Posts Tagged ‘Hockey protective’


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When TRUE Hockey unveiled its Z-Palm glove, it set the hockey world ablaze on social media. People were intrigued and amazed at the design of the glove and were at awe to the potential solution to the age old problem with hockey gloves: The worn out palms.

TRUE Z-Palm gloves feature a unique design element in that you can replace the palm of the glove with relative ease. At a recent hockey convention the fastest time recorded was 25 seconds for a change of palm. So it all sounds good as an idea and in principle, but does it actually work, or does the zip included in the glove make it uncomfortable to wear? Are there any flaws in the glove? Is it really a stroke of genius or a flash in the pan product?

We have been testing the TRUE  6.0SBP Z-Palm gloves for a few months now to find out what the gloves are about and to find out if TRUE has managed to solve the problem that plagues many hockey players across the globe.

Imagine the scene, you have broken in your gloves and they are comfortable as anything on your hands. Then through wear and tear, the palm develops a hole. You might get it re-palmed or covered up, which can sometimes make the overall feel of the glove awkward, or you ignore it and let the hole grow until you fork out for a new pair. It’s a cycle that players go through regularly. Some do it after every season, some mid season and those that are lucky, will hold out until there is no palm left on their glove before they buy new ones.

The benchmark glove we’re testing these against is the Warrior AX1 gloves as this set of gloves, in our opinion is the best in the market in terms of the 4-roll look and feel.  The current CCM 4-roll gloves provide a good feel and a good level of protection, but the Warrior AX1 is the better all-round fit at the moment and we are benchmarking the TRUE 6.0 SBP Pro Z-Palm glove against the Warrior AX1.

Out of the box

Out of the box the TRUE A6.0 Z-Palm gloves feel comfortable when you first put them on. The materials within the

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glove are breathable and feel comfortable against your skin. The gloves, similar to the Warrior ones, have an almost ready-broken in feel. The TRUE gloves feel like you could walk away from the store and jump straight into a game.

The gloves we tried came with the standard Z-palm palms. The palm felt a little bit thicker and almost heavier than on some of the other gloves. However, on the flipside, the standard Z-palms do provide you with good levels of grip and the materials used in the palms are of high quality. The first impression was, however, that the material might not be as breathable as on the AX1 gloves.

Otherwise, the design of the gloves is minimalistic, but when you look at it and feel the materials, you are confident that you are holding a premium product.

Comfort and Fit:

As mentioned the, materials used in the Z-Palm gloves give you a comfortable feel. The outer shell of the glove comprises of 24mm pro-grade EPP foam and 1mm PE Inserts, which gives you additional protection as most gloves on the market use 20mm size padding in their gloves.

The inner liner of the glove feels comfortable to the hand and is right up there with all the ‘big-boys’. The gloves provide high levels of comfort without sacrificing protection or adding weight. In terms of fit, we have been testing the 13” glove and it fits perfectly well. The only real niggle we’ve come across with them in comparison to your ‘standard’  gloves is that the inner padding and liner can move around when changing the palms, which will lead to some fiddling. It’s not a major flaw by any stretch of the imagination.

What is quite different in comparison to other gloves is the range of movement you get from the thumb. We would argue that the thumb area is more flexible than in others, and certainly we felt that we got a better grip on the stick than compared to other makes of gloves.

Protection:

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Gloves are used to protect. That is their main job and in game and training situations, the TRUE gloves perform as you would expect. As mentioned above, the thumb area of the glove is quite flexible. To combat hyperextension injuries that are often result of a fall, TRUE has integrated a protection mechanism, the Trueflex thumb. It is fairly standard in all makes of gloves, but on the TRUE gloves the hyperextension protection is longer and sturdier. For example in the Warrior AX1 and Sher-Wood gloves, you can hyper extend the thumb before you notice that there is anything stopping the motion. With the Trueflex you feel the protection is there and you will be hard pressed to hyperextend the thumb. However, it is important to note that in any piece of equipment features such as these don’t guarantee that they are sure to eliminate injuries, but should significantly reduce the risk.

In fact, the beauty of the Trueflex thumb is in the flexibility of the thumb. You are able to get a far better grip on the stick straight away when you start using the gloves thanks to being able to close your hand into a near-perfect fist in the glove. On other gloves, the thumb is often quite rigid and even on the Warrior gloves which allow for some thumb movement, it doesn’t come close to the TRUE gloves in terms of the grip you are able to get on the stick. This is by far superior when compared to the latest offerings from CCM, Warrior and Bauer.

In terms of the other protective elements, the gloves provide protection on par with top manufacturers in the segment. Thanks to the additional 4mm of padding in the TRUE gloves, you are better off. The protection around the wrist is good, as well as the padding around the fingers. TRUE has achieved a great level of protection whilst not sacrificing comfort of the glove.

Owning:

What we think make the TRUE Z-Palm gloves worth owning is the fact that you can customise your gloves with different palms. You can get the 4-roll look and feel whilst being able to enjoy palm materials usually reserved for anatomically designed gloves.

If you want long life out of your protective equipment, you do need to look after it. One thing that we did notice on few of the palms, mainly in the Pro and grip versions of the palm it can take a while for them to dry out. If you have back to back games, you might come to find that the palm area is still a little damp from the night before.

Having discussed this with TRUE, it is recommended that you partially unzip the palm to allow more air flow through the glove. We have since tried this trick and have noticed that it does indeed speed up the drying process of the glove.

Fitting the palm

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The burning question then: how easy is it to replace the palm? Well, we haven’t gotten anywhere near the record time that was set at the exhibition, but it is safe to say that you can do a pair of gloves in between periods if needs be and you’ll have time to listen to instructions from the coaches as well.

Removing a palm is easy and effortless. Here TRUE has done a good job with the design of the glove as the entire palm side of the glove opens up, which helps immensely with the changing process and the zips do not interfere with comfort of the glove.

However, attaching a new palm is something that takes a bit of getting used to. The first few times of putting on a new palm were a little bit of troublesome, but as with everything practice makes perfect. The challenge we’ve faced is in the fitting of a new palm. Once you get to the middle finger, you need to ensure that you keep the zip as straight as possible as there is a tendency of it getting stuck.

What might be an overlooked design element here is that the zip is positioned quite cleverly so that it should not be easily damaged during the game. The only way we see that the Z-palm design could be compromised is by someone stepping/skating on/over your glove from the palm side and by that stage, you’ll have other things on your mind as opposed to a zip.

Overall, the changing process is easy enough, even if putting on a new palm is the more difficult one of the changing process.

Conclusion:

In the past we have called TRUE Hockey as a new-comer to the hockey market, but in the space of few short years, the company has established itself with innovative products in both sticks and now protective equipment in gloves.

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The Z-Palm gloves is something that other manufacturers and players will be looking at with envy. The design looks great, they gloves feel great, but the real beauty of the TRUE A6.0 SBP Pro gloves is the Z-Palm innovation. By buying a pair of gloves, you are essentially buying five pairs. You have greater level of customisation opportunities to you and you can try new styles of palms without it costing you a new pair of gloves. The Z-Palm gives you longevity for the gloves as you don’t need to replace the gloves, but rather just the palm. If you are looking for gloves that provide you with good levels of protection, mobility the TRUE gloves should be on your shopping list. What will tip it in TRUE’s favour over any other manufacturer is the Z-Palms. Like said, by buying a set of TRUE gloves, you are essentially buying five pairs of gloves at once, all thanks to the customisation options the Z-Palm affords you.

In comparison to the Warrior AX1 gloves, the TRUE A6.0 SBP Pro Z-Palm gloves stack up equally well. The TRUE glove could end up costing you a bit less (depending on retailer) and you get a bit more for your money thanks to the Z-Palms. In terms of fit and comfort, the gloves are pretty much equal, though we have found the TRUE glove is slightly more breathable in games and training. Both gloves use odour eliminating technologies as well, with TRUE opting for Microban technology, while Warrior uses Polygenie, and to be fair, you would not be able to tell the difference. It is a close call when comparing the gloves like for like, but thanks to the price and the Z-Palm we would recommend the TRUE A6.0 SBP Pro Z-Palms. You get a premium, top-end pro product at a good price point and thanks to the replaceable palms, you get more for you money.


Product: CCM U+ Crazy Light (CL) Shoulder pads

Size: L

Available at: most hockey retailers and several online stores

Also available in limited edition Midnight model 

Price: €149 or $194

 

ImageCCM’s U+ CL shoulder pads are the company’s flagship product in upper body protection. The company has gone a different way to many of the other manufacturers out in the market. While many others have gone to create bulkier pads, CCM has opted for going for a slimmed and “stripped down” look. This is due to its work and feedback from a lot of the players who wanted a slimmed down shoulder pad that would still offer great levels of protection.

 

The big play CCM has been making over the past few years has been its U-Foam technology which has been deployed in its skates but has now been integrated into protective equipment as well. The U-Foam, CCM says, is stronger than any traditional plastic used in protective equipment. If CCM marketing is to go by, using all CCM CL equipment would reduce your equipment’s weight by almost 2kg.

 

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One of the things in terms of look of the pads is that they look like a modernised version of the classic pro pads of the 70s and 80s. The pads stand up to their name and feel, well crazy light, in terms of weight. However, some of the plastics and straps do have a bit of a “cheap” feel to them.

 

However, having worn the pads for two months now for training and games, the pads have been put through their paces. The materials, even at the thinner parts of the pads are really sturdy. However, there has been some minor fraying of the stitching work on the pads.

Protection

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The clavicle and shoulder blade protection in the U+ CL is one of the highlights of the pads

One of the things I was really impressed by in CCM when it first introduced the Vector line of protective equipment, the shoulder pads featured a floating sternum protection, as well as floating spine protection. The floating spinal support was something that was removed from the CCM V10 and U Fit Pro few years ago. CCM has now brought these two features back and they can be found (to varying levels) from pads like the CS, U+12 and U+8.

 

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The Shoulder cup and bicep guard cover the shoulder/bicep area really well leaving mininal exposure between elbow pads

Perhaps one of the biggest improvements on the pads has been the shoulder cups. In the past few models of shoulder pads the shoulder cups have left something to be desired for. In the U+ CL the shoulder cups protect the shoulder area perfectly, not leaving any areas exposed, which was something that happened with the CCM V10. The shoulder cups do not leave any areas exposed.

 

Compared with majority of pads out there, the shoulder cups on the CCM U+ CL do not add bulk to the pads and keep up with the overall streamlined look of the pads. Other manufacturers seem to have gone for bigger, bulkier cups and protection, but there’s a disadvantage in the design in that it could reduce your ability to move as effectively. With the CCM U+ CL, CCM has achieved optimum movement, fit and protection.

What CCM has kept as constant from its previous pads is the protection around the clavicle and shoulder blade.  The protection around the clavicle and collarbone is superb and protects really softens the blows from hits and is something that has not been seen replicated to the same degree of protection on other shoulder pads.

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The floating sternum (and spine) offer high levels of ventilation as well as protection

 

The sternum area of the shoulder pads, combines hard plastic as well as CCM’s U foam to offer optimal protection. Again, these materials do not reduce the movement of your body, but move with you. When comparing this area of the pads to others in the market, CCM has an edge here as again, many other manufacturers have made this area of the pads really bulky.

 

Fit:

ImageThe CCM U+ CL has somewhat different style of Velcro straps than other pads. The strips are shorter and in comparison to old CCM models, or for any other manufacturer, the Velcro strips are small. There is a bit of concern in the way the pads will fit as you don’t have as big of an area to make the pads fit properly. This is why it is critically important to make sure that you choose the right size, so if you are going for these pads, make sure you try on a few sizes before you buy.

 

Otherwise, the pads sit quite nicely on the body and there isn’t too much in terms of movement and the pads do not move from their desired position, but follow the body’s natural movement whilst skating.

 

What about the name and whether it is actually Crazy Lite? Well, yes, yes it is. It is the lightest modern pad on the market at the moment. You will notice the lightweight from the first wear of the pads and it can be a bit of a shock when you first skate with it on. Has it made me any faster? I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but the biggest difference has been in the mobility of the upper body.

 

The other thing is that the U+ Crazy Lite actually transfers the sweat off of the body and the pads are dry, which makes a huge difference through out the course of the game. Not only because the pads maintain their original weight,  but also help transfer the sweat off of your body, which in turn means you will recover a bit quicker.

 

Ventilation:

The pads provide a great degree of ventilation. There are vents on the chest and back of the pads and the sternum and back protection also has plenty of ventilation on it. The ventilation really helps keeping you cool and the materials stay dry, which does not add weight to your equipment as you sweat. In fact, the shoulder pads is the piece of equipment that doesn’t need real drying once you’ve come of the ice. Even after a bag skate.

 

Conclusion:

When we first got the CCM pads, we were not sure whether they would be any good and if they would provide good protection as CCM has gone against the current and has slimmed down the design and used materials that do not add bulk and strip down a lot of the weight off the pad.

The CCM U+ CL is an elite, top of the range shoulder pad. Despite a slim look, it provides great levels of protection at the key areas (sternum, spine, shoulders and clavicles). CCM has gone the opposite way of many other equipment manufacturers and has gone with a slim, low profile look. It is like the old school shoulder pads of the 80s, except on steroids.

The pads are great, even if a bit pricey. However, if you are after an elite shoulder pads that provide superior protection, it is worth looking at. However, the CCM U+ CS and U+12 still offer similar levels of protection and might not break the bank.

 

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Lean and stripped design makes it a dynamic shoulder pad
  • Superb floating sternum and spinal protection
  • U foam in shoulder cups minimises impacts
  • Perhaps the best clavicle/collarbone protection in the market
  • Good ventilation

Cons

  • Can look a bit cheap (It is in fact durable, but many have commented that it looks flimsy)
  • Costly when compared to other top of range pads
  • Velcro attachment areas are small compared to others (Choose your size carefully)
  • After two months, some stitching work has frayed a bit. 

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Pro level hockey equipment available at great prices available by clicking on the above image