Shin Pad History:
Graf 700 17inch
Easton Eq50 16inch
Easton RS 17inch
CCM Ultra Tacks 17inch
STX Stallion 16inch
Initial Impressions: I was ridiculously excited and happy when I pulled these shins out of the box and slide them on for the first time. The fit and finish of these as well as the materials used give the impression of a really high end and innovative pair of shin pads. The plastics STX uses feel solid and have a very nice look aesthetically. The foams used on the outer calf protection feel futuristic and really high end. The velcro used has shorter hooks so it doesn’t catch on materials as easy but it still holds onto the attachment points really well. I like the outer knee foam flap showing the size and what leg the shin goes on (it is a nice aesthetic touch). I really like the idea of the Kevlar sleeve built into the shin for added protection (I always wear Kevlar socks when I play anyways, having more of it on me is always a bonus). I was disappointed that the shins only came in 16 inch fashion as I found 17 inch is the best fit for me (see my Tacks review).
Fit: Right away these Stallion pads are at a disadvantage since they aren’t as long as I like and I feel they leave part of my skate exposed. The kevlar sleeve keeps your leg set in a certain area but the outer calf protection doesn’t really hold your leg in like the CCM Ultra Tacks do. The knee in the Stallions is also pretty shallow and I found that when putting these on they always seemed to flare outwards and didn’t sit straight on my leg. I found I could fix this a little bit but putting the sleeve on my leg first and then velcroing in the knee part very precisely to try and keep the pad to sit completely straight. When playing I felt these pads shift and start facing outwards and not straight on my leg, which I would attempt to remedy by hitting on the outside knee with my gloves to straighten them out. The 360 strap does a good job of tightening the knee area of the shins and like the Ultra Tacks Lock Strap resulted in me not having to worry about taping my socks anymore. I felt the calf strap didn’t have enough velcro (it doesn’t go onto the front of the face, and is not flush with the face so if you have extra strap for tightening it sits off of the shin and gets caught up on socks) so I couldn’t get this part as tight as I wanted. 6/10
Protection: These Stallion shin pads started off great with the Kevlar calf wrap built into the shins and thus I had high expectations for these. The first shot I took to the front of these shins I could feel a relatively weak shot but it didn’t really hurt… and then I took a hard wrist shot and had to get off the ice because of the pain that was on my lower leg. I hoped this result was just an unlucky hit but any shot that hit the lower plastic resulted in pain. I took a snapshot (not a ridiculously hard one either) which left a mark on the pad and a soft spot on the bone in my shin, which still hurt immensely over a month later. For a few weeks after this shot even while wearing the CCM Ultra Tacks shins any time a puck or stick hit near where I got hit in the Stallions pain shot through my leg. Unlike the STX Surgeons there isn’t a second layer of foam padding on the front of the pad, and only a small amount of foam separates your shin from the outer plastic. Not only is the front of the shin extremely disappointing the back of the legs are also left very exposed. On the outside of your leg there is a thicker foam that does a decent job of protection but it doesn’t cover nearly enough of the back of your leg. The inside protection is basically just a high end feeling nylon with no padding or protection at all. Every time a puck would slip through my legs while on a 1-on-1 I could feel the puck hit the inside of my leg and it felt like it was hitting my bare leg, pucks deflection off (not direct hits) felt worse than head on shots from previous shins I have worn. I stopped wearing these shins since I felt unsafe and wondered if they were actually defective… 3/10
Comfort: While these shin pads never really sat straight on my leg I never had any issues with comfort (besides the pain from whenever a puck hit them). There isn’t a tonne of padding in these so they aren’t super soft but they also do not have any pressure points or felt uncomfortable in anyway. 8/10
Mobility: These are pretty slim and mobile shin. 10/10
Weight: With the lack of protection and padding on the inside of the shin I figured these shins would weigh in at much less than the CCM Ultra Tacks. With that said these are not very heavy at all and it would never affect performance. 8/10
Durability: I am not sure how the wrap around strap will last as the velcro takes a lot of effort to pull apart and I almost feel like I am pulling the material apart. With that said I can’t see these shins breaking down in anyway but since I shelved these pretty quickly I can’t really rate the durability. N/A
Intangibles: The Kevlar sleeve is a brilliant idea… but it is also REALLY annoying to get on and off especially with my setup which is where I put my shin pads last and over my skates. I wish the Kevlar sleeve had a magnet attach point that would all act like those magnetic screen doors. This would allow you to undo the sleeve and put the shins on like a normal pair of shin pads. The materials and design of these shins is really well done. The materials all feel really high end and the design is very aesthetically pleasing. I live the wrap around strap and the futuristic velcro on the calf wrap feels extremely high end and made of quality. One of my issues with these shin pads is that they are labeled as the “POWER FIT: Targeted zones of protection provide increased coverage to the power player” and yet these are considerably skinnier and and have less padding on the inside compared to the Surgeons that are labeled as the “PRECISION FIT: Designed with a sleeker fit profile to minimize weight and bulk.” 7/10
Conclusion: These shin pads have so much potential. The materials used and the Kevlar sleeve show great ideas that unfortunately just fall absolutely flat. This is the most disappointed piece of hockey equipment I have ever had. The horrible protection issues I have had with these mean I can’t recommend them at all and I won’t wear them again for fear of more unnecessary pain. 3/10
Comparison in sizes in inches: 17, 14, 16, 16
Comparison in sizes in inches: 17, 14, 16, 16
Looking down at my least favourite shins (Stx Stallion) and most favourite (CCM Ultra Tacks)
The 360 strap works well but CCM’s non-elastic Lock Strap works better to hold the shins in place.
Lots of velcro for customization for liner placement, but it is not deep enough to really hold your knee well. Pureform foam as liner is nice and feels high quality. Thigh protection here is the best I have seen on a pair of shin pads.
Knee liner needs a donut or deeper knee placement to keep the knee part of the shin pad in place.
Inner leg padding seems useless. Kevlar sleeve is a great idea but a pain to put the shins on depending on your dressing order.
Pureform foam feels high end but needs to be thicker here as getting hit with pucks here was uncomfortable.
Shin pad had a nice aesthetics design, getting hit up high here resulted in no pain or issues.
This puck park happened when I couldn’t close my legs fast enough to get in the way of a shot, the inner calf protection is extremely lacking and shots here were very uncomfortable to the point of painful.
This park mark was off of a decent snap shot. I had to leave the ice in pain and I never wore the shins after that for fear of my safety. A month later my shin was still in pain from this shot and it felt like there was a small dent in the shin pad where the puck hit.
The sizing detail on the outer knee protection feels really high quality and looks great.
Showing the width differences between the Surgeon and Stallion shins.
Shows the massive size difference (and difference in protection) between the Stx Stallion and CCM Ultra Tacks
Showing the difference between the Stx Stallion and Stx Surgeon. Surgeon is the “sleek” line for mobility and is considerably thicker.
One piece of padding in the CCM Ultra Tacks is thicker than the entire Stx Stallion shins.
Stx Surgeon is considerably thicker and more protective on the calf wrap than on the Stallions.
Stx Surgeon calf wrap is decent in thickness, needs a larger velcro landing area though as it was too small to actually fit correctly.
Showing the other side of the Surgeon calf wrap.
Pureform foam used as the liner on the Surgeons as well.
Thicker liner and knee donut on the Surgeon than on the Stallion. Stallion should use this knee style.
Again inner liner and padding more adequate on the Surgeon than the Stallion.