Players taking their first steps into inline hockey often have a few key questions about gear - especially if they’re coming in from an ice hockey background. We’re here to tackle a couple of those questions and help you take solid first steps into the sport!
While much of your ice hockey equipment is transferable, one element that’s got a little less utility in inline hockey are ice hockey pants. The standard pant and hockey sock combo work incredibly well for the impacts and rigor of ice hockey, but are far too insulating and bulky for inline hockey. Players will find themselves sweating without the cooling effect of the ice, and may find that the bulkier protection limits mobility and agility while you play.
For that reason, we have the inline girdle. Made of a flexible, multi-density foam foundation, the protection is tailored to the needs of an inline player, while providing a solid degree of mobility and breath-ability to keep you cool and comfortable during your games. Hugging close to your body and made of moisture-wicking material, inline girdles also help manage sweat and temperature. A coverall-style mesh pant goes over the girdle and shin guards, providing a bit more protection and a cleaner protective shell over your equipment, made of a polyester and mesh fabric that promotes further airflow, such as the Alkali RPD Quantum pant below.
The fit and finish across brands varies, from Bauer’s tapered fit Vapor pants, to Mission’s generous-fit Inhaler pants. With a large variety of features and styles across a wide range of price ranges, being properly fit is key to maximizing your comfort and performance in-game. Coupled with a high-performance girdle such as the CCM Super Tacks Girdle, a player can really maximize their protection and mobility, drawing from the best of both worlds.
Indoor vs Outdoor Wheels
Most skates come with one or the either, and both have their place. The aim of the game is to maximize your performance and durability, regardless of surface - so here’s the breakdown.
Indoor wheels are made of a softer base material, providing a great deal more grip and control on smooth indoor surfaces, such as sport court or ice court. Without the natural friction and traction from the grit of an outdoor surface and the debris build up commonly found on it, the extra softness of the wheel allows a player to perform all the movements and techniques required without worrying about slipping. The Labeda Addictions pictured below are one of the best-performing indoor wheels available on the market.
The caveat here is that they’re a fair bit less durable than harder wheels, and will very easily get shredded up on rough surfaces. Furthermore, the extra grip coming from indoor wheels will slow you down on the extra grit of outdoor surfaces, reducing both the performance and lifespan of your wheels. For those looking for a value-conscious rendition, the Labeda Grippers are spectacular.
Outdoor wheels are made of a comparatively harder, more durable material. The stiffer wheel provides better energy transfer and speed in a skate, and makes use of the naturally occurring friction on outdoor surfaces. This maximizes the durability of your wheels, making them more resistant to damage and wear. Our in-house brand of outdoor wheels remain a popular option for those venturing into the sun for their games.
On the flip side, the reduced grip of the outdoor wheel means that you’re going for a bit of a slip-and-slide on indoor surfaces, especially polished concrete or sport court surfaces The loss of control and hold makes it easier for you to “blow out” an edge and injure yourself in more aggressive movements. Outdoor wheels such as the Revision Hi-Lo Clinger below are often found on lower-end inline skates, which serves as a great budget-friendly option for those using their skates for other outdoor activities.
Each style of wheel has its place in the sport, and carrying a set of each means that you’ll be prepared regardless of the surface you’re due to be playing on; carry each set with its own set of bearings and spacers to make those frequent changes easier. Nevertheless, even within each category of wheel, there are a large variety in wheel stiffnesses, qualities, and styles - swing into the shop here at the Vancouver-grown Coast to Coast Hockey Shop and be professionally fit for the best set for your needs.
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.