Pros:Light, comfortable and protective
Cons:Too pretty for hockey and weird design
The Bottom Line: Skip the Vapor XXX unless you have an ankle deformity that you think will be assisted by wacky blade alignment
Recommend this product?
Yep, Bauer did it on a goalie skate too. They put glitter in the cowling. Its one thing to go and glitter up a pair of player skates, but goalies dont have a big need to further their look with glitzy shoes. I mean, once they put the pads on no one sees a goalies skates anyway. If a goalie wants to express himself he has pads and a helmet that can be as colorful or plain as hed like.
So whats the point of my opening rant? The Vapor XXX isnt a bad looking skate. Its got the panache of the Vapor line with black and grey accented by a little chrome. But Bauer tossed in the translucent blue cowling brimming with glitter and pushed the look over the top. You can decide for yourself if you like the look of the skates. Personally Id prefer plain old black. Glitter is something figure skaters wear, not goalies. Thats why their perfect for Disney on Ice.
The Vapor XXX is a light skate. Weight reduction is what the Vapor line is all about. Still its a goalie skate, so dont expect to pick one up and be wowed. You can only take so much weight out of a goalie skate before it becomes dangerous. Bauer didnt skimp on these in either area. The Vapor XXX will take a puck with the best of them but its probably the lightest pair of goalers on the planet right now.
A good floating gap between the cowling and the toe of the Vapor XXX skates ensures good protection from shots. This is actually one nice feature of the translucent cowling. You can see the space at the toe so you know that you arent going to end up having a toe-ectomy as the result of a shot to the piggies.
The cowling and boot are vented so that you can share the stench of your feet with everyone else on the ice . . . ok, actually its too allow the stink to escape. More importantly it allows moisture in the skates to dry. Dry skates are durable skates my friend. The vents will make your skates last a little longer.
The runner is carbon steel. Now if these were player skates, carbon steel would be a little weak. However they are goalie skates. All of the goalie skates that I can think of have carbon steel blades. This is neither a positive or a negative for the Vapor XXX. Plastic blades would be an issue.
The boots have the familiar ribbed construction of the Vapor line. Essentially a series of raised reinforcements in the boot give support without adding a great deal of weight. The materials are a silvery grey similar to that of the player line of Vapor skates. The tongue is a little thin, but with the lower cut of the goalie skates, the Vapor XXXs thin tongue isnt likely to be an issue for many goalies.
The fit is more new Bauer than old. These goalers are moderate in width and depth. If you have average shaped feet, its a good chance these will fit you. That said, you probably think you have average feet and dont. Most people think their own feet are normal and everyone else has odd feet. The exception to this is those people with freakishly odd feet. Whats my point? Ask your spouse if your feet are normaldont decide for yourself.
The skates are comfortable. They fit my wider than average feet a little snuggly in a D width, but they are obviously nice right out of the box. Forward flex is good from the box too. This is something that the Vapor XXX inherited from the player skates. The flex dart in the eyestay might be a gimmick, but there is good flex in the Vapor line. My Grafs took some considerable discomfort and break-in time before they flexed like these do.
Bauer decided that having angled blades would be a good idea on the Vapor XXX. It makes sense to me. Goalies today rarely have their blades perpendicular to the ice due to the popularity of the pro-fly style of play. Why not adjust the angle a little to maximize goalies skating from a wide stance, right?
Heres the problemBauer tilted the blades to the outside of the boot. Think about this, the blades are tilted out so the goalie is further on edge when they are in a wide stance. This is a minor issue compared to the fact that the boots are going to hit the ice sooner with the blades tilted as they are.
Once a goalie is down in the Vapor XXX, moving across the ice is going to be more difficult. In order to move they have to get a blade on the ice. In order to get a blade on the ice, they will have to lift their knee. When they lift their knee they are vulnerable to shots through the 5-hole. Its a bad design.
Now slanting the blade toward the inside of the boot might be a better idea. It would give the goalie more maneuverability on the ice and keep the blades more upright for the goalie. The converse of this is that active goalies will be tasting out the padding in the back of their pants more often. Catching the outside edge on the skates when you arent expecting it tends to be a bad thing.
My thought is keep the blades perpendicular to the bottom of the boots. Bauers experiment with angling the blades is enough reason for me to not buy a pair of Vapor XXX goal skates.
The Vapor XXXs are light, but protective. However, they are a little too pretty for serious goalies. The fit is nice and the skates are comfortable but the design is flawed with the off kilter blades. Durability is questionable too. The Vapor line hasnt been famous for longevity. I havent seen any premature failures in the Vapor XXX goal skate, but thats because goalies out here are too smart to buy the two pair that the local shop brought in.
For my money, Id stick with a more traditional skate. Other skates might feel like a pair of bricks compared to the Vapor XXX goal skates, but gimmicks and glitter arent going to win hockey games.
© 2006 Scott Noble All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
You might also enjoy my book on hockey, Hockey for Weekend Warriors. Click here to read the reviews.
A few of my other reviews that you might find helpful:
Graf 750 Goaler Pro Skates
Koho 590 Goal Skates
Koho 560 Titanium Goal Skates
CCM Vector 10.0 Goal Skates
Thanks to openroad for adding this item so I could review it.
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