Easton Mako M8 (2nd gen) skates – update

So I’ve had my Mako M8 for a couple of months. Sorry I have been trying and haven’t had time to write a coherent post. So at this point I decided it’s best to post a ramble than nothing at all. Here it goes.

Pro:
FAST
Agile
CXN holder
Flexible tendon guard
shallow toe cap (if it fits you)
Inexpensive for me – unfortunately, I can usually tell the difference in performance between the top of the line and the second in the line. In Mako 2, I couldn’t. So M8 is good enough, which is a big saving for me.

Con:
CXN holder (screw gets loose, very awkward to tighten)
9′ rocker – less control on how much I want to “dig in” – it always digs in.
Fixed (not moldable) heel cup that’s too wide for me and most of my friends
two-dimensional quarter panels.
textured liner (for barefoot skaters, this is gross)
Consistency of manufacturing – each pair seems to fit a bit differently.
Low-density foam – even in Mako II with the highest density of all. As the foams are extremely thin, the right choice would have been to make it dense.

A big con:
Education. Skate shop guys seem to believe the skate is completely absolutely utterly heat-moldable and would wrap around the bottom of the ankle / top of the foot. It doesn’t. The quarters are two-dimentionally constructed. That spot is a big problem for me and my friends in Makos but can be fixed with insoles NOT with heat molding.

Conclusion:
I love it. I am making Mako M8 my primary skates.

Recommend for friends?
IF it fits their feet, heel, and volume. Put them on, run around. On the padded floor of the skate shop, do the crossovers. Do the tight turns (using the wall), do the cross-unders. Lean on the wall and get into the stride. Make sure the heel doesn’t wiggle and the foot doesn’t lift.
IF they want to exert more power into their skating to improve agility and speed.

How did you fit the skates? 

Well, that took a lot of effort. First pair simply didn’t fit no matter what I did, including clamps and spot heating and rebaking and insoles. Second pair fit fine with one heating and superfeet. (Superfeet doesn’t fit me well, but I use it for lack of alternative).

The big issues for me in the Mako line of skates:

  • heel cup is too wide for all but one of my friends. The foam is thin and the heel cup does not heat mold. It can be fixed by using insoles to lift your heel into the narrower spot in the heel.
  • The quarter panel is two-dimensional (no matter what the skate shop guy says, there is a limitation). You can heat it, clamp it, wrap it, re-tighten it, and it simply doesn’t wrap around the foot/ankle bend area. This causes there to be too much space above the top of the foot just below the ankle. This too can be fixed by an insole, bringing the foot up to the boot.

So they fit my feet pretty perfectly now except for the arch pain caused when I tighten the laces too much.

Overall Performance

They are fast albeit subtly compared to my Grafs. I don’t know why. Probably because of the ankle extension.
They are agile. The skates respond without delay, and the power transfer is seamless, meaning there is no “split-second delay” or “mushiness” or “effort” about pulling off a tight turn or stop-and-go.
I feel less stable in M8 than my G9035 by a lot. I would have to be more technical (battling near a board etc.) in Mako M8. It might be the default 9′ rocker. It might be the low ankle (at back – the rest is the same as my Grafs). I haven’t experimented with different rockers because I’ll then lose a lot of metal.
Speaking of metal, the runners feel “grainy” compared to my Cobras after being sharpened by the same shop, same guy, same stone.
The skates are listed as “light-weight” in other reviews. They are heavier than my Grafs.

Why are they so exhausting? 

These skates demand a lot of power out of you. No matter what the skate shop guys want to tell you.

Pitch
“Aggressive pitch” (how “forward” the sole of the boot is) is NOT the cause because I’ve worn Grafs for 10 years, which has the near-identical pitch. https://shiftthatparadigm.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/img_20150915_094451.jpg https://shiftthatparadigm.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/img_20150915_094532.jpg

The boot shape shifting the skating style
The shape of the heel cup your heel to sit deeply into the heel cup, causing you to bend your knees more, driving more power out of the core, gluteus medius, and the lower legs. The flexible tendon guard and the very shallow foot at the tendon allows you to extend your ankles. Basically you’re using a new set of muscles, and using them hard.

9′ rocker and stiff CXN holder
This may be a culprit. The skates don’t give me a choice to “casually stop” – it always stops hard because you’re stopping on such small amount of steel. My old holder (Cobra) was just as stiff, but I skated on a 10′ rocker.

Mentality
I think this is the biggest contributor. It’s kind of like you buy a really nice sports car, and next thing you know, you’ve burnt through 3 times more gasoline for the same commute. The sports car burns more L/km. But not only that, you’re enjoying the car’s ability so much that you’ve been jack-rabbit starting at green lights and accelerating quickly in lower gear. I think the same thing is happening to me. I’m using the new set of the muscles and also using them harder than before.

Conclusion

I had an option of returning the skate for a store credit. I kept them. I still have G9035, so you can see how much I liked the M8s.

If you want to try the Mako skates,
Make sure the skates fit, not just in width and length but also in depth.
Buy the pair you tried on.
Be prepared to be exhausted in the first few games.
And brace to feel so awesome about youself!

Photos: https://shiftthatparadigm.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/easton-mako-m8-review/

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