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JR Boucicaut

Super Tacks shoulder pads

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ge thank you to JR and CCM for sending me these shoulder pads to use and review!

Here is the initial look at the CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads. In this video I go over the differences between the Super Tacks and the older Ultra Tacks. More details will come when I get a chance to use the equipment.

 

Personal Details
Male
6'3”
225 lbs
Forward/Defence
B-D level hockey
Shoulder Pad History:
TPS Pro Stock Medium, Warrior Projekt XL, Reebok KFS Large, CCM Ultra Tacks Large, CCM Super Tacks Large

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Initial Impressions:

Since I got the chance to test/review the CCM Ultra Tacks, I was excited to see if CCM newest Super Tacks model addressed some of my concerns for the previous generation shoulder pads. One of my main complaints for the Ultra Tacks was how thin the Tacks Armour portions of the shoulder pads were (the raised and regressed triangle portions) and I felt the main chest and back sections simply weren’t protective enough for the “protective” CCM line.

Taking these CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads out of the box and I noticed the chest and back pieces are where the majority of upgrades/changes have occurred while the shoulders and bicep protection remains the same with minor adjustments from the Ultra Tacks line. A noticeable change is the bright orange D3O smart foam that appears through the new softer foam on the floating sternum protection. Previously the sternum guard was a hard plastic like foam which was sound throughout the Ultra Tacks shoulder pads and elbow pads. The softer foam is a nice upgrade giving impact dispersion. The sternum piece is also thicker than the previous version on the Ultra Tacks near the top of the piece while losing the segmentation near the bottom. While you technically lose some mobility with the lack of segments, I’d take the thicker padding in this area over a slight mobility increase.

Another improvement found throughout the Super Tacks shoulder pads is the improved strapping. The new elastic straps are sewn between the Velcro fastener and a piece of nylon, the later of which is thicker than the Ultra Tacks version and is easier to grab hold of and pull off the soft portion of Velcro. While the straps on the Ultra Tacks weren’t a deal breaking, the upgraded ones on the Super Tacks are a nice bonus. CCM also removed the segmented Velcro landing areas along the front of the shoulder pads which allows for a more customizable fit.

The Tacks Armour has been either removed or completely reworked with the chest and back pieces, instead of the small raised triangular design on the Ultra Tacks the new Super Tacks has thicker raised and regressed geometric shapes of a softer foam. This is a welcome change for me as one of my complaints of the Ultra Tacks was how thin the main chest and back pieces were. The front lower stomach removable piece has been reworked for the Super Tacks, now being a thicker piece with no segments. CCM removed the ability to completely remove this piece if you don’t want to cut the nylon piece attaching it to the body of the chest. I had some issues with the Ultra Tacks and this piece as the hard Velcro parts would get attached to some of my base layer. This is still a concern for me with the Super Tacks as the edge of the hard Velcro parts are still exposed. I’d prefer a much larger soft Velcro attachment piece that ensures the hard Velcro is never exposed.

Moving onto the back piece of the Super Tacks shoulder pads we see a modified and improved floating spine protector which is smaller in width and thicker in depth compared to the spine protector on the Ultra Tacks. It also is is sloped and rises in thickness to give a bit of room for bending your head backwards. The hard plastic like foams on the Ultra Tacks have been removed in favour of the thicker and softer foams which were also found on the front of the shoulder pads. The spine protection has been attached with the same stretch material that is found on the shoulders making the Super Tacks spine protection “float” more so than the more rigid Ultra Tacks. The thicker and softer foam replaces more of the hard plastic like foam for the lower back and kidney protection. The removable extra lower back protection has been removed on the Super Tacks, this isn’t an issue for me since the Super Tacks pants have a fairly tall spine protector as well.

The shoulder caps are still attached with the “Free Flow Anchor” that help keep the chest piece from riding up when you raise your arms, but this piece is no longer labelled on the Super Tacks. I felt this system worked fairly well on the Ultra Tacks, but if you placed the bicep protection too low the bicep cap would interfere with the shoulder cap and negate this feature. The shoulder caps have been extended in length and seemingly flattened out a bit as well. The extra length add coverage to the upper chest and armpit area, which was a place that I felt a few pucks slip through when I blocked a shot. D3O foam is on the inside of the shoulder caps and both the shoulder and bicep caps feature the same hard foam as the Ultra Tacks. The bicep protection seems identical to the Ultra Tacks except for a looser white nylon on the extendable and removable lower bicep piece. Unfortunately the extendable bicep protection is attached with 2 Velcro tabs in the same setup as the Ultra Tacks, which I feel don’t give a secure attachment and it can come undone and move when putting on a tight fitting jersey.

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Updated floating sternum guard from previous Ultra Tacks line with added D3O.

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Improved single piece velcro landing area and improved straps.

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Improved straps are thicker and easier to unhook off of velcro.

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Updated lower back and floating spine protection..

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Thicker foams and larger surface to protect against lower back cross checks.

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Shoulder caps are slightly longer than previous version on Ultra Tacks.

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Bicep protection remains the same from Ultra Tacks but with better straps.

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Extra bicep protection still attaches in the awkward way, this was a complaint of mine on the original Ultra Tacks.

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The yellow liner is what creates the "floating" aspect of the spine and sternum protection.

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Inside of the lower stomach protection.

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Same D3O and hard foam liner on the shoulder and bicep caps.

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Padding feels slightly thicker in the raised areas compared to the Ultra Tacks.

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Lower stomach protection is no longer removable but is a thicker piece without segments.

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Some velcro is exposed, Ultra Tacks would catch on my undershirts and cause pilling.

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Exposed velcro on the Ultra Tacks model that caused pilling on my undershirts.

Edited by Hills

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Unfortunately my league takes a few weeks off in the summer as the rink takes out the ice and does maintenance, so finding time to play with these new CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads has been a bit of a challenge. Regardless I have had 3 ice times with them.

Initial fit and feel of the shoulder pads was instantly familiar to my previous Ultra Tacks. They do feel a bit more comfortable than the Ultra Tacks and I feel that is do to the slightly thicker padding and better designed lower stomach piece.

My Ultra Tacks would bunch up on the bicep and shoulder cap when I raised my arms, and I could never get the adjustment quite right with those to stop it, I adjusted the length of the Super Tacks and haven't had the same bunching up issue.

I like a snug fit to my equipment, so I generally do my straps up fairly tight. With these shoulder pads the velcro straps on the front end up sliding on an angle and ride up along the skinner portion of the front of the pads. It feels as if the back of the shoulder pads is riding a bit higher than the front, and how tight I wear the staps is causing the parts that are not fastened down to ride up and around their desired path. I am going to continue to fiddle with the strapping and how the shoulder pads sit on my to try and fix this.

I have taken exactly 1 puck up high and it got me on the collar bone, while it wasn't an especially hard shot the Super Tacks did a great job and I didn't feel much.

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Personal Details
Male
6'3”
210 lbs
Forward/Defence
B-D level hockey
Shoulder Pad History:
TPS Pro Stock Medium, Warrior Projekt XL, Reebok KFS Large, CCM Ultra Tacks Large, CCM Super Tacks Large
 
I have worn these shoulder pads for an entire summer seasons and now into the winter season. I apologize for the tardiness of this review, while I have my reasons it shouldn’t have happened.

I have more or less fixed the issues with the straps moving by wearing the shoulder pads looser than I have in the past.

Fit: I really liked the fit on my last pair of shoulder pads (which were CCM Ultra Tacks in Large) and I enjoy the fit for these CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads. The adjustments that CCM has made hasn’t caused drastic changes in how these fit on your body compared to the first generation. The one thing that I have found different is that I feel like the Super Tacks shoulder pads ride a bit higher on my chest, I feel as if the breast portion doesn’t sit quite as flat as the Ultra Tacks version did which ends up causing the shoulder pads to ride a bit higher than before. The shoulder pads fit true to size. 9/10

Protection: CCM added D3O on the sternum portion of these Super Tacks shoulder pads and that is a nice upgrade over the Ultra Tacks. Just like the previous versions I can’t comment on whether or not the D3O foam makes a difference in the shoulder caps and I am going to copy what was said last time for the shoulder caps and bicep protection since it is identical for both the Ultra Tacks and Super Tacks shoulder pads. 
 
Me not noticing if the D3O helps with protection on the shoulder caps is a good thing as the caps have done a good job protecting me while playing. I’ve taken a couple high shots off my shoulders and didn’t feel a thing and falling into or hitting the boards ended with the same result of not feeling the impact. My favourite part of these shoulders is the bicep protection and the adjustable lower piece. The combination of hard foams and soft really cushions impact while offering a shield like barrier. I really like how you can adjust the lowest guard up and down depending on how high your elbow pads go. With this adjustability the shoulder pads help minimize protection gaps.

The sternum and spine protection on the CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads have been significantly improved and beefed up compared to the previous Ultra Tacks version. But in the beef up process the sternum and spine protection has gotten thicker and more bulky. Of note, I have never had an issue with the extra depth to these pieces but the Super Tacks shoulder pads lose the very thin profile of their predecessors. The sternum protection now incorporates D3O and it can be seen through a grill like piece through the hard closed cell foam. Although I cannot comment on how much D3O is hidden behind the outer foam layer, the entire sternum piece is not larger and thicker while being comprised of less plastic like foam giving a bit of cushioning. This is a nice upgrade on the Super Tacks compared to the Ultra Tacks piece. The spine and back protection plates have increased in sized and moved away from the plastic like foam to a bit softer closed cell foam offering more protection on the lower back and spine from cross checks when players try and move you away from the front of the net.
 
Remains is the removable (by velcro) lower stomach protection, but thickened on the Super Tacks compared to the previous Ultra Tacks line. The removable lower pack protection has been removed from the shoulder pads, but used in conjunction with the Super Tacks pants and the large spine protection the extended removable lower back protection is rendered obsolete.
 
The main shoulder and back pieces are made up of a similar material to the Ultra Tacks shoulder pads, but now the Tacks armour is made up of thicker soft foam. It feels to be identical to the Ultra Tacks model but with increased thickness, and thus beefing up the protection. While I feel this is a solid improvement over the previous generation, I believe CCM really missed an opportunity to use the UFoam from the UL/RBZ/Quicklite line as an extra layer under the softer foam Tacks Armour to combine and create very protective shoulder pad. 8/10

Comfort: I am going to copy part of this section from the Ultra Tacks line because it still holds true. Some equipment has pressure points or small areas that create discomfort while wearing them. I always wear a long sleeve performance undershirt under my equipment so this issue is usually mitigated. I ended up forgetting my undershirt a couple of times and having to wear these shoulders bare chested and armed. The lining is comfortable and didn’t cause me any issues with or without the under armour. The velcro attachment piece for the removable lower front protection still feels sharp to bare skin as it is not sewn completely flush with the pad and sits a bit loose on the top of the material. With some of the hard side of velcro being exposed, I felt this rubbing or poking into my skin during gameplay, this happens even when wearing an undershirt and I have to make slight adjustments to try to get the connection point to sit flat against the chest protector.
 
The previous generations Ultra Tacks sat very flush against my body when playing with very little adjustment needed. With the Super Tacks I find myself having to almost constantly adjust how the shoulder pads are sitting on my body. I find that with the thicker Tacks Armour the chest piece sticks out more right at the armpits. The shoulder pads rarely sit perfectly flush, and I feel that there should be a few more segments in the chest piece. Like the Ultra Tacks the Super Tacks shoulder pads are split down the middle underneath the sternum protection, but the thicker profile of the chest piece doesn’t allow the Super Tacks shoulder pads to really conform to my body as well. 7.5/10

Mobility: I was very happy with the mobility in the Ultra Tacks, with the added thickness in the sternum and chest pieces I can feel a bit of the extra bulk. I feel the thicker Tacks Armour portion is the cause here and not the sternum protection as I have had my arms get caught up on the bent chest protection. Nothing has been a huge issue but the added bulk does add a bit of restriction and I notice that I am wearing the shoulder pads more often than previously. 8/10

Weight: Just like the Ultra Tacks before these, the Super Tacks shoulder pads aren’t extremely light weight but aren’t cumbersome because of it. My issues with mobility isn’t weight, but rather design. 8/10

Durability: The only evidence of wear on these CCM Super Tacks shoulder pads is the smell. The elastics are still solid and there is stitching is not coming undone. 10/10

Intangibles: Just like the Ultra Tacks I still my wish for a thicker stomach and back padding. I would also like if the adjustability pieces on the lower bicep changed. Like the Ultra Tacks model the veclro isn’t strong enough to hold on when I put my gear/jersey on and off and the bicep protection has come off completely more than once. The inclusion of the double adjustment pieces on the biceps is a great feature to really allow you to dial down the fit and close any gaps between your elbow pads and the shoulder pads. CCM increased the usage of D3O which is a welcome improvement. CCM also added thicker attachment pieces on the straps to make them easier to come off, but the tab you actually grab onto is still thin and sits flush against the velcro, making the straps still difficult to undo. The thicker sternum, spine, and kidney protection is a welcome addition. 9/10

Conclusion: I loved my CCM Ultra Tacks shoulder pads, they were low profile and allowed for excellent mobility while offering acceptable protection. The CCM Super Tacks are a slight deviation to the previous generation model, offering slightly better protection but being a bit more bulky. I would happily recommend these shoulder pads to players who aren’t looking for the most protective unit on the market, but the increased bulk could make them a bit larger than people looking for a lower profile unit. I feel like this model could still use more of a deviation and become a bit bulkier and more protective, CCM already offers a low profile shoulder pad with the Quicklite line. While I feel the protective improvements make these shoulder pads better than the Ultra Tacks, I’m still disappointed CCM doesn’t go all out and really make these the most protective shoulder pads on the market like the Super Tacks shin and elbow pads aim to be. I am not positive the added bulk and slight loss of mobility is worth considering the Super Tacks over the slimmer Quicklite line. As well, I don't believe these would be worth upgrading over the Ultra Tacks if you already have that model.  8/10

Edited by Hills

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