When you spend 60 minutes a game standing like we goalies do, the skate that you are standing can’t just be a great performer, it has to be comfortable too. With some nice upgrades over last year's Reactor 6000, the Reactor 9000 skate is the first true high performance composite boot skate designed to put comfort and performance together.
The first key difference in this year's Reactor line is the full Curv composite boot. Using this composite boot in place of the traditional construction has two main advantages. First of all, every movement and push is full taken advantage of because of the stiffness that the boot provides. When the material doesn’t flex sideways, all of the power that you use to push goes directly to the ice rather than dissipating through the side of the boot during flex. Secondly, Curv composite is considerably lighter than a traditional boot construction and lowers the weight of the 9000 noticeably.
When you look at the skate, the composite is most likely the second thing you notice about it. The standout feature that Bauer has added to the Reactor skates is something that their poster child, Henrik Lundqvist created for his own skates. It is called the Lundqvist loop, and is a simple loop of nylon hanging off the back of the boot. This loop is there so that goalies that wish to try a different strapping set up around their ankle can. The loop is meant for the boot strap to be fed through providing a similar fit and feeling to Carey Price and his tendency to remove the boot strap of his pad.
With a foot that is much freer to move in the pad, it allows the goalie to get their foot planted on the ground easier and prevent blowouts. The Lundqvist loop goes above and beyond just removing the boot strap. Not only does it give you unrestricted movement in the boot, it still allows the pad to follow your foot when you do point it whereas a completely removed bootstrap would not.
Although there are some striking differences on the exterior of the skate, another big change is actually on the inside. Bauer has added Poron XRD comfort foams in the ankle of the skate. This material was very successful on the Bauer Totalone NXG. Poron XRD is an extremely comfortable material because it completely wraps and conforms to the shape of your ankle. The fit is further helped during the heat mould process as the boot is considerably more willing to fully wrap and mould to your foot.
Considering the Reactor line and the 9000 skate are designed with comfort as one of the most important factors, it’s only natural that Bauer put its most comfortable materials in the boot. Along with the Poron XRD foam the 9000 features Bauer’s Hydra Max 2 quick drying liner. Especially in a pro level skate, the ability for your skates to dry quickly is almost as important as its ability to perform. No one likes to start an ice time with a boot that is already wet and disgusting.
When comparing the Reactor 9000 ankle with its brother the Totalone NXG, the changes don’t stop internally. The NXG has an asymmetrical ankle to allow goalies with deep, low stances get as low as they need to. The 9000 however, is the somewhat the opposite. It offers a higher, more traditional and considerably more supportive ankle that will appeal to goalies that aren’t already half way into the butterfly when in their stance.
Just like the Reactor 6000, the Reactor 9000 retains its traditional 4mm steel. 4mm steel is what most goalies will be familiar with and the Vertexx cowling provides the aggressive attack angle that Bauer cowlings are known for.
The 9000 does a very good job of maintaining that traditional goal skate feel. With its Curv composite construction and addition of the Lundqvist loop, it's almost difficult to call it a skate that focusses on comfort because it performs so well. Bauer has found a perfect balance between a skate that feels exceptional for a full ice time, and a skate that performs perfectly when you need it most.
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