Mission hockey was generous enough to provide Hockey World Blog with skates to review. We recently reviewed the Mission Inhaler AC 1, while this review will cover the lower priced point within the Inhaler line, the Mission Inhaler AC 4.
Design and Construction:
Visually, the boot pops out because of the white base accented by black and grey tones and wording throughout. Throw in some light blue wheels and you have yourself a pretty eye catching skate. Personally, I’ve never been a real fan of white skates. I find them to be a fashion statement more than a statement made with your hockey playing abilities. Still, when it comes to roller hockey, flash is the name of the game, and Mission has hit the nail on the head with this skate.
One thing worth mentioning is the striking similarity to the Mission Inhaler AC 1. The line all shares the common white boot, but these two models share light blue wheels. For those who purchase the Inhaler AC 4, it is nice to be confused with such a high end model. However, if I were to buy the Inhaler AC 1 at $650 buckaroos, I want people to know that the skates are top of the line. Call me snobbish or whatever you may, but when you’re throwing down that kind of dough, you want to be distinct and not confused with something less.
Coming into the design of the skate, the AC 4 has reinforced woven nylon tech mesh with S.I.C.K. Quarter Ventilation, a new aluminum HI-LO 76/80mm chassis, HI-LO ABEC 7 608 bearings and RINK RAT Hot Shot XXX Grip 76A wheels. All combined, the skate has solid components for the price point.
As Chris pointed out in his review of the Inhaler AC 1, perhaps one of the simplest but best features of the boot is the Inhaler’s S.I.C.K. quarter ventilation. S.I.C.K., or also known as Super Intense Cooling Koncept, are little vents are placed on both the sides and the top of the toe cap, allowing for air to flow into the boot to help keep your foot cool. Simple, yet helpful.
As with any hockey skate, fit is extremely important. Too tight and the bones in your foot feel like they are being crushed; too loose and you’re bound to get blister after blister.
The Inhaler AC 4 is a wider fit than most boots. I, who use Bauer Supreme ONE70 ice hockey skates, prefer a wider toe box. Actually, my Supremes are not wide enough in the toe box for me, yet the AC 4 provides the perfect amount of room. That being said, it is a trade-off. The ankle locks into place, the toe cap is wide enough, but I find not enough arch support. A simple fix however, is purchasing a pair of Superfeet Yellow inserts.
While it is important to try on any pair of skate before you buy it to see if it fits your foot profile, there is more than one way to make the skate of your dreams fit like one. Thinner or thicker socks and inserts are one of them.
The performance of the skate is really what we purchase a skate for. For me, it needs to fit well, it cannot be too heavy, and it needs to have a stiff enough boot.
Previously stated, the fit is quite nice and I’m happy in that department. As for the weight of the skate, I’m not entirely sure. I’m coming from Bauer Vapor RX 20 skates, which is a lesser caliber of skate, but feels lighter. It is kind of opposite of what you think, that you would believe a higher priced skate would be lighter than a lower priced skate. Unfortunately, that is not entirely true.
When you start adding some of the better features to the higher end skate, it adds weight. Typically, your top-of-the-line skates are indeed the lightest skates, but when it comes between the second level and beyond, the weight is not reflective of the price of the skate.
Providing an example, I was unable to find the weight of the Inhaler line, but taking the Bauer Vapor line, the XR Premier ($650) is 1,199 grams, XR 5 ($450) is 1,295 grams, XR 4 ($250) is 1,346 and the XR 3 ($180) is 1,204 grams. As you can see, the $180 skate is lighter than both the $250 and the $450 skates. The Inhaler AC 4 could very well be lighter than my previous Bauer Vapor RX 20 skates, but without actually knowing the weight and leaving it to my own judgement, I believe the Bauer’s were lighter.
Coming into the stiffness of the boot, I’ve been quite happy. For the price point, I feel a good transfer of energy from the boot. I have found some issues with the original laces not staying tight enough when I tie them, but purchasing some waxed laces and it solves that issue. Honestly, if you’re playing to be competitive and you don’t drop at max $5 on waxed laces, I think you are a fool.
Taking everything into consideration with the Mission Inhaler AC 4, I would recommend purchasing the skate. The skate provides good support, comfort if you have a wider foot, as well as it is not overly priced at $300. Again, for roller hockey players who are looking to show some flash, the skate’s white boot and light blue wheels pop. It could be a little better in the weight department, yes, but it is not like you are skating with cement blocks on your feet. Ideally, if you want it all, purchase the Mission Inhaler AC 1. But, if you want a moderately priced, quality components, as well as nicely ventilated skate, the Mission Inhaler AC 4 has you covered.