Tech & Long-Term Review – CCM Super Tacks Skates

CCM has done really well in the skate category over their last three skate launches. Starting with the return of the legendary Pump on the RibCor 50K skates, followed by a much improved tapered fit on the JetSpeeds, and now the revolutionary Super Tacks skates with their most anatomically fitting boot to date, thanks to the radical one-piece quarter package design. Now that I’ve been on these for approximately four months now, I can safely say the hype is real and is more than warranted. So let’s get this review underway!

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Initial Impressions:

Filthy goodness! I’ve never been a fan of flashy skates, with the exception of the White 50K’s but that’s more a throwback look than anything. The Super Tacks look clean and mean from top to bottom. I personally would’ve liked to see even less paint to really allow that carbon fiber to do the talking but that’s just me nitpicking. Something that becomes quite apparent right out of the box is the whole new contouring fit. The ankle bone pockets are significantly more pronounced than ANY CCM skate to date and under the arch cups the foot rather than a flat bottom boot mounted to a flat outsole. For the first time ever the ankle pockets are asymmetrical which provide a truly anatomical fit but we’ll move on to that down the road. The yellow liner adds some sweet, yet still subtle pop to the skate. Most of the skates on the market are moving towards this bright liner pop and I’m all for it. Lastly is the SB Black runners that tie the whole dark and aggressive colorway together. Aside from the looks, I’ve always been a fan of the SB Black, I feel like it holds an edge better than untreated steel plus it’s nice to be able to catch chips and burrs in your steel before the game since they stand out much more than traditional steel. Sadly, I blew an edge by crashing the net a little too hard and banging my steel against the post, so I’ve thrown in the SB HyperGlide polished runners for the time being.

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Fit Profile:

The new anatomically-correct fit is driven through the new one-piece, MonoFrame 360 quarter package and its outsole-less design. CCM worked with a leading university to build this skate from the inside out, focusing on giving a player a skate that truly hugs and contours to the foot like nothing before. They knocked it out of the park with the Super Tacks. The asymmetrical ankle bone pockets hold and lock keep your feet planted while the aggressive, yet still anatomical heel lock ties it all together. The forefoot and toe box is where I felt the biggest change. With the outsole-less design, the lower portion of the MonoFrame 360 cups and wraps around the bottom of the foot like nothing I’ve felt in a skate to date. After getting a good feel for these the last couple of months, traditionally-built quarter packages feel too box and they just don’t seem to offer a “cupping” sensation the Super Tacks do. These contouring sensations are a testament to how anatomically-correct the boot fits around the foot, which did so but eliminating negative space internally. Less negative space means more power through each stride and you can feel it. To further this, I use the PowerFoot inserts that help eliminate negative space above the toes not to mention, it keeps this area a little bit warmer too.

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In the general or classical sense of fit, Super Tacks sit right in the middle of the spectrum of wide to narrow. Personally, I have a slightly wider foot with a high instep which has given me problems in low volume boots in the past. I’m using EE-width and I don’t have an issue as long as I don’t crank down on the forefoot too much . If you’re coming from Bauer, I’d recommend going with a D-width unless you were in a Supreme EE or a Nexus D, then I’d recommend going with EE-width. All in all, I can’t say enough good things about their new fit except that I hope they keep it around for a few years!

On-Ice Performance:

The composite-reinforced T-Form core and the MonoFrame 360 quarter boot work together to offer more stiffness than any CCM skate to date. So you can probably guess what happens when you combine that with a fit profile that eliminates just about all of the internal negative space. Pure explosiveness. I typically refer to sticks as responsive when speaking about carbon fiber but the responsiveness on these was clearly evident and felt fantastic. Each stride felt like it had a little extra umph in it, quick starts felt quicker and I really liked how aggressive I could make cuts or hard turns. I think the low-cut of the quarter package may have had something to do with that too. Other boots on the market have boots that ride up higher on the ankles, which can feel clunky and immobile. Really getting over on my edges was a walk in the park and enabled me to really dig in when I need to create some space from a D-man or what have you. Something that surprised me was how little the break-in time was with these. I baked them according to CCM’s standard guideline, inserted my Custom Support Insoles and within 3 skates, I felt as comfortable as I could be with them. This is pretty impressive considering just how stiff they truly are.

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While I haven’t blocked a big one-timer from the point with these yet (I tend to get out of the way since it is beer league), they have taken their fair share of hacks and quick shots. I’m happy to say I’m bruise-free for now and these lower energy impacts are handled very well by the carbon quarter package and the Tri-Tech tongue. The Tri-Tech tongue is taking a little time to get into full-flop mode but I can say it’s been doing a solid job so far. I’m definitely happy that CCM decided against going with a low-profile, NXG or APX style of a tongue. Tri-Tech offers pro-level, 7mm thickness with thick injected foams located through the center. CCM also included a lace-bite saddle that helps to alleviate lace-bite causing pressure on the top of the foot.

Like I’ve mentioned in too many videos, I sweat more than I should, so staying dry is always a concern, especially during a tourney. The  Total-Dri Liner was probably working overtime for me but in all seriousness, it did a real solid job of wicking away moisture and pushing it through the exhaust vent located on the bottom of the boot where the outsole should be. The liner has a couple other great key features like the DuraZone abrasion patches that protect the top of the liner from shin guard wear while the Smooth Contour Foam Pads also at the top help alleviate high-ankle abrasion that can occur with “super” stiff boots like these. Even though I do go under the tongue with my shins (gotta have that flop!), I have yet to notice any wear on the DuraZone patches but there has been an instance or two where the quarter package rubbed my ankle a little raw in one spot.

Like all of CCM’s top of the line skates, the Super Tacks come with your choice of low, medium or high Custom Support Insoles. I’ve been going back and forth between these and the Bauer SpeedPlates, but I’m still not decided which one I really like more. The SpeedPlates have a higher-performance feel with a little less comfort, while the Custom Support Insoles are the opposite, more comfortable but slightly less of a high-performance feel. I have a feeling that I’d probably be using the SpeedPlates if I was still playing competitively but for beer league, it’s a toss up.

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Conclusion:

TL;DR – The Super Tacks‘ new anatomical fit and the MonoFrame 360’s awesome stiffness level is going to make these a force to reckon with. While I think it could take a bit for the NHL’ers to start adopting a radically different boot construction, I won’t be surprised to see some of CCM’s biggest stars rocking these down the road. The few dislikes I had were pretty petty and more personal opinion than anything; I would’ve liked to see a little less paint on the quarter package and I would’ve liked a bigger tongue to get more flop. Pretty abysmal! So if you’re interested in picking up a pair for yourself, click here to jump over to the product page. Catch you guys next time!