Tuesday, December 28, 2010

MLX Skates: LIW's Review

A few weeks ago I received my brand-new MLX Skates. For those of you who don’t know, MLX (Mario LemieuX) is newish on the skate scene. To get their word out they asked that we here at LIW test and review their skates in exchange for a free pair that would be ours to keep. The task fell to me as Topham decided that I was in greater need of a skate upgrade (and maybe because he is ready to admit that I am the better skater?).

So, what are they like? How do they fit? Do they feel better or worse than other skates that I have used? I am going to try an answer these questions and am going to give an honest, unbiased opinion as that is what MLX, and the readers, want.

Check out the Skates here.

It all started when two days after taking my order the skates arrived at my door. Anxious to try them out, they were in the oven within another couple of days. No, I wasn’t baking them for fun, but instead was getting them ready to mold. That’s right, you can mold them yourself, whenever you want, in your very own oven. I made sure that I followed all of the instructions for customizing my skates as detailed in a series of videos on MLX’s website.

After the baking, came the molding and subsequent foot massage (hot skates on your feet are a very nice feeling). Unfortunately it was at that point that I realized that the insoles were too small. Had they shrunk in the baking or were they too small to begin with? Since I didn’t even put my foot in until that point I would think I was simply sent the wrong pair. So, I waited another two days, but it was another quick delivery from a company that was really easy to get a hold of and order from.

Back to square one, then, and this time it was a success. I could feel the skates form to my feet and I was excited to get onto the ice.

I have now played four games with the skates and have noticed a little difference each time. The first time I wore them they hurt one foot (which they claim on their site is normal) and I wasn’t sure about them. That, of course, happens with most new skates, boots or shoes so I wasn’t about to write them off just yet. The next three games seemed to go better and better to the point that I really felt that these were better than any skate that I had previously used. So, I’ll tell you why I think that and then it can be up to you if you are interested in this skate for yourselves

Learn all about MLX and their Skates at their website – mlxskates.com

First off: the fit. I felt that the molding was effective and the ability to do this at home meant that I could tweak them whenever I wanted. I haven’t had to change anything, but as long as we’re not in the middle of cooking something in the oven it is a quick process. I did notice that the boot was quite low as compared with other hockey skates. I didn’t, however, feel that this caused a lack of protection. My shin guard may no longer overlap the boot, but with the hardness of the boot itself I wasn’t worried about that anymore.

Things that I noticed when skating was that I was leaning forward more. This is because the chassis is actually built up higher at the heel than at the toe; more so than on other skates. I felt that this helped to keep me ‘on my toes’ more throughout the games. The lower boot allowed my ankle to achieve a full range of motion. The replaceable and very flexible tendon guard (a nice feature as a broken one no longer warrants the purchase of a new pair of skates), and the fact that there are maybe two less eyelets than on a regular boot meant that I could really get a full range of motion out of my foot. I felt that this helped with my speed, acceleration and turning as I had more motion than I was used to.

After a few games I noticed a few more things that seemed better than they had been on my old skates. First, the hard boot really gives me more confidence to step in front of a shot. They are moldable, yes, but are very rigid when they aren’t heated up. I also found that this provided more stability while I skated and seemed to help me make tighter turns. It is also night and day when it comes to the weight of these skates versus my old ones. Not that I ever had trouble lifting my old skates up off the ice, but at the end of a long shift it is nice to know that you are carrying a little less weight.

Another great feature is that you can adjust the location of the chassis on the boot which essentially can change your blade angle and position. I haven’t played with this feature nearly enough, but it is nice to know that I can customize that on my own as we all know there are many different types of skaters out there. This, of course, helps each skater to get the most out of him or herself. When you think about the new technologies that they are using in sports like speed-skating, running and swimming I can honestly say that this is a very important step for hockey skates and it is about time.

These skates are certainly high-end skates, of that there is no doubt, but if you are looking to go for something in the higher-end these might be worth a shot. I haven’t noticed that I am a better player than before, but I do notice little things improving and anytime you can do that you know that you are headed in the right direction. I am very happy to have been able to try these skates and look forward to many more years of good hockey on them.

Interested in new high-end Skates? Try MLX Skates.

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