Today in hockey, there are a lot of different options of skate runners. What is the real difference between them and most importantly, which ones are the best.
Good quality runners are determined by the grade of steel used to construct them. The hardness and finish also play a significantly vital role. When discussing quality and hardness, what we mean is if the steel used to manufacture the runners is optimal for hockey.
How does having better quality runners effect your game?
Skate manufactures like Bauer and CCM do not use the most optimal steel for their runners (skate blades) compared to some of the options available today. If you’re wonding how this will effect your performance on this ice, the quality of the steel will directly effect how difficult or easy the blade is to sharpen. Aside from this, hockey is an incredibly dynamic sport with a lot of contact. Having steel that is optimised for the sport mean your runners will be able to handle the general wear of the game must better. Harder steel will also hold it’s edge much longer and offer you superior bite on the ice. Poor quality runners will not only break much more frequently, they will not be able withstand the rough nature of the game and you’ll often find yourself without an edge. Regardless of what level you play, every player will want to perform the best that they possibly can. Just like how having the perfect pair of skates, having the best and most optimal runners is just as important.
What is DLC skate runners?
Most runners are silver but you’ll often see black ones. The black surface is referred to as a diamond like coating (DLC). This surface isn’t only for cosmetics, it drastically increases the strength of the runners. This results in better edge life, better bite on the ice and longer lasting runners.
Why do some skate runners have a reflective surface?
Skate runners that feature a heavily reflective surface have been heavily polished. This surface reduces drag on the ice and allows the skate blades to glide more effectively through the ice.
Step Skates (also referred to as STEP STEEL) make the highest quality skate runners available today. This comes down to not only STEP using the most optical steel but also ensuring every part of their manufacturing process is done at the highest possible level. Their runners also sit significantly higher than Massive blade, BladeTech, CCM and Bauer. The high is something that some players will need to adjust. I personally had a hard time adapting to the height. The benefit of steel this high is the agility it provides. You’ll be able to turn much tighter in STEP compared to runners CCM and Bauer provide.
Massive blade not only manufacture some of the best quality runners available today, they make them in a selection of different colours. Although this doesn’t benefit your performance, it’s pretty epic having steel in either your favourite colour or perhaps your teams colours. The quality of Massive Blades runners is much higher than CCM and Bauer and also harder. Massive blades steel is much more optimal for the game. I’ve personally skated in Massive blade for over a year, I everything about their runners and still used them today.
BladeTech’s runners are again better quality and harder than Bauer and CCM. Their steel is much more optimal for hockey when compared to the big name skate manufacturers. Their runners are available in silver or DLC black. What makes their runners unique is that they feature a cut out that allows the blade to strategically flex to provide a little more speed. The flexing of the blade wasn’t something that we could feel on the ice but we aim to test these runners further over the next few months. Side note: we were concerned that the cut out may increase the risk of the blade breaking when hit.