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JR Boucicaut

Reebok 20k Shin Pads

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This week I received a pair of shiny new Reebok 20K Pro shin guards for a MSH Long-Term Review (LTR). I’d like to start by thanking the folks at Reebok Hockey, the ModSquadHockey community and JR Boucicaut for this opportunity.

Product Received:
Reebok 20K Pro shin guards
Model: 12K-SUP-SG20K
Size: 15" (38 cm)

Reviewer Details:
29 years old / 5’11 / 210lbs
Location: Calgary, AB
Playing Level: Men's div A/B and rec league hockey (former minor league rep team player)
Current shin guards: Reebok 11K, Reebok 9K
Skate tongues: Tongues in (Bauer APX factory)
Prior injury which may reflect in this review: Partially torn patellar tendon on medial side of right knee (October 2011).

Prior to receiving my Reebok 20K shin guards I’ve bounced between wearing a pair of 16” Reebok 11K shin guards closer to the original date of my injury, and a pair of 15” Reebok 9K shin guards once things started to heal. I also realized that the 16” 11K’s with tongues in were a bit long for me and interfering with the top of my skate – that’s why I dropped to 15” in the 9K’s. My knee injury occurred while wearing a pair of competitor’s top-end shin guards, not Reebok product. I’ve been very happy with both my 11K’s and 9K’s, and I jumped at the opportunity to try the 20K Pro shin guards.

I’ll preface this review by stating that I am a bit over the top when it comes to shin guards. I value protection and comfort, and I’ll do anything I can to prevent another knee injury or aggravate my previous injury. I originally chose the Reebok 11K and 9K shin guards because I felt that they offered the best interior cushioning in the knee pocket out of all the manufacturers. This was very important to my recovery and my sense of security on the ice going forward. The first area I inspect on any shin guard is the knee pocket for anything sharp (what caused my previous injury), abrasive, or lacking padding. Reebok has always passed this test with flying colors for me.

The 20K Pro shin guards arrived very fast and I’d like to thank Reebok again for making that happen so quickly. They were packed well in a cardboard box and sealed inside a clear plastic bag with tags attached.


I tore into the plastic bag and had the shin guards in my hands in no time. My initial reaction was that the design, colors and graphics on this model look really cool! Nice work, Reebok! My next reaction was that the shin guards felt really light. Even lighter than my 11K’s or 9K’s – impressive.

A few details on the front of the pad worth mentioning include the “lockstrap” now running through the front face of the pad with a nice finishing touch/decal. The model, size (in inches and centimeters) and a left “L” or right “R” indicator still appear on the face of the shin guard.
RBK20KSG-A-4_zps04bb8c57.jpg RBK20KSG-A-5_zpsaceb84c2.jpg

I flipped the shin guards over and checked out the materials on the interior; the padding, strapping, fastening hooks, calf guard and the “shot guard”. All pretty cool, and consistent with the design and color scheme on the front side of the shin guard. New in the 20K is a green mesh material on the inside of the shin guard underneath the liner. Initially, this caused me some concern because the material felt a bit abrasive and I was used to the plush, soft material in my 11K’s and 9K’s.

Next, I was drawn towards the new removable, lower calf fastening strap. The strap is fixed to two Velcro pieces on one end, and has a single Velcro fastener on the opposite end. This creates a “Y” shaped strap that should distribute pressure evenly.
RBK20KSG-A-7_zpsaf86bcc1.jpg RBK20KSG-A-10_zpsbccebdee.jpg

The two Velcro pieces on the outside portion of the removable, lower calf fastening strap have both sides of the Velcro attached directly to the shin pad, so that if you choose to remove the strap, you can stick the two Velcro pieces together and not worry about them catching on your socks or wearing out. Nice!

Next, my eyes were drawn to the new “skate zone” at the inside bottom portion of the shin guard. This is a new feature that allows those of us who go “tongues in” and wear our skate tongues to the inside of our shin guards a place to slide the tongue. This seems pretty neat in design. There appears to be enough room to get a small tongue or larger felt tongue in between the shin guard and the liner. I wonder how this will feel with my APX factory tongues?
RBK20KSG-A-13_zps21c16757.jpg RBK20KSG-A-15_zps0b9a6297.jpg

The H-Cell and PE-insert reinforced calf wrap protectors seem to be quite protective, yet not too bulky or restrictive. They don’t seem to be very heavy either. They look like they have enough distance to wrap completely around a fairly large calf.
RBK20KSG-A-16_zpsbae89e2c.jpg RBK20KSG-A-17_zps53ede51f.jpg

Note that the PE-insert reinforced calf wrap protector on the outside edge of each shin guard is not only adjustable to accommodate larger or smaller calves, but also completely removable. Not a bad idea!
RBK20KSG-A-29_zps439be4a6.jpg RBK20KSG-A-28_zpsff9901da.jpg

Next, up to the “shot guard” at the top of the shin guard. There feels like there’s a bit of PE plastic in the “shot guard” to give it some extra protection. This piece is fairly consistent with the 11K and is also adjustable upwards and downwards and completely removable. There’s a small loop at the top of the “shot guard” to help you hang-dry your pads.
RBK20KSG-A-12_zpsda9ce606.jpg RBK20KSG-A-21_zps2fec41ed.jpg RBK20KSG-A-23_zps6d32cca3.jpg

Next, the upper “lockstrap” which fastens just underneath your knee. This is designed similarly to the 11K and the 9K strap. Nothing really new to note here other than it passes through the front face of the shin guard. The strap has a small piece of padding that runs between the back of your leg and the actual strap to help prevent any abrasion or biting. The one thing I found odd was that the hook that the “lockstrap” attaches to seems to be mounted upside down on both shin guards. This hook has its open end facing upwards on my 11K and 9K, but is facing downwards on the 20K Pro. I’m not sure how this will affect the “lockstrap” staying in place during play.

Next is a shot of the leg channel inside the shin guard. I find the Reebok line to run a bit wide and deep. I like this. It keeps the shin guard close to my leg, gives good wrap, and secures my knee deep into the knee pocket. I don’t really notice any depth difference between the 11K and the 20K Pro.

I removed the inner liner to expose the interior of the shin guard. The inner liner fastens to the interior of the shin guard using two strips of Velcro. The liner itself is fully removable for drying or washing. As you can see, the green mesh material lines most of the interior of the shin guard, including the cut-out area where your knee seats into the liner. I’ve also included a close up of the green mesh. Despite first impressions the mesh actually feels quite soft and non-abrasive. We’ll have to see how it performs against the skin while on the ice and during a fall.
RBK20KSG-A-19_zps15d5a67f.jpg RBK20KSG-A-20_zps13f8e7ae.jpg

Next is a shot of the liner removed from the shin guard, pictured from the front and back. Nothing much to note here. It seems fairly consistent with the design of the 11K, but maybe a bit lighter weight and with some more breathability features. The liner feels soft and plush, and non-abrasive. The padding in the liner seems sufficient and relatively thick. The liner has a donut hole cut out where your knee would sit. As noted previously, I like these removable liners because they’re easy to wash and dry.
RBK20KSG-A-31_zps34345106.jpg RBK20KSG-A-32_zpsc32a6709.jpg

One of the last features to mention is the “wrapguard” on the bottom edge of the shin guard. This is a foam-type material that seems to ease the rubbing, if any, against the top or edges of the skate boot.

Lastly, I took a pretty close look at the quality of construction. I was only able to find one loose thread at this time. It doesn’t look like anything major. I’ll continue to monitor, but I don’t see it causing problems. Other than that, the 20K Pro shin guards seem to be very well constructed and consistent with what I’ve grown to expect from Reebok.

I haven’t had an opportunity to put the shin guards on my legs yet, even as a test, but I’m hoping to skate with them tonight and report back how they perform on the ice. I felt that I needed to get up this “first impressions” review as soon as possible before trying them on the ice. Moving from the 11K to the 20K Pro, I’m not too worried about transition, so I’m comfortable throwing them directly into a game scenario for initial on-ice testing.

Subscribe to this topic to continue reading my LTR on the Reebok 20K Pro shin guards. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a private message. I’ll try to include all messages regarding this topic in future posts so that everyone can benefit from my answers. Thanks for reading.

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I managed to get in two games this past weekend while wearing my new Reebok 20K Pro shin guards.

The first game was a last minute invite. I tossed the 20K Pro shins in my bag and headed out. I hadn't even tried them on my legs before leaving for the rink; needless to say I was taking a bit of a risk.

I wear my shin guards directly over my bare legs. I wear longer shin-high Bauer Vapor skate socks and compression shorts, and I always wear the older knit style hockey socks.

Placing the shins on my legs for the first time they felt pretty good. I felt like I was seating deep down into the knee and leg pocket which is good.

I went to fasten the lower calf Y-shaped strap and realized that it had quite a bit of slack remaining, even when I was using the entire length of the Velcro. This struck me as a bit odd because I don't have small calves.

I felt like my leg was just floating against the shin and not as tight as I would have liked. I tried adjusting some of the Velcro and the removable Velcro straps with not much success at making anything tighter. Weird.

I snugged the lower calf Y-shaped strap as much as I could, and settled for a lesser degree of tightness than I'm used to.

Next I went to fasten the upper "lockstrap" and realized that unlike the longer, lower calf Y-shaped strap, the upper "lockstrap" was too short for my liking. I was barely able to fasten the strap across the back of my leg and when I stood up I could feel the tightness in this area.

I backed off the "lockstrap" a bit for comfort, but found it odd that the Y-shaped strap would be so long and the "lockstrap" would be so short. I'll try to get some pictures of this on my legs.

I tucked my skate tongues into the "skate zone" at the bottom of the shin guards. Nothing much to report here. It felt natural, maybe even not too different than wearing the entire shin pad on top of the tongues.

I had to apply three wraps of sock tape to hold the lower portion of the shin guard down, and a single wrap sightly below the knee (around the "lockstrap" area). I also added a single wrap of tape across each "shot guard" to hold them down and in place (my preference).

On the ice, the shin pads felt pretty good. They definitely feel a bit lighter than my 9K or 11K's. I didn't notice any difference between using the "skate zone" or not. I went down to my knees to stretch and was impressed with the cushioning.

The shins are definitely wide, but not wider than any of my previous Reebok shin guards. I got tripped up once pretty good off a face off and landed on my knees (and face). The shin guards absorbed the impact very well - definitely impressed. No abrasion or pain from the fall or impact.

The shins kept my legs nice and cool and seemed to breathe quite well.

The lower calf Y-shaped strap definitely wasn't as tight as I would have liked and I could feel the lower portion of the shin guard moving around a bit on my shin. I need to try to rectify this in some way - maybe shortening the strap.

The upper "lockstrap" was biting my leg a bit due to lack of length. When I loosened off the "lockstrap" I found that they fell off the inverted/upside-down clip that I mentioned concern with in my first post.

After the first game I noticed a 2-3" area of missed stitching that was coming apart on the top-side portion of one of the knees. It looks like the sewing machine miss-thread this area as the needle still went through the material, but didn't thread through it.

This is an area that I will likely have to fix, because in the current state it might not hold up over time. No other durability or quality issues were noted during the first ice time.

RBK20KSG-B-1_zps92a416a0.jpg RBK20KSG-B-2_zps702fdf21.jpg

The second ice time I was running behind due to a huge snow storm here, so I didn't have time to play around much with the straps on the shin guards again. I put them on and wrapped them with tape as noted above. I went a little bit looser on the "lockstrap" to prevent the biting, and applied my sock tape a bit tighter.

I wore my tongues outside of the "skate zone" this time to compare - no difference was noted between wearing tongues in or out of the "skate zone". Maybe this would be different with thicker skate tongues.

Early in the game I got tangled up with an opposing player during a check. Both of us went down at a fairly good speed. The shin guards protected my knees and legs properly, and I found that it was easy to recover to my skates after the fall, even on freshly cleaned ice with a lot of slide.

This second game was a much higher level than my first game wearing the shins and I was playing defense instead of forward. I ended up blocking a fair number of shots. None of them were felt to my legs, aside from the normal force from the puck hitting the shin guards.

After two times wearing the Reebok 20K Pro shin guards I'm quite impressed with their protection, weight, and air flow. I'm concerned about the length and configuration of both fastening straps, and also concerned about the missed stitching at the top of the one shin guard. I am still undecided on the green mesh material in the inside of the shin guard and whether this will cause abrasions on my skin during a fall with greater impact.

Thank you for continuing to read the updates to my LTR. More to follow.

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I got another game under my belt earlier this week wearing the Reebok 20K Pro shin guards. Unfortunately it was a pretty frustrating game due to some issues with the shin pads:

- The lower calf Y-shaped strap is way too loose. There's no amount of adjustment that seems to fix this problem aside from excessive taping, which even seems to loosen a bit during a game.

I have the Velcro portion of this strap all the way in as far as it will go on both sides of the strap, yet there's still quite a bit of slack on the strap. I've taken a few pictures to show the slack, the slack bunched, and exactly how too long the strap seems to be:

RBK20KSG-C-3_zpsca8dd816.jpg RBK20KSG-C-4_zps9c7d6866.jpg RBK20KSG-C-7_zps7d8136d2.jpg

- The upper "lockstrap" is too short and is digging into my leg. Loosening the "lockstrap" to where it isn't biting the back of my leg on leg extension causes the "lockstrap" to fall off the inverted clip. This happened at least 3 times on each shin guard during this game. It was extremely frustrating when the lower calf Y-shaped strap was already loose and then the "lockstrap" would fall off. Another thing that I'm finding weird is that the padded area on the back of the "lockstrap" seems to be way too far forward to the outside of the leg just beneath the knee. It seems to offer no practical use in this location. It definitely isn't preventing the strap from biting into the back of my leg, and it isn't stopping the Velcro on the back of the strap from scraping my leg if it isn't 100% straight on the mating side of the Velcro. This picture is of the strap loosened a little bit, to the point where it isn't biting into the back of my leg, but yet this position causes it to fall off the inverted clip often with a fall or movement. The second picture is the location of the padded area off to the side of the area beneath the back of the knee - I would think it should be closer to the back of the leg, or a bit underneath the Velcro to stop abrasion. Odd.

RBK20KSG-C-5_zpsade423fc.jpg RBK20KSG-C-1_zpsc2e7ae1b.jpg

- Lastly, the Velcro strips where the removable lower calf Y-shaped strap connects are getting caught on my socks constantly. I took this picture before I moved the straps in even closer to the shin guard body, but the Velcro pieces are still getting in the way. The actually show up as ridges or lumps underneath my hockey socks, partially due to the fact that the Y-shaped strap is so loose. I'm sure it's not too noticeable to my opponents or teammates, but it's noticeable to me. It makes the shin guards look and feel much wider than they are.


My opinion remains that the shin guards are very protective with falls, sticks, and pucks, however, the fastening system and some of the functionality of the features leave a LOT to be desired. I would say that I have "average" sized calves and legs for a competitive hockey player. They definitely aren't small, but they're not massive. I'm trying to decide what I should do so I can continue wearing these shin guards and be safe and yet not be bothered with the annoyance of the straps. I think I might try removing the removable lower calf Y-shaped strap and using only sock tape and the "lockstrap" to fasten the shins. After doing that I might consider doubling up and stitching some of the strap material to itself to remove some of the length. I may also need to add a piece of padding to the back of the "lockstrap". I'm a bit sad that these shin guards don't seem to be ready to wear directly off the rack in my application without modifications. Perhaps the previous strapping system on the 11K and 9K worked just fine and shouldn't have been changed. Just my $0.02.

Stay tuned for additional updates. As always, questions or comments are welcome through PM's.

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Played another game last night with the shin guards. Did some modifications as mentioned above.

I completely removed both of the removable lower calf Y-shaped straps, affixed both Velcro pieces together, and tucked them behind the plastic shin caps.

Tucking the Velcro pieces out of the way prevented them from sticking to my hockey socks or protruding unsightly from under the hockey socks.

I left the "lockstrap" as-is on both shins. I tightened the "lockstrap" while standing with a slight flex in the leg, rather than sitting, as I've done previously. The strap is still short in this position.

I tightened the "lockstrap" until it was apply pressure on the back of my leg, but not causing any biting or pain. This was quite a "precise" adjustment and took a bit of time to get comfortable.

I applied 4 wraps of sock tape up the length of my shin to just beneath the knee to compensate for not having the lower calf Y-shaped strap in place.

When I got out on the ice I felt pretty good. Everything seemed to be holding in place better and more secure than previously. As the game progressed things seemed to loosen up a little bit - but it was still tolerable and within my definitions of safe.

Removing the lower calf Y-shaped strap seems to feel better than having it on there loose - I'll likely continue to do this until I can "modify" the strap to shorten it a bit...

I was playing in a top division men's league last night on defense and blocked around 5 shots, maybe a few more. All of the shots that hit my shin guards were a non-issue and barely felt. No abnormal falls or spills to mention.

Rink temperature was absolutely freezing last night. Legs remained warm, but not hot. Legs also feel pretty dry when the shin guards are removed at the end of the game. Maybe some moisture wicking coming into play here.

Might have about a week before I'm on the ice again due to scheduling. Keep subscribed for more updates, and thanks for reading! Comments and questions always welcome via PM.

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I haven't been on the ice since my last update, but I have a quick note to add.

The Product Manager for Reebok and CCM protective products got in touch with me to inform me that they're looking into the fit issues that I've described in my posts above.

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Big tournament coming up this weekend. Going to pay particular attention to the moisture wicking, drying times and all that other fun stuff that seems to become more important during tournaments or condensed schedules.

I still haven't made any changes to the shin guards, short of removing the lower Y-shaped straps. Might "shorten" the straps a bit today if I get a chance - I'll post pictures if I do...

I'll report back early next week with my findings.

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A quick note that I shortened the lower calf Y-shaped removable straps yesterday with good results.

I started by simply folding the excess strap material over itself and stitching a box and "X" pattern over the overlapped material. This looked pretty decent and clean, but the area was sticking up a bit under my socks, and it still wasn't tight enough.

I ended up cutting the strap material, removing all excess length and sewing just the Velcro piece and a very small amount of strap as close as I could to the edge of the nylon. I had to go with multiple passes in a straight line for strength. It's not "pretty" and I had some tensioner problems on the sewing machine, but the joint is really strong.

I wore the shin guards again last night with my modified straps. The shortened strap still attaches all the way to the end of the Velcro region on the shin guard, but it is much more tight. I had zero issues last night during practice, aside from the upper strap still being too short and coming off the clip when I loosen it back. Progress though!!

I don't have pictures on hand, but I'll be sure to post them after my weekend of games.

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My apologies for not getting back to everyone with an update after the tournament. I got sick, then promptly sprained my ankle playing hockey on Monday, now sick again. Sigh.

The shin guards worked quite well during the tournament. I was impressed with the moisture wicking, cooling, and overall drying time of the shins.

I actually don't recall that gross, slimy, mid-tournament feel that my shin guards usually get.

My legs remain fairly cool in the 20K Pros, but still warm. My legs never really feel too wet when I take off the shin guards.

I got a bit of irritation on the back of my legs from the tightness and Velcro on the upper straps, but nothing too major. It was definitely noticeable after 4 games though.

I'll probably have the next 1-2 weeks off the ice to heal my ankle and recover. Thanks for continuing to read my LTR. I'll provide you with more updates when I have them.

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Just a quick note that I tried skating on Monday this week and experienced extreme pain from my sprained ankle while in forward flexion and while shooting. I'll likely need a couple more weeks off the ice before I'm willing to try again.

Thanks to everyone who has kept reading along.

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Time for a quick update. I was finally able to skate again after nearly 2 months off the ice with the sprained ankle. The strength still isn't quite there and I'm still getting some pain, so I took it pretty easy.

Nothing really new to add with the shins. Haven't really heard anything new back from RBK regarding the straps. As mentioned, I've doctored my lower strap, but the top strap is still quite short. It's something I've learned to live with.

During shinny I tripped over my feet (I guess that's what 2 months off the ice will do) and went down hard on my knees and the shins protected me quite well. No complaints with the cushioning or protection. The pads, as currently strapped, didn't rotate or twist much on my legs during the fall. Hopefully I can get back on the ice sometime soon, but I may still want to play it safe for the next month to let my ankle heal more.

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Hi Everyone,

My RBK 20K shins are still holding up really well. I still haven't heard back from RBK regarding any modifications or changes to the straps. The existing straps are starting to relax a bit more, which makes the lower strap even worse and loose, but seems to be making the top strap a bit more bearable. I feel that it's easier to wear long compression pants under these shins because of the strap issues. Durability-wise I have no concerns. Everything is still looking and performing good. Aside from the straps and those upside down fastening hooks these are still a pretty decent pair of shins. I'll continue to provide any updates as they come.

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