As neat as the skate may already look on paper, those leaked photos don’t do the Bauer KONEKT justice. We were lucky enough to get to be one of the first to trial the skate, or even one of the first just to see it in person. As expected, the KONEKT goalie skate looks, feels, and straps in just like a ski boot—and it’s here to reinvent the elite goaltender hockey skate.
This review is in collaboration with one of our resident goalies here at The Hockey Shop, Cooper Giesbrecht, who’s had the chance over the last few months to try out the KONEKT officially and at a higher level.
The last few years have been tough for a lot of people, and hockey itself also took quite a hefty suspension. Bauer didn’t want to lose time by pausing along with hockey, but that also meant they had to make the best out of what they had and what was available to them. That led them to learn about ski boots and equipment from companies in Switzerland and Italy, and Bauer then translated what they learned into a brand new hockey skate for 2022.
Skiing requires very precise and close-fitting procedures to find the right size and shape for the right foot—in fact, many advanced skiers often switch to a smaller, tighter, and stiffer boot as they get better. In hockey, a stiffer boot may make it tougher to skate in, but it also provides unparalleled support and connection between you and your skates. The KONEKT skate looks to offer that elite-level connection and responsiveness you want and need in a goalie skate.
Boot Tech & Design—Grilamid
The two major materials used to form the skate are Grilamid polyamide (PA) plastic and Ultralon PE foam.
Grilamid is the shell and was developed exclusively by the Swiss company, EMS Grivory. It’s known for its stiffness, and after handling the skate for the first time, I can say that it’s actually insane how unyielding the material is. The Mach skate is pretty stiff—this skate takes that to a whole new level, and that’s primarily due to the Grilamid material.
The stiffness isn’t really a hindrance, however—it helps the skate keep a more supportive shape around your foot. Despite its toughness, Grilamid is highly thermoformable, meaning it does have some malleability, and only when it’s needed.
Boot Tech & Design—Ultralon
The Ultralon liner is just as impressive as the Grilamid. Unlike that in traditional gear, the liner and boot in the KONEKT are separate and require a separate molding process. Nevertheless, this development also allows for a more customized fit.
Ultralon is naturally odour and moisture-repelling, qualities that help the liner last longer while keeping you comfortable in your skates all game long. If the liner does end up wearing out, by design, you would no longer need to buy brand new skates—since it’s separate from the boot, you would only need to replace the liner. The Hockey Shop sells replacement liners for this case.
We talked about how the KONEKT skates use Grilamid to give superior support through its stiffness. However, to execute the push, you need some flexibility. That’s where the Hingeflex cuff comes in. The Hingeflex tech is a huge part of the construction, offering 22% more flex to a naturally stiff boot. Since this tech was such an important part of the skate’s design and functionality, we checked in with Cooper to get his explanation and take on the cuff.
Cooper’s explanation: “One of the most notable features of the KONEKT, the Hingeflex Cuff allows the boot to flex forward while maintaining support and stability on the sides of your foot and ankle. This gives you the ability to lean forward further to better capture your angle and desired positioning, even when keeping the full blade on the ice. Having this blade allows a quicker option to edge and move, since you have more control to be precise.”
Cooper’s take: “The first thing I noticed was the ease of edging, especially when sliding. The Hingeflex Cuff allowed me to capture my edge and get my blade square to the ice efficiently and with a very minimal vertical increase in my leg height. This allowed me to keep my pad closer to the ice, which then helped me seal the ice much quicker and with full management of my edges.
“Additionally, the stance was a major part affected by the skates. The increased flex and hinge helped me get more over top of my toes without losing any height or control. This Hingeflex Cuff felt similar to a blade profile in the sense that it made me stand and play more aggressively and forward without losing my confidence and control in my stance. Having the Hingeflex Cuff also supports the sideways stiffness of the ankle, which is a major benefit. I was still able to apply full force and torque horizontally on the ankle while continuing to benefit from the flexion provided by the Hingeflex Cuff.”
The KONEKT not only offers elite performance, but it is also abundant in quality of life upgrades. We already saw some of that in the separate boot and liner, as well as the new Hingeflex cuff. The strappings are no exception. Taking even more inspiration from the ski boot design, Bauer partnered with the Italian company, Gudo, to design ski boot-like strappings to make putting on the boot more efficient than ever.
The straps used in the Konekt are the same ski buckles found on ski boots. Around the Hingeflex cuff is the upper Power strap, which helps lock the ankle in place and add support for driving your stride. The lower buckle locks the rest of your foot in the boot and helps hold your heel back. Please note that the buckles can be adjusted by twisting the strap, but they only lock in one direction and can break if strapped incorrectly; refer to the pointing arrow on the strap to make sure you are locking them in correctly.
The initial images of the KONEKT skate circulated The Hockey Shop for nearly a month once Bauer announced it to us, and seeing it in person didn’t change our wonder in the slightest. Despite any initial skepticism we may have had, our goalies overall were very impressed with the integrations and performance that the skate had to offer. We can’t wait to see it out in the field.
To ensure a perfect fit, all Konekt skates will be sold in-store. Contact us to book an appointment with our goalie experts.