S-17 Long Term Review
Models I use:-
1) S-17 Black Custom, size 9.5, regular stiffness boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS2 then LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, Vibram Rubber Toe Cap
2) S-17 Black Custom, size 9.25, extra stiff, double composite wrap boot, Tuuk LS2 Holder (LS3 Steel, 9 Ft Forward Radius), extra-long felt tongue, uncovered composite toe-cap
I first got the opportunity to skate in the Easton S-17 Skates in June of 2009 during a demo skate put on by Easton. As you guys have probably caught on from reading these reviews, I’m a bit of an equipment nut and June 2009 was a pretty good month for me as I happened to be looking for new skates and I got to demo Bauer, Reebok/CCM and Easton within a few weeks of each other.
In that month I got to skate in the then-new Bauer Vapor X:60, CCM U+ Reloaded, and Easton S-17. At the time I was playing in Bauer Vapor XXXX’s and was so pumped up to try out the X:60. While the X:60 was comfortable and performed well, a couple of weeks later I was blown away after skating in the S-17. Before skating in them, I would have never even considered buying a pair of Easton Skates, as they had a reputation for breaking down quickly and the few pairs I had had on my feet (including a pair put on my opposite feet by a friend during a training session, that’s a story for another day though) didn’t feel very comfortable. The Easton rep at the time told me that improving the durability was a huge goal for them in designing the S-17, and after a few minutes on the ice, my mind was totally changed.
I immediately couldn’t believe how comfortable the skate was. I could feel the padding around my ankle a lot more than with the Vapor XXXX’s and my heel felt very locked in to the back of the skate. Out on the ice, I couldn’t believe the performance, the stiffness that I always look for in a skate and the great responsiveness. The thing that struck me as impressive wasn’t the performance – my XXXX’s performed well too, as did the X:60 – it was that performance paired with great comfort. It is rare to find that combination - my Graf's were comfortable, but not very responsive. The Vapor XXXX’s were stiff and responsive, but not comfortable. The S-17 was both.
I ended up ordering a custom pair a couple weeks later, and got them just before the season in the fall. I had a few of my own little customizations, longer tongue for comfort and a nice flop. I had TUUK LS2 holders put on because I am most comfortable with them. The steel on Easton’s Razor Bladz holder is slightly narrower and, to me, it is noticeable and feels a less stable, so I went with the LS2. I eventually got the opportunity to use the LS3 steel, which I have been using ever since. It’s a taller steel – more sharpening life and room for custom profiling and it also has a more aggressive pitch to it, something I really look for.
When the skates came in, they were shipped to our Danvers, MA store and on the drive up I was giddy as a kid going to sleep on Christmas Eve. I knew when I got to the store there was something special waiting for me. I was skating that night, and I didn’t even heat mold the skates, that’s how comfortable they were. I sharpened them up and went to practice and these things were game-ready from the get go. I did eventually heat them after a few skates.
The thing I noticed in the first few weeks of skating in them was the comfort closely followed by the energy transfer. No lace bite, no cuts on the outsides of my ankles and my ankle genuinely felt padded and surrounded. What I mean by energy transfer is the noticeable difference in how quickly and powerfully I could change direction and I could really feel the skate reload as I stopped and started.
Since then, both pairs of S-17’s that I have had have been extremely dependable. I was a bit nervous before getting them with the horror stories I had heard about Easton skates that they breakdown quickly and fail often. I had seen my friends S-15 that literally had a hole that you could touch his foot through. So I was a bit nervous about how they would hold up. And I can say that I have had no complaints, they have actually held up slightly better than my Vapor XXXX’s. They have some minor cuts and scrapes but nothing out of the realm of normal wear and tear.
I really have had no complaints about the S-17’s – probably the reason I bought a second pair even after trying out several other newer models. The great part of the S-17 is that I always know what I’m going to get from them. Excellent response, great stiffness and very comfortable, there’s not much more to ask for in a pair of skates. My personal pairs have a few modifications that add some weight versus the retail model, but they are still extremely light.
Overall the S-17’s are the best skate I have owned in a long time and they are what I’ll be skating in for the foreseeable future.