So a couple of us in the office have been wearing the Easton Mako skates for a while now. Jeff for about 3 weeks and myself for couple months.As with many people considering new skates, it took me some time to even convince Jeff to test the Mako's out, but once they are ready for the ice, they have a way of making their own case.
Being how different a skate they are in style, design and performance it came up as the subject of an email chain and we ended up discussing our multiple first impressions of the skate. the impression we got upon first being shown the skate, first trying it on, after baking the skate and finally when stepping out on to the ice.
Easton Mako Skates: Out of the Box Impressions
JC: When I first saw them my gut reaction was "what? Are they serious? This is going to come in other colors, right?"
KS: Yeah, when I first saw them, they were really out there. They were just so different looking from anything in production. Not just style-wise, but the shape and cut of the boot. It was clearly something different. I wasn’t a huge fan of the look, as far as the orange flashes and the silver heel, but they definitely stand out, which isn’t a bad thing.
JC: Then after I looked them over in detail, I really had no idea what motivations were behind the whole removable tendon guard and the elevated height on the backend of the holder. It was just visibly…very different and when you get something that is so much different than what you're used to, I think its just instinctual to have the adverse reaction I did. Remember how different the iPhone was when it was first introduced?
KS: Are you comparing the Mako Skates to the IPhone?
JC: Hah. No. It won’t be that revolutionary! But in terms of how different it was. Kind of a shock to the system.
KS: I know. You can tell when someone on the ice is wearing them! My dislike of their orange, coupled with extreme boredom one night, actually led me to take it upon myself to do a little color redesign on my pair, as pictured here...
JC: And those are super-cool! I’m stealing your idea and changing mine too.
JC: Hahahaah. It all started to make sense a little more as I learned about Easton's intentions and goals with the changes - anatomical excellence. I'm still adjusting to the orange, but now everything makes sense. Trying them on was another hurdle, too. When I first put them on (I wear a 9.5D), it was so tight that it hurt. Seriously. I said "OW." Out of the box, I thought a boot that hurt that much – in my normal size - is not something I want to wear.
KS – Right! Trying them on the first time is odd, without them baked they don’t fit all that well, a lot of pinches and pressure points that you wouldn’t expect. It’s just not a great feel out of the box.
JC: After we cooked them, though, THAT is the BIG ah-hah moment of this skate. You're supposed to bake these things for double the time a normal skate, then it comes out of the oven looking like a plate of orange and black jello! I admit I was afraid of having second-degree burns on my feet as I put them on.
KS – Maybe that will get you to finally skate faster. It really is the most heat moldable, customizable skate around. As you mentioned, it comes out like mush and you’re thinking how is this going to be when it cools back down? Suddenly, these skates become extremely comfortable.
JC – ….and you told me this for months. But I didn’t believe you. I didn’t think a skate that hurt so much out of the box could transform itself like that. But you were RIGHT! After they were baked in the oven, it could very well be the most comfortable skate I've ever worn. I had the exact opposite reaction when the CCM Crazy Lights came out a few years back – probably the most comfortable skate out of the box, but after I got them baked, my arches killed me and it was actually LESS comfortable. Anyway, the difference after baking them was really astounding. I'm still worried for Easton's sales on the Mako's because of the initial feeling of that skate before baking it, but now I GET IT.
KS: No doubt - it feels like a slipper, pressure points are gone, and it feels comfortable, and evenly snug around your entire foot. This is a nice contrast to some other skates that feel perfect in the ankle but too big in the forefoot or visa versa. The eyelets, unlike most skates, wrap around the front of the foot a little bit. For anybody who has been in modern skates, generally skates lace up with the eyelets pointing straight out, parallel to each other. This allows player the forward flex while striding. The Mako boot itself flexes forward when skating, so it looks real weird to younger guys who aren’t used to seeing skates tied that way, but that’s the way they are built.
Mako Skates: On The Ice Impressions
JC – Getting on the ice was definitely an adjustment. Coming from a Bauer X:60, the first thing I noticed was how the pitch feels so different. If you've ever driven a "jacked-up" car (larger wheels in the back, smaller in the front), it's a little like that. My toes feel like they're a half-inch from the ice, a sensation that will probably be the largest adjustment - I've never really felt so close to the ice before in the front half of a skate.
KS – Yes, I’ve been skating in the Mako’s a couple months now and have loved them. Many people’s first complaint was the pitch. I was a Graf guy for a long time. So that forward pitch felt right at home to me, its what I’ve been trying to duplicate with skates since my Graf’s. So, what was many players’ first complaint was my first praise.
JC - Turns and pivots do take a game or two to get used to, but you can certainly feel something in the technology here. No piece of equipment can make me a better player, but there is some kind of advanced connection in these skates between the ice and myself. It's hard to explain, but it's like no other skate I've ever worn. I've been wearing them for about 3 weeks now and it's very likely I'm staying in them.
KS - The other thing I really noticed in these is they are in another dimension as far as cornering and pivoting goes. Straight-away, they were not anything revolutionary from other top-end skates to me, besides liking the forward pitch, but going from edge-to-edge was another world. What I’ve found is in other skates, when you turn over from one edge to the other, there’s a delay. Because of the way skates are built nowadays, you move your ankle in the direction you want it to go, but there’s that little bit of play, so your foot goes, and then a second later comes the skate. So there’s that delay, its nothing major and its something most are accustomed to and expect, but with the way the Mako is built, that is gone. There is no play, so that and I feel that when you do go from edge-to-edge, it’s more immediate. And in a game that happens as fast as hockey, I’ll take any advantage possible.
JC: I really wish that Easton could somehow give you that amazing comfort right out of the box or really let people know about the HUGE difference between pre and post-baked. I fear a lot of people won't really understand the benefits here until they purchase them - and that's a lot to ask for $799.