I was sick of taking pucks to my skates and getting injured because of it. I usually play center and try my best to forecheck as hard as possible and block shots taken from the point. There were countless times in the past where I would take a slapshot to my foot and have to limp over to the bench because of the pain. Quite frankly this made me very hesitant to get in the way of a puck and a didn’t forecheck as hard as I probably could in my games or while practicing. I honestly couldn’t find any remedy for this until I stumbled upon Skate Fenders a couple of months ago.
Some Background Info
I came across Skate Fenders while looking for extra items to add to my cart for an online hockey store. I was curious to see if this product would do what they claim. Which is:
- “Skate Fenders are specifically designed to protect the feet of hockey players from pucks, sticks or most other on-ice mayhem.”
- [and are] “Effective in reducing painful, debilitating impact injuries”
To find out a little more history, you can check out a Canadian blog that went in depth about the company’s start from its humble beginnings to being used in the NHL. It’s actually a really interesting story. There is also a follow up story discussing the progress this product has made over the past several months.
Out of the two products offered, I tried out the Pro model. The main difference between the two models is “The NEW PRO Skate Fender – [is] molded in an even higher grade polycarbonate that is slightly lighter, stronger, more flexible and provides more impact energy dissipation.” This model is preferred by NHL players and they are only a $10.00 more than the original fenders.
I am usually on the ice around 3-4 hours a week. Most of this is comprised by stick-n-shoots/puck-n-pass (whatever you want to call it), pick-up games, and I usually have one game a week. I first had some of my teammates take some shots at me during a stick-n-shoot. This worked alright, but they were a little too far away and most of their shots weren’t exactly accurate. Sorry if you’re reading this guys.
Where I got the most use out of this product was playing during pick-up and my regular season games. I took at least 3 or 4 hard shots to the side of my boot and quite frankly, I would have thought the puck just hit my chassis had I not been looking down at my skates when it happened. One other thing I tried was just hacking away at the top and sides of my feet with my stick… just to test it out. I really didn’t feel anything besides some vibration. I have to be honest. Most of the guys I play with don’t exactly rip shots like Zdeno Chara, but regardless, my foot no longer hurt when blocking shots.
One thing I love about this product is that I really have no concern -whatsoever- with taking a shot to my skates. This gave me so much more confidence when forechecking and blocking shots. There are a couple of guys in my league that have a shot most players don’t want to even bother getting in the way of. I used to feel the same way, but now I have no problem getting in front of their shots. The Skate Fenders are also very easy to take on and off and–if needed–adjust during play. They fit snug around my boot, but not enough where the movement of my foot feels restricted or my boot feels stiff. My feet also stayed the same temperature as they usually do when playing. One cool side note of this product is that the polycarbonate shell also prevents a lot of moisture from getting on one’s skate. This could increase the longevity of the skate itself.
The downside of this product is that you get former D2 collegiate players (who think they are better than everyone else on the ice, and keep re-living in their glory days) poking fun at you for paying “$100 for boot covers”. I imagine, like you, I couldn’t really care less about tools like that who have to make fun of others to compensate for their failure to “make it big”. However, for me, this is a small sacrifice for the reduction in pain and potential injuries.
Skating with Fenders
Seriously though, about the only problem I ran into was in the first five minutes or so of wearing the Skate Fenders. When I would skate fast while turning or sometimes when transitioning, the edges of the Skate Fenders would hit against each other. This would occasionally trip me up. However, after getting used to this product, my skating when back to the way it was before I started wearing them.
I have to laugh each time one of my teammates (or a player at a drop-in) is wincing in pain from taking a puck to their skate. I almost always say, “Man, if only you had some Skate Fenders, you wouldn’t be hurting at all right now.” They usually glare at me or make some sarcastic remark and then go back to their heavy breathing and foot-rubbing.
It was good to have the opportunity to review this product and I was very surprised at how effective they actually were. I would highly recommend them to any player who doesn’t enjoy the pain of taking a slapshot to the foot, and I would especially recommend it to all the beer-league players who have to go to work the next day and don’t want to have to explain to their co-workers why they are hobbling around.
I plan on using this product until I have to replace them, but I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future.
If you would like to find out any other information regarding specific details about either the Skate Fenders or their new pro model, please check out their website.