Would you want to take an ice hockey boot and mount an inline chassis on it? That idea always sounded risky to me. Would drilling new holes into the soles of ice boots make them weaker? You would definitely lose your manufacturers warranty once the first hole was drilled. I decided to take the risk and try it out.
The first thing I noticed was how much more of a selection you have when you start looking for ice hockey skates. I used to be a huge fan of Reebok inline skates. Reebok was the only inline manufacturer that made a wide enough skates for my feet. When I started trying on the ice hockey skates, most all of the manufacturers had skates that felt OK for me. That was a nice surprise.
I decided to go with Bauer Nexus 6000 ice hockey skates for this experiment after trying on several different brands. I was quite surprised I chose the Bauers because their inline skates in this price range did not feel that good at all. Bauer only had the Vapor produce line for inline hockey. But for ice, Bauer has three different product lines, the Supreme, Vapor, and Nexus.
I asked my local shop, Hockey X Superstore, to mount the Labeda 4x80mm chassis I had from my broken Reebok 9K inline skates on them. They tried to match up the holes in the boots as best they could with the chassis. Only a few holes matched up though. They had to drill quite a few extra holes in the soles of each boot.
It was interesting how they mounted the chassis. Instead of just mounting the chassis directly to the soles of the boots, they put a flat plastic piece between the chassis and the boots. This was to add extra protection from the chassis pushing up into the boots and breaking the soles.
The mounting cost $60 in total. It’s not cheap. But it is reasonable.
The rivets will be the main issue you’ll have with a setup like this. You’ll need to inspect the rivets all the time. Make sure they are all on securely. The second you notice any starting to loosen up, have them replaced. It will most likely cost less than $2 to have a rivet replaced. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of game and have to leave the rink because the chassis are coming off of a boot. More importantly though, if that chassis isn’t on securely, you could really hurt yourself.
I am a 6 foot, 230 pound skater. Yeah, I know. I’ve lost my girlish figure. Being a heavier skater creates a few problems with this setup. If you’re around 220, or heavier, the normal rivets might not last that long. I had a talk with the expert at the Hockey X Superstore about this. He recommended using 4 copper rivets to hold the heel of the chassis to the boot. He also recommended using two more to hold the back part of the front chassis to the boot. He said the copper rivets would be a lot stronger than the normal rivets.
If you decide to go this route with mounting inline chassis on ice boots, have a talk with the expert at your hockey shop to see what they recommend. In terms of price, there doesn’t seem to be a difference between the copper and regular rivets. The copper rivets do stick out a bit more. The regular rivets are more flush with the bottom of the boot.
I’m a heavier, intermediate skater. I play at least 3 games a week. I would burn through Reebok inline skates in about 7 – 9 months. The boots would crease on me most of the time. In some cases, the soles of the skates would break down. I would have the chassis pushing up into the boots.
I have used these Bauers now for about a year. The boots seem to be very strong. There is no sign of the boots even starting to crease. The soles, even though they have more holes in them, are holding up just fine. I see no cracks in them at all.
Now I realize this isn’t a good comparison. I’m comparing two different manufacturers’ skates. Also, one of course is in the ice lineup while the other one is in the inline lineup. I think most skaters would agree though when I say that ice boots seem to be a lot stiffer than inline boots.
A friend told me I would never go back to regular inline hockey skates after trying ice boots mounted with inline chassis. Well … he’s right. I’m impressed. You have to pay a bit more to get everything setup. You also forfeit the warranty. But you get a stronger, and in some cases, a more comfortable pair of skates. If that’s what it takes to enjoy the game more, so be it.