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I am well aware of popular social media Instagram accounts getting paid/ free gear to say good things about the companies equipment. With that being said there are Really no good social media accounts that goalies looking to get new gear can really rely on, due to the fact that these main stream accounts have to say good stuff or they won't get anything free no more, hockey reviews CA is good and so is TRAV4 but Travis job isn't to just review everything and im not expecting him to anyways he wants to focus on pro hockey which im totally ok with, hockey reviews CA I have to really take with a grain of salt like the other ones because he doesn't really move good in the crease so his reviews are kinda mush mush. Id love to see a popular account that has reliable reviews to people on gear however companies aren't gonna just blow out gear to ppl that are gona say bad things about their gear just doesn't make sense, wish stuff could change but realistically just going to the local store retailer for info is always the best for the honest truth and try everything on and fell whatever is good for you. and in pretty sure store reps get free gear as well but that's another topic to talk about
These arrived this past Friday. Pretty sure a few on the board have ordered as well, but I thought I'd start up an Axis review. I'll also be putting together a comparison with @Chenner29 and his Lefevre 20.1. Hopefully try and answer some of the questions about how the two products are similar and where they differ.
Long winded background on how I landed on Axis. This time last year I was welcoming a True Design set of 2X, and while I really liked the pads and blocker, I just couldn't get used to the glove. Tried to sell the ones I had on their own figuring I'd pick up an UltraSonic skinned with the same True Design, but having hard time selling one off gloves I parted with the entire set and the second unused glove. While the new tech of Ultra Sonic initially tempted me, I reminded myself why I sold 2X; I'm a 580 guy (who is also pretty OCD about matchy matchy.) So Bauer was out. This left me with Lefevre & CCM. As some of you may know I'm a huge fan of vintage looking gear, but also fell in love with the performance of 2X (over my previous EF1 pillow.) My first attempt was to reach out to Lefevre to see if I could mash a L87 skin on an L20.1 core and strapping, but as expected it was declined. (Worth noting is how fantastic Lefevre's customer service is. I had all my inquiries responded to quickly and thuroughly.) Not overly detoured, I started messing with their customizer upon its launch and wondered if I could either be happy with L87 perfomance or L20.1 graphics.
Meanwhile, more details were coming out on Axis as well as their customizer. The more I played with it, as well as started exchanging notes with everyone's best friend; Rance over at The Goalie Crease, the more I liked Axis. Strapping is very similar to what I ended up modifying my EF1s to. MaxRebound on the face. Improved blocker options (sneaky great improvements.) Of course the all important 580 break. And lastly... (in part due to the exchange rate) the Axis set with 2 gloves for the same cost of a Lefevre set and a single glove.
I'd like to also remind everyone that this is the first non-retro tan/leather print pads I've had in quite some time... and I've always been a minimalist in that way. Consequently, it's more than fair to say I did not maximize the available color zones. In fact, you could argue I watered them down to the bare minimum. But I did take advantage of some accents where possible.
Only had one slower skate with them the following morning, so this first write up will be a general overview with specs and a few images to start. More details to come with closeups of features and nuances as I get more skates in.
Initial Design (GoalieMonkey Customizer)
Day 1 Pics
Also picked up a pair of HPG14A... couldn't very well wear the Hershey Bear brown HPG13A with the new setup. More to come on those as well as I was surprised how different they felt from the HPG13A.
Size: 33+1 Knee Cradle: Recessed Foam No Wrap Toe Arrangement: Jen Pro/HD Foam Bungee Lace (already have Pro Laces Armour TGN Spec in and Armour Hybrid on order.) Flex Options: Pre-Curved/ Single Break Core/ No Break Outer Roll Knee Strap Options: No Strap (2" Elastic Only) Inner Leg Channel & Calf Strap Options: Tight Fit - QMSS + Lower Strap Center Leg Channel: Nylon Leg & Boot Channel: Shallow Soft Boot Strap System: Removable Under Heel Angle No Thigh Protector SpeedSkin on Sliding Surface Catch Glove:
Cuff/Thumb Options: 580 One-Piece Game Ready with D3O (a first for me, always had Pro Palm previously) Palm Size: Senior-Intermediate Wrist Options: Webbing Glove T: Double Straight Tee (also a first for me) Palm Materials: SureGrip Blocker
Palm Size: Senior-Intermediate Palm Position: Centered Palm Materials: SureGrip Cuff Options: One Piece Cuff Finger Protection: Straight with D3O Blocker Face Edge: Bingingless Hand Fit: Tight (FINALLY!!!)
These things are solid! Literally. The boot break softness rivals my 5+ year old EF1 Retroflexes... but move up from there and they are stiff. That stiffness is carried throughout the pad and results in a very stable yet light pad. I noticed when taking pictures that while most pads will lay on the landing surface and not roll over... very few do the same when flipping them onto the outer roll. Axis do and that speaks to how well they're balanced and how square all of the surfaces are too.
The sliding surface (covered in SpeedSkin) is firm and flat. In the images below you can see just how well all of the surfaces line up. Note as well... these were all taken with the pad laying on the outer roll with no additional support... balance.
The addition of the molded pillow to the calf landing is one you'll definitely notice not just because it's color matched to the attached strap either. In the few skates I've had in these thus far my knees and hips can attest tthe benefit of firm foam her instead of a soft pillow sandwiched between the you and the landing. They don't feel nearly as stressed with the molded foam helping push down onto the ice for a solid seal. Anything in that department is welcomed... I have the joints of someone nearly twice my age.
While I think the fit and finish on these is top notch... I did find one place that seemed like and afterthought and that was the optional lower calf strap. It's sewn into the seam on the calf wrap and lacks the rubber tabbed finish of all of the other straps. I understand it's a custom option... but would have been nice to see that finished off the same as the rest of the straps. (Truth be told in the two times I've worn them so far, I'm not sold that this strap is doing anything for me at all and may remove it later on.)
As some of you may know, I have a thing for retro looking gear. BUT, I sold my 2X Pro setup and while I can go the route of another Bauer Digi-Print set, I think Axis will be a better fit for me. While CCM has done a fantastic job of giving consumers an enormous number of options with all of the color zones, I prefer a minimalist approach to their latest graphic, and the devil is in the details for me. Thus I'm offering up a number of combinations for your feedback...
My rationale for obsessing... 1. my team wears white so all white might just be meh... 2. adding some black to the glove (not all pieces have to matching color zones though)... 3. prefer the wear of black bindings to white (a little OCD)
These combinations are somewhat subtle variations on a theme for sure and the main zones I'm paying around with are more-less accents...
Zone A - Leg Pad Outer Gusset, Glove Back Cuff, Blocker Back Nose Zone H - Leg Pad Landing (mainly), Glove T and Back Finger Tips, Blocker Side Board & Fingers Binding Leg Pad Backing Leg Strap In no particular order...