsiveness. The thing that struck me as impressive wasn’t the performance – my XXXX’s performed well too, as did the X:60 – it was that performance paired with great comfort. It is rare to find that combination – my Graf’s were comfortable, but not very responsive. The Vapor XXXX’s were stiff and responsive, but not comfortable. The S-17 was both.

I ended up ordering a custom pair a couple weeks later, and got them just before the season in the fall. I had a few of my own little customizations, longer tongue for comfort and a nice flop. I had TUUK LS2 holders put on because I am most comfortable with them. The steel on Easton’s Razor Bladz holder is slightly narrower and, to me, it is noticeable and feels a less stable, so I went with the LS2. I eventually got the opportunity to use the LS3 steel, which I have been using ever since. It’s a taller steel – more sharpening life and room for custom profiling and it also has a more aggressive pitch to it, something I really look for.

When the skates came in, they were shipped to our Danvers, MA store and on the drive up I was giddy as a kid going to sleep on Christmas Eve. I knew when I got to the store there was something special waiting for me. I was skating that night, and I didn’t even heat mold the skates, that’s how comfortable they were. I sharpened them up and went to practice and these things were game-ready from the get go. I did eventually heat them after a few skates.

The thing I noticed in the first few weeks of skating in them was the comfort closely followed by the energy transfer. No lace bite, no cuts on the outsides of my ankles and my ankle genuinely felt padded and surrounded. What I mean by energy transfer is the noticeable difference in how quickly and powerfully I could change direction and I could really feel the skate reload as I stopped and started.

Since then, both pairs of S-17’s that I have had have been extremely dependable. I was a bit nervous before getting them with the horror stories I had heard about Easton skates that they breakdown quickly and fail often. I had seen my friends S-15 that literally had a hole that you could touch his foot through. So I was a bit nervous about how they would hold up. And I can say that I have had no complaints, they have actually held up slightly better than my Vapor XXXX’s. They have some minor cuts and scrapes but nothing out of the realm of normal wear and tear.

I really have had no complaints about the S-17’s – probably the reason I bought a second pair even after trying out several other newer models. The great part of the S-17 is that I always know what I’m going to get from them. Excellent response, great stiffness and very comfortable, there’s not much more to ask for in a pair of skates. My personal pairs have a few modifications that add some weight versus the retail model, but they are still extremely light.

Overall the S-17’s are the best skate I have owned in a long time and they are what I’ll be skating in for the foreseeable future.