There is a rumour from a credible source that Bauer will not continue making Easton skates. If you have a Mako, get extra steel / runners / blade and extra bolt/nut while you can.
So here is the quick summary:
– Really fast. Really agile.
– The power return from the boot has not degraded.
– boot shape has not deteriorated. no (new) pressure points.
– affordable. (I mean… who wouldn’t want to wear VH? – see below for notes on VH)
– The fit in the heel and front of the ankle definitely CAN be better. I feel the skates could be more agile.
– the outside edge is incredibly jolting.
– the 9′ rocker was NOT a good idea for me. and it costs money and takes a lot of steel off to re-profile.
– their rumoured new skates in Synergy or Stealth line are rumoured to be just a re-branding of Makos, not a redesign.
Photos here: https://shiftthatparadigm.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/easton-mako-m8-review/
So, let’s start with the Con.
First of all, even with the con, I think I’ll still pick these Makos as my current skates. I literally dream of VH Skates (van Horne), but they start at $800. I have to pay custom to get Graf G9035 size 2 in adult flex. I haven’t had the intimate feel of the ice those three skates give me (only guessing about VH as I haven’t worn them) with any other skates.
So if you’re like me – the kind of a skater who loves to feel every little notch in the ice and feel the return of every little bit of your push, I highly recommend you consider Mako 2nd gen.
The blades come with the profile of 9′ rocker. This was the first thing I noticed, coming from G9035 with 9.5/10 rocker. This is not a good idea.
With 9.5/10, the control of how much blade touched the ground was up to me. I can tilt the foot to make the contact surface smaller for a more aggressive dig into the ice. Leave it nice and flat for glide and slide. And anything in between. With Mako 2, it takes away that choice (unless you want to pay to get whole a lot of steel taken off the middle to re-profile it). It is an insult to force a 9′ rocker on everyone.
It is curious (in a way that makes me mad) because everyone else has just gone from 9′ to 10-11 in the last few years.
The outside edge
This is something that largely depends on the user. And I use the outside edge a lot more extensively than average. For stopping, turning, and starting, I don’t have a preference for the inside edge and use outside edge without hesitation if that’s the foot that’s most powerful.
With the way I was t-stopping it for years, it stops on a jolt. Really strong, quick stop. Sometimes a great thing, but then that’s not what you always want as it increases the impact on knees and muscles.
Since I got these skates, I’ve been experimenting with the angle of the foot. I still haven’t figured out the suitable angle to stop without the jolt. I’ve tried a really vertical angle to really deep angle, and nothing so far helped. I put on my Graf G9035, and I can either stop sharply or gradually, whichever I choose at the moment. And let me repeat – I’m very comfortable on the outside edge. I’m starting to suspect the force is too concentrated because of the 9′ rocker or the holder angle.
I do not like it when the skates force me into one option – no matter how superior that one option may be to others. For instance, who wants to stop aggressively when you’re t-stopping just to step into the bench?
The heel material is not moldable in all Mako lines, and I can see they have to make it wide to create a bigger market. An example of a fail in this is CCM’s original Tacks – it was an excellent skate back then, but they only fit people with a narrow instep.
But what Easton did here with the heel is to give out size 48 pants to everyone just so no one has to walk naked except they didn’t give us any belt or belt loops. Though, in their defense, I can see several reasons why Easton Mako’s heel is not designed to accommodate narrow heels (see bottom of this page).
Makos’ heels are not moldable, but the boot naturally narrows toward the ankle. I’ve raised my heel slightly using Superfeet, and it’s “loose but tolerable” now.
There is that space in front of the ankle joint as well. The quarters of the skate are not designed 3-dimentionally. For instance, if I go on tip toes, my feet would slide completely forward and toes jam up against the end, which does not happen in my Graf G9035. And this is NOT because the Graf has higher ankles – they are exactly the same.
I don’t know where they CAN take this from here unless they acquire another company. Colour scheme and the niche of the skates say they should definitely buy Graf. But we’ll have to wait and see.
I am 5’2″, 130 lbs of mostly muscle, and I wear size 2 which is usually worn by people that are literally half my weight and strength. I also do trick skating and put unusual types of pressure on the boots as well, e.g. turning/gliding on one tippy toe, turning on heel end of the blade on the outside edge, etc. So, for a female recreational player, I am an excellent test model for “putting skates through a lot of stress.”
I was sort of expecting Easton Mako M8s to crumble after a few months. They haven’t. And they haven’t developed any new pressure points. I’m… a bit taken aback.
Same here. I was expecting the boot to lose flexibility. It’s going on fine still. Though I’ll have to revisit this at the one-year mark.
Speed and Agility
Still fast, and still agile. Initially (as you see in my other review) my body hurt everywhere because the skates put me in a new body position. And I believe I’d have had the easiest day on this – I measured the tilt, aggression, etc. between my previous skates (Graf G9035) and Mako M8, and they are identical. Coming from Bauer Apx, for instance, would have been a whole new everything.
These pains did not last long. After only about a dozen ice times, I had absolutely no extra fatigue.
Though I think that my body fought back a little, and the skates and I settled somewhere between where I am used to and the body position the skate was designed to put me in. I’m a rec player, and I basically saw this but accepted it.
Other than some slightly uneasy moments because of the wide heel and space in front of the ankle, I’m very happy with my purchase.
Last couple of years, you can tell a stickler because there were so few of us that were wearing new Grafs. Carey Price, David Booth, Natalie Spooner, Spezza, Jagr. Now that Graf is hard to buy, I was curious what the pros would do.
A great number of goalies and Spooner went to VH. http://www.tsn.ca/hockey-canada/video/celebrating-women-champions-natalie-spooner~760783
I would love to follow suit, but only after I win lottery.
some of my guesses as to why Easton Mako 2’s heels are so wide:
– Availability of these foams? Possibly Easton, with its short history, do not have the patent or license for the technology.
– availability of those foams revisited? Any foam/flex/cushion would absorb the power.
– availability of those foams revisited revisited? The foam would have to be compressable, not moldable, because, with the compact design, there is nowhere for the foam to go.
– By design? Maybe the boot isn’t even intended to accommodate people with narrow heels.
– So should they have made narrow heel version and wide heel version? No. This is one of the factors that brought Graf to its knees. If you double the number of boots a store has to stock, they may choose to not stock at all. Proof? Let me ask you – Grafs always had 6 stock lasts from the beginning of their day till the G9035 generation. Did anyone at the store tell you that, tell you to try them all to see which last fit you best, or even seen them all on the shelf? But the customers would feel they are entitled to trying them because they are on the website? Yes, that’s a big problem for a store.