Nova Posted January 15, 2018 Share Posted January 15, 2018 This isn't exactly a long term review. I did start the season in the skates, but play 50/50 defense and net. I've probably got between 15-20 games in the skates so far. While i can't quite comment on long term durability, or claim to have taken a dozen shots off the foot, I still feel the need to say something about them. And I really do need to say this about them: They have absolutely changed the game for me. Out of every single new piece of equipment I've purchased or modification I made, these skates stand above all of them. Way, way above. This is my 5th winter back playing. I quit after peewee in the late 90's and had 15 years off. Despite not being active in those transition years where pads gradually became more butterfly friendly, I made a very specific effort to embrace modern goaltending. It wasn't really difficult for me, because it is pretty close to how I used to play the game, even though my equipment didn't exactly cooperate back in those days due to a lack on knee block and landing gear. But over the last 4 seasons, one thing eluded me: pushing off in the butterfly. I could. And then I couldn't. Consistency was an issue, and the times when I couldn't get a good bite and push was when I really needed it the most. When I started back in net I purchased new Reebok 7k skates and then added Step Steel Extreme shortly after. I also modified the cowling with a vertexx style cutout for a better attack angle. And then started playing with hollows to try to accommodate a better push. I spent a great deal of time at 3/8" with a dulled outside edge, and then went down to 7/16". Such a deep hollow had the obvious downside of shuffling being quite difficult. I also found them way too sharp in newer rinks with softer ice, and yet not quite sharp enough on hard natural ice. While my pushes had gotten a lot better over the last 4 years, I never felt I could reply on them and there is no doubt it impacted my play. Towards the end of last season I started to find that the boots on my Reeboks had broken down a considerable amount, they were way too sloppy for my liking and there was some associated ankle pain with it. It was obviously time for new skates. So why the X900? I decided I wanted to go cowlingless. To be honest, I had a strong desire to go to a custom fitted VH two piece skate because my feet are incredibly difficult to find any type of comfortable footwear. Properly fitted skates that don't hurt my feet in some way are nearly impossible to come by. And while this may seem a bit silly, the only reason I shied away from VH skates was because I didn't feel 100% confident that I could fit toe warmers in them (I did try some on when I was in Winnipeg), and they weren't able to accommodate with a larger toe cap. I knew the warmers would fit in the X900, and the X900 fit my feet to a reasonable degree of comfort so I decided to pull the trigger. As I had alluded to early in the post, these things have been an absolute game changer for me. After some initial tweaks and figuring out what hollow to use, the difference is night and day. Shuffling, pushing off in the butterfly, comfort, they are just an improvement in every aspect as far as performance in concerned. To this point in the season I only recall one instance where I wanted to get across the crease in the butterfly and didn't get the bite I needed to do so. It used to happen a half dozen times per game. And now that they are to the point of broken in, they are far more comfortable than I anticipated them being initially. Foot pain has been rare. To speak to sharpening hollows, I wasn't sure what to start out with. The reading I had done prior to buying the skates seemed to indicate that people typically go sharper when going from a 4mm blade to a 3mm blade, but most of those had been based on the same model of skate. I decided I would stick with 7/16" and see what would happen. Too sharp for my liking. My first couple of outings were rough. I'm now on 5/8" and liking it a lot. Plenty of bite to push off while still shuffling nice. It is a good happy medium for all types of ice. I actually just made the change to Step Steel last night as well (I liked how long the Steps on my Reeboks held their edge), and it was a smooth transition. As protection goes, I've taken several pucks off the toe and found no difference so far compared to cowled skates. I did take one light wrist shot off the outside of the foot and while I felt it, it didn't hurt. In that instance I'm not sure cowled skates are much better off due to being cut so low on the outside of the foot, you've only got boot protection in that case as well. I have no doubt cowlings protect the inner foot better, but at the same time the last skate save I made would have been 20 years ago. To this point I have two minor "cons". First, finding a pair of 9EE was an absolute pain in the arse. I had initially tried a pair on at Pro Hockey Life in Winnipeg early in June, and held off because I was still investigating going with VH and also would have preferred to buy closer to home in case I needed them punched or repaired. I tried the 4 most local shops to me without any luck, so I ended up back at PHL in September while I was on a fishing trip and managed to snag a pair (they said it was the last pair of EE they had in stock at that time). Second, straight out of the box I had issues with the toe cap having a couple sharp edges that would drag on the ice. Really, really annoying and it also hampered sliding to an extent. It took me a few ice times to identify the exact source of the issue, and once I smoothed those spots with a dremel the problem was gone. Pic of problem area: Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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