Mission Proto Vs
Hockey skate review by Steven Runyeard
8th May 2001
Since I have very limited experience of hockey skates I'm unable to draw comparisons between the Proto Vs and the offerings of other manufacturers. The following review represents my personal opinion. Your needs a preference may differ from mine The only way to properly evaluate the suitability of a given pair of skates is to try them for yourself.
Even when slipped on for the first time these were surprisingly comfortable for hockey skates. There were only two hot spots: near the ankle bone of the right skate as well as some sideways pressure near the little toe of the same foot. My feet are a little on the wide side so others probably won't feel the same kind of discomfort. Once laced up the whole foot was held very snugly and the pressure relatively even right the way up to just below the ankle. The cuff of the boot was fairly loose and did not provide a great deal of support. My previous skates were Salomon TR10 (which also have a fairly low cuff) so the lack of support in that area was not a problem.
The tip of the boot is constructed from a very hard plastic offering good impact resistance. In contrast, the tongue is made of a very soft leather and lined with a thick felt-like material. The rest of the boot is made up of two machine stitched hard leather sections. The external being black/grey in colour and the internal a light tan. The two sections are joined at the back with a very neat seam and does not dig into the foot at all. Ventilation is provided by five holes at each toe and two further holes on the outside edge of each boot. Two larger (finger) holes at the rear of the cuff makes it easy to hold the skates in place while slipping them on. The boot has a stiffness rating of 5.3, as rated by Mission. That may mean something to you but it means absolutely nothing to me.
I wore these skates for four hours on the day of purchase and they remained fairly comfortable the whole time. They were very sluggish when skating in a straight line but very maneuverable when it came to cornering. They felt very different to my Salomon TR10 but then they are designed for very different purposes. The boot is designed to be heat molded and this was a feature I took advantage of the following weekend. They were put inside an 'oven' for around 10 minutes and then put on my feet. I had to then sit for a further 20 minutes for them to cool and take on the shape of my feet. After heat treatment they could not be used for at least 24 hours. The following day they definitely felt much more comfortable. The pressure that was present around the ankle was completely gone and they were only a little tight around the toes, and nowhere near as bad as before. The heat treatment really did make a big difference - much more than the same process made to my TR10s.
The total weight of the skates are 2.8kg. However, this is with non-standard wheels. Since I was going to be using them outside most of the time Skate Attack offered to replace the supplied 76A wheels with slightly harder 78As. As it turned out the replacement wheels were really awful and only lasted me a week.
Proto Vs Chassis
This is made from four separate pieces of steel welded together and riveted to the boot in ten places. The chassis have the 'hi-lo' design and take two different sizes of wheel: two of 72mm at the front at two 80mm at the rear. When rolled on a very flat surface the front wheel of each skate does not come into contact with the ground. They will therefore offer better maneuverability than if all four were in contact with the ground. The chassis provides a wheel base is 30.5cm.
Wheels and Bearings
As stated above, my skates did not come with standard wheels so I am unable to comment on their quality. The supplied bearings were ABEC5s and appear to be of relatively good quality. One of the bearings was damaged (with a loose side cover) but this faulty component was replaced by Skate Attack.
The wheels are held to the chassis by axel/bolts which have to be tightened using a pair of allen keys. My only criticism of the skates is in the quality of the axles. The tool-holes are very shallow and unless great care is taken the allen keys can slip out and cause damage the axels/bolts. This has happened to me on several occasions and I'll soon be in need of a new set. Bauer have put a lot more thought into this axels and use much deeper holes.
Overall Conclusion - Mission Proto Vs
After heat treatment the these skates were surprisingly comfy. Not as comfortable as my recreational skates but not a million miles away either. I have no problem skating in them for several hours. I'm relatively new to hockey and have not had the chance to put them through their paces. I therefore cannot comment on their strength under pressure. So far I'm very pleased with my purchase. If you're in the market for hockey skates then I can recommend giving them a try. At around the £250 mark (as of April 2001) they are a very reasonable price too.
As usual, this review is only my opinion about these skates, and your mileage may vary. You should always carefully judge whether the skates you intend buying are best suited for you and for the purpose you intend using. Remember that fit and comfort are extremely important, and you may wish to read the inline skating buying guide here on this site.
All material on this website is © Copyright 2000-2009 LondonSkaters.com, contributors, and associates. Please do not reproduce anything without permission. If you wish to use photos or other material from this website, please contact me first.