New year new gear

by barbaragarn

​Wow! I went to Total Hockey in Edina today and talked to Justin, who is super knowledgeable and super excited about Easton’s brand-spanking-new Stealth RS line. I want this stuff. I want all of it. Especially the helmet. 

Oh! I love my Cascade CHX helmet and have recommended it to others many times. But this new Easton 700 helmet is so awesome. Justin said it’s been out about three weeks and it’s been flying off the shelves. It’s the lightest helmet on the market (and passes the “mirror test,” as another blog notes). It’s also available in matte black, which is uber cool. I can only imagine what it looks like with one of those “Terminator” reflective shields. 

But it doesn’t just look cool. The Cascade M11 (successor to my beloved CHX) was arguably the first helmet specifically designed with concussion protection for the back of the head. The E 700 is Easton’s answer to Cascade, with comparable levels of protection in concusson prevention technology. And it’s so amazingly light. My boyfriend hefted it and said in wonder, “It feels like a bike helmet.” It’s more of a fitted helmet, with a lower profile that sticks close to your head and keeps that lovely ultra-shock-absorbent foam close to your important noggin. 

The helmet is super new; it doesn’t even have an official cage released yet (though you can of course find one that fits well enough). Justin explained that Easton releases their new stuff in the middle of the season, unlike the rest of the hockey manufacturers. I have to confess, we walked into Total Hockey and I was NOT expecting to see the newest and most exciting stuff at the beginning of January. But it was fun to learn about Easton’s advances. 

The new pieces all take advantage of their newly developed and redone equipment with the company’s new ultra-shock-absorbent foam (I always wonder what it’s like to be an engineer for hockey equipment, designing and testing the stuff we use every day). The new foam material has a low profile and it means they can use less bulk to achieve the same protection. The designers have opted for a more fitted style and augmented that with no-slip grip in important places. The result is protective equipment that 1. stays in place and 2. conforms more which with 3. its lightness actually feels LESS restrictive and bulky though it provides MORE protection. Excellent.  

The Easton Stealth RS shin pads are designed in this new theme: they are not as bulky and have good coverage for the back of the calf, the first shin I have seen to actually have solid protection back there. They have excellent knee flexibility without sacrificing protection, and the important patella cutout that beginners need. 

We looked at the redesigned breezers too, and wow, are they breezy. The Stealth RS pants are breathable like none I’ve ever seen before. But they have advanced foam protection on the important kidney and tailbone areas. I know I have spoken about my love for my Tacklas, but I have to say, these give the a run for their money. If I were buying new, I would buy Stealth RS. 

The new Easton shoulders are out too and they are just as exceptional. These really look like goalie chest protectors to me, actually, in that they’re fitted close to the body and jointed. By having the gear move with the body, instead of the body moving around inside the gear, it stays closer and provides the protection exactly where it’s needed. The breezers, like the shins, have the anti-slip grip to keep you in place and moving with the pants instead of rotating inside them. 

I didn’t see the elbow pads and the new skates won’t come out for a while yet, but overall I was super impressed with the new technology Easton is employing to keep us safe and concentrating on playing hockey instead of worrying about our gear. Want to know more? Go to Total Hockey in Edina and ask for Justin–it’s always exciting to talk to someone who is enthusiastic about our game and the new advances related to it. I know what pieces I’m coveting for my next purchase!