With the introduction of Alkali’s RPE skate line, the successor to their innovative RPD family, the inline hockey player skate game has changed. Featuring innovative thermoformable materials, an improved fit, and a redesigned boot structure, Alkali has upped the ante by bringing their new technology to every price point. Let’s take a look.
Fit and Form
The biggest improvement in Alkali’s skate line is in the fit. Focusing on a much more traditional, comfort-oriented fit profile, Alkali’s RPE skate line features a high-volume, wider fit profile designed to accommodate the wide-footed player better than the options offered by competitors. For those familiar with CCM’s previous RBZ skates, and Bauer’s Nexus lineup of boot, the Alkali RPE family will feel as familiar as home from the get-go, offering a generous volume to compliment the high instep most players with wide feet have.
For those currently in Alkali skates, never fear! The 9-minute heat-molding process makes the skate of the best custom fits in the game; wrapping the already anatomical boot last for a close-to-the-foot finish to fit a wide range of foot profiles.
New to the RPE line across the board are improved HyperLock L pads and Activ Wick grip liner to improve heel lock and dial in the support in a generous fitting boot. Coupled with a low-profile, hybrid felt/injected foam tongue and an chassis pocket recessed into the outsole, the new RPE skates have been redesigned from the ground up to improve your range of motion and energy transfer through your skating.
The Zenith+ is Alkali’s new flagship skate. A hyper heat-moldable quarter package made from ultra-lightweight Purlyn (a light, thermoformable impact composite) is paired with a stiff, light one-piece Aluminium chassis and Labeda Addiction wheels to provide that pro-level performance, maximizing grip, speed and stability. The Purlyn boot form’s super stiff and super heat-moldable nature maximizes the surface area contact and energy transfer in each skating stride, while Alkali’s recessed chassis pocket, full-composite outsole and all-80mm setup contributes to the balance and stability of the skate.
Clocking in at their mid-price point, Alkali’s RPE Visium+ skates features a pro-stiffness composite boot with Purlyn strategically spaced throughout for a stiff, responsive boot form. The Activ-wick moisture wicking grip liner and Hyperlock heel pads out found in the boot, which connects to a fiberglass outsole that provides the high level of stiffness needed for high-performance or heavier players. Alkali’s Movement chassis is paired with Swiss Lite bearings and Labeda Dynasty wheels for that performance grip and speed, all without breaking the bank.
Despite its price tag, the Alkali RPE Rival+ skate is nothing to scoff at. A lightweight ballistic nylon boot with stiffeners strategically built in provides superb support and performance in this entry-level skate, while retaining the heat-moldability the RPE family has brought to the table. The same Activ Wick moisture-wicking grip liner and HyperLock ankle pads found in the higher end models are found in the skate. The Movement Chassis and Labeda Millenium wheels carry on the balance and speed profile from the top-tier models, making the Rival+ skate an absolutely spectacular performance-for-value skate.
You can check these skates out and more, in-store and online here at Coast to Coast Hockey Shop, located in Vancouver, BC. Our skate experts will help you find your best performance fit.
With the winter season in play, a lot of us will be looking for a new pair of wheels to start the season with a new step to our game. For those who have been out of the gear game for a while, or just need a fresh take on skate fit as their old boot just doesn’t cut it for comfort anymore, we’ve put together a few guides that we’ll be releasing.
First up are the fit profiles for Bauer and Mission. With both brands being operated under the same parent company, you’ll find a lot of material, chassis and wheel profile similarities, so let’s take a quick peek at what the fits we’ve got in are.
The line of skates most people in Bauer skates are familiar with, the Vapor family features a narrow forefoot that tapers into a slightly more generous heel for better mobility. This family is Bauer’s answer for those with narrower foot profiles, with a snug, low-volume (foot thickness/instep height) foot last and a V-shaped heel. Vapor skates tend to open up in the heel after the bake, and allows players’ heels to slip deeper into that v-pocket for a more secure heel lock, so don’t be alarmed if the Vapor boot feels a hair too short from the get go – your foot will settle back a bit after a break in or a bake!
Mission’s Inhaler DS family is the predecessor to their current NLS line. But with plenty of stock and a familiar fit, this is still the go-to line for many players who have become accustomed to Mission’s fit process. Built off the same boot last as Bauer’s Supreme family of ice hockey skates, the Mission Inhaler DS family features a more anatomical, 360-degree boot last that a large majority of skaters with average width feet fit into. An anatomical, snug heel pocket that tapers into a slightly wider forefoot and toebox, Mission’s DS skate is slightly wider-fitting than Bauer’s Vapor line, with a standard “E” width sizing compared to Vapor’s standard “D” width.
With Mission’s 2016/2017 update to the Inhaler line of skates, comes a slightly different fit thanks to more advanced materials and foams found in the quarter package. The new Curv Composite, and ballistic nylon formulae and memory-foam like thermo-formable padding found in the liners of the NLS family of skate allows for the same level of protection, durability and custom fit, but with lighter, thinner materials. Fundamentally, the fit still draws from Bauer/Mission’s anatomical foot last, but with a bit more width and volume throughout the skate; planting the NLS line’s “E” width fit in between the old DS line’s “E” and “EE” widths. Nevertheless, the heat-moldability of the skates allows for the skate to wrap around a foot to re-create the old DS fit, but the new NLS line is perfect for Mission skaters who needed to punch out their DS skates just a hair for some comfort.
Naturally, at the end of the day, boot fit is the most important component to skate performance. Being professionally fitted for your skates to best accommodate not only your foot shape, but your skating style, foot issues and biomechanics behind your stride will always yield the best results. For the Vancouverites and visitors, swing into the shop here at Coast to Coast Hockey for your foot evaluation and skate fit today!