(UPDATE 4/26/2016: the CCM Jetspeed is covered along with many of the other skates for 2016 in the Reboot Hockey Off-Ice Training Manual. The Manual is available for purchase at this link. Thanks.)
By Jack, Reboot Hockey
CCM’s signature skate release for 2015 is the all-new CCM Jetspeed, which is a top-to-bottom redesign that replaces the now-discontinued RBZ in CCM’s three-skate lineup.
Thanks to a great promotion via CCM and Total Hockey, I was able to demo and review a pair of the top-of-the-line Jetspeed skates for Reboot Hockey. Below is my Honest Hockey review of the CCM Jetspeed skates, broken down into Basis of Comparison, Fit, Looks, Performance, Durability, Personal Biases, and concluding with Final Considerations. Feel free to provide feedback and intelligent criticism.
Basis of Comparison
As I do at the beginning of all Honest Hockey skate reviews, I mention that I’ve been playing hockey since I learned to walk, and have used lots of hockey gear, hockey skates in particular. After I gave the CCM Crazy Light skates a so-so review a few years ago, I had a critic question my ability to review skates, so I took a picture of all the CCM gear I had on hand at the time:
Again, those aren’t all of the skates I’ve used over my 20+ year playing career, and that’s not the inventory from a used-gear store. Those are just the six pairs of CCM/Reebok skates I had lying around the house at the time I wrote the Crazy Light review, amid a living room full of other CCM/Reebok gear.
As I’ve written before, I believe my extensive use of the CCM/Reebok product line allows me to make an accurate Basis of Comparison when grading out CCM skates. However, I have never skated in a CCM RBZ or a 2014 CCM Tacks, both of which would be comparable to the 2015 Jetspeed. Neither the 2014 Tacks nor the RBZ provided the fit I was looking for, as both are quite wide. I have however used many prior generations of CCM skates, and currently use both the Reebok 11K and Reebok RibCor 30K.
(UPDATE 8/8/2016: I am on my third pair of Reebok 11K skates, which as I write this are on their last legs. While editing this article, I was surprised to see that I had never written a full review on the 11K, though I write about them at-length in my Honest Hockey Review of the CCM U+Pro/Pro Reloaded. I’ll get a full review of the 2011 Reebok 11K Skates, which have been very serviceable, written in the near future.
I picked up and eventually re-sold a pair of 2013 Reebok 30Ks, which would have been a $399 retail skate in late 2013/early 2014. I would use them occasionally to give my 11Ks a break, but my experience with the 30K was that it wrapped my foot poorly while allowing too much lateral play during starts-and-stops. It was simultaneously too rigid and too soft for me. I am not doing a full review on the 30Ks because at my size/experience level, I should have purchased the RibCor 40K.
The one thing I will say about the 30K is that I really liked the added height from the SpeedBlade 4.0 holder. I can’t speak to the durability of the SB Black steel, but with the SpeedBlade 4.0, I definitely had a sharper turning radius (as described in the promotional materials).
I was “bottoming out” quite a bit in the 30Ks – meaning that I would slip and fall trying to hold very severe body angles – but I attribute that to the lateral play in the Upper rather than the Holder. The good news is that the SpeedBlade 4.0 now comes standard on many CCM skates, including the Jetspeed.)
For what it’s worth, I’ve also written this article on How to Optimize Your Hockey Skates, and gotten a doctorate-level education in Skate Fitting as a result.
Lastly, it should go without saying that while I am not a professional, I played hockey in college and I continue to play 4-5 times per week. I think I’m qualified to talk about the strengths and weaknesses in a pro-quality skate such as the Jetspeed, even without having reviewed a direct comparable such as the 2014 Tacks or the Bauer Vapor 1X.
As I stood in front of the wall of skates at a Pittsburgh-area Total Hockey store and considered my options, it didn’t even occur to me to check out the Jetspeed line. I had seen a few pics of the red-trimmed Jetspeed on NHL players late in the 2014-15 NHL season, and I had just assumed the Jetspeed was a re-conceptualized or repackaged RBZ.
With all of the red highlights, the Jetspeed line closely resembles the CCM RBZ from preceding years. It’s certainly a nice-looking skate, but at first glance the Jetspeed would not look markedly different from the RBZ to the casual player:
I had come into the Total Hockey store intent on fitting an Easton Mako M8 or a Bauer Nexus 7000, but was persuaded to fit the Jetspeed as part of CCM’s no-obligation demo program. I could have a pair of Jetspeed skates, baked and sharpened, to use on the ice for 2-3 days. Being such an experimentalist, I jumped at the chance to try the skates, and immediately began to focus on the Jetspeed’s potential upside.
After a few years of using Reebok/RibCor skates, I was confidant in purchasing a CCM RibCor 50K or 48K at respective price-points of $650 and $400. The Reebok/RibCor line has provided me with a good-but-not-great level of Fit and Performance, and while I was looking to upgrade, I would have no qualms about again investing in a RibCor skate.
My main issue with the Reebok/RibCor line was that while the skates while the skates eventually conformed to the anatomy of my foot, I had a hard time getting good Heel Lock from Reebok/RibCor boots. I was getting inconsistent results from the Pump feature, so I eventually stopped using it, and even in a D/AA sized pair of 11Ks, I was getting sloppy Heel Lock compared to Bauer Vapors skates and older CCM skates.
The RBZ had failed to appeal to me in part due to the unusual sizing of the boot, and in part due to the skate’s Fit Dimensions. I have somewhat-narrow feet, and the RBZ is a wider-cut skate. I’ll discuss Fit in the next section, with the point being that I had initially dismissed the Jetspeed because I thought it was a gimmicky RBZ clone.
In short, when I walked into the store that day, the Jetspeed line wasn’t even on my radar. But as soon as I had the Jetspeed on my foot, I realized my impressions were way off-base.
The Jetspeed has a snug fit totally unlike the somewhat-cumbersome RBZ. For visual reference, here’s a shot of the RBZ next to the Jetspeed:
The Jetspeed has Fit Dimensions that in my view approximate those of a Bauer Vapor. After a proper bake, the Jetspeed wrapped my forefoot in an anatomical way that I had not seen from a CCM skate since the U+Pro.
The Jetspeed also fits with a snug Heel Lock, and as you can see from the picture above, the Jetspeed utilizes a narrow, V-shaped heel similar to the Bauer Vapor. The Jetspeed skates, as the name suggests, have a compact feel seemingly geared for quick take-offs and speed.
To get a better idea of what I mean by Fit Dimensions, take a look at this chart from Bauer:
Since the release of the Nexus line several years ago, Bauer has offered three distinct Fits that cater to three distinct styles of skater. This has proven to be a very successful strategy, as Bauer continues to be a sales leader at the retail level. The logic goes that, no matter what kind of a player you are, Bauer offers a skate that will be an ideal fit for you.
(Update 12.1.2016: check these fit profile charts – one from Bauer and one from CCM – to get an approximation of the three-fit model now used by both companies:
The Bauer chart is super-helpful. The Vapor/Jetspeed are both made for people like me, meaning flat feet and narrow heels. The Tacks/Supreme lines are “standard arch/forefoot/moderate heel” while the Nexus/RibCOR booots are high-arch/volume fit.
In my opinion, these charts take a ton of the guesswork out, but always try to get fit by an experienced pro shop employee.)
With the release of the Jetspeed, CCM also now offers three distinct Fits, and by proxy now caters to a wider variety of players than it has in years past. While the CCM RibCor has some properties that work well for people with narrower feet, you would be hard-pressed to argue that the RibCor is built to maximize acceleration and quickness. The Jetspeed now serves as a true competitor to the Bauer Vapor, and fills a needed niche for CCM.
(UPDATE: Here’s a CCM Fit Chart, followed by a CCM Frame Chart. These charts should help you differentiate between the fit and performance differences between CCM’s three skews. If you have any questions related to these charts, feel free to e-mail me RebootHockeyHelp@gmx.com.)
While some might argue that the Jetspeed has an “anatomical” fit similar to a Bauer Supreme, the fact remains that CCM has released a Fit for a different type of foot. My view is that the heel of the Jetspeed fits more like a Bauer Vapor – meaning narrow and V-shaped – than that of a Bauer Supreme, which in my view locks around the ankles bones and the Achilles as the Bauer Fit Chart above suggests.
The Toe Box on the Jetspeed is pretty standard. It’s smaller than the Toe Box on Reebok/RibCor skate, but doesn’t feel cramped at all. The theme of the Jetspeed skates is “fitted”, and the Toe Box on the skates left me with just enough room.
I wear Size 12 US shoes, and I have a pair of Size 11.5 Nike running shoes that I can barely squeeze into. I was pretty shocked when I got into a Size 8D pair of Jetspeed skates after measuring a Size 9.5 or even a Size 10 on a CCM Brannock tool. I’ve been wearing Reebok 11K skates in Size 9D/Euro 44, but in a Jetspeed I got all the way down to an 8D/Euro 42.5.
My point, as I’ve often repeated, is this: do yourself a favor and buy your skates at a quality hockey shop such as Total Hockey. You can do all of the tape-measure arithmetic you want before you purchase your skates online, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t get your feet into a pair of skates before you buy them. If you are trying to save a few dollars – and I don’t blame you, because Hockey is damn expensive – pick a place other than Skates to scrimp.
Finally, the Jetspeed is extremely heat-moldable and reactive. I would have described the Fit as instantaneous had I not needed punching adjustments.
HH Score: 9.5
I’m not going to lie: at first, I didn’t love how the Jetspeed looks, or even particularly care for the Jetspeed name. I like a traditional-looking, understated Black/White skate such as the 652 Tacks or even my Reebok 11Ks. I’m clearly getting old, because I just shake my head at the colorful lineups the hockey-skate companies unveil every year.
But I haven’t cared how a hockey skate looks since George H.W. Bush’s presidency. I’ll wear a day-glo orange monstrosity if it will optimize my skating, and if the florescent highlights on a particular skate start singeing my retinas, I’ll spray-paint the skates black.
But as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure there are a bunch of eight-year olds who think that the Jetspeed is simply stunning. If I’m nit-picking, I guess I like the cleaner look of both the RBZ and the Crazy Light better than the current Tacks/Jetspeed-style, but my opinion should have zero bearing on the skates you purchase.
The Bauer Vapor is so closely associated with the red/silver/black colors that CCM maybe should have packaged the skate differently, but by the same token, CCM has seemingly wanted to make the Black/Red scheme their signature series since the Crazy Light line:
I do think CCM should have done more to distinguish the Jetspeed from the RBZ looks-wise. The RBZ was likewise a good-looking skate, but people who don’t study hockey gear religiously might have a hard time discerning between the two.
HH Score: 8.0
I don’t think it’s fair to grade a pair of demo skates that I only used for a few hours in Durability. I would say the skates wore normally for a pro-quality skate used by a player with my experience level. I put the Jetspeed through a bag skate, and there was no sign of loose nuts on the holder or detaching rivets.
HH Score: N/A
Performance: First Impression
I first used the Jetspeed skates at a stick-and-puck, in which I basically had the ice by myself.
The first thing I noticed was the complete absence of a break-in period. The skates went from the box to the ice with no hassle whatsoever. I would have been confident in using them in a game situation, save for the additional boot punching that all of my skates require.
An issue I have with contemporary skates is that I have a hard time getting enough Forward Flex while maintaining stability. I usually skip the second eyelet in the interest of getting adequate Forward Flex, and I did so with the Jetspeed. I had no problems achieving needed Forward Flex with the Jetspeed, especially when compared to more-rigid skates like the Crazy Light or the APX/APX2.
The Jetspeed, as with many of the later-model CCM/RBK skates before it, features CCM’s SpeedBlade 4.0 holder and SB steel, both of which I really like. When you transition from a shorter holder such a CCM E-Pro, you can really notice the difference in how aggressively you can sink into turns by using the SpeedBlade 4.0.
I am not as picky about steel as some are, but I think the Hyper-Glyde runners seen on the Jetspeed are super-nice. Maybe it was my imagination, but I preferred the Hyper-Glyde coating on the Jetspeed runners to the SB Black coating seen on the RibCor/Tacks steel. I felt very fluid in transition while using the SpeedBlade 4.0/Hyper-Glyde Lower.
CCM now includes the SpeedBlade 4.0 and SB steel on many of their skates, which in my view only serves to increase the value on a skate such as the RibCor 48K or the Jetspeed 290/300. It’s a really nice Lower, especially when you’re getting it on a high-value skate such as the 48K, and it’s a great part of the Jetspeed line. Again, the Hyper-Glyde runner is superb, and a great feature on the top-of-the-line Jetspeed.
I really like the tongue on the Jetspeed, which CCM calls the JetProtect tongue. Aside from being a plush, pro-style white felt, the outside of the tongue fit in a very anatomical way. It allowed me to get as low as I like while accelerating and transitioning.
There was no lace-bite whatsoever. I skip the second eyelet on most skates and skate very aggressively-forward, and I’ve become very used to having my ankles/feet torn up. No such issue here, despite me bag-skating myself like I was a wayward charge on the 1980 Olympic Hockey team.
I also noticed that I got exceptional Heel Lock from the Jetspeed. I put myself through repeated “V-Starts“, almost deliberately trying to kick my heel out of the back of the boot, but the Jetspeed locked my heel in place wonderfully.
Below is CCM’s promotional video on the RocketFrame, which indicates that Heel Lock was one of the priority points in the Jetspeed’s construction:
The Reebok/RibCor line is somewhat-notorious for providing poor Heel Lock. One of my favorite things about the Jetspeed was not only the superb Heel Lock, but the fact that I did not have to do constant tinkering with the RibCor’s Pump feature. I liked being able to just tie my skates and go play with no additional fuss.
While the RibCor is marketed as an agility boot, I felt much more nimble in the Jetspeed skates. The RibCor is listed at 896 grams, while the Jetspeed is listed at 770 grams via the Total Hockey website. That’s fairly significant, and just about makes the Jetspeed the lightest skate available.
CCM grades their RibCor line as “Regular Stiff” while grading the Jetspeed line as “X-Stiff” and the Tacks line as “XX-Stiff”. I would attribute the uptick in agility I experienced with the Jetspeed to a more-reactive, stiffer boot, but one that wrapped my foot properly. The fit and performance bump I got from the Jetspeed was the best of both worlds.
Overall, the Jetspeed made a great first impression. The only issue was that the skates would need an additional boot-punch, but that’s no failing on the part of the Jetspeed.
Performance: Second Impression
A lot of skates feel great when you’re wearing them around a hockey store or your living room. Some even feel great the first time or two you skate in them. But a true test of a hockey skate’s fit is after a use or two, when a little bit of the initial enthusiasm has worn off.
Trying to keep my Jetspeed review as controlled as possible, I skated in them 24 hours after the first session at the same rink. The skates were still a bit damp from the day before, and the ice had not been resurfaced following a figure-skating session. This would be a good opportunity to use the skates in less-than-ideal conditions.
The fitting issues that I had on the first day with the Jetspeed skates increased dramatically during the second session. I could barely get through an hour-long session, as the fit on my right foot became such an issue that I basically limped off the ice at the end of the session.
This is an issue with my feet and not with the Jetspeed, but it did impact my evaluation. Just including that in the interest of full disclosure.
Still, I made a strong effort to work the skates during this session. The combination of the secure heel and the SpeedBlade 4.0 package continued allow for great cornering and quick turns. If you have a lot of stopping-and-starting in your skating style, you should definitely take a look at the Jetspeed.
I did notice some slippage in the heel toward the middle of the second session. The Jetspeed skates have a quality moisture-wicking system along the bottom of the boot, but they were getting wet during the second session. Again, the skates were still damp from the previous day’s use, but this is a consideration if you’re someone like me who plays on consecutive days.
I think the stiffness on the Jetspeed is just about perfect. I was achieving the Foot Wrap/Forward Flex that I was having a hard time finding, while still enjoying a highly-reactive composite boot.
Following the skate, I had some pretty solid blisters on the inside of both heels. I attribute this to going from a sloppy-fitting 11K to the perfectly-snug Jetspeed, but I think the narrow heel has the potential to cause blistering problems with a lot of skaters. Keep that in mind if you decide to look at the Jetspeed line.
It was actually good that my second attempt to use the skates was problematic, because it would be good opportunity to see if the skates could be adjusted. This would test the quarter-package of the Jetspeed for malleability, which is a prime consideration if you have irregular feet.
I took the skates to another Pittsburgh-area Total Hockey location, and had the staff do another adjustment to the boot prior to skating them a third time. There was no issue in making an adjustment, and the skates fit very comfortably the third time I wore them.
I had dismissed the Jetspeed line as a viable option because I had become gun-shy about using CCM skates following my experience with the Crazy Light/U+ line. As detailed in my Honest Hockey Crazy Light review, I had trouble getting proper Foot Wrap and Forward Flex with the Crazy Light, and I thought the CCM U+10 was really mediocre in overall quality.
As noted above, I have a very hard time fitting into skates. If your feet are less-warped, you may find that the Jetspeed skates provide a tremendous fit right out of the box. They were extremely comfortable to me until I really started to work them through drills.
I usually skate on an 8′ radius, as a gentleman from the Raleigh, NC area generally does all of my skate work including profiling. The SpeedBlade 4.0/Hyper-Glyde lower comes with a factory 9′ profile, and while this was a mild adjustment for me, I do not believe the difference in profile factored into my review.
I have some sentimental attachment to CCM skates. As I’ve written before, I used CCM skates almost exclusively from the time I was eight until the time I was 26. While I passed on both the RBZ and the 2014 Tacks line, I did ultimately opt for Reebok and then RibCor skates, so there is clearly some brand bias on my part toward CCM.
I’m very glad I got to demo the Jetspeed, because I’m excited about CCM skates again. There, I said it.
Those minor biases aside, my only real interests are getting into a skate that provides great fit and performance, and educating other players on how to select equipment. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me who manufactures the skates or how expensive/inexpensive they happen to be.
If you’re considering the CCM Jetspeed, you’re immediately in the market for new skates, willing to spend top dollar, and looking for pro-quality durability and performance. You’re likely looking at the Bauer Vapor 1X, the CCM Ultra Tacks, CCM Super Tacks, the Bauer Nexus 1N, and any other number of top-level skates for
In 2016, if you go the retail route, there’s a really good chance you’re going to end up wearing a Bauer or CCM skate. CCM has done a great job in recent years in getting good product information to the general public, and with the release of the Jetspeed in 2015, CCM now offers three distinct fit options at 6-8 price-points per skew.
My recommendation would be to fit each of Bauer and CCM’s three lines (Vapor/Supreme/Nexus and Jetspeed/Tacks/RibCor) at a comfortable price-point. If you’re like me and grew a bit disenchanted with CCM following the Crazy Light/RBZ releases, I highly recommend you at least look at the Jetspeed. I was very pleasantly surprised, as the fit and performance for some reason reminded me of the “traditional” CCM style I grew up with.
A primary consideration in selecting skates should always be, “where can I go for adjustments?” While skates have become incredible in terms of molding, most of the time a player is going to benefit from having a trained professional available to make adjustments on their equipment.
I’ll again go to bat for Total Hockey, because I have gotten consistently-excellent service from both Pittsburgh-area locations. They have generally provided adjustments free-of-charge, and almost everyone I’ve dealt with from Total Hockey has shown tremendous patience in helping me attack my skate-fitting problems.
I strongly recommend you find a good hockey shop, build a rapport with the staff, and if at all possible purchase your skates from them. Most players are going to need, at a minimum, a reliable place to take their skates for profiling and sharpening. Consider all of this if you are weighing the minor savings of an online purchase versus the few additional dollars you will spend purchasing in-store.
After you locate a quality hockey shop, Fit and Re-Fit your skates. I had been wearing CCM/Reebok in 9D for years, but got all the way down to an 8D in the Jetspeed. I have a friend who also went down a full size from his Reebok 7Ks to the Jetspeed, and for the record, he’s thrilled with his purchasing decision.
If you are going to be stubborn and buy your skates from an online hockey equipment distributor, make sure you measure extra carefully, in millimeters, and study the various Fitting Guides available like the Torah, or risk purchasing a pair of skates that will hinder you more than help.
(Note: I go over contemporary skate fitting exhaustively in the Reboot Hockey Off-Ice Training Manual. Buy a copy and buy two for your friends. Thanks.)
I have to point out that the Minimum Advertised Price on the CCM Jetspeed is $800. This figure is getting into custom-skate territory. The Jetspeed is certainly a nice skate, but you need to do an honest assessment based on your ability and experience level to determine if it’s worth that kind of investment.
I closely examined and fit the Jetspeed 300 (MAP: $599) to see if it was a viable option, in the event I wanted to purchase a less-expensive Jetspeed line skate. These were my thoughts at the time:
While the Fit between the Jetspeed and the 300 is pretty comparable, the 300 does not use the Hyper-Glyde steel coating, which I considered a major selling point for the Jetspeed. The 300 uses a different liner which doesn’t appear to conform in the same way at the “Anatomical Response” liner in the Jetspeed, and the 300 insole fit differently. As a barefoot skater, I really like the Clarino blend in the Jetspeed versus the Suede blend in the JS300.
Personally speaking, I decided that if I was willing to purchase a JS 300 at $600, I would shell out $800 for the Jetspeed. Upon review, the Jetspeed has enough fitting and performance features to make it a worthwhile upgrade on the JS 300, and the Jetspeed is not oppressively-stiff as far as pro-quality skates go.
HH Overall Grade: 9.25
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