After countless years, the signature Pump™ feature will be making its big return home to CCM, meanwhile Reebok’s RibCor Skate Line was sent to CCM in a blockbuster deal just before the trade deadline. It looks like CCM has the “win-now” mentality, aiming to go deep in the postseason. They were looking to add another powerhouse name next to their already stacked lineup; consisting of legendary, veteran presence in the Tacks and the rookie-sensation, JetSpeed skates that will be making their professional debut sooner than later.
Okay all jokes aside, you’re here to read about the CCM RibCor 50K skates. I’ll start with my overall thoughts and impressions after having used them for a few months, while interweaving the tech aspects at the same time.
Before I started on these 50K’s from CCM, I’d been going back and forth between CCM Tacks and Easton Mako I’s. I liked the stiffness and fit the Tacks offered, but the Mako’s definitely made me wish the Tacks were more form fitting to my foot. As far as the Mako’s go, I liked how contouring they were, I felt as if there was absolutely no negative space inside, plus I liked the full range of motion; but I won’t lie that there were times I missed having a traditionally fitting boot. This is all a lead into my first point, the CCM RibCor 50K’s are a very well rounded skate that I think can be a great choice for a wide range of players, no matter what boot you’re currently in.
In my opinion, these offer a real well balanced level of stiffness for just about any level player, regardless of skill level. Well maybe besides the 235 lb. NHL’er who’s got tree trunks for legs. But even then, you still see a lot of tech mesh quarter packages on TV. Just to further my point, 75+ NHL’ers used the Reebok RibCor in the 2013-2014 season. Here’s the kicker, this CCM RibCor is totally reengineered with big upgrades coming in performance and comfort.
When I took them out of the box and slipped them on in the office, I knew they were going to feel great on the ice. Baking the 50K’s took that comfortable, personalized fit to the next level. I could feel a much better wrap around my foot than I felt in my Tacks but I can’t say the same compared to the Mako’s. That’s ok, no skate can form fit like the Mako’s, I meant that’s what it was specifically designed to do. Anyways, the 50K’s felt broken in the first time I used them and it seemed like I enjoy the fit/feel just a little bit more each time I get on the ice. Another reason these fit better than the Tacks or even the previous Reebok RibCor’s is that CCM improved on the internal ankle support shape. This portion wraps, almost hugs the back of your heel to really lock you in so you won’t experience heel slippage, plus the support itself offers improved durability from the Reebok version.
Continuing with the point of comfort and fit, I’ve honestly never used Reebok skates that have their signature Skate-Lock™ or Pump™ features. I’m kicking myself for that now though because they’re just plain awesome. The Skate-Lock™ system allows you to lace up your top three eyelets independently of the bottom eight. I liked to leave the bottom eight fairly snug, then I’d really crank down on the top three for good ankle support. The other benefit the Skate-Lock™ provides is that it locks in the laces in your bottom eight eyelets and prevents them from loosening up during a game. After I’d got used to these 50K skates and I went back to skate on another pair that didn’t have Skate-Lock™, I really noticed the advantage it truly offers. I didn’t want to skate without it.
The Pump™ is on the same level as the Skate-Lock™, once you get used to having it, it’s hard to use skates without it. CCM actually improved on the design from the Reebok RibCor, making it more efficient and easier to use. This Pump™ does two key things for you, it really locks the heel in, preventing heel slippage while simultaneously eliminating negative space in the ankle area. This makes for a more comfortable boot that fits and performs better than if it didn’t have it. There were times I’d forget to “pump up” before I stepped on the ice but I’d notice it right away and correct that issue.
RibCor Elite Quarter Package and FlexCore Inner Core:
Compared to the the previous Reebok RibCor, the quarter package is the biggest upgrade we’re going to see in this 50K skate. Not only does it look WAY better but the performance upgrades are derived directly from professional feedback. The CCM Tacks skates received a lot of positive pro feedback, especially from Colorado’s speed demon, Nathan Mackinnon. But CCM took a similar approach to boot construction and you can see the similarities with the use of exposed carbon fiber under the eyelets. Internally, the 50K still uses the RibCor core structure that provides strategic stiffness, but the process and materials are all much improved. This leads to that optimal level of stiffness I was referring to earlier. I felt as if I was able to use the boot to its full potential, contrary to other insanely stiff boots on the marketplace. To each their own, but to me CCM nailed it on the head here. An amazing level of comfort right out of the box without sacrificing that ideal amount of stiffness. The tendon guard’s been updated as well. The new injected rubber tendon has a much improved flex zone that provides more free range of movement without losing durability in the least. This optimal range of motion allows you to fully complete the toe snap process at the peak of your stride, whereas other stiff tendon guards keep your from maximizing power transfer.
SpeedBlade Black Runner:
The SpeedBlade Black runner was another pleasant surprise. These undergo a special treatment process that not only makes them corrosion-resistant, but it hardens the steel so that it holds an edge longer. It’s been years since I’ve retired from my days of club hockey where my parents bought my gear (which I’m very thankful for, thanks mom and dad!). I’ve became quite OCD about airing my gear out. Not only does is keep my gear from smelling like a strawberry pancake laced with fish paste but it prevent it from breaking down as quickly too. When you leave wet skates in your bag after your game, ESPECIALLY if you leave your soakers on, the skates will start to rust from the inside out. I’m not saying this treatment process gives anyone a green light to not dry their skates out because they’ll never rust, but it does a great job at preventing the runners from degrading as quickly. The other thing I really liked about the black color itself was that if you damaged or nicked your steel, it’s a lot easier to see than traditional steel. This is advantage because you’ll know when your wheels will need to get them resharpened.
TriGuard Pro White Felt Tongue
While the tongue isn’t a “game-changing” improvement over the Reebok RibCor, it does offer a traditional, comfy and protective that are a fan favorite. It has abundant foam reinforcement inside of a classic thick white felt tongue, giving it a pillow-like feel on the top of the foot. CCM also gave the 50K a high-density foam saddle on the top of the tongue that helps to prevent lace-bite by alleviating pressure from the laces. This lace-bite saddle also adds another layer of protection over foam-reinforced white felt, providing pro-level protection and comfort.
Dual-zone Tacky Nash+ & Clarino Liner
Last but not least is the liner. I’m not overly picky on this aspect but it definitely had a pro-feel to it. Clarino is hugely popular in the NHL because it’s traditional and classic, but more importantly its durable. Through the back of the heel, CCM used a Tacky Nash that maintains that high level of comfort and longevity, but the tackiness helps to keep your foot locked into place, even when it gets sweaty. This leads me into my only gripe about these skates, I’d feel a fairly significant amount of weight gain from water logging when I take my skates off as I’m getting undressed. It’s hard to say if the 50K’s are necessarily worse than other skates out there, just for the first time I noticed the weight gain post-game. This made it even more important to dry out my skates during the tourny I played in with them.
Even though these CCM RibCor 50K‘s are coming in cheaper than most other high-end skates today, they’ve been some of my favorite wheels I’ve skated in for awhile. This time, it’s not just because of the performance, or the price, or the comfort; it’s the way CCM was able to balance all three of these. I highly recommend them coming from my own personal experience. For even more information, make sure you check them out at IceWarehouse.com today!