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Vet88

Why you shouldn't lace up tight.

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On 4/16/2021 at 3:13 AM, Vet88 said:

Paradigm or evolution? If you told any coach 10 years ago that one of the fastest ways to skate up the rink was lateral cross overs you would have been laughed off the rink. Even with his near perfect bio mechanics, could McDavid use his lateral cross overs as effectively in boots from 20 years ago? And traditional power skating techniques, aka Laura Stamm, long considered a gold standard are now been rethought with different techniques and approaches been developed. All of this because of changes in boot technology, design and analytics.

Ever since boots have been made, manufacturers have been trying to make them stiffer with the belief that reduced ankle articulation would lead to better and faster skating. Reduced ankle articulation would shift the control of the skate to the biggest and strongest muscles in the legs - glutes, quads etc - and this would enable more stability and control. Lace up as tight as you can was part of this paradigm (originally they had to because the boot really offered no other support). Then over the last 10 years or so new materials in boot design created ultra stiff boots but the lacing message remained the same, generally coming from established people in the sport like players and coaches who have been around for years - that's what I was taught so that is what I will teach.

My belief is that the data and research coming out now and over the next few years will alter boot design away from the quasi ultra stiff ski boot, for a technique and health perspective. The boot will evolve into a design that has different flex zones incorporated into it. From under the ankles upwards you will be able to get different, custom flex zones, the boot will still wrap around the foot but the ankle will be able to articulate within a form fitting boot. We have never had this mix of design before (stiff lower / flexible upper), graf was starting down this path with its flex zone but the rest of the boot technology was behind what other manufacturers were producing. How such a design might change or create a new paradigm for skating we can only speculate at this point but I would suggest that the changes in boot design over the last 10 years or so has led to different approaches in skating techniques and that we will continue to see this in the future as technology in boots continues to evolve and skaters learn to take advantage of this.

In that way, looks like that we have at least 3 modern skates models which are fully or partly belongs to conception (evolution) "stiff lower / flexible upper" you've described: vh/true, ribcor's and probably graf

regarding true skates - why no one from fastest skaters doesn't use true skates? i cannot get it

only MacKinnon used to use it couple years ago, but now he uses ribcor

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50 minutes ago, Furyan said:

In that way, looks like that we have at least 3 modern skates models which are fully or partly belongs to conception (evolution) "stiff lower / flexible upper" you've described: vh/true, ribcor's and probably graf

I didn't know vh/true offered flex zones? Every single skate I've seen from them has rear quarters that are ultra stiff and will never flex in any direction.

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11 hours ago, Furyan said:

In that way, looks like that we have at least 3 modern skates models which are fully or partly belongs to conception (evolution) "stiff lower / flexible upper" you've described: vh/true, ribcor's and probably graf

regarding true skates - why no one from fastest skaters doesn't use true skates? i cannot get it

only MacKinnon used to use it couple years ago, but now he uses ribcor

Could be a marketing thing, CCM/Bauer pay for players to be there or something. Wouldn't put it past any company to do that

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3 hours ago, Left Wing King said:

Could be a marketing thing, CCM/Bauer pay for players to be there or something. Wouldn't put it past any company to do that

But it's such a small amount. I can't see players, especially higher profile guys leaving performance on the table just for some pocket change.

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18 hours ago, Furyan said:

In that way, looks like that we have at least 3 modern skates models which are fully or partly belongs to conception (evolution) "stiff lower / flexible upper" you've described: vh/true, ribcor's and probably graf

regarding true skates - why no one from fastest skaters doesn't use true skates? i cannot get it

Just because Ribcore is the most flexible of the CCMs doesnt mean they are that flexible, I have them and they are still the stiffest skate I have ever had.

Regarding True and fastest skaters, not sure the disconnect.  They dont have a large market share so the chance of anyone wearing them is low.  And nobodyhas empirically shown they are better/faster that I am aware of.

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3 hours ago, Left Wing King said:

I meant that CCM/Bauer have paid the NHL to only allow players in who wear their skates only to be allowed in the competition 

Can you provide proof of that? If there’s an article or something about it, I’m not sure what to search to find it. 

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14 minutes ago, start_today said:

Can you provide proof of that? If there’s an article or something about it, I’m not sure what to search to find it. 

No it was an idea, maybe something like this has happened

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21 hours ago, Furyan said:

regarding true skates - why no one from fastest skaters doesn't use true skates? i cannot get it

Don't NHL players wear custom made skates? So, who knows what customization options companies like CCM and Bauer offer the pros that aren't available to the regular public. Maybe they have just as much to offer as True, maybe more.

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On 4/16/2021 at 12:51 AM, caveman27 said:

Lange was ahead of its time. Using ski boot technology for stiffness, but incorporating a hinge to allow for some forward flex.

vintage-stan-mikita-lange-hockey_1_ec809

 

I never truly appreciated that technology until I tried Bauer NXGs and APX 2s to get away from the weight of my Langes. I appreciated the weight reduction and lateral stiffness of the new materials; but I found it impossible to lace them tightly enough for lateral support without restricting my forward flexion. I ended up returning the APXs for a refund and reselling the NXGs on eBay at a 50% loss, because I'd already sharpened and skated on them (once). About a year later, I tried once more with Graf 5035s and after skating in them 3 or 4 times, I resold them at a 50% loss because I decided that it would probably take me way too long just to be able to skate the same way I skate in my Langes and that I didn't want to invest that kind of time trying to do that, practicing in them and playing in my Langes for a full season or two.

I doubt that flexion zones will provide the solution, because they'll probably only work in a single plane. The problem that gets overlooked in these discussions is that lacing and boot stiffness control movement in the lateral and longitudinal planes simultaneously without any way of adjusting them independently. As advanced as material technology is, I can't imagine that they'll be able to come up with materials that flex differently in different planes simultaneously, much less at any remotely-affordable price for a product that's expected to be flexed hundreds of thousands or millions of times during its intended life.

That's what's so great about the hinge: I can tape above the hinge for lateral support without affecting forward flexion. 

 

Edited by YesLanges
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On 4/25/2021 at 5:11 PM, YesLanges said:

I never truly appreciated that technology until I tried Bauer NXGs and APX 2s to get away from the weight of my Langes. I appreciated the weight reduction and lateral stiffness of the new materials; but I found it impossible to lace them tightly enough for lateral support without restricting my forward flexion. I ended up returning the APXs for a refund and reselling the NXGs on eBay at a 50% loss, because I'd already sharpened and skated on them (once). About a year later, I tried once more with Graf 5035s and after skating in them 3 or 4 times, I resold them at a 50% loss because I decided that it would probably take me way too long just to be able to skate the same way I skate in my Langes and that I didn't want to invest that kind of time trying to do that, practicing in them and playing in my Langes for a full season or two.

I doubt that flexion zones will provide the solution, because they'll probably only work in a single plane. The problem that gets overlooked in these discussions is that lacing and boot stiffness control movement in the lateral and longitudinal planes simultaneously without any way of adjusting them independently. As advanced as material technology is, I can't imagine that they'll be able to come up with materials that flex differently in different planes simultaneously, much less at any remotely-affordable price for a product that's expected to be flexed hundreds of thousands or millions of times during its intended life.

That's what's so great about the hinge: I can tape above the hinge for lateral support without affecting forward flexion. 

 

you could get the same effect by creasing the boot at teh spot where the hinge is and then just lacing up.

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33 minutes ago, Miller55 said:

you could get the same effect by creasing the boot at teh spot where the hinge is and then just lacing up.

I don't think so; because once you crease it, that boot becomes less supportive in the lateral plane as well as in the longitudinal plane. My main point was that it's impossible to change the stiffness in only one plane anytime you alter the stiffness of the boot anywhere. With a hinge, the longitudinal flexibility isn't affected by changing the stiffness of the material, whether inherently or by adding supplemental external support, such as by taping above the hinge.

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On 4/15/2021 at 8:04 PM, BenBreeg said:

I don’t see anyone claiming it is a new paradigm, I think you are tilting at windmills.  As long as I can remember people have viewed one of the purposes of skates to do the work of supporting the ankle.  Tendon guards used to have eyelets, guys used to tape tendon guards to their shinguards, lace tighteners, etc.  The stance of the desireability of greater degrees of ankle mobility is not a widely held view for the general population.  Stiffer skates do make the problem worse.  How messaging around lacing solutions is doing a disservice is a mystery.  You going to convince them to make softer skates?

That is what the messaging around "dropping an eyelet" is doing. The implication is, you won't be like McDavid if you don't do it. Incidentally, McDavid doesn't own the Fastest Skater record. 

Edited by pgeorgan

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23 minutes ago, pgeorgan said:

That is what the messaging around "dropping an eyelet" is doing. The implication is, you won't be like McDavid if you don't do it. Incidentally, McDavid doesn't own the Fastest Skater record. 

The "implication" is (you should argue what is explicitly stated vs. what you deem is implied but I digress) is that dropping an eyelet provides forward flexion which is impeded by todays very stiff skate and forward ankle flexion is beneficial to good skating.  Period.  Other discussions are tangential to that point.

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Skate like Conor McDavid haha. The implication is pretty clear and I've experienced it myself (even when not wearing Makos anymore). Dropping an eyelet absolutely increase forward flexion. Now it may not be for you doesn't make the study/analysis invalid. I know for myself is that my form is better and I feel more comfortable skating without the last set of eyelets done. Now will it make me faster? I'm only getting older so I should be slowing down regardless but that's beside the point.

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12 hours ago, YesLanges said:

I don't think so; because once you crease it, that boot becomes less supportive in the lateral plane as well as in the longitudinal plane. My main point was that it's impossible to change the stiffness in only one plane anytime you alter the stiffness of the boot anywhere. With a hinge, the longitudinal flexibility isn't affected by changing the stiffness of the material, whether inherently or by adding supplemental external support, such as by taping above the hinge.

While you might be right technically, I think practically you will get the same effect and any decreased support in either plane is going to be negligible until the boot starts to break down. Granted, it will break down faster this way than if you wouldn't crease it, but I don't think there will be any appreciable difference practically speaking. Anyway, I don't advocate either of these, personally I just drop eyelets. I don't find there is much loss in lateral stability. If you are very concerned, you can try Graf 707s, which are a bit better than the Langes but have a similar idea in practice. While I'm a big performance over style guy and think the idea of sacrificing performance for looks is absurd, I don't think I could be seen in those Langes.

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21 hours ago, BenBreeg said:

The "implication" is (you should argue what is explicitly stated vs. what you deem is implied but I digress) is that dropping an eyelet provides forward flexion which is impeded by todays very stiff skate and forward ankle flexion is beneficial to good skating.  Period.  Other discussions are tangential to that point.

I wasn't "arguing" anything. Rather, I was making an observation. Subtle, yet critical, difference. 

Regardless then, we have gone full circle. Of course stiffer skates impede forward ankle flexion. This is as obvious as the sky is blue. I believe I said as much in a prior post (just scroll up). Do we really need an entire thread dedicated to it?

Edited by pgeorgan

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Arguing is simply debating, not a negative connotation.  This board is populated by a bunch of hockey and hockey gear geeks, creating threads and debating minutiae is what makes this world go round, it's what we like to do here.  Participation in any thread is 100% voluntary.

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On 4/15/2021 at 8:04 PM, BenBreeg said:

I don’t see anyone claiming it is a new paradigm, I think you are tilting at windmills.  As long as I can remember people have viewed one of the purposes of skates to do the work of supporting the ankle.  Tendon guards used to have eyelets, guys used to tape tendon guards to their shinguards, lace tighteners, etc.  The stance of the desireability of greater degrees of ankle mobility is not a widely held view for the general population.  Stiffer skates do make the problem worse.  How messaging around lacing solutions is doing a disservice is a mystery.  You going to convince them to make softer skates?

I remember having those eyelets with the small thin laces on the tendon guards. They added no support whatsoever. I think their purpose was to keep the tendon guard against the tendon.

And with all this talk about maintaining lateral support while having forward flex, one could argue that lateral support is not that necessay if you have proper skating technique, though it might still be good to limit lateral movement just enough to prevent injury. 🤔

Edited by Larry54
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Interesting topic & discussion, just want to drop 2 anecdotes I've encountered over my years and how they relate:

Years back I was dealing with some awful hip pain that lead me to an orthopedist by the name of Brian Busconi, you know you're in the right spot when your doctor has a HockeyDB page and a Harvard Hockey Jersey in his office, notta big deal. After we got done with the pleasantries of going with PT instead of any surgery he actually asked me about what brand and model skate I was using. The interesting thing about that question is I was only 6 months or so out from making the switch from a pair of pro stock Bauer 1000 old school leather skates to the recently released Bauer APX skates. The doc said the first thing I wanted to do was go back and find another pair of Bauer 1000s or at the very least buy one of the lower end pairs of Bauers that would not be as stiff as the APX I was using. He began discussing all of the negatives that go along with the stiffness of the newly designed skates and how he sees younger and younger players with Knee, hip, & ankle issues. Long story short, went out and found some pro-stock tech mesh vapors and after making that switch and some PT, no more hip pain. 

Another tangential topic that I think applies here is a chat I had was with Wayne up at Zwickers once upon a time. I think we were talking about the work he used to do for Paul Coffey and then somehow started talking about Kevin Lowe and how he used the 2-piece hinged Microns and Bauer plastic boots forever. Wayne said there was an internal battle at Bauer about continuing the R&D on those 2-piece boots and although all of their research showed them to perform better they just didn't sell and that was the end of them.

 

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4 hours ago, Larry54 said:

I remember having those eyelets with the small thin laces on the tendon guards. They added no support whatsoever. I think their purpose was to keep the tendon guard against the tendon.

And with all this talk about maintaining lateral support while having forward flex, one could argue that lateral support is not that necessay if you have proper skating technique, though it might still be good to limit lateral movement just enough to prevent injury. 🤔

The point of lateral support is correct imo. Good technique makes lateral support relatively unimportant for skating, but hockey skating doesn't happen in a vacuum, so that lateral support definitely helps for collisions and potential injuries. Those are not usually the result of poor technique, but of contact and accidents. 

 

Regarding the hinge on a boot, Graf 707s and Ultra G7s offer the same thing without looking like absolute dust... For those who are interested.

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Just an observation, in this picture Orr's top 3 eyelets (if there isn't a 4th under the tape) are unlaced but his tendon guards and tongues are taped against his upper ankle. 🤔

Orr-action-colour-1024x761.jpg

Edited by Larry54

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