Alkali hockey may be one of the newer players in the roller hockey game, but they offer a wide variety of protective equipment and gear, including gloves, sticks, skates and pants. So when I was looking to find a better fitting pair of roller hockey pants last year, I decided to take a chance and see what Alkali had to offer. As Alkali’s premier offering in their pants line, the CA 9’s offer a lot of very good features and perform at a top level, although they may only appeal to players with certain tastes.
Design and Construction:
Looking to design a pant that was light weight and durable, Alkali created the CA 9 pant using Platinum body fabric – a light, ventilated material that offers maximum flex and durability. To ensure an optimal fit, the pants also possess Alkali’s Sure-Fit belt system as well as a Flex Back waistband, allowing a tight fit that moves with your body without falling down. The knees are double layered 1680 Denier Ballistic knee patches designed to move when contacting the playing surface to help decrease friction and increase durability. Breathable mesh covers the back of the knee to keep your legs cool.
With only a handful of color options available, I opted for the all-white pants with black and gold accenting. For the options available, I thought the white pants looked the best overall and had the best color coordination. The gold really stands out against the white, and the black is used subtly enough to really give the pants an overall striking look. The graphics are sublimated, meaning they won’t rub or peel off, and so far I’ve had no issues with the graphics at all. Overall, the pants are flashy due to the vibrant and brilliant colors while maintaining a subtle, distinct design that is eye-catching, yet not overbearing on your senses.
For me, the fit of these pants is great, but they may not be for everyone. I’m not a huge fan of overly baggy pants, so I like that the CA 9’s fit more like straight leg blue jeans. There’s no excessive bagginess in these pants, yet there is enough room to still easily pull the pant legs down over your shin guards. Personally, I prefer the straight leg design, so if you like baggy pants then these most likely won’t suit your tastes.
The waist is easily adjustable and maintains a great fit to your body as you move. I’ve had problems in the past with pants falling down off my waist as I’m playing, which makes me counter by either adjusting the waist too tightly or having to constantly pull them up. That’s not the case with the Alkali CA 9 pants, which sit comfortably on your waist and hold a secure fit even as you stride, maneuver, fall and move in any other way.
Similarly, the flex material in the groin works with you instead of against you, ensuring that the pants don’t hinder your movement as you stride.
The great thing about Alkali pants is that they have narrowed their size ranges to help players better choose the right size. For instance, the large pants that I bought have a size range from 34” to 38”. Tour pants, on the other hand, have a size range of 28” to 42” for their large pants, which equates to a 14” difference. That makes it difficult to narrow down your search and figure out which size you actually need because you could technically fit into three different size categories. With Alkali, you pretty much fit into one size range.
The only real drawback I see with the fit of these pants is the length. For me, at 5’9”, the length is fine. But a taller player looking to purchase a large may find the pants to be a couple inches too short.
For me, durability with roller hockey pants is always an issue. I’ve seen too many teammates run through a pair of pants every season or every other season because their pants easily rip and tear. So if I’m going to spend $80 on pants, they had better last me more than one season.
With that being said, the durability of these pants has been very good. I’ve used these pants extensively, and while the pants show signs of normal wear and tear, there’s nothing that I’m overly concerned about. Outside of some scuffing, the knee patches have help up very well and don’t have any tears. I do have a small tear in the mesh material right above the knee pad on the left leg, but it’s been there for some time now and hasn’t expanded at all, which is a positive.
Some of the threading is fraying very slightly in the area near the front zipper, but, again, nothing to really worry about. Like I said, there are definite signs of wear, but for the usage that I’ve gotten out of these pants, I’d say it’s been $80 well spent. And I highly expect them to last me many, many more games.
Alkali really came out with a solid offering when they made the Alkali CA 9 roller hockey pants. Would I recommend these pants to a teammate or buy them again? Definitely. These pants fit great, they are comfortable and they move well with your body when you are playing instead of working as a hindrance while you’re skating. They have been durable after heavy usage, something I take seriously when I buy roller hockey pants, and only show signs of basic wear—which should be expected. I love the design of the CA 9 pants, although I’m not totally thrilled with the designs and color combinations of some of Alkali’s other pants. I’d love to see more in terms of color combinations in future offerings. Taller players may find these pants to be a little short, but in terms of overall performance, these pants are tough to beat.