After years of dominating the custom skate market with countless pro and elite goalies making the switch, True has finally brought a mid price point skate to market. And just like their pro skates, the TF9 is designed to provide the best possible fit and performance making it sure to shake things up.
The History of True Goal Skates
One of the reasons that the new TF9 Goal skate is such a big deal is True’s transformation of the premium skate category. What started out as a small speed skate manufacturing plant founded by Scott Van Horne back in 1999 has come a long way; with over 150 NHL players and 73% of NHL goalies using their skates, it’s easy to see that their “inside out” construction methods and proprietary technologies and materials provide a superior fit that’s remained unmatched for over 25 years. Since True Temper bought VH Footwear back in 2017, they’ve worked to refine materials and improve the quality, durability and appearance of the skate while leaving the production methods untouched creating the ultimate in custom high performance, light weight skates.
The TF9 skate uses what True calls their TrueShell Technology boot which is a full carbon fibre one-piece boot much like that seen on their pro skates. The main advantages of a one-piece boot are a lighter boot, superior fit and improved energy transfer within each movement. The less layers where different materials meet up, the more direct the transfer of energy is from the goalies foot to the ice meaning harder, faster pushes. The combination of the TrueShell and FIberShield Technologies makes for a stronger boot that eliminates weak points in high impact areas by wrapping seamlessly around the toe box. Just like all True skates, the boot of the TF9 is designed to be thermoformable to provide a truly one of a kind fit and wrap around the goalies foot unlike anything else on the market.
Shift Attack Holder
One thing that I’m excited to finally see on the market is True’s Shift Attack holder. We’ve been teased with the idea of a quick change goalie holder from True ever since the Shift holder released on their player skates a couple years ago. The Shift Attack holder features BenchChange technology which is their version of a tooless quick change blade system. It features a forwards pitch similar to that of the Vertexx holder from Bauer which is designed to keep the goalie in an athletic position on the ball of their foot when in the stance.
With CCM’s recent acquisition of Step Steel, True had to look elsewhere when making steel for their new holder. This led to the development of their Shift Stainless and Shift DLC steel. The stainless is a taller blade similar to the quality and height of Bauer’s LS3G+ steel while the DLC steel is also a taller blade that has a black finish designed to maximize the longevity of each sharpening. While True previously offered only a 4mm fat steel on their pro skates, goalies now have the option between a more common 3mm steel or an all new offset 4mm fat steel. The new fat steel is very unique and unlike anything we’ve seen before. Rather than being symmetrically larger like traditional fat steels, the Shift steel adds 1mm to the inside of the blade giving goalies a slight advantage when pushing as they don’t need to get their leg up as high in order to get a good push when recovering.
As a goalie that uses the custom True skates, I was happy to see that True cut no corners on the tongue of the TF9 skate. True uses a thick felt base with their Flex Guard padding that protects against lace bite while a velcro attachment makes it completely adjustable and replaceable allowing goalies to completely change the fit of their skate.
True’s Hydrofoam liner is antimicrobial and moisture-wicking designed to keep your feet dry while an ultrasoft, multi density foam provides superior comfort throughout the ankle, heel and forefoot. Another noticeable upgrade over the skates we previously saw from True is found in the insole. The TF9 features an insole with technology similar to that seen in Adidas shoes with their Boost technology. The result is an ultra comfortable insole that feels as if it almost gives you a bit of extra spring in your movements.
One thing True’s pro skates are known for is their heel lock and ankle wrap. I was impressed with the fit of the TF9 in these areas in particular; you can tell True wanted to create a mid price point skate that felt as close to their pro skate as possible. While nothing will beat the feeling of a skate made around a last of your foot, the TF9 does a good job at locking your heel in place and providing a wrap superior to what is currently available on the market today.
While True was one of the first companies to offer a cowlingless goal skate, their toe cap has seen a couple evolutions over the years and the TF9 features the most recent redesign. It’s formed using a monocoque shell with a more sleek, low-profile design that improves attack angle while not making the toe box feel small or tight.
In the past, VH skates were produced in limited quantities, by hand by Scott Van Horne himself and while the skates performed extremely well, they had a rather quirky appearance. Thankfully with the TF9, True has worked to escape that image and has created a truly good looking skate. With a full exposed carbon heel and sidewall, leather upper and a silver holographic logo, the TF9 skates have a sleek, eye-catching look that’s sure to appeal to goalies.
All in all, the new TF9 skate is a long awaited option for goalies that want a superior fitting and performing skate wrapped into a cost effective package. With heavy influence in the materials and construction methods taken from what True has learned over the years of making skates for elite level goalies, even though this skate is new to the market, it’s backed by over 25 years of development and should be a contender for goalies looking for a mid line or even a pro skate upon its’ release.
Reviewed By: Cedric Hastings