sebastiancp1 Posted June 2, 2017 Share Posted June 2, 2017 By now, I'm sure most of you have read a VH skate review, but I figured I would add another in case my experience helps someone else out. Background - I've had a pair of CCM Vector 10s with Step Steel custom contoured by No Icing Sports for about 10 years now and they served their purpose well. For reference I wore an 8.5EE in those and there were definitely some pains and sore spots breaking them in. I've got a wide bride of my foot with a pretty pronounced knuckles lower arches so my feet really don't do well with traditional shoes/skates. Not too long ago I swapped out the CCM cowling for a Bauer Vertexx to move toward something with a better attack angle. The pushes were noticeable better, however I really did not like the extreme forward pitch. In the past few months, by the end of each skate my feet would be killing me in multiple sports and I figured it was time to bite the bullet and shop around for new skates. I've really only had success with CCM boots so as much as the 1S interested me, I knew the boot wouldn't fit my foot the way I wanted. I was hesitant about the RBZ CCM's given the problem with the cowling and cracking. Finally, I figured if I'm going to shell out that much for a retail skate I might as well go custom VHs. In doing research I settled on the two piece boot because I felt it might be a bit more durable in the long run and also if I hated the height/pitch of the VH/Step holder, I could swap that out. Initially my plan to was to do the tracings and send it in to order, but as luck would have it, I was scheduled to travel to Toronto in early February for work. I made an appointment with the guys at The Skating Lab in Toronto to get the scan done and fill out the paperwork. Jeff was excellent to work with and he shared some nice gear stories from the guys he's worked with. Most interest story was how Bernier had to drop from 1/2" hollow to 1" hollow on his VHs. He said Bernier felt so much more in control with his one-piece VHs that he just didn't need the extra bite. The fitting/scanning process took about a half hour as he took multiple pictures AND did the tracings just to ensure VH had all the measurements they needed. I opted for the two-piece with the tan clarino liner with no added colors or numbers/letter and the standard removable tongue (I was really hesitant about a removable tongue but it's amazing). I was supposed to be back in Toronto in May for work, but my scheduled changes and thankfully Jeff was able to help me work out a solution and get my skates last week. Initial Impressions (prior to first skate) - A few things stuck out right away when I received the skates. The weight. The really felt a good bit lighter than my CCMs however I have no way of knowing if that's really true. The height of the holder. Man, it's tall. The boot/wrap. Prior to heating I could barely get my foot in them because of how small the opening is for your foot. I stopped down to my local Perani's to get them heat fit and as soon as I put them on it hit me -- these things are amazing. The instantly felt 1,000 times better than any skate I've worn. After the boot cooled I went a couple days and tried them on again to see if there were any spots that needed adjustment. The fit felt great except it felt a little snug, top to bottom, in the toe box. This is where the amazing adjustable tongue comes in. I move it up a few inches and the pressure was gone. Post skate impressions - These things are legit. I know there's a lot of "hype" around these and I was definitely expecting them to be somewhat of a let down, but man these are awesome. I think the best way to describe them is they do exactly what your feet tell them too. The responsiveness is excellent. I'm still working on lacing adjustments (too loose to start), but even still my feet feel fine by the end of a skate. I think it's also worth considering going to a shallower hallow (I went from 1/2 to 3/4) just because of the extreme control you get from the boot. I did also switch to a stick with an extra inch on the paddle to offset the height which I think was a good call. It should also be noted that the attack angle is definitely all it's cracked up to be as well as the strength and ease of pushes. I am not a big RVH guy as I just don't have time to practice it as I'd like to, but I do play from my knees a decent bit. Because of this the cowlingless skate has really helped my play. I was a bit skeptical hearing such great things, but it really does make a difference. It is immediately noticeable how much lower you can keep your knee to the ice and still have a strong push. In addition to the better angle, the strength of my pushes was noticeably better. Overall, this really does feel like a gear enhancement that translate to tangible results on the ice. To summarize, your feet do exactly what you tell them to in these skates. Wrap-up - I can't recommend these skates enough. I know the cost is high, but the fit was 100% on point and the performance is there to match. If you're looking at moving to the new style skate, I think this skate is worth every cent. I think it's also import to note some items about the finish of the skates. These are handmade skates and as such there are certain cosmetic "blemishes" that may put some people off. I've seen people complain about pay a lot of money for a skate that doesn't look perfect. I get that. However to me, this didn't make and it was a sign someone actually put their hands on these and made them for my feet. I've included a pics of this below (pic 3). I do believe these are 100% cosmetic, but I wanted to make sure I pointed it out. Please let me know if anyone has any questions! 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