At the end of last season, my old faithful Reebok 12K skates finally bit the dust, and with Reebok no longer producing skates, I was forced to look in other directions. Although I originally wanted to go with a RibCor skate in order to keep the SkateLock™ and pump system that I love so much, I had tried on the 50Ks and was disappointed to feel that they fit differently than my old Reeboks, so I reluctantly moved on to try other models and other brands.
First, I tried CCM’s Jetspeeds which were fairly new at the time. They fit pretty well on my feet but there was one odd pressure point that definitely wasn’t going to work out. Next, I tried out the Bauer Supreme MX3s, and they were also a decently similar fit, but weren’t quite right. After a solid couple months of finding nothing that I liked perfectly, I decided to go back and try on RibCors again because hey, why not?
Naturally, I started with the 50K model, and after finding – once again – that they were not going to work, I tried on the 48Ks. Finding them to fit in much the same way, I was about ready to give up. Before I could do that however, IW began the awesome Free Steel Upgrade, so I decided to keep going and try on the 46Ks. To my near-amazement, the 46Ks were perfect. I bought them, switched out the steels to the SpeedBlade Black runners, put in some low-arch (yep, it’s easy to catch me “flat-footed”) CCM Custom Support Insoles, baked them, and got them sharpened.
Finally, I was ready to rock and roll once again. The new season began, and I took to the ice on my fresh new skates and man, they have been awesome. As a defender, I have already taken a good deal of various shots off my feet, and although it stills hurts (as you know, a shot to the top of your foot or side of your ankle or toe will always hurt like the dickens for a few minutes), the skates hold up like champs. At first I was slightly nervous; worried that I was “settling” for a lower price-point skate and losing out on some specs (although as I’ve always known it to be true, fit is absolutely the most important aspect of finding the right skates for you) but again, these skates perform extremely well for their price-point, and I am perfectly happy with having gone for the “performance” skate tier.
Skating out there, I can consciously tell how much CCM’s SpeedBlade 4.0 holders are of a definite improvement over their (and Reebok’s) previous E-Pro holders. My turning radius is legitimately tighter, and I don’t have to consciously think about limiting my turns in order to keep myself from bottoming out on the holder and sliding out and into the boards like a bender. Yeah, definite improvement there. Another thing: the time between needing to sharpen my skates has been cut in half or more with the SB Black runners. At first I was skeptical that the steel could actually hold an edge that much longer than normal blades and was just stoked on their appearance, but dang, I was wrong. I am thoroughly impressed with how well they hold their edge.
All in all, these skates are awesome, the SB Black runners add a rad touch, and at the end of the day, I got to stay in skates with the SkateLock™ and pump. I am stoked on them, and I would definitely recommend them to a friend. Go check out CCM’s RibCor skate family and IW’s sick Free Steel Upgrade now to get yours!