A product we've been meaning to review for a while is a set of grip-alternative tapes made by Lizard Skins, a Utah-based company known for producing its popular non-slip Cycling, Lacrosse and Baseball grips. Just like the Tacki-Mac, Buttendz, and Blade Tapes before it, Lizard Skins sought to produce a performance alternative to regular cloth and flex grip tape, that was more durable, more comfortable, and more palm-friendly than your average wrap.
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Made from a rubber Durasoft Polymer (DSP) with a grip texture reminiscent of tennis and golf overwrap, the Lizard Skins grips were designed as hockey’s own tape alternative. The polymer helps reduce vibrations traveling up your stick, as well as providing a very secure, non-slip grip that locks down your top hand and improves puck control. Due to the cycling and baseball background of the grips themselves, they are designed to be friendly to bare hands, and by extension, hockey glove palms.
Lizard Skins was kind enough to send out a handful of their DSP grip for our staff to try. Let’s take a look.
I’ve used my fair share of different grip alternatives, and still remain an avid user of Tacki-Mac and Buttendz grips on a variety of my sticks for durability and grip reasons. I made the switch away from regular cloth and grip tape to give a little mercy to the palms of my favourite gloves (digital palms are the worst of them all for durability) but was also attracted by the promise of better puck control. When Lizard Skins approached us with their Lizard Skins grips, I saw it as another opportunity to improve some part of my equipment once again, however small.
From the get-go, the first thing I noticed was the perfect level of grip the Lizard Skins tape provided. It was grippy enough that I could afford to have my hands in a more relaxed stickhandling position but still get a nice solid quick shot off. It didn’t have that clamped-down-locked-down feeling that the Buttendz Twirl I had used previously.
This was surprisingly welcome as it gave me a lot more top-hand mobility when stickhandling and adjusting my hands for a quick shot or pass immediately following a face-off. Overall, a perfect balance between control and flexibility.
The biggest worry most players have with switching over to a tape alternative is the puck feel. While the Tacki-Mac and Buttendz have offered solid puck feel in their grips, in sticks with a softer, more dampened blade, they can at times remove a hair more puck feel than desired.
The Lizard Skin grip didn’t change the puck feel much, if at all when compared to regular cloth tape. This could be attributed to its super-thin construction (0.5mm), which also contributed to it adding next to no extra thickness to the feel of the shaft. It helped dampen vibrations from hard passes and snap and slap shots a fair amount, not to the extent of the thicker Buttendz, but enough that hotter passes were no longer blowing my blade out from underneath me with one hand on the stick.
To give this tape the fairest go-around I could, I started using it on a new stick, with a new set of mitts. I picked the CCM 4R Pros as the Pro-soft Ax Suede palms were a little thinner than comparably thicker, more durable palms on the market. 3 weeks into using the Lizard Skin grip I’ve seen very little wear on the palms. They still look relatively new, and none of the palm has rubbed off on the grip either. The lack of exposed adhesive from the Lizard Skin grip really helps with the durability of both the tape and the palms.
This is where the Lizard Skins grips shine – the customizability afforded by what is essentially an overgrip. The tape-like nature of the product means that you can change the style and shape of the grip in any way you choose, as the tape itself will conform and mold over any underlying texture you place it over. This means whether you’re an average Joe with a simple tape job, or a secret Patrick Kane who likes a twirled ribbing underneath his tape, the Lizard Skins will mold over and stick to absolutely any kind of tape job you place underneath it – just replace the cloth tape with Lizard Skins during the step you tape over everything with a single layer.
There was only one component to the Lizard Skins I wasn’t a fan of. Due to the nature of the adhesive and how firmly it sticks to itself during the wrapping process, the tape could arguably be single-use only. The tape itself stretches as it’s applied to provide a much tighter wrap around the stick, contributing to its thinner feel, but this means that in a lot of cases, it won’t go back to its original form.
Compared to other similar products on the market, like the Buttendz, which is (with some effort) removable and malleable enough to be constantly reusable with not much degradation to its shape and performance, this would be one of the key areas that the Buttendz or Tacki-Mac would have it beat.
The Lizard Skins grips are a forward-thinking piece of accessory looking to further develop an area of hockey equipment that people don’t usually think about. It’s a small change to your stick setup and that offers a nice performance boost. The handful of guys we have here in the shop love the grips we’ve been using over the past season. We genuinely believe you’ll like them too.
Hop on over to the shop today and pick up a Lizard Skins DSP Grip in a variety of colours to match your team!