I was recently contacted by someone from MLX to give the ice hockey skates a test run and provide a review of the experience. I had initially planned on just typing up a quick review upon my actually testing of the skates on a local rink before I realized that even the preparation required for the skates is a pretty unique experience in and of itself. And so, following instructions that suggested I bake the skates in an oven for eight minutes, I thought it might be interesting to share that somewhat odd and yet entirely unique experience with you guys. The fact that MLX stands for Mario Lemieux doesn't hurt one bit either.In AlexStitch's recent fanpost on the Evolution of Hockey Gear, he mentions the MLX Skates and how it is a special skate unlike anything else on the market. So far, in just the fitting process alone, I have to agree.
Unlike my size-10, old and battered pair of Easton skates, the MLX pair is actually two sizes smaller. The sizing is done in a specific way that basically measures the back of your foot to the tip of your longest toe, measured strictly in centimeters. As someone who always feels like his foot is sliding even in the slightest bit, I decided to go with a size 8, which would provide a tight fit and (hopefully) some strong ankle support.
When my skates arrived I did what any wide-eyed hockey fan would do and tried them on immediately. I noticed the skate was tighter than I had initially thought and I was unable to even lace up the third hole. This is when I discovered the skates didn't just mold to your feet, but that you had to initiate the process by tossing them in an oven for eight minutes set at 200 degrees. After four minutes, you flip the puppies over just like you would any type of food, and let the fibers heat up for the remainder of the time.
Obviously, the metal parts of the skate were scorching when I took the skates out, but I'd expected that and in turn prepared for it with a pair of oven mitts. To picture what the average person would've thought if they walked into my kitchen Sunday afternoon to witness me removing a pair of skates from the oven with pot holders would've likely landed me in an institution somewhere. But I can't argue with the results one bit.
After having not been able to even lace up to the third rung, the skate now literally hugged my foot and began to take the shape of it since the heat loosened it up enough to make it customizable. Even through my wool sock (remember, oven = hot), I was able to develop a nice, snug fit that literally felt completely different than before the oven.
I finished up my cooking venture just in time to catch the first quarter of the Jets/Broncos game. I decided to keep the skates on throughout the first quarter. By the end of the first 15 minutes of that game, I removed the skates to find them shaped differently and fully cooled from the heating period.
To say I'm fired up for a chance to try these ice skates out is an understatement. Once my ankle heals up (light sprain, probably by next weekend), I plan on jumping on the ice at my local rink and giving these things a go and, should you be interested, providing a bit of a Part II assessment of the skate.
If you've purchased a pair in the past or have tried it out before, any advice or suggestions?
Furthermore, I am kind of curious to see what kind of blades you guys are skating around on. My previous pair was a set of Easton Synergy, a pair that has since been worn down to such a point that the ankle is starting to give way when I cut corners.