Over the summer I finally made the switch from roller hockey to ice hockey for a shortened summer session at a local ice rink. It was a good way for some of us, me included, who have not played competitive ice hockey before to get their feet wet and try it out. Before the season started, however, I needed to upgrade some of my equipment – specifically my skates. My previous CCMs were 10+ years old and had rust spots on the blade. It was definitely time for a new pair. After trying on several different brands and models, I finally decided on the Bauer Vapor X4.0 skates.
Model: Bauer Vapor X4.0
Skill Level: D/C league player
Aesthetics: With the entire Vapor line, Bauer did an amazing job of creating skates that not only work great, but they look awesome too. The red/black/gray coloring, along with the X4.0 font, really gives this skate an edgy feel. Pictures don’t seem to do this skate justice as the colors of the real product have deeper, more vibrant and saturated colors. I also like that Bauer made the padding around the ankle red to give the skate more flair. Compared to a lot of other 2011 models, I felt the Vapor line had some of the edgiest designs.
Fit/Feel: What really sold me on these skates was the fit. I tried on a dozen different models of skates from each of the major manufacturers (Easton, CCM, Bauer, etc.) and found these to fit my foot the best. They provide great arch support with a snug fit in the heel. The skate opens up perfectly around the toes to allow my toes to sit flat without scrunching together. Overall, I felt that these skates provided a much more comfortable, secure fit for my foot than some of the other skates that were flatter along the arches or had a wider boot.
When I first tried these skates on, they reminded me of how my roller hockey skates fit – which was a bonus as I was transitioning from roller to ice. I wanted to be able to skate without having to worry about my skating and whether I was going to roll an ankle if the skates became loose. After skating in them for several games and practices, I’m still incredibly pleased with the way they’ve held up. The Vapor X4.0 cradles my foot nicely and offers great ankle support that allows me to skate intensely with confidence.
The Vapor X4.0’s also felt incredibly light on my feet. Nothing is worse than getting out on the rink and feeling like you have cinder blocks attached to your legs as you clunk around the rink. Weighing in at 946.8 grams, the Vapor X4.0s felt really light and I was able to maneuver well. I actually felt faster in them, too.
Protection: I considered buying a lower-end model because of the lower price point, but opted to purchase the X4.0 for a little additional protection in the boot. As a defenseman, a lot of shots come at me so it’s important that I protect myself as much as possible.
The Vapor X4.0 skates offer good protection all around but have a couple weak spots. The boot is incredibly firm and solidly built on the outside to help protect your feet from getting injured when they get hit by pucks. During the season, I took two solid shots to the foot. The first hit square on the side of the foot. It stung a bit, but nothing that I wasn’t able to skate off. The second one hit higher on the side of the foot, closer to the holes for the laces. That one stung much more and bothered my foot for the rest of the game.
So the broad side of the boot is built incredibly well and offers very solid protection. However, that protection begins to waiver in some areas of the boot where the material gets a little thinner. Overall, however, I was pleased with the protection offered by the skate. It’s worth noting that neither incident resulted in bruising or a sore foot the next day which tells me that while my foot may have been stung, the boot still took the majority of the impact from the puck.
Overall Impression: As I stated earlier, I was a beginner to competitive ice hockey when I purchased these skates. But these were definitely a great purchase. They fit my feet snugly and offered good security for my foot without being too tight and also felt lightweight while I skated. They protection is good, not great and could be an issue for someone playing more competitive hockey facing harder and faster shots. But for a beginner or intermediate skater, these are a great buy.
Interested in purchasing the Bauer Vapor X4.0 skates? Check them out online at Pure Hockey where you can purchase them for only $199.99 with free shipping! Use the coupon code “hockeyworld” to save an extra 10% on your order!