Last fall, Mission Hockey released the brand new Inhaler line of equipment, which had one distinct goal in mind from a design perspective—increased ventilation and airflow to help keep you and your equipment cooler and drier. The Inhaler line features four different sets of gloves at various price points. Needing to upgrade and having never used a top-end glove before, I decided to take a chance with the AC 1 gloves over the other lower-priced options.
Specs: Mission Inhaler AC1, White/Blue, Size 13
Appearance and Design:
The AC1 gloves have a real interesting look with a lot of unique details. They have a flashy, yet modern feel to them, with real clean silver lines running down one side and small blue circles on the other. Mission does a good job utilizing more of a color blocking scheme, with large sections that are predominantly white, blue and silver/gray. There is also some subtle yellow trim on the palm of the glove while the inside of the glove is mostly yellow with some black and silver. Overall, the design is definitely a lot flashier and more eye-catching than some of the other gloves out there right now.
As I said before, the goal of the Inhaler AC1 gloves was to improve and increase air ventilation. To do this, Mission utilized their Inhaler Cooling System, which features pro perforated, dual density foams with plastic inserts, allowing air to flow through the gloves. The dual density foam and poly plastic inserts also help increase protection in places like the fingers, forehand, thumb and wrist cuffs.
The liner of the glove is antibacterial and temperature-reducing, which is supposed to keep the gloves smelling fresher and, again, increase air circulation. The palm of the glove has a dual layer nash palm with ventilated flex tech mesh and Mission’s Grim-Reaper Tech that provides an enhanced feel. The fingers of the glove also have several small slits to enhance air flow and ventilation.
Mission usually does a good job of heavily branding their stuff with logos and name plates. With that being said, the name Mission appears twice on each glove while the name of the glove also makes two appearances a piece. However, the most obnoxious thing about these gloves right out of the box was the fact that there were tags galore. I believe each glove had four tags streaming out from the cuff at about 4.5” to 5” in length each. I felt like the Ultimate Warrior with all of his tassels streaming behind him while I was skating around with those tags flaring out. While I ended up cutting the tags off, I felt like they were over-the-top and obnoxious looking.
Fit and Feel:
The Inhaler line of gloves has a tapered fit, meaning they fit closer in the fingers and open up in the cuff. Personally, I really like the fit of the gloves. I like my gloves to fit a little snugger, so the fit of the Inhalers offers the best of both worlds with that snugger fit I like in the fingers, but a wider cuff that allows for more wrist mobility. The gloves also provide a greater level of movement and dexterity in the fingers, making it easier to handle my stick or the puck while I’m playing.
What really blew me away when I first tried on the gloves was how thin the palms are. They are definitely thinner than any other glove I’ve used before, and that thinness goes a long way to enhancing the feel these gloves provide. This is about as close to stick handling bare-handed that you’ll experience with gloves on the market right now. I think the small slits in the fingers help in this area as well, because they provide small touch points where your fingers directly come into contact with the stick. So instead of having to get a sense of feel through a layer of material, no matter how thin that layer is, Mission has found a way to get small touch points where your fingers are actually touching the stick to increase feel.
My other initial thought, and this one was immediately commented on by teammates who tried on the gloves, is how light they are. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find an official weight for the gloves to compare to other models, but they are certainly lighter than anything I was using previously. The gloves have a nice, even weight disbursement as well. The thumb area definitely carries a little more weight, but it’s probably from some additional padding and protection—which I’ll gladly take if it means not breaking my thumb.
So I’ve talked a lot about the air flow and ventilation features on the AC1 hockey gloves. So how do they work? Honestly, pretty fell.
My hands and palms have a tendency to get pretty sweaty over the course of a game. But with these gloves, it’s certainly less of an issue. I can pull my Inhalers off after a game and have my hands be virtually dry. Granted, when I’m out there I don’t feel some great rush of air moving through my gloves and over my hands, but the fact that I have drier hands indicates that the air flow features are helping to keep my hands cooler and drier.
I’m also impressed with the anti-bacterial capabilities of the gloves. I’ve had my Inhaler AC1 gloves for roughly a little more than four months now, and they don’t smell at all. Gloves are usually the worst offenders when it comes to that “hockey smell,” but I’m sure a combination of air flow and anti-bacterial material of the Inhalers has helped keep that smell at bay.
Durability and Protection:
When I first saw these gloves up close, my initial concern was durability. I expect gloves to last me about a year-and-a-half. In the past, that’s about how much average usage I’ve gotten even out of the cheapest, lowest-level glove I’ve purchased before having to buy a new pair. But with a thinner palm, mesh materials and slits in the fingers, I figured these gloves would last six months at best. I was wrong.
The finger slits worried me the most, but they have held up incredibly well. I don’t see any stretching or fraying in these areas at all. However, on my left-hand glove, one of the yellow lines of mesh on the palm has come un-stitched and has creates a small hole. I’m not sure when this happened, and I’m curious to see how it progresses from here. After a little over four months of use, I shouldn’t expect to see any holes on my gloves, so I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this one issue. But otherwise, these gloves are holding up well in every other area.
Protection is always a key consideration when buying new gloves, and I’m pleased with the protection offered by the Inhaler hockey gloves. Like the last pair of gloves I reviewed, I put these on and took a hammer to my hand to see how well they absorb the impact. I could barely feel a thing. I also took a nice slash across the hands in a game recently and, again, the gloves absorbed the impact very well. I could feel the impact and the force of my opponent’s stick coming down on my hands, but the gloves absorbed the shock and my hand came away completely unscathed. Despite using lighter-weight materials, the Inhaler gloves still offer really good protection.
Mission set out to create a hockey glove that increases air circulation and helps eliminate sweaty palms, and they definitely achieved that with the Inhaler AC1 hockey gloves. I’ve definitely noticed less sweat on my hands both during and after games. Plus, the thin palms offer a superior feel and the gloves are super light weight. The design may be a little flashy for some players though, and after a little more than four months of use I have a small hole in the palm of my left glove. That’s not something I would expect to see at this stage. And at $139.99, the price may be a big deterrent for most players. But for the performance and the air flow technology, it’s worth it to check out the Inhaler line of gloves, if not the AC1 gloves specifically. The AC1 gloves are the only ones that offer the slits in the fingers, but much of the air flow technology is still featured in the lower-priced Inhaler gloves. So if you’re looking to capitalize on that technology but want a better price, look into the Inhaler AC2, AC3 or AC4 gloves as well.