One of the most anticipated hockey skate releases of this year is the Easton Mako skate. The Mako is built from the technology behind the MLX skate, which is now part of Easton through an acquisition. As those who’ve read this blog before know, I’m a big Easton fan and I wear Easton skates. After a couple years of doubt and trials, Easton has taken the extremely customized MLX skate and made it into a viable production model. Easton’s ‘Chief of Speed’ (don’t we all wish we could have a title like that?) Dave Cruikshank designed the MLX skate a few years back when he, as a skating coach, realized he didn’t have the ability to move in a natural, efficient way while wearing a typical hockey skate.
So Cruickshank set off to make the MLX skate, allowing for natural movement in an anatomically designed skate. This idea is the basis for the Mako skate design, giving a new sense of freedom with much less restriction than what you may find in other skates. Basically this is an attempt on Easton's part to rethink hockey skates instead of continuing the pattern or slippery slope of all the manufacturers competing to just make the stiffest skate imaginable.
As far as features go, the Mako skate is loaded up. Some interesting new things really differentiate the Mako from its competition. The new tongue set-up is a nice, pro style felt tongue with a protective guard, but that’s not really the interesting part. Easton took the tongue and integrated its connection directly into the toe box. This gets rid of any overlap and negative space in the toe box. The tongue itself is also heat moldable, and forms a snugger, more customized fit.
Another great feature is the asymmetric design in the ankle, which allows the skate to fall in line with the direction you’re pushing. This generates power and stability through turns. The Mako makes high-speed cornering much easier, sharper and quicker. The skate also sits on the new CXN holder from Easton and the holder has a very aggressive pitch, working in tandem with the skate’s great range of motion to place you over the front of the skate, without being unbalanced. The pitch creates more downforce into the ice, leading to a more explosive stride and once again more powerful, quicker cornering. The CXN holder is super light and its steel comes stock with a 9 FT radius.
The very flexible Extendon guard promotes a huge range of motion, with very little restriction. The guard itself is actually replaceable with two simple screws. I personaly like this feature. From my time in shops, I saw a good amount of skates come in with a boot in fine shape, but a torn or broken tendon guard. I actually saw this mostly on newer skates with the really stiff guards. Tendon guards – like any other part of the skate – shouldn’t break on their own, but it's always reassuring that if something happens to one, you don’t need to replace the entire skate. The only potential negative here is that there's a small crease where the guard meets the rest of the boot (the attachment point) and if you skate barefoot, I see some potential for some abrasion there. But time will tell. It may or may not be an issue – we'll report back when we test them out.
One of the other much talked about features of the Mako skate is the bake time. The skate is fully heat moldable. I heard someone describe it as the last step before going over to getting a custom skate. This is true. The skate is designed to be an extremely custom fit. It must be heat molded for an unheard of 16 minutes and then you'll need to sit still in the boots until they are cool. So bring your iPad or a book when you go get these.
I think the Mako is really going to be a hit. It feels good right out of the box, and it really, truly feels like a slipper when it’s heated up. Easton has really done a great job with this skate and I highly recommend that you get out and try a pair on. They are well worth the attention they have been getting.